Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘June Blooming Flowers’

I was listening to the local radio yesterday as I went about my business about town, they were interviewing a local vegetable grower who said crops are 5 to 6 weeks behind where they normally are at this time of year. I knew the season was behind although it seems to me that plants catch up at different speeds and some never really seemed to have been effected by the bad weather here this year. One plant which just rolls along without a care is Erigeron karvinskianus  Latin American Fleabane. It is rarely out of flower at any time of the year.

Erigeron karvinskianus (Latin American Fleabane) is a tiny sprawling plant perfect for containers,baskets and in rock cracks.

Erigeron karvinskianus (Latin American Fleabane) is a tiny sprawling plant perfect for containers,baskets and in rock cracks.

There are many Erigeron and most come from North America and as the common name tells you E. karvinskianus comes from more southern areas. It is found growing from Mexico south into Venezuela. In its native habitat it grows in the mountains at 1200-3500m (4000-11000  ft.) where is is evenly moist throughout the year. Spanish Daisy, Latin American Daisy, Santa Barbara Daisy or Mexican Daisy and even Bony Tip Fleabane – all are referring to the same plant.

With its tiny parts Erigeron karvinskianus does not seem out of place with other small plants here.

With its tiny parts Erigeron karvinskianus does not seem out of place with other small plants here.

Erigeron isthought to be Greek eri=early and geron= old man. Karvinskianus refers to Baron Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karvin (von Karvin Karvinski) 1780-1855. He  born in Hungary and was a naturalist with interests in Geology, Botany and particularly in the study of fossils from different periods. To this end he traveled to collect samples and the areas he went to was Brasil(1821-23) and Mexico(1827-32) . During his travels he sent back over 4000 plant specimens and several have been named after him, these include cactus, grasses and several others. He collected his sample of Erigeron karvinskianus while he was in Oaxaca Mexico.

Part of the charm of South American Fleabane lies in flowers which open white and change into pink as they age. This effect is also seen in other Erigeron species.

Part of the charm of South American Fleabane lies in flowers which open white and change into pink as they age. This effect is also seen in other Erigeron species.

 Erigeron karvinskianus is a very successful plant since it has been grown at sea level and in some areas it has become somewhat of a pest. In Australia and particularly it is not welcome (in these areas it is recommended to plant Branchyscome  multifida which is similar looking). The selection ‘Profusion’ refers to the flowers but also could well refer to its ability to reproduce quickly. In Victoria it is controlled by the climate being on the very edge of it being able to exist as a perennial here, many plant will have died this winter and new seedlings will take their place.

Here native Sedum, Cotoneasters and other mixed plants blend together in the rocks with Spanish Daisy to give a pleasing contrast in textures and color throughout the year.

Here native Sedum, Cotoneasters and other mixed plants blend together in the rocks with Spanish Daisy to give a pleasing contrast in textures and color throughout the year.

I first came to know this plant as a grower at a perennial nursery and thought that this plant might be a good container plant as it has proved to be in other areas. It has mainly been grown for this purpose as it is not hardy enough for most of Canada. Here it can be grown as a short lived perennial which reseeds to refresh with new plants. Victoria and nearby areas are the only places you will see it growing in gardens as a regular plant.

The diminutive flowers on wiry stems of Erigeron karvinskianus are long lasting as they go through their metamorphosis from pure white to deep pink.

The diminutive flowers on wiry stems of Erigeron karvinskianus are long lasting as they go through their metamorphosis from pure white to deep pink.

Erigeron karvinskianus like full sun and well drained soil which can be sandy or even having clay like it is around here. It like even moisture to slightly dry especially in colder areas as excess wetness promotes rot. These plants can be used in many ways, as fillers, accent,groundcover, massed, in large rockeries as long as its not near delicate growing or extremely small plants. They are fairly drought tolerant and attract butterflies to your garden. They are rated as zone 8 -10 c. (20-30 f.) They grow 15-20 cm high and wide.There are several named varieties, ‘Profusion’ is the best known and there is ‘Snowdrift’ which has white flowers. It is also thought that the species E. moerheimerii is just a form of karvinskianus and should be listed as E.k. ‘Moerheimii’

The Baron and the Little Flower:

Description of and cultivation for: http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.200.230

Fine Gardening has a good description: http://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/erigeron-karvinskianus-profusion-fleabane.aspx

Baron Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karvin: http://www.botanischestaatssammlung.de/DatabaseClients/BSMvplantscoll/About.html

…..Follow my trail to more interesting plant tails……..

Read Full Post »

Another grey week and another plant hunt for something special. Usually I have a list of plants in mind but right now it is hard because some of the plants I wanted to do were damaged by an unusually hard freeze which came in early November last year. At that time many of the plants were not hardened off for the winter with the damage especially seen by broad-leaved evergreens which have much browned and dead foliage now. In my wandering last week I stumbled upon two plants of the same family which are stars at this time of the year. They are the Algerian Iris (Iris unguicularis) and the Stinking or Gladwyn Iris (Iris foetidissima). They are the stars for different reasons as you will see!

 Winter or Algerian Iris (Iris unguicularis) is sometimes incorrectly labeled by its old name of Iris stylosa.

Winter or Algerian Iris (Iris unguicularis) is sometimes incorrectly labeled by its old name of Iris stylosa.


The first stop we make is with the Algerian or Winter Iris with its lovely large violet blooms. It was first described by Botanist/clergyman  Jean Louis Marie Pioret (1755-1834) in his journal ‘Voyage et Barbarie’ in 1789.  He had been sent to Algeria by Louis XVI between 1785-6 to study the flora. The lovely Iris is more widespread and found in area from Algeria and Tunisia across north Africa into Turkey, Greece Crete and Malta. In the vast area it is known to live int there is some variation in color and form.
The type of Iris unguicularis I have found in Victoria seems to be the 'Algerian' form which has the largest flowers of the species.

The type of Iris unguicularis I have found in Victoria seems to be the 'Algerian' form which has the largest flowers of the species.


Algerian Iris produce new leaves in late spring and through the summer. Often you can clip the old leave edges back when they get looking tattered. Iris unguicularis likes the sunniest, driest spot in the garden with the grittiest soil. At Government House in Victoria the plants are perfectly place in the terrace garden which is on a southern exposed rock-face.  The warmer and drier the summer the more blossoms will be produced.  One thing about these plants is they hate to be moved or have their roots disturbed in any way.
 A just opened Algerian Iris in the late afternoon sun has delicate coloring and scent.

A just opened Algerian Iris in the late afternoon sun has delicate coloring and scent.


The Gladwyn Iris is from more northern areas from southern England, Ireland through Portugal, Spain Canary Island on to Italy and finally the island of Malta.
The Gladwyn Iris (Iris foetidissma) is more famous for its brightly colored seeds which are seen during the winter months here.

The Gladwyn Iris (Iris foetidissma) is more famous for its brightly colored seeds which are seen during the winter months here.


The ‘Stinking Iris has gained an unfair reputation from its name. One has to crush the leaves and the flower to obtain even a faintly unpleasant scent. Iris foetidissima is a plant which has long been with us. It blooms in the traditional Iris time of late May and June, but, the flowers are small and often hidden in the foliage. The colors range from a creamy ochre into plummy shades.
The flowers of Iris foetidissima are often hidden in the plants foliage.

The flowers of Iris foetidissima are often hidden in the plants foliage.


The Gladwyn Iris is a plant of the woodlands, hedgerows, scrubs and cliff edges and other rocky sites. It is a plant which likes chalky and limestone  heavy locations. Gladwyn Iris can grow in the sun or dappled shade and like average soil. They like sufficient water when they are growing in the spring and then dry conditions the rest of the year.After blooming it produces larger than average seed pods which ripen through the summer and into early winter when they burst. Inside the pods are usually bright orange seeds which remain colorful throughout the winter. The other day I noticed pods recently opened and others still green and waiting to split. Just like the flowers there are other known seed colors which are sought after and they range from golden yellows to creams and white. Probably the most want of the Gladwyn Iris is Iris foetidissima ‘Variegata’ with beautifully uniform cream stripes running up the leaves.
The variegated Gladwyn Iris(Iris foetidissma 'Variegata') is most sought after, as you see it is stunning in dappled location at Glendale Garden.

The Variegated Gladwyn Iris (Iris foetidissma 'Variegata') is most sought after, as you see they are stunning in dappled location at Glendale Garden.

Algerian and Gladwyn Iris are about the same height 45-60cm.(12-18 in.) and width They also share the same temperature tolerance to 15 c. (5 f.) or zones 7 through 9. Both plants are drought tolerant when they have been established. They are rabbit and deer resistant but can be damaged by slugs and snails. They make excellent specimens, accents s, mass evergreen plantings and work well in containers. Both of these species are not easy to find in plant centres or garden shops, the best bet would be to find them at garden sales or from specialty Iris growers.

Gladwyn Iris on the upper left and Algerian Iris on the lower right.

Gladwyn Iris on the upper left and Algerian Iris on the lower right.


This Odd Couple of the Irises:

Pacific Bulb Society has interesting note on both plants on this page, look down the page to find the species you are interested in: http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/BeardlessIrises

Algerian Iris:

How to grow: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/4208463/How-to-Grow-Iris-unguicularis.html

Gladwyn Iris:

Wild in Malta: http://maltawildplants.com/IRID/Iris_foetidissima.php

……See you soon when we travel the path of plants again…..

 

Read Full Post »

I am always looking for great plants to write about and often stumble upon new finds in the most unexpected places. last year while looking for different color forms of Lilacs I came across a plant which was growing through a clump of them which would bloom soon, I decided to come back later and find out what form it was later. I knew it was a rose and it looked familiar, I had seen it somewhere before. In fact I see  it every time I go to St.Ann’s Academy because the rose in question turned out to be a very healthy ‘Felicite Perpetue’ Rose (Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’).

 Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' is a delicate looking Rambling Rose.

Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' is a delicate looking Rambling Rose.

Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ is a delicate yet vigorous Rambler which has been known since the early 19th century. Antoine A. Jacques  was the head gardener to Louis Phillipe, Duc d’ Orleans  for many years and took care of his estates which included Chateau Neuilly. Duc d’ Orleans( later the king of France) loved plants and had a vast collection for A.A. Jacques to work with. At Chateau Neuilly Jacques made some crosses of roses and named at least 3 which have gone on to become famous on their own. Those roses where  ‘Adélaïde d’Orléans’ in 1826, Rosa ‘Félicité Perpétue’ in 1827 and the less famous ‘Princesse Louise’ was introduced in 1829. Both ‘Adélaïde d’Orléans’ and the ‘Félicité Perpétue’ Rose both are easily found a rose nurseries, while the other is harder to find here at least.

tRosa ‘Félicité Perpétue’ is climbing up the veranda in the Novitiate Garden at St. Ann's Academy in Victoria.

Rosa ‘Félicité Perpétue’ is climbing up the veranda in the Novitiate Garden at St. Ann's Academy in Victoria.

There is some controversy to whether the crosses of Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ and her sisters were done on purpose or where accidentally. A.A. Jacques said at the time they were accidental. other people believe they were planned as one of the parent plants is believed to be Rosa sempervirens which native to southern Europe but not in the area where ‘Felicite Perpetue’ was found. Rosa sempervirens gave ‘Felicite Perpetue’ was it’s nearly thornless flexible stems and attractive clean foliage which is evergreen in most areas. ‘Felicite Perpetue’ is now the most widely grown semperviren hybrid grown in the world.

The foliage of the 'Felicite Perpetue' Rose is always attractive and clean looking.

The foliage of the 'Felicite Perpetue' Rose is always attractive and clean looking.

One of the reasons that Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ has been so successful is its tolerance to a wider range of soil conditions than many other Roses. Often these old Roses are found growing on old homesteads or abandoned gardens, such is the case of the one I found growing through a clump of old Lilacs. The Lilacs and Rose were definitely not part of the planned landscape found at the Institute of Ocean Sciences on Pat Bay near Sidney B.C. You will not find it easily as it is not seen from the roadside, instead you have to look carefully in the thickets of Lilacs to find it hanging down from above.

Here is Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' at the Institute of Ocean Sciences peeping through the Lilacs.

Here is Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' at the Institute of Ocean Sciences peeping through the Lilacs.

Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ grows best in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. It tolerates drought better than many roses and will bloom in more shady places. The leaves do not suffer from the dreaded black spot or mildews here, I have never seen it on any plants. The only thing that is a problem is aphids which are very common here. The stems are flexible and have few spines and have an attractive wine color which is shown of by the flower buds which are pink. This is a vigorous plant which can grow to over 6m(20ft)in height and width in choice growing places.  Here it rarely attains more than 4.5m(15ft) and is often seen hanging down from within trees or shrubs. Little pruning is needed other than the occasional shaping, remember when you are pruning that this rose sets its blooms on the previous years growth of lateral stems and you should do any major trimming soon after it blooms so you do not lose the following years flowers.

A Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’  flower has as many as 40 petals.

A Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ flower has as many as 40 petals.

As an old hybrid Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ flowers once a year and produces masses of smaller 3cm(1.5in) diameter blossoms which are produced in clusters. The dense rose-tinted buds contain as many as 40 petals which open a lightly fragrant creamy white, heat and sun exposure does effect color and deepens it. The flower petals do not fall of the flowers therefore deadheading after the blooms have finished is advised. Little pruning is needed other than the occasional shaping, remember when you are pruning that this rose sets its blooms on the previous years growth of lateral stems and you should do any major trimming soon after it blooms so you do not lose the following years flowers.

A large patch of Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' growing in the shade at St. Ann's Academy and blooms every year.

A large patch of Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' growing in the shade at St. Ann's Academy and blooms every year.

Finding ‘Felicite Perpetue’:

A little about Antoine A. Jacques, gardener and rose breeder: http://www.historicroses.org/index.php?id=40

Rosa sempervirens: http://www.rogersroses.com/gallery/DisplayBlock~bid~152~gid~15~source~gallerydefault.asp

Someone else stumble upon the rose and posted here: http://www.heritagerosefoundation.org/discus/messages/269/1924.html?1148962455

St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria B.C.: http://stannsacademy.com/HistoryResearch/Places.aspx

Where will we meet next… here I hope!

Read Full Post »

When I was growing up few herbs would grow in my chilly zone 3(-40c or f) city. One daring plant which survived quite nicely was a member of the Allium family and bloomed with mauve papery flowers. Later I saw wild Allium growing along the banks of the Fraser River near Lytton.  Here there are not only wild species of Alliums but many ornamental types growing in gardens and parks.  One group which catches everyone’s eye are the Giant (flowering) Onions.

One of many forms of Giant Onion, Allium 'Purple Sensation' shows up well against the golden foliage.

One of many forms of Giant Onion, Allium 'Purple Sensation' shows up well against the golden foliage.

There are nearly 900 species of Allium with about 150 of them coming from Turkey, and 40 from the California area.  Giant Onions are often a natural, accidental or  planned crossing of species. Some of the many species which lend their attributes such as  height, color and flower density include giganteum, hollandicum(aflatunense), cristophii, macleanii, karataviense .  Many named varieties have been selected, the process is slow and can take up to 20 years before they ready too be sold to the public.

Allium 'Globemaster' has densely packed mauve flowers on strong stems.

Allium 'Globemaster' has densely packed mauve flowers on strong stems.

The first Giant Onion which was seen in gardens was its namesake Allium giganteum which can grow up to 1.8m(6ft) tall and did really create a sensation. It has been found that such large flowers on wiry stem are susceptible to wind damage and are really too big for most gardens. From this time there have been growers busily crossing species to create shorter plants with large flowers and preferably nicer leaves. Most Giant Onions are between 45cm -1.2m(18-48in) tall.

Allium 'Globus' is only 45cm(18in) tall and was bred to be shorter than other Giant Onions.

Allium 'Globus' is only 45cm(18in) tall and was bred to be shorter than other Giant Onions.

No one can not be impressed with these stately and impressive flower displays.  Giant Onions are very versatile as plants which is why they are so often seen in public gardens. If you like butterflies and bees these are great magnets for them.  The tiny flowers actually are fragrant and I don’t mean in an oniony way.

After the flowers of Giant Onions are done, the seedheads are very attractive.

After the flowers of Giant Onions are done, the seedheads are very attractive.

We are lucky to have the opportunity to grow these wonderful plants. Giant Onions want the simple things in life, full sun, fertile soil which is well-drained and water in the spring and early summer when they are growing their most vigorously.  They offer the most impact when planted in groups. Plants these bulbs in the early fall.  They should be planted 10-15cm(4-6in) deep and should be spaced the same distance apart. They can take a fair amount of cold down to a chilly -20c(-10f) or rated as zones 6 through 10. In colder regions you can lift and store the bulbs over winter.

Allium 'Mount Everest'  looks wonderful with the green Crocosmia leaves in  the background.

Allium 'Mount Everest' looks wonderful with the green Crocosmia leaves in the background.

Giant Onions are drought tolerant, great for here where we have several months over the summer and fall with little rain. Another notable thing which is useful about them is that deer and rodents are said to not like them. These plants slowly multiply, so you can lift them after several years and divide them.

This wonderful combination of bright mauve Allium against a smoky burgundy and the wine tinged cream flowers is one that I have always liked.

This wonderful combination of bright mauve Allium against a smoky burgundy and the wine tinged cream flowers is one that I have always liked.

Giant Onion flowers are great against many types of other foliage, blue-green, burgundy, chartreuse, gray and just plain green become wonderful backgrounds and I have seen many inspiring color combinations. I am sure you can think up some stunning combinations for your garden.

On the great Allium hunt:

A good listing of species and forms are found here: http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/BigBallAlliums

Wiki has lots of interesting information on Alliums: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium

Read Full Post »

When I was working at Park & Tilford  Gardens during my practicum I worked rotations in all parts of the gardens there. Each section had different challenges and things to learn. Everyday we would have to start with the rotine things like skimming the pool for leaves or deadheading the roses, one day as I cleaned in the display garden I smelled the most wonderful perfume coming from a plant. Being curious I had to find out where the scent was coming from and to my surprise it came from a huge white rhododendron. I asked about this plant and found out it was one of the famous Loderi Rhododendrons‘, ‘Loders White’which I have not seen since that time. Here in Victoria I have discovered several more all with the same delicious scent.

Rhododendron x 'Loderi Venus' has the most sumptuous of coloring in the Loderi group.

Rhododendron x 'Loderi Venus' has the most sumptuous of coloring in the Loderi group.

‘Loderi’ Rhododendron where developed by Sir Edmund Loder (1849-1920) who bought Leonardslee Estate(St. Leonard’s forest) in 1889 from his wifes family.  Sir Edmund then started to plant the estate with a collection of plants which included everything from vegetables and fruit for household use  as well as trees and shrubs. It is here that he did his crossing of two well known species of Rhododendron to produce what we know as Loder Rhododendrons.

Rhododendron 'King George' is considered to be the best of the 'Loder' Rhododendrons.

Rhododendron 'King George' is considered to be the best of the 'Loder' Rhododendrons.

‘Loderi’ Rhododendrons were developed by crossing the pollen(male)of species griffithianum with fortunei (female). The species ‘griffithianum which is very tender contributed the extremely large flowers and often the beautiful bark, and the ‘fortunei’ added its scent, hardiness and more vigorous growth. Both of these species had already been used a great deal for hybridizing as they were some of the first to be brought to Europe.

The species 'fortunei' contributed color, fragrance, vigor and cold hardiness to Loderi Rhododendrons.

The species 'fortunei' contributed color, fragrance, vigor and cold hardiness to Loderi Rhododendrons.

From the original crosses made in 1901 a number of selections of ‘Loderi’ Rhododendrons were made and named. All of the plants are extremely large growing and obtain tree-like size.  Colors range from pure white through creamy shades into a mid pink. All have been award numerous medals in the garden world including Awards of Merit(AM), First Class Certificates(FCC) and Awards of Garden Merit(AGM) which all come from the Royal Horticultal Society(RHS).  Here in Victoria there are several places to view these plant  with the best being Finnerty Gardens. Also look in the Novitiate Garden at St. Ann’s Academy and Glendale Gardens for other forms.

The attractive 'Loderi' bark is seen here in the collection at Finnerty Gardens.

The attractive 'Loderi' bark is seen here in the collection at Finnerty Gardens.

‘Loderi’ Rhododendrons are big plants with some attaining over 10m(30ft) with time, they are also as wide. You will need a large space which is not near a building for them to grow their best. Here they can be grown in almost full sun with no damage seen, in other areas where light is stronger a woodland setting would be more appropriate. Rhododendrons likes acidic soils which are slightly damp as they have shallow roots. Mulching every year is also a good idea. Loderi Rhododendrons are rated as tolerating -15c(5f) at the extreme. Propagation is by cuttings which are slow to produce.

Every year People come to Finnerty Garden to photograph the beautiful 'Miss Josephine Firth', a massive Loderi Rhododendron.

Every year People come to Finnerty Garden to photograph the beautiful 'Miss Josephine Firth', a massive Loderi Rhododendron.

The flowers of Rhododendron 'Miss Josephine Firth' fade to almost white as they age.

The flowers of Rhododendron 'Miss Josephine Firth' fade to almost white as they age.

Notes to Look at:

History of Leonardsee and Loders’ Nursery:http://www.leonardsleenursery.com/history

Rhododendron fortunei:http://www.rosebay.org/chapterweb/specfort.htm

Rhododendron griffithianum: http://www.rhododendron.org/descriptionS_taxon.asp?ID=17

Until we meet again along the garden path….

Read Full Post »

This week I choosen a plant which is a problem in some places but not here. I first noticed it growing along the road which leads to the Victoria Airport. I took this route going into Sidney when I lived closer into town. I, of course, had to stop for a closer look. The yellow color was out of character for what I suspected it was. It looked like a form of plant which grows wild here but is blue or rarely pink or white. it also seemed much larger than what i would have expected. What I had discovered was some wild Tree Lupine (Lupinus arboreus) orYellow Shrub Lupines which are growing in the far north reaches of their native territory. They were a glorious golden yellow amoungst the grass waste area.

A Pale Form of 'Lupinus arborea' or 'Tree Lupine'.

A Pale Form of 'Lupinus arborea' or 'Tree Lupine'.

Lupines and all members of the Pea((legumes) family(Fabaceae) are know to be able to improve the soil in the area in which they grow. they do this by taking nitrogen in the air and converting into an important usable nutrient which all plant need to grow. Members of the Pea family are able to do this by having special(symbiotic) bacteria called Rhizobia which are  located in nodules  located their roots. When these plants die they release the nitrogen back into the soil for other plants use. this is why members of they Pea family members such as alfalfa and peanuts are grown as a crop then plowed under before they ripen to enrich the soil. The problem has been when these plants escape from cultivation because they go to seed, this is easily solved in your own garden by removing the spent flowers.

The Attractive Flowers of the Tree Lupine are Sweetly Scented.

The Attractive Flowers of the Tree Lupine are Sweetly Scented.

Fortunately for us Lupinus arboreus is an attractive and generally short lived perennial or shrub. It is nothing like the Broom or gorse which was brought here and have overtaken areas. Tree Lupines have a very well defined natural area of growth in Western North America. It needs to be fairly close the the ocean and humidity to survive and trhive. In it’s natrual setting it is usually found within 5 km(3 miles) of the coast here. It grows from Southern California up the coast to the Southern part of British Columbia and on the southern tip of Vancouver Island

Tree Lupines and Vetch Growing in a Industral Area.

Tree Lupines and Vetch Growing in a Industrial Area.

Tree Lupines definately are not long lived here and no longer are found where I originally spotted it. This year I found it along a road on the other side of the airport. I had spotted it there a couple of years ago, but not in between. This year it reappeared in several spots where the soil has been disrupted along an area which will be built on soon. The exciting thing was there were 2 color forms, the pale creamy and the bright golden types.

The Cream Form of 'Lupinus arboreus' with it's Touch of Blue.

The Cream Form of 'Lupinus arboreus' with it's Touch of Blue.

It can indeed grow to be a quite large plant in a sheltered area. There is a very large bright yellow Lupinus arboreus growing along Lockside Drive which i stopped to check out. I wanted to see if it was more than one plant as it was much larger than others I have seen. I looked behind it and saw a single inch(2cm) thick stem supporting the 5ft(1.5m) by 4ft(1.25m) brightly blooming shrub. it looks like it has been there several years.

A Massive 'Tree Lupine' Found on Lockside Drive.

A Massive 'Tree Lupine' Found on Lockside Drive.

If you want to grow a Tree Lupine it is easy. they like well drained soil which does not need to be rich (they do that for you). Full sun is a must to produce the best crop of flowers. Shelter from winters coldest winds will help it overwinter as it is fairly tender being rated zone 8 (-10 to 12c). remove the all the spent flowers except for one or two stalks if you want it to reseed. Seed naturally will germinate during the damp winter and will flower between May and August depending on where you are. You will be rewarded with a beautiful delicate looking Lupine which is pleasantly fragrant and long blooming.

'Lupinus arboreus' growiing along with Blackberry brambles and local grasses

'Lupinus arboreus' growiing along with Blackberry brambles and local grasses

More About Tree Lupines:

Wiki article about Tree Lupines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupinus_arboreus

the best source of information on germination of all types of plants i have seen anywhere. These methods work!

http://tomclothier.hort.net/index.html

Nitrogen fixing plants and how it works:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_fixation

Read Full Post »

When I was very small my mother started to teach me about gardening, she gave me a small spot in the garden and we planted a Rose. We then found pieces of other plants to add to it such as Sedum , Chives and Violets. Later I would bring things which I had been given by neighbors  or had found that had been thrown out. One such plant which I brought back that someone had pitched out was some pieces of Common Iris (Iris x germanica) which we quickly found a place in the garden for. To this day it’s purple flowers bloom and we have many times split the clump and given parts away.

A Great Example of the Unique Colors Found in Iris x germanica Flowers.

A Great Example of the Unique Colors Found in Iris x germanica Flowers.

I always have loved the unique colors and blend of colors found in Common Bearded Iris, and that they are anything but common. Where else will you find browns and rusts in blooms which are beautiful and yet intriguing at the same time. Iris x germainca have the widest range of colors of any plant known and this has created a vast group of admirers and breeders who are always striving to create the ‘blackest of blacks’ or the ‘bluest of blues’  or what ever they are trying to do in the color world.

Is This the 'Bluest of Blue' Common Iris, I Don't Know.

Is This the 'Bluest of Blue' Common Iris, I Don't Know.

The name Iris comes from the Greek goddess Iris who was the ‘rainbow goddess’ who was the messenger between the gods and  mortal men.  Purple Iris plants where at one time where placed over the graves of  women to help guide the goddess to help her guide the dead on there journey through the underworld and across the River Styx.  The origins of Common Bearded Iris is lost, the best guess is that it is a natural hybrid which originated in the Eastern Mediterranean where many Iris species grow wild.

 A Very Dark Purple Dwarf Variety of Common Bearded Iris.

A Very Dark Purple Dwarf Variety of Common Bearded Iris.

All Iris and members of the Iris family have flowers that are in parts of three. Iris have very complex flowers, composed of: the ‘falls’ which hang down, the ‘standard’ which are the large upper portions, the ‘styles’ which are nestled inside the styles, and the beard which is at the top of the falls and is the rough textured often brightly colored guide for the pollinators to hang onto so they can find the nectar.

This Pure White Iris x germanica Shows Off It's Yellow Beard.

This Pure White Iris x germanica Shows Off It's Yellow Beard.Common

Iris x germanica have been great inspiration for artists, who is not familiar with the painting of Van Gogh and Monet’s Irises?  Monets’ garden Giverny is one of the most famous in the world and a part of it’s charm is the Iris which you can see every spring.  Iris were also a popular theme rendered in art during  Medieval, Renasciance,  Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Art Deco movements.

Delicate Shades of Iris x germanica Pink Would Inspire Any Artist.

Delicate Shades of Iris x germanica Pink Would Inspire Any Artist.

Growing Common Bearded Iris is easy. They are very cold hardy, taking -40(zone 3a)  with snow cover.   They thrive on any soil which is not to rich and is well drained, Bone meal can be added at the time of planting. When blooms become fewer it’s time to divide the clump and give some away (every 3 to 5 years). Iris prefer a drier climate with a period of drought after they bloom. They need their thick rhizomes to be planted on the surface  to prevent rot. Good air circulation is important to keep any disease such as leaf blight  or rust from attacking the leaves. One other problem is slugs which will eat the leaves in the spring, to help avoid this problem keep the area clear of debris where the slugs can hide.  The leaves can be clipped to keep them looking tidy.

Blue Iris x germanica Growing at My Sisters' House.

Blue Iris x germanica Growing at My Sisters' House.

There are many famous collections and gardens dedicated to Iris x germanica collections. Presby Memorial Iris Gardens has a collection of over 10,000 varieties which range from the newest to the historically significant. Iris breeders and sellers such as Schreiner’s Iris Gardens open their display gardens to the public to visit and view the latest varieties for sale. The Royal Horticulture Society(RHS) has regular trail beds open for public viewing and publish results of their findings.

A Beautiful Common Bearded Iris with 'Stitching or Plicata' Around it's Edges.

A Beautiful Common Bearded Iris with 'Stitching or Plicata' Around it's Edges.

Learn More About Iris x germanica:

Iris flower structure:  http://www.backyardnature.net/fl_iris.htm

AIS, American Iris Society is a wonderful site with great links: http://www.irises.org/index.htm

Presby Memorial iris Garden is in Upper Montclair, New jersey:  http://www.presbyirisgardens.org/

Read Full Post »

When I moved from the lower mainland to the Victoria area I noticed several plants growing here which I had not seen before. First there was the Oceanspray(Holodiscus dicolor) which grew everywhere along the rocky drier areas.  Then there is the abundance of Garry Oaks (Quercus garryana) which are so starkly noticeable in the winter landscape. Arbutus(Arbutus menziesii) trees grew everywhere as I live on the peninsula.  Soon after I settled into my new residence i was invited to dinner at a friends place which was near a lake. After dinner she showed me around her property and I saw for the first time the wonderful Vanilla Leaf(Achlys triphylla) which is an unusually attractive plant.

Achlys triphylla also known as 'Vanilla Leaf'.

Achlys triphylla also known as 'Vanilla Leaf''.

Vanilla Leaf (or ‘Sweet After Death’) is truly a beautiful plant which is often seen along trails in dappled spots of light, where it wanders amongst  the flora. I have found it in the vicinity of some of the most delicate and rare species. It also will pop up in thicker darker understory locations deep in the forest growing between the Mahonia, Salal and Sword Ferns.

Achlys triphylla Happily Growing in a Spot of Light.

Achlys triphylla Happily Growing in a Spot of Light at Horth Hill Park.

For me finding a patch of Achlys  triphylla growing along a path I am walking on is indeed a treat.  The main treat is the charming foliage which looks like a Clover leaf on steroids. The flowers spikes which are in bloom now are an additional bonus.  If I find one leaf I know there will be others as this is a plant which spreads by underground rhizomes(roots).  Along a path near my home I found a small colony, since then it has expanded gently to become more noticeable.  Horth Hill Park in North Saanich is a fine location for Vanilla Leaf hunting, I was there this week looking and found it in several places in fairly deep shade growing down a steep slope as well in spots of dappling.

A Mature 'Vanilla Leaf' with it's Charming Scalloped Leaves.

A Mature 'Vanilla Leaf' with it's Charming Scalloped Leaves.

The Latin name Achlys from the Greek goddess of hidden places and in this plant refers to where this plant is found, often deep in the woods.  The common name Vanilla Leaf or ‘Sweet After Death‘  is refers to the sweet fragrance of the dried leaves. The vanilla scent of the leaves is caused by the presences of natural coumarin which is a powerful blood thinner. Native peoples used to hang bundles of dried leaves in their resedences to deter bothersome inscects which swarm.  It is said that the leaves were at one time used to treat such ailments and tuberculosis, cataracts and used as an emetic(to cause vomiting).

'Sweet After Death' Growing Along a Path in North Saanich.

'Sweet After Death' Growing Along a Path in North Saanich.

Achlys triphylla makes an attractive taller(to 30cm,12in.) ground cover which would look smashing with more delicate Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Ferns and other rich woodland plants. Vanilla Leaf requires rich humusy, moisture retentive soil which is on the acidic side. It will not tolerate strong sun and will burn in it, so dappled is best. It grows best in zones 6 through 9.  If these plants are happy in their situation they will happily colonise and form healthy spreading clumps. It is best to buy these plants from a reputable nursery where you know they have not been dug up from the wilds.

Attractive Vanilla Leaf is Slug Proof.

Attractive Vanilla Leaf is Slug Proof.

Learn More About Achlys triphylla:

Wikipedia has a very good page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achlys_(plant)

More on it’s medicinal features:http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Achlys+triphylla

Horth Hill Park: http://www.crd.bc.ca/parks/horth-hill/index.htm

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers

%d bloggers like this: