July 6, 2010

Eucryphia glutinosa

In bloom today is rather rare, if not unusual small tree, Eucryphia glutinosa,  a Chilean tree with white, camellia-like blossoms, many of which have a fragrance (this one does not). I've started trying many of the more unusual Chilean trees and shrubs as container plants in my cold greenhouse, hoping that these Southern Hemisphere plants will bloom during the winter. But as you can see, this Eucryphia glutinosa is blooming during a heat wave, on the deck. With more plant collectors, collecting in South America, I think that we can expect many new plants introduced to horticulture, many hardy in zones 9 and up, but also, many fine container plants such as this tree, which I read about in Daniel Hinkley's,  The Explorer's Garden, and decided that I had to have it.( just as much as you should get his book! - I have a list, four pages long of new shrubs and plants to get for the cold greenhouse).

July 5, 2010

Lily, Lily, Rose, on the Fourth of July

Downfacing Asiatics are something that I cannot resist, although they are not that easy to find, at least at retail garden centers. One must order them through the mail from lily growers ( like B&D Lilies, or the Lily Nook). July is their peak season, but also, the time when the lily catalogs arrive in the mail. I noticed that this year, there are more cultivars available that are down facing, so maybe there is a turn around here.

Asiatics are divided by how thier flowers sit on the stem. There are  up facing, out facing, and down facing, or pendant ones. Down facing are look very much like wild Lilium canadense, which grows around our woodlands, so maybe that's why I am attracted to them, but even to non gardeners, the tall stems with dangling blossoms look very much like chandelier's in the garden, and are very pretty when planted in large drifts, which is what all the gardening books say, but what we even experienced gardeners rarely do. Still, a half dozen bulbs is a worthy investment.

We even picked some and arranged them with illuminated white Japanese paper lanterns for our spread at a Fourth of July Concert at Seiji Ozawa Hall in Tanglewood, in the Berkshires. Complete with blue canning jars with candles, whiteish cheese and reddish wine. The best we could do last minute for some good friends from Los Angeles who visited with us.

Good friend, Wendi Engle, on the right visiting from Los Angeles, and I indulging in a little culture after two weeks of hiking in the mountains.
OK.....maybe I was over-influenced by Sargent's painitng' Lily, Lily Rose'.

The perils of travel, Plant Loss and Recovery

I lost many plants to bad plant care, while in Switzerland for two weeks. But the container garden has been reset, and any losses are now hidden by new containers. Here, some strawberry jars are planted with drought resistant succulents, which will always survive.

When gardeners travel, finding someone  capable to care for plants, as well as pets, if often a primary concern. I 'hired' my older sister ( with the promise of a new laptop, which equaled the price of boarding the dogs) to care for both all the plants, the greenhouse and the dogs, as well as feeding the ducks, pigeons and pheasants. Apparently, the tasks were to much for her, since the dogs got loose in the neighborhood for two days, ( but home safely now), the ducks 'escaped' and some are missing, and many, many, far too many container plants are dead as a bone. 
 Even dry californian plants are dead, as is this silver foliage west coast shrub, crispy and dry.

I can only blame myself, and not her as much, since the knowledge many of us plant people hold in our heads, is often innate, or it is built from  years of experience, experience like: Take note plant caretakers - Just because it is 90 degrees outside, the 'promise of thundershowers in the evening does not mean that the plant get watered.  In the summer, even a rainy day does not mean that the potted plants are watered enough. Yes, I know, if you live in California, you know all this, and often plant things that can withstand a drought, but here in New England, we certainly are not experiencing a water shortage. We all learn from such experiences, and surely, sis has had a big lesson over the past week. But then again, so have I.