}

May 13, 2015

WILD BIRDS TOOTH VIOLETS IN MICHIGAN SAND BARRENS

Close of a a wild birds tooth violet growing in a sand barren in Michigan.
INCREDIBLE WILD POPULATION OF VIOLA PEDATA AT THE SAND BARRENS IN MICHIGAN WHILE ATTENDING THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE NORTH AMERICAN ROCK GARDEN SOCIETY

Larger image of wild birds tooth violets in Michigan

Color variations of birds toothed violets

Wild population of birds toothed violets with a NARGS member taking their photo.
NARGS member taking a photo of a wild population of birds toothed violets, Viola pedata.

An incredibly purple selection of wild birds tooth violet.
An incredibly purple selection.

May 12, 2015

THREE ROCK GARDEN TOURS AT THE NARGS ANNUAL MEETING IN ANN ARBOR

PULSATILLA BLOSSOMS TRY TO STEAL THE SHOW IN THE AMAZING  ROCK GARDEN OF JACQUES AND ANDREA URDA THOMPSON IN YPSILANTI, MICHIGAN - PART OF THE NORTH AMERICAN ROCK GARDEN SOCIETY ANNUAL MEETING GARDEN TOUR

I am still recovering from last weeks jam-packed trip out to Michigan where the North American Rock Garden Society held its annual meeting, hosted by the Great Lakes chapter. I've been to about 7 of these annual meetings and study weekends, and I can confidently say that this one succeeded spectacularly.  As the current president of NARGS, I could easily be a little opinionated, but it would be no exaggeration to say that this particular event was flawless - perfect spring weather which encouraged some of the finest alpines and woodland plants into peak bloom just in time for a couple of hundred plant geeks, and I really don't need to say that after the winter we all survived, was nothing more than a miracle in itself!


THE ROCK WORK IN JACQUES GARDEN WAS INSPIRATIONAL - SO NATURAL AND COMPLEMENTARY TO THE INTERESTING PLANT MATERIAL. A MOUNTAIN MEADOW AT LAKE-LEVEL!


Being my first trip to Michigan, I was looking forward to driving out from New England, even though the drive would take two days and take me through much of Ontario, Canada. I felt that I needed the time to get my thoughts together for the board meeting which preceded the event, and to relax a bit ( yes, sometimes, driving can relax me, although it took the rental of a big, new Dodge Ram pick-up and a few hundred miles of white Trillium grandiflorum, the grandeur of Niagra Falls and the magnificent spring woodlands and fruit orchards of the Great Lakes region. I should mention that this event coincided with the spring migration of warblers and songbirds - the East Coast deciduous forest was alive and singing in so many ways - why would I ever want to fly in a cramped plane?



TUFA ROCK IS A LIMESTONE ROCK CHERISHED BY ROCK AND ALPINE GARDENERS, AND THIS PART OF THE COUNTRY HAS SOME OF THE FINEST PIECES AVAILABLE. WE ALL ADMIRED THIS ONE - SINCE A PIECE THE SIZE OF A LOAF OF BREAD SELLS FOR ABOUT $25. THIS BEAST WAS AWESOME!

MY GUESS IS THAT THIS CLUMP WAS OF POLYGONATUM KINGIANUM, A RARE CHINESE POLYGONATUM WHICH HAS ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND TALL, 6 FOOT STEMS OR MORE. THE YELLOW FLOWER IS THE SINGLE FORM OF ANEMONE RANUNCULOIDES.

ANEMONE RANUNCULOIDES AS A DOUBLE FORM - IF ONLY MINE GREW AS NICELY AS THIS! A SPREADING WOODLANDER, THIS DOUBLE FORM MADE IT ONTO MY EVER-GROWING WISH LIST.


WE SWOONED OVER THIS MASSIVE COLONY OF ANEMONE  X. LIPSIENSIS 'PALIDA' , A CROSS BETWEEN A. RANUNCULOIDES AND A. NEMEROSA WHICH NOW OFFICIALLY TOPS MY MUST-GET LIST OF EARLY SPRING BULBS!



I HATE TO ADMIT THAT MY TRILLIUM ID IS WEAK - BUT THIS BEAUTY(MAYBE TRILLIUM CHLOROPETALUM - BUT PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CORRECT ME) INSPIRED ME TO BUY MANY SPECIES WHILE VISITING LOCAL NURSERIES IN THE AREA. ONE CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY TRILLIUM.



JANET LEARNS HOW TO SPLIT ROCK AND MAKE A STONE TROUGH AT A WORKSHOP THAT JACQUES HELD FOR NARGS MEMBERS.
JACQUES BEDS FROM A DISTANCE COMBINE TREES, DWARF SHRUBS, WOODLANDERS, PERENNIALS AND ALPINES ALONG WITH GRAVEL MULCH - THIS IS ONE LOOK I AM GOING TO COPY.


I NEVER CAPTURED THE NAME OF THIS BEARDED IRIS, BUT WHO CARES, IT'S JUST AS NICE WITHOUT  LABEL.

I NEVER IDENTIFIED THIS ARIL IRIS IN THE GARDEN OF DON AND MARY LAFOND, BUT MY GUESS IS THAT IT MIGHT BE IRIS ARILBRED 'OYEZ'. WHO CARES, IT'S GORGEOUS.


IRIS ARE NOTORIUS FOR BEING SHY WHEN A GARDEN TOUR IS SCHEDULED A YEAR IN ADVANCE, BUT THIS PAST WEEKEND PROVED THAT TIMING SOMETIMES ACTUALLY PLAYS OUT. THE MANY IRIS WE SAW WERE IN PEAK BLOOM.

THIS TINY IRIS WAS INDEED, TINY.  NAME ANYONE??? I KNOW I PUT IT IN MY IPHONE, BUT NOW I CANNOT FIND IT.

ALLIUM VICTORIALIS VAR. PLATYPHYLLUM, THE VICTORY ONION MADE IT INTO MANY OF OUR NOTEBOOKS AS ONE PLANT TO TRACK DOWN FOR OUR OWN GARDENS. IT WAS GROWING IN THE GARDEN OF BEV AND BOB WALTERS.
THE WALTERS'GARDEN FEATURED BOTH WATER AND THIS INCREDIBLE CREVICE GARDEN.

THE CURRENT TREND OF CREVICE GARDENING WENT TO AN ENTIRELY NEW LEVEL WIT THIS ONE IN THE GARDEN OF TONY AND SUSAN REZNICEK. NOT THAT ANY OF US EXPECTED ANYTHING LESS FROM TONY REZNICEK ( HE IS ALSO THE CURATOR AND ASST. DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN HERBARIUM.



GUEST SPEAKER, NURSERYMAN GER VAN DEN BEUKEN FROM THE NETHERLANDS, TAKES A PORTRAIT OF A SPECIES TULIP IN TONY REZNECEK'S GARDEN.


SUPERB TRILLIUMS WERE EVERYWHERE, IN ALL FO THE GARDENS.

TRILLIUM SPECIES WERE IN FULL FORCE - FAR TOO MANY TO NAME

I NEED TO TRACK DOWN THIS TRILLIUM SPECIES, UNDERSTATED YET A NICE CLUMPER.

FRITILLARIA PALLIDIFLORA - IN DON LAFOND'S GARDEN - NOW YOU KNOW WHY FOLKS ORDER THIS ONE EARLY, AS IT ALWAYS SELLS OUT IN THE SPRING DUTCH BULB CATALOGS.


THIS METAL TROUGH IN DON LAFOND'S GARDEN DEMONSTRATES HOW GREAT DESIGN AND CREATIVITY CAN BE USED TO CREATE AUTHENTIC LOOKING TROUGHS EVEN WITHOUT HYPERTUFA. DON'S ENTIRE GARDEN REMINDED ME OF DISNEY IMAGINEERING PROJECTS - PERFECTLY CURATED AND CLEVER.

MY FAVORITE PLANT OF ALL? THIS SUPER RARE JAPANESE WOODLAND PLANT PTERIDOPHYLLUM RACEMOSUM SEEMS TO COMBINE THE LOOK OF A SMALL FERN WITH A CARDAMINE, BUT IT IS ACTUALLY IN THE POPPY FAMILY. THIS SPECIMEN IN TONY REZNECEK'S GARDEN IS 8 YEARS OLD.






May 4, 2015

CROWDS SWARM TOWER HILL BOTANIC GARDEN FOR THE AMERICAN PRIMROSE SOCIETY AND THE DAFFODIL SOCIETY SHOWS

'MOON GLOW' X 'TWIGGY' IS THE AWARD WINNING CROSS BY JUDITH SELLERS FROM NEW YORK STATE REALLY, CAN ANY PRIMROSE COMPETE WITH THIS BEAUTY? GASP- DOVE GREY AURICULA IS SUBLIME.

Ever so briefly, as I am so tired - which isn't good, because I have a long week and weekend ahead of with the National meeting of the North American Rock Garden Society which I leave for tomorrow in Michigan, but I wanted to share some pics from this past weekend which was stupendous - both weather-wise and plant-wise. Spring has finally arrived, with temperatures reaching into the 70's all weekend, perfect for our big party that kicked off the National Primrose Society show held in conjunction with the Seven States Daffodil Society show both held at Tower Hill Botanic Garden this weekend.

I won't bore you with too many details, as this is an annual event which I write about on this blog, but this year was so fine, with so many auricle primroses entered ( the fancy ones with farina white rings on them and so rarely seen here in America) and the daffodil show which had more entries than they've seen in many years, both shows were a success.


My friend John Lonsdale spoke on Saturday. I think I last saw him a few years back in Portland at a NARGS winter study weekend when we escaped to have some tacos.  I usually stop in to see him when we are near his home in PA which happens to be very near where we take the dogs for the national terrier show, which allows me me to stock up on some of his many cyclamen species - (I think he grows them all). Johns plants are extraordinary, as he is meticulous in keeping his greenhouse clean and disease free, as as a grower, his plants are strong and health, and his selection is unparraelled.  One of the only sources in the US that I know for for many of the Cyclamen species on his list.  I was able to stock up on my favorite species - Cyclamen graces ssp. anatolicum and C. graces. ssp. candicum ( Sorry, I kind-of bought all of them!).

A FEW OF THE CYCLAMEN SEEDLINGS PURCHASED FROM JOHN LONSDALE, AN EXPERT GROWER AND COLLECTOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA. CYCLAMEN LEAVE ARE SO VARIABLE, MOST OF THESE ARE HARDY FORMS, BUT A FEW ARE NOT, PARTICULARLY THE ONES AT THE TOP OF THIS IMAGE - CYCLAMEN GRAECUM SSP. CANDICUM, A TYPE WHERE THE BOTH THE FOLIAGE AND THE FLOWERS REMAINS SHORT IN CONTAINERS.


THIS PRIMULA ELATIOR WAS ONE I WANTED TO GET A PIECE OF - I WILL HAVE TO BEG AMY OLMSTED FROM VERMONT FOR A PIECE!


Then, Nurseryman Harvey Wrightman stayed with us s a house guest this past weekend. We always enjoy having Harvey and sometimes his wife Irene visits with us whenever they can. This time, Irene had to stay back in New Brunswick, Canada to help get plants ready for Harvey's trip out to the NARGS meeting in Ann Arbor, MI later this week. I'm triving there too, of course, but I don't envy his drive back up to Canada, and then back out the Michigan. I was thrilled to also have our dear friends from Toronto, Bella and Barbara visit. They came down to see the two shows, and to visit with us and Ellen Hornig, the former owner of the no closed nursery Seneca Hill.  Today (on Sunday), we had Bella and Barbara back over to the house so that they could spend a few hours with us as I just HAD to see some of their incredible photos from their 5 weeks exploring and botanizing in Patagonia this past winter. I think they were not-so-subtly trying to convince me to go too.∫


THERE WERE MORE AURICULA PRIMROSES AT THIS YEARS NATIONAL PRIMROSE SHOW THAN I HAVE EVER SEEN. AND THE CROWDS WERE HUGE AT TOWER HILL BOTANIC GARDEN, MAKING THE WEEKEND A SUCCESS FOR ALL ATTENDEES.



PALE YELLOW AURICULA'S ALWAYS CAPTURE MY ATTENTION

OUR TROUGHS AMAZE ME, EVEN AFTER A WINTER SUCH AS THE ONE WE HAD THIS PAST YEAR, EVEN THOUGH THE SNOW JUST MELTED, THIS ALPINE PRIMULA MARGINATA BLOOMED ON SCHEDULE.

THE PRIMULA DENTICULATA IN THE BACK GARDEN LOOKED PERFECT FOR OUR GARDEN PARTY AND TOUR ON FRIDAY NIGHT.

SOME OF MY PRIMULA DENTICULATA FROM THE HIMALAYAS - I DECIDED TO NOT DIG ANY FOR THE SHOW THIS YEAR, THEY JUST LOOKED SO NICE IN THE GARDEN. THIS DRUMSTICK PRIMROSE IS ONE OF MY FAV'S

ON THE BENCH, THERE WERE PLENTY OF P. DENTICULATA, SO I DIDN'T FEEL BAD NOT DIGGING ANY UP.

EVEN THE JULIAE PRIMROSES, A CREEPING, SPREADING VARIETY WERE BOUNTIFUL AT THIS SHOW. I WISH I COULD GROW THESE A NICE AS THIS!


WHEN YOU SEE DAFFODILS ARRANGED LIKE THIS, IT"S EASY TO PICK OUT ONES FAVORITES. I MADE A LONG LOST OF MUST-GET VARIETIES.

THE PINK ONES WHERE EXTRA SPECIAL

I LOST THE NAME OF THIS ONE ON THE LEFT, WITH A SPLIT CORONA. ANY IDEAS WHICH ONE IT IS?

I AM A SUCKER FOR DEEP ORANGE OR DARK GOLDEN FORMS. THIS ONE WAS NAMED 'LIGHTNING FIRE'

THE BLOSSOMS ON THIS ONE WERE HUGE, AND IT'S NAME MADE IT MORE COMPELLING ' SPIDER WOMAN'

GREEN DAFFODILS ARE SO NICE AND RARE, BUT THIS ONE WAS CRAZY!' RIP VAN WINKLE' USED TO BE CLASSIFIED AS A MINIATURE, BUT NOT LONGER.

SOMETIMES, CATALOGS ENHANCE THE COLOR OF SOME FLOWERS, BUT THIS ONE IS REALLY AS GREEN AS THIS - MEET 'MESA VERDE'.
A COLLECTION OF MINIATURE DAFFODILS EXHIBITED BY A NANTUCKET GROWER