10 May 2015

A Trillium Shows His Stripes!





Too Good To Be True.....


We've been waking to temps that are more akin to late June or even July as opposed to 10 May, and while I seem to be the only one complaining, [the photos in this post were snapped before I walked inside after work tonight] one has to wonder how much longer this can hold! I for one would like a week of cooler temperatures [low teens] and light rain. Of course my most beloved Glaucidium palmatum would likely side with those who think this the ultimate growing weather! He is smothered with sublime satiny mauve flowers this year! [I counted ten flowers, including a trio obscured by his magnificent foliage!] I think I might have to splurge for the white flowering species when I find time for my first visit of the season to Lost Horizons.



Polygonatum x hybridum 'Betberg' continues to bedazzle all who stumble across him! My garden friend Anna confided that her only complaint was that she wished he maintained his magnificent smoky purple bruised foliage throughout the growing season, as opposed to the two or three weeks, before eventually reverting to the more common garden green. His opulent, slightly pleated foliage does rank a close second for me!






I have counted close to two dozen thick, stocky stems this year, and there seems to be more with each passing day.  It is one that I am always asked if he is large enough to divide, but thus far I have been Mr. Greedy-pants. I was reading where Le Jardin de Balmoral, where the parent of this division originally came from, is now having to bring him in from the UK, he is so popular amongst connoisseur/collectors. 



Another of my favourite Spring blooming perennials is Lathyrus vernus. Most gardeners are familiar with its climbing cousin, affectionately called 'Sweet Pea' - but I prefer this one, which is much shrubbier and clamours through a neighboring Clematis. I want to say this one is called 'Regenbogen' but could be mistaken. 



Up until this morning I was worried that my precocious Syneilesis aconitifolia had not over-wintered, but upon closer examination this morning on the way to work, I squealed with delight to see the tiny, hairy umbrella shaped aliens peeking up around the stems of 'Betberg!' Somehow their placement bespeaks the fact that rare and unusual seem to gravitate to one another. They are forecasting possible thunder storms for tonight, but this past week has only seem a brief shower earlier today, and the fact is that we are in desperate need of some rain!



And here is the first of my Asian Arisaema species - this one is Arisaema thunbergii var. 'Urashima' which is also known as the 'dominatrix!' I will wait until he blooms when the name will be rather self explanatory! In the interim, what is your thought on the weather?

4 May 2015

The Transformative Magic of Nature


I'm following my heart this morning - I should have walked down to post my taxes and Mother's Day card, but the children distracted me! This past week I've been trying to decide whether the unseasonably warm weather we've been given [ I refrain from the word blessed, as I am not one for going from 10C to 25C overnight!] is a sign of things to come. Speaking of things to come, most all of my beloved 'children' have emerged from their winter's sleep and are now cavorting in the warmth and Spring sustenance. [albeit a fresh layer of compost and three much needed irrigations] I love playing the 'Guess Who I Am' game with myself, and have, over the years become somewhat of a pro at it. Any guesses as to what the photo above will look like in a month's time? A clue: His name rolls off of your tongue just like buttah!



Oh yes! He is none other that Glaucidium palmatum, he of the fantabulous, luxurious palmate foliage and silken mauve poppy like flowers. Hard to believe he's more closely aligned with the genus Paeoniacea than Papaver.



This next photo is a bit trickier. Ignore if you will [or can for that matter] the pristine white flowers and the somewhat fern like foliage in the background, and focus instead on the caramel/copper foliage in the foreground. This guy is said to be one of the best pictures I have ever snapped! [so sayeth my readers] He comes in two colours, one of which firmly places him in the echelons of being a 'Holy Grail' selection for the connoisseur collector types..... yeah, someone just like me!



He is indeed Deinanthe caerulea, he of the fabulous mauve stained petals, and ring of violet/silver stamens that leave most visitor's tongues wagging and the unavoidable questions fill the air: What is that? Where did you buy it? Can I have a division of it?



This one might trick some of you! I have another plant that looks very similar to this little guy. but whilst the other one will be massive by the end of the season, this wee guy is taking his sweet sweet time to provide me with what will one day look like this.... [photo courtesy of Lost Horizons]



Podophyllum plieanthum is a Chinese Mayapple who reaches near mammoth proportions every year! This one in the display gardens of Lost Horizons stops people dead in their tracks every year! Of course, my wee guy will have to be relocated when he decides to reward me with growth anywhere near this! In the meantime, he still makes me smile like a foolish Father every Spring!



Another teaser for you! Its worth remembering that I despise Hemerocallis, so you can strike that guess off the books, and while it quite easily could be mis-identified as belonging to that genus of all things shady and slug appealing [which it too sadly is!] - it is not! This is definitely a Holy Grail selection for me, having been brought back from the wilds of China by plantsman Daniel Hinkley! [not this precise plant]



Disporum uniflorum [DJH970431] is very similar in growth and flower to the genus Uvularia, only this one looks to be on steroids! The sumptuous pleated foliage, and whipped canary yellow flowers make it a true hortgasm inducing selection. He is bulking up quite nicely, so one day soon a few select garden friends might well be able to add him to their garden repertoire!





The jury is still out on these next two photos, the top of which was taken this morning, the one directly above, a week ago. If it is as the label would lead me to believe, and based on the fact that sometimes things are not as they seem, it has a name that is a true tongue twister! If not, it is at least an Asian species of a garden plant that I grow only two very specific varieties.



Paeonia mlokosewitschii, tongue twisting capabilities and all, is typically yellow in colour, but after much research, there are an equal number of pinkish yellow to cream coloured crosses out there to muddy the clearest stream. Whatever the outcome, I love the velvety textured new growth each Spring, and I am all about single flowers - those of only one ring of petals. Other guesses would include Paeonia obovata or anomala.



Another one that is difficult to photograph in the Spring, what with so many of last years dried stems present. This is one of my latest obsessions, from a solitary genus perspective. I think I have close to twenty species and varieties to date. Their foliage is sometimes more interesting than their flowers. Nicknames include fairy wings and Bishop's Caps......





Right you are! My ever growing family of Epimedium are arguably one of my favourite Spring bloomers. With a variety of colours and flower shapes, to their often mottled/bruised newly emerging foliage, as well as their proven propensity to adapt most favourably to dry shade, what is their not to love about these demure beauties?



And we will close with two more selections, beginning with this wee guy! He is without a doubt the one flower that I look forward to every August. He forms tight buds on long wiry, ebony stems in early July, and then holds me his willing captive until he reveals his prized flowers close to a month later. Yes, another Holy Grail selection that originates in the mountainous regions of Honshu, Japan......



Indeed he is none other than Anemonopsis macrophylla. I had a blog reader stop in at the nursery this Spring, hopeful that I would have a few divisions of this stunner for sale, but I have not had the heart [no hearts desire for that matter!] to part with even the smallest piece of a plant that brings me absolute joy every year!

And lastly, but certainly not least! His smoky purple, erect, upright stems slowly unfurl to reveal his true beauty. Originating in Germany, traversing to a nursery near Elmstead Market in the UK, [the famed Beth Chatto Gardens] and from there to a delightful nursery owned by one Phillippe Levesque, whereupon a wonderful gardening friend happened to locate and bring one back to Toronto, whereby he was more than generous to share a division with yours truly..... this is one globe trotting fella! Every and anyone who sees him in his full glory is instantly in want of one! Luckily, as with most selections in this genus, he is bulking up most expeditiously! Hopefully soon he will make an appearance on the benches of Cedar Spring Nursery!



He is indeed none other than Polygontum x hybridum 'Betberg'. I love the deeply pleated, smoky purple bruised foliage, which is the perfect foil for the two toned cream and chartreuse flowers that resemble pendulous pearls.



And now I must don rain apparel and head to the post and get the taxes on their way to wherever the hell it is that they go to! Still leery of doing it online! How grows your gardens this week!