Showing posts sorted by relevance for query edgeworthia. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query edgeworthia. Sort by date Show all posts

February 6, 2011

An Edgeworthia on the Edge. It's Worth It.


Outside, the world is encased in ice, but in the greenhouse, my sort-of, winter garden, rarely seen tender shrubs from China and South America are starting to bloom. The first of these shrubs to bloom this mid-winter is an Edgeworthia chrysantha 'rubra', an even more unusual strain of an Asian shrub where even the more common species is rare enough.

I first saw Edgeworthia on mid February day, not unlike today, where temperatures rose above freezeing. I was spending a Sunday walking in Tokyo when I was struck by an oddly blooming shrub, with branches all bare and woody, but with small arching branches with tubular waxy fragrant blossoms the color of heirloom chicken eggs, golden yellow and white. I was dumbstruck, for I had never seen this plant before.

Fast forward 8 years to today, in my Massachusetts green house, as I strolled around in the early morning sunlight picking some Camellia's for my fathers 97th birthday party here at the home. I turned the corner, and there was my shrubby Edgwothia growing in a large clay tub, and the dormant buds that look like coins on fuzzy pipe cleaners, tiny buds the colors of Clementine oranges, were beginning to open. 
These two images are shared by a reader, Mike Huben, taken at the Planting Fields Arboretum on Long Island, NY.  If you check the link under my comments section to another readers Flickr page, you can see how confusing the nomenclature is between the two species.  Either way, both species are fine additions to any Zone 7 garden. Edgeworthia are magical while in bloom.

This rarely seen shrub (which is too tender to survive in our New England climate) is kept under glass from December until April, so I choose to grow in in a large tub. In this way, I can bring it into the glass house for the winter after the frost nips the foliage and it drops off. Edgworthia papyrifera has a fascinating history in Asia, where it is still highly treasured in the mountains for China for use in the making of fine papers. As a garden plant in warmer zones like Zone 8-10, it is known as an early-blooming plant that shows it's daphne-like blooms in late February and early March. Under the protection of glass, it will bloom earlier.

This is the first year that I am growing Edgeworthia in a container, after seeing one at the New England Flower show two years ago being grown in a large terra cotta pot, and after seeing a lovely specimen in Tokyo's Ueno Park, where it was blooming in the snow planted in the ground,I knew that I had to get one.. Both of these specimens that I has seen, where the more conventional white forms of Edgeworthia papyrifera. Apparently, there is still some disagreement between taxonomists on whether the species grown in cultivations are E. papyrifera or E. chrysantha, ( one reader makes the argument that the species I have is actually E. papyrifera 'Akebono' because it's branches are so thin and because the peduncles are long rather than short ( who wants short peduncles, anyway!). (The peduncle in case you are wondering is the stem that attaches the blossoms to the branch.

It will be fun to watch these 'coins' of buds open on this species, I will share more photos as well as the entire shrub, so that you can see how the entire shrub looks. I am becoming enamored with many shrubs from warmer zones for culture in my cold greenhouse. The shrubs make winter bearable, for instance, today, with the sunshine today, and the warm moist air under glass, if felt better than any spa treatment.

April 12, 2009

First Annual Muddy Boot Awards. The Top Ten Must-Have Plants

1.PARDANCANDA ‘Heart of Darkness’ or ‘Bountiful Blush

A plant that has been on my wish list for two years now is these extraordinary Pardancanda varieties available from Joe Pye Weed Gardens in Carlisle, Massachusetts. These particular varieties are extraordinary and only available from Joe Pye Weed for now, since they received them from another local Nurseryman, Daryl Probst (of Epimedium fame), who is shifting his focus from Epimediums to breeding programs of other ignored genera.On my last visit to his Nursery, he showed me amazing Asters and Lobelia. Joe Pie Weed owners Jan Sacks and Marty Schaefer are friends with Daryl, and have introduced these amazing Pardancanda’s which are not only hardy to Zone 5, but that form plants that can create clouds of over 300 flowers. Go to their website and check them out.Some interesting notes on Pardancandas, they now have been reclassified as Iris. According to the Joe Pye Weed website, “The changes we have been expecting in the taxonomy of Pardancandas have been made – they are now 100% irises! The new
name is Iris x norrisii. These are hybrids between Iris dichotoma (formerly
Pardanthopsis dichotoma or The Vesper Iris) and Iris domestica(formerly
Belamcanda chinensis or The Blackberry Lily)”. As for culture, they say: “These plants are quite different in appearance from most irises. Nevertheless, they have rhizomes and leaf fans and flowers in three parts. They like lots of sun, resent wet soil, and need regular dividing. They are drought tolerant and do not mind the extreme heat of the south.
Their growing needs are very similar to bearded irises. “ The flowers are small, open for only one day, and they are produced in profusion. The tall strong stalks can have as many as 45 spathes (bud placements), with 6 to 10 buds in each of these. Many of these hybrids can display over 300 flowers at once.


A HORSETAIL? Oh yeah, baby. Thanks to botanist Chad Husby of Florida International University, and his discovery in Chile, and the well known Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina, we all can have this beast in our garden. Go Jurassic Park! This might be best as a container plant for me, but come on…..how can any gardener resist a ten-foot tall giant horsetail? Well, thanks to Chad, Plant Delights Nursery (perhaps my favorite nursery for plant quality, size and service), are able to offer the true giant Equisetum giganteum for the first time.

Photo courtesy of Chad Husby ©2009
Chad Husby with a colony of Equisetum giganteum
(valley of the Río Lluta, northern Chile, January 2006)

According to them “This collection of the rare fern relative hails from El Tabacal in Argentina's northern province of Salta, where it forms large stands of 10'+ tall prehistoric-looking stalks. Imagine a giant green stake being plugged into an electrical outlet and you get the idea. Equisetum giganteum runs...no, it gallops, so do not plant it in the ground in warm climates. In containers, seal the drainage holes if escaping into the ground is possible. E. giganteum is superb in a large container or submerged in a solid bottom ornamental pond. Of several accessions trialed, this is the only one that survived 15 degrees F in the ground”Plant Delights is currently sold out, but reportedly will have more plants available soon. (I ordered mine in January, and it arrived this week (I had to keep it as secret as I could!).


I’ve wanted an Edgeworthia for years now, ever since seeing one in full bloom in Tokyo during a February trip there. This Zone 8 Shrub would need to be a potted cold greenhouse shrub for me, but that’s OK. White forms of E. papyrifera can be found at a couple of nurseries on line, but this cultivar is even rarer, because it is a rarer red form. It is currently sold out (as many of these must-have plants are), but if they were easy to obtain, they wouldn’t be very ‘must-have’, now, would they?
Very limited, this plant is always in demand but is so tricky to propagate, so very few nurseries will make the effort. The red (tomato soup) flowers appear in clusters just like the yellow flowering E. papyrifera in early spring. Gossler Farms have found E. p. 'Red Dragon' is more tender than E. papyrifera. They grow their 4'x4' plant in morning sun in a protected place next to their house. They are only offering one per customer.
1 gal. is $45.00

4.TREE PEOPNY ‘Baron Thyssen Bornemisza’

Tree Peony’s are desirable enough, and anyone perusing the Klehm's Song Sparrow Nursery site will undoubtedly not leave without ordering at least one. But at $225.00, this gem might be a little costly, although it has another jewel cross from the species form P. rockii, ‘Joseph Rock’, and bit more affordable at $140., they are still both on my wish list. But when I see these show up in slide presentations by some of the worlds’ most noteworthy horticulturists, as their favorite plants ( like those by John Lonsdale), then I know I too must have one, for these guys know. I’ve seed ‘Joseph Rock’, in October, and not in bloom, and I still wanted it, it virtually jumped out visually from the garden. All tree peony’s are nice, and any choice tree Peonies would cost one at least $75.00 US, but there is a good reason – they are extraordinary, and very few nurseries grow them, especially the best ones.
Tree Peony 'JOSEPH ROCK',a 'steal' at $140.00..but a peony 6 feet tall and 6 feet high? What would your neighbors say?In recent years, various species have been introduced, and most are very good, but particularly the Chinese species, Paeonia suffruticossa subsp. rockii, ( or just P. rockii), named after famed plant explorer Sir Joseph Rock who first collected the plant although some say it was discovered in 1910 by Reginald Farrer, this introduction is even more extraordinary than the pure species form, which alone, can reach an amazing size of 7 feet tall and 7 feet wide in the UK. Today, there are many seed grown sources for the true species or P. rockii, but these newer crosses are even better, for these two have P. rockii in their blood, but are perhaps the two most ‘must-have’ plants on any of the worlds top ten horticulturists list. They just don’t tell you. Other Tree Peony's that are extraordinary are available at Klehm's. Buy one a year and build a collection. I should start one, I know....but only when I win the lottery!


At $50.00 for one lily bulb, you may think I am crazy. but this is one of a handful of rare martagon lilies currently available for fall shipping from the Lily Nook. Martagons are a specie lily one rarely sees anymore, except in Europe. It's foliage is one of the plants best attributes, with lovely whorls that are like parasols, along the stem. I am a sucker for any lily that has a pendant flower, and even more of a sucker for any L. martagon cultivar beyond the more common but still hard to find old classic, Mrs. R.O. Backhouse. An martagon is nice, and the get better with age if sited well. This beauty is something that I really want, since I have never seen it offered before.


One can certainly start one of these by themselves, but there are some benefits in getting one pretrained. I’ve been wanting a tree wisteria for years now, in fact, ever since I worked as a gardener at a local small private estate while in high school in the 1970’s. I had forgotten about the Stoddards 4 established 'tree Wisterias, that bloomed every May witht heir long, white, orange blosom scented panicles descending to the ground like a waterfall. The four massive plants required a few minutes of training with secateurs all summer, as we trimmed back the runners and long vines that make Wisteria both lovely and despised by many. Still, a mature 'tree wisteria' is an amazing site, and the plant makes a nice statement even when not in bloom, and surprisingly interesting with its muscular, angular branches in the winter.Not actually a tree, these are vines trained into a standard, and the only reason I recommend White Flower Farm is that I have seen these plants there, and they are well trained, often in bud (which is always an issue) and most of the work is done for you. Besides, you are assured that you are getting a truly floriferous variety. Branches, bark, Buds, flowers, form, sillohette, a pre-trained Wisteria in either blue or white from White Flower Farm makes a strong statement as a stand-alone specimen shrub, or added to a border.I have not decided yet if I will plant mine in a large tub, (as they do at WWF) or in the ground near my new fence. If I could afford two, then this would be easy, but again, at $150. Per plant, this is a bit of an investment. I do remember a few years ago visiting White Flower Farm on their opening day in April, during a freak snow storm, and they had just pulled out of their greenhouse, an impressive trained tree wisteria in tight bud, growing in a four foot wide terra rosa pot (tub). I wanted it so bad; it has remained in my mind for at least 20 years now. (I’m SO old!). (Well, I was only 12 at the time!) ( RIGHT!). OK……I turned 50 this year, and I am treating my self to a trained Tree Wisteria, damn it!

from Joe Pye Weed Garden

There are many iris species and varieties, and I would imagine that most of you think of the giant, floppy German Bearded Iris when you think of Iris. Siberian Iris are more growable, in fact, they are rather indestructible, but not only are they hard to find, which I could never figure out, the few varieties that are available are virtually ancient, and rather unimpressively purple or blue.These are the iris that are always shared at plant exchanges, (the really old varieties or species), but a few of those gardeners ‘in the know’ know that there are other options.I will change your life. Order any of the extraordinary Siberian’s from Joe Pye Weed, and you will not only have cars stopping, you will be able to share divisions with your friends,(if you want to!). Jan and Marty first started their garden after taking over a Siberian iris breeders home garden, so these are not only plants with provenance, they are some of, if not, the best varieties available, and the only source since they are so small.With colors that range from peach, to beige ( my favs), violets, pinks, yellows, it is so hard to recommend any one. I prefer tall ones, taller than 40 inches like Tall Dark and Handsome, or brown ones like So Van Gogh and Humors of Whiskey. But how can one decide? Crème Caramel, Hot Sketch, Mister Peacock and June to Remember…all are arriving in my garden this year, and these plants, unlike the more fussy German Bearded Iris, will most likely out live me. My Dad is 96, and his fathers Siberians are still growing here!

Ilex serrata 'Hatsuyuki'

I’m a sucker for yellow-berried Holly’s but white berried cultivars are only better, much better. Thanks to Barry Yingers incredible nursery, Asiatica Nursery, now we all can have one. I could have completed this entire top ten list from the Asiatica catalog, but in an effort to be more diverse, I have resisted.
Ilex serrata is the Asian counterpart of our native Ilex verticillata, a deciduous shrubby holly grown for its beautiful fruit in autumn. This variety is the only white-fruited deciduous holly. The Asian species is more finely textured, with smaller berries, and generally not as big as our native species, growing to about 4 to 5 feet tall and wide. This old and rare Japanese variety has small but abundant creamy white fruit that are about 3/16 inch in diameter. It likes rich well-drained soil in sun or light shade, not too dry. These are 15"+ tall plants. USDA Zones 5 to 8.

Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate'

Asiatica has done it again, with this amazing chocolate colored Mimosa tree. Barry says, “This patented Japanese selection was made by Dr. Masato Yokoi. I saw the original plant in his garden years ago, and received a plant from the first round of propagation. Its lacy purple foliage is unique among hardy trees and shrubs. It grows very quickly to make a small tree with a broad crown, or it can be cut back in the spring to make a bushy multi-stemmed color accent in the perennial border.” It has thrived in USDA Zone 6. It prefers a sunny location and is very tolerant of poor, dry soil. In full sun the leaves will be deep purple, contrasting with the pink and white flowers.


I’ve been searching for the Agapanthus species, A inapertus for a long time. This species has pendant flowers that hang straight down. I’ve tried growing some from wild collected seed, but no luck. Apparently someone has made a selection and has micro propagated it since a handful of nurseries are carrying it this year. This named form is one of the best, and I am encouraged by the fact that it is shipped in a 2-gallon container, since other suppliers have this selection either in 1-quart pots, or bareroot.This selection of A. inapertus has deep blue pendulous flowers in midsummer. This plant was named and introduced by the Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden in South Africa. We don't know the hardiness yet but this plant would make an excellent container plant or plant for the milder garden.
1 gal. $14.00 from Gossler Farms. If you have never ordered from Gossler, you must….if only to see the packing crate. With full sized root balls, slings of rope that hold plants in place and an impressive grid of wood stakes to keep the boxes from collapsing. No one ships better plants in a better method than Gossler.

March 27, 2017

The Philadelphia Flower Show - Part 2: Horticulture

Dendrobiums can be so impressive when allowed to grow to a large size, this Dendrobium delicatum (or perhaps Dendrobium x Delicatum) raised by talented gifted grower David Fischer is just another one of the massive Australian species of dendrobium (which I love, ever since mastering the culture of D. speciosum). This is presumed to be a natural cross between D. tarberi and the common D. kingianum and one can see the resemblence.

While the landscape and design installations at the Philadelphia Flower Show provided theater for the crowds of people coming to see bold bedding schemes and mass-effect displays of spring bulbs, where the show really delivered for me was in the category of horticulture - in particular, the amateur horticulture (which seems like a silly term when on thinks about the many excellent specimens grown by knowledgeable enthusiasts and horticulturists at this show), but this show has a history of attracting some of the finest growers in the North East and Mid Atlantic who bring their most choice orchids, alpine and cacti to name a few, to display and to win ribbons and awards.

As if a designer went crazy, this almost unbelievable plant is an orchid - Oberonia setigera raised and entered by Christopher Satch, of the Rutgers Alumni Growers & Exhibitors.


Good flower shows are ideal places for seeing rare or unusual plants, and I can't help myself when I see a plant that is new to me. A few years ago while visiting the Tokyo Dome to see the World Orchid Congress exhibition, I left with a short list of orchids that I had to track down ( and, I few I did such as the massive Dendrobium speciosum which is in bud in my greenhouse right now - and could grow as large as my greenhouse!), but the Dendrobium x delicatum (seen above) is now tops on my must-get list. It's always a danger adding to ones must-get list when visiting a good flower show!

So, beginning with orchids here, I began building said wish list - because the horticulture at the Philadelphia Flower Show is so fine.

Cattlianthe 'Trick or Treat' 'Ty's Rutgers Triumph' CCE/AOS shows how crazy some orchid names can be as modern intergeneric crosses are names with variety names and awards.To simplify or translate this name a bit, Cattlianthe is a name known as a nothogenus( an inter-generic hybrid made from two distinct genus, in this case the genus Cattleya and the genus Guarianthe). Sometime, way back in this orchids history, the two genus were crossed to create Cattlianthe. 'OK, orchid 'Trick or Treat' may be a better name!

Barbara Inglessis a member of the South Jersey Orchid Society entered this beautifully specimen of Maxillaria sanguinea.

A rare and challenging to grow and force alpine, Dionysia aretioides captured plant geeks' hearts. Each  raised and entered by John F. Ray, a member of the North American Rock Garden Society.


I had heard about some of the alpine displays at the Philadelphia Flower Show, but I never expected to see what lay before me here - dionxysia's ( not the extremely challenging ones seen in the great UK shows, but any dionysia in North America is worthy enough to make headlines in any horticultural journal, surely something most show attendees here probably missed, but these little pots and troughs in the alpine classes impressed me greatly. There are some very talented alpine growers in the Philadelphia area!

I was thrilled to see that the local chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS) not only had a beautiful display garden, but also one which one many top awards including the Gold Medal of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society as well as the prestigious Gold Medal of the Philadelphia Horticultural Society.

The NARGS garden  was designed and built by the Delaware Valley Chapter of NARGS, their inspiration and theme was DUTCH ALLOTMENT GARDEN, and it included some lovely troughs, a small vegetable plot, flowering bulbs and a tiny homemade greenhouse often found in small European allotments. It was very popular with show visitors.

The alpine plants in the NARGS Delaware Valley Chapter was superbly grown unusual and challenging species.
Congratulation to everyone from the NARGS Delaware Valley Chapter for their huge and prestigious win at this premiere flower show!

I am guessing that some of the growers of these alpine troughs with alpine plants in the amateur category were also members of the Delaware Valley NARGS chapter - I mean, how great are these? Troughs entered by both Clifton Webb and John F. Ray took top ribbons.

This trough by John F. Ray took a few top ribbons, but most impressive were the number of entries in this category. Rock gardening is experiencing a reprise, I think.

Mr. Ray labeled each plant ( a requirement) but a map helps the viewer!

Another well planted trough with authentic and well grown alpine plants entered by John F. Ray.

The striking blossoms of Edgeworthia chrysantha on a well-branched specimen. For some reason, I can never smell the scent on these yet everyone else can. Noses can be like that sometimes!


Edgeworthia chrysantha may be fine shrub for warmer zones, but it also is growable in containers in colder, northern gardens. My plant is just beginning to bloom in the greenhouse, yet spends the summer outdoors.

Exhibitors' collections of Hoya selections and varieties show how one should grow Hoya on ring forms, and demonstrates  what a nice collection could look like. I visited Logee's greenhouses this week, but resisted. I resisted. I did. 

This inspired me to amp-up my scented geranium training skills! Come on - really? A bit of France in a pot, right? 

This pelargonium caught my attention, a rather new cultivar of the lemon scented geranium but one with very dense foliage. Entered by grower Leslie Anne Miller, the variety is a patented one often sold under the cultivar name 'Bontrosai 'or 'Lemon Sculpture' according to her label (everything at this show is properly labeled). I haven't seen this in the trade yet, but it seems to be available in the UK (it was registered in Poland).

The star of the show for many horticulturists and designers was this planting scheme by the landscape design firm TOOP, founded by Carrie Preston a New Jersey native who moved to the Netherlands.
Sometime innovative design and innovative use of horticulture combines in a magical and wonderful way. Sure, this years' show offered plenty of wow - from Sam Lemheney's fantastically designed entryway with a floating flower field illuminated with LED lights and floating above more than 30,000 fresh tulips, to  windmills, wooden shows and most ever Dutch bike found in North America, but the real star might have been this garden designed by Carrie Preston (a New Jersey native designer who decided to open her own landscape design firm in the Netherlands after spending some time there on an internship while in college. Carrie's firm  STUDIO TOOP (along with a troop of local volunteers -mostly local area plants people) created an installation entitled 'Stinze'. A breathtaking treat which shocked some attendees with its bold understatement which included a wild-inspired planting in an urban setting complete with chainlink fencing and what looked to many like a lawn or abandoned garden with a lawn which never saw a drop of Roundup. This either delighted the plantsmen, or horrified the golf enthusiast.

Carrie Preston's 'Stinze' demonstrated how a more natural inspired landscape can be both beautiful and sustainable with grasses, ground covers, self-propagating bulbs like snowdrops, narcissus, crocuses and anemone blanda. I would imagine that finding non-sterile forms might be more helpful (as ironically, most Dutch wholesaler bulb growers sell sterile, non-seeding varieties).

Later, I read that 'stinze' is a term that the Dutch use for bulbs that self-propagate over many years (kind of like our ephemerals or woodland wild flowers.).  A very smart way to establish community-like plantings, similar to what other Dutch designers are creating with perennials which is changing the way many of us design gardens. Inspired by nature, these more 'natural' plantings may look 'weedy' to those used to the neat and tidy weed-free lawns.], but these sustainable plantings are changing how many of us garden.

The color and size of these two plants stuck me - the red oxalis and the big tuberous sinningia with silvery leaves. Who needs green with colors like this? Maybe it's time to raise the bar on your houseplant selection.

Speaking of houseplants, here was a new one for me - Begonia lanceolate, an lovely specimen raised and entered by Janet Welsh of the Huntingdon Valley Garden Club.