May 28, 2012

Rare, Just Yummy or Plain Unusual Garden Flowers for May

PAPAVER SOMNIFERUM 'DRAMA QUEEN' LUSCIOUS PLUM AND VIOLET STREAKED BLOOMS FROM THIS TENDER POPPY THAT MUST BE SEEDED WHERE IT WILL DECIDE FORYOU WHERE IT WILL GROW. THEY ONLY LAST A DAY, BUT OH, WHAT A DAY.


Really, 2012 is all about poppies. But there are poppies that we still rarely see grown well, for as many of us know, poppies are not easy, unless you want to settle for the ordinary orange Oriental Poppies. A quick update on my great 2012 Poppy experiment, they are all doing well, and I hope that in a few weeks, I will be able to show you images of the Papaver rhoeas, P. commutatum and the P. somniferum as they come into bloom. Never easy, never pretty when not in bloom, poppies generally look best in photos and not in the garden, but when siting in the right location, and when viewed on just the right day, poppies can be quite stunning. Stay tuned you poppy freaks!



SARUMA HENRYI, THE UPRIGHT FLOWERING GINGER
Saruma is rarely found in gardens yet it is starting to appear in collector gardens as a few American nurseries are starting to carry seed-grown plants of this red-list endangered plant from China. Originally discovered in the early 1900's in China, taxonomists, or those who name plants, have been having some fun with this species. The heart-shaped leaves look a bit like Asarum, or Wild Ginger ( which is where the Upright Flowering Ginger name came from - this of course, is not culinary ginger, and neither is Asarum). Saruma is simply Asarum, twisted around using the same letters. Silly taxonomists. No one seems to know why it has taken so long for this plant to be shared and brought into cultivation, but it should have a brighter future - it is a flowering shade plant that is completely deer proof. Related to Dutchmans Pipe ( Aristolochia), this member of the family looks nothing like any Dutchman's Pipe you may have smoked. You can find Saruma henryi available at Plant Delights Nursery.






MODERN VARIETIES OF SIBERIAN IRIS CAN BE VERY IMPRESSIVE, WITH STRONG STEMS TOWERING UP TO 40 INCHES, AND A BROADER RANGE OF COLORS.
Not unusual or rare, except that most American gardens have boring varieties of Siberian Iris, an old fashioned type of Iris that spreads like grass, and that was all the rage in the 1920's. just try finding one at a local nursery. Often, all we see is the pass along plants which are often poor, older varieties, that are just "yawn" ok. I encourage you to try adding some of the newer varieties from one of the few breeders who are still working with this easy to grow iris varieties. Check out Joe Pye Weed gardens for some of the best, and OMG amazing Siberian Iris, some in colors that you never could imagine. JAN AND MARTY  are friends, and I highly recommend them as a source for these plants. These are iris that wont die, but will instead spread into large, tall clumps with hundreds of flowers, and lots of plants to share or to spread around the garden. Leave those old under performing varieties to your neighbors who don't know any better. Guaranteed that they will be asking you where you got your plants from.

DAPHNE CALCICOLA, A RARE CHINESE DAPHNE BLOOMS IN A POT.
Daphne calcicola, a rare treasure of a shrub from Yunnan is not new, but simply a shrub which is rarely seen in collections. First introduced by the famous plant explorer George Forrest in 1906, who described it as "the most beautiful flowering shrub", today is may only be found in a few private collections. I grow this shrub in a large Chinese stoneware container  filled with limestone rock, similar to the lean conditions where it grows in the wild. This is a daphne that it not fragrant, but it is worth growing for its floral display alone. A bit tender, I keep my shrub in the cold greenhouse for the winter. Not sure where you can find one, my original plant came from Harvey Wrightman from Wrightman Alpines.

MIMULUS AURANTIACUS, A CONSERVATORY PLANT THAT WAS OFTEN GROWN IN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY GREENHOUSES HERE IN NEW ENGLAND, IS ACTUALLY A NATIVE CALIFORNIAN. IT CAN MAKE A FINE GARDEN SPECIMEN, EVEN HERE, IF GROWN AS A TENDER ANNUAL.

The Bush Monkey Flower, or Mimulus aurantiacus 'Pt. Molate' may be common enough in California, but here in New England, it makes a terrific pot plant for the cold greenhouse. In the summer, cutting can be placed in the garden, which is where ours takes his summer holidays- in the raised, rock wall garden where alpine grow, along the foundation of the greenhouse. Its unusual color is reminiscent of orange sherbet, but it mixes well with other pastel tints, for there are few colors in the garden similar. Available from where else by Annies Annuals.

Anchusa capensis 'Blue Angel', on of the bluest of the Forget Me Nots, but this is a native of South Africa. It smothers itself with the deepest blue flowers ( which look purple here, but believe me these are cold water cobalt blue - it was evening). Next year I will plant more, as many of these plants were a test for me this year. I can only images what a dozen or two would look like int he garden. These Anchusa make our weedy Forget me nots rather , um.... forgetable.

In the stone troughs, which house many alpine plants, some of the later blooming Saxifrages are beginning to bloom, which is reminding me of Switzerland, were we find these plants on the highest peaks of the Alps in June. Each trough contains plants from different climates, so as you can easily imaging the this tall one has plants from the Swiss and French Alps, the one behind it looks a bit more like North Africa or Turkey, with the Horned Poppy blooming ( Glaucium flavum). I think troughs are best when organized by mountain ranges, don't you?



Joe consoles Yang, one of our Chinese White Geese, after Kojo was discovered missing.

Our African Grey parrot, Kojo escaped this weekend. We've had him for 15 years, raised from a chick, and we miss him. Today, we heard him performing his high-pitched squeek, which he makes when we drove into the driveway. We thought that we were hearing things, but then, we heard the phone ring high up in a distant tree, and two streets over, and found him high in a tall oak tree. The old Polish woman in whose yard we found him in, was sitting outside wearing her bra, old-school style, and she smacked her husband and said" See..... I told you I heard a car alarm in dee tree dis morning!". We have yet to catch him, and he may never return, but at least for now, we know that he is OK. He kept calling to us all day.

Our good friends Glen ( above) and Ken visited for Memorial Day, and Glen was showing Ken how to properly hold a goose...

...of course, earings proove to be tempting to  mating goose.

10 comments :

  1. Great post: Love that Saruma, but I must tell you that Daphne calcicola is quite hardy (came through my subzero winter great as did D. aurantiaca). I have admired them on Yulongshan...whence many treasures come (Arisaema candidissima for instance).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh I hope you can get your parrot back! Is there some treat that will tempt him home? If you've had him for 15 years he is like part of the family. Best of luck and please let us know if he comes home!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh I hope you can get your parrot home! How awful to have him escape into the wild after 15 years. Best of luck trying to entice him home!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really hope you will be able to bring Kojo home!

    The yellow Siberian iris are very enticing - I will have to look into those. As for Saruma henryi, I had never heard of it before this spring but I saw it for sale at a garden center in Cambridge a few weeks back so it does seem to be gaining popularity.

    ReplyDelete
  5. hopflower9:33 AM

    Since you seem to like challenges, may I suggst a Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri)? Another California native. You could have a lot of fun with that one!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've wanted to try Matilija poppy ( Romneya) for a few years now after seeing it in another garden. Yes, it is on my "list". Thanks! hopflower

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks Everyone. We miss lil' Kojo. He's such a devil, but we love him as one of the family. We have not heard him today at all, and severe thunderstorms are moving in, our hopes of him returning are growing slim.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Acantholimon - do you think that it prefers a dry winter? Here in NE, it can be a long, cold, wet winter with many freezes and thaws...... still, others have told me the same ( including Halda), so you think I would listen! But then again, he told me that Panda meat was good too!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've had Saruma for about 15 years, courtesy of Ellen Hornig, and it is reliable and excellent for me in my zone 6 garden.

    Jan and Marty's siberian iris are vastly better than the old ones for several reasons. Not just because they have extraordinary colors, but because they also have much better budcount than the old varieties.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So sorry about your African Gray! We have a sun conure & a cockatiel and can't imagine losing them (despite how LOUD they can be sometimes). I hope he gets bored with freedom or hungry and comes home soon.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Most Popular Posts