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Posts Tagged ‘August 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……..

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Here we are in the last week of August, many of us and our children are getting ready to go back to school. The garden often is neglect now because we are busy with othr things occupying our time. late summer is a time of changing palettes in the garden, from the spring and early summer colors to the richer and often nuanced tones. One plant which is ever changing in color is one of the stars of the garden right now,that plant is the known ‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum(Sedum xAutumn Joy‘).

Sedum 'Autumn joy' is an ever changing palette of colors.

Sedum x 'Autumn joy' is an ever changing palette of colors.

‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum is one of the more common plants you will see in gardens  because it is very useful and easily propagated. It is a cross of two closely related species; telephium from Europe and spectabile (which supplied the pollen) which originates in China and Korea. These two species and several other similar more woody type, large leaved Sedums are now reclassified as the species Hylotelephium.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' with its massive flower heads reday to burst open at Finnerty Gardens.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' with its massive flower heads reday to burst open at Finnerty Gardens.

The meeting of telephium and spectabile occured at Georg Arrends(1863-1952) nursery at Wuppertal Germany near Cologne. Arrends was one of the formost perennial plant breeders of all time. He  introduced many new improved Bergenias, Asters, Campanulas and especially Astilbes. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ was originally called ‘Herbstfreude’ and it can be argued it is probably Arrends most popular and well known introduction of all. It was likely to have been presented to the garden trade in the late 1940s or early 1950s. It is hard to find a public garden which does not include these plants and from there many home gardens grow it as well.

The same border at Finnerty Gardens with 'Autumn Joy' Sedum in bloom.

The same border at Finnerty Gardens with 'Autumn Joy' Sedum in bloom.

The cross of telephium and spectabile into Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ brought the best of the parents together. It improved the flower color by intensifying it, it also improved the overall flower head which is now massive. The othe improvement was in making the stems more strong and less likely to flop. These are all characteristics which endear this plant to many professional gardeners who love it for its long season of bloom and overall beauty throughout the year. The color palette and texture of the plant is also easily incorporated into many garden designs.

In spring the beautiful jade green leaves of 'Autunm Joy' sedum is an attractive addition to the garden.

In spring the beautiful jade green leaves of 'Autunm Joy' sedum is an attractive addition to the garden.

Many of the reasons Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is used so much is its incredible versatility in where it can be planted and how it is used in the garden. This plant takes any kind of soil but prefers leaner, light sandy soil. Give it slightly less than an average amount of water, this will keep the stems more firm and the plant more compact.. The one thing they do not like is being in excessively wet soil for a long time as this causes rot. Full sun is the best although it tolerates light shade especially in very dry, hot climates. If the flower heads start getting smaller it is probably is time to divide the plant and this can be done at any time of the year easily, dig it up and pull it apart.If you want to keep the blooms divide in the spring or fall. Cuttings are also very easy to take and root.

Here Sedum 'autumn Joy' is seen in a border with Echinacea, Verbena, blue Lobelia and frothy Gaura in the corner.

Here Sedum 'autumn Joy' is seen in a border with Echinacea, Verbena, blue Lobelia and frothy Gaura in the corner.

‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum can be used for late summer color in sunny borders, perennial borders, as specimens or accents and for mass plantings. It also works very well in seasonal containers for patio or other places for a long lasting show of color. Sedums naturally look good with grasses, Rudbeckias, Asters and other later season plants. The flowers blend in nicely and the leaves have a cooling effect in the garden. As the flowers age their color deepens. Often these plants are left standing in the garden in the winter as the spent flowers stand up well to rains and even snow and the rustic shade of the spent plant is seen as attractive.

This clump of Sedum 'Autumn Joy is in a long border in Sidney which has Miscanthus, Rudbeckia, Lavenders and Asters.

This clump of Sedum 'Autumn Joy is in a long border in Sidney which has Miscanthus, Rudbeckia, Lavenders and Asters.

‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum grows in zones 3 through 10 (-40c and f). This is a compact plant growing no more than 60cm(2ft.) high and by the same wide. These are fairly long lived plants and will give you pleasure many years.  They make good cut flowers and are long lasting, they also are excellent in dried arrangements. They are a good source of honey for butterflies and bees late in the year.

More Joyous Links for Autumn:

How to grow this plant: http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.485.340

From Dave’s Garden many people give their opions on growing this plant: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/51498/

A thorough article on the species Hylotelephium:   http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2619/

Check out my post relating to Georg Arrends and Astilbes: https://namethatplant.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/my-fine-feathered-friends-are-atilbes/

Hope to see you here again soon….

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Anyone who has a interest in plants will have heard of Linnaeus or at least experienced his worked when looking up a plant name. Carl Linnaeus(1707-1778) was the incredible man who developed the system which we use for naming plants and animals. Linnaeus brought order to already Latin named plants and animals by created a system to classify them by their  physical characteristics. He simplified plant names by giving them 2 parts (binomial), the genus and then the species. Often plants where and still are named from where they come from. One of the 9000 plants Linnaeus named is Verbena bonariensis or Purpletop Vervain or Brazilian Vervain). ‘Bonariensis’ refers to Buenos Aries, Argentina where the original plant sample is likely to have come from.

Verbena bonariensis has clusters of tiny mauve flowers held high above it's foliage.

Verbena bonariensis has clusters of tiny mauve flowers held high above it's foliage.

I first saw this plant at  Park and Tilford Gardens where I worked over the summer in a practicum. It was a nice change from the other Verbenas that I saw and was not too crazy about as they seemed to always get unsightly mildew.  Most Verbenas which we see are annuals and are used in our hanging baskets or bedding out.Verbena bonariensis is well named as Purpletop Vervain as it’s airy stems of flowers are almost like wands of color which is part of it’s charm.

Purpletop Vervain along a path at Glendale Gardens.

Purpletop Vervain along a path at Glendale Gardens.

Verbena bonariensis is a particularly useful plant as it’s flower stems are airy and can weave through other plants easily. It will pop through other plants easily and create wonderful combinations or fill awkward spaces with graceful color in late summer. It is the weaving quality of this plant which makes it a much used plant by gardeners who have just the right situation for it’s use.

This  mauve Verbena bonariensis weaves it's way through a white Agapanthus.

This mauve Verbena bonariensis weaves it's way through a white Agapanthus.

Purpletop Verbena is found growing in Southern Brazil, Argentina and through Uruguay and Paraguay.  It is rated at zone 7-10(-17.7 °C (0 °F)), therefore is often treated as a annual in colder areas. If it likes it’s place it will happily self-seed which in some places can be nuisance. Here we have the occasional cold winter so seeding is never a real problem. Seedlings are easily recognized and removed.  It seems that plants which originate from seed grown plants and not by way of cuttings are said to be more tough.

Verbena bonariensis growing amoung the rocks in the Terrace Garden at Government House.

Verbena bonariensis growing amoung the rocks in the Terrace Garden at Government House.

All Verbenas prefer full sun and good air circulation to prevent  powdery mildew. Purpletop Vervain tolerates most types of soil as long as it is well drained, this will ensure your plant has a longer life. It is advisable to pinch plants back when they are young to produce a bushier plant with more floral stems later int the year. Verbena bonariensis grows 40cm-1.2m(2-5ft) tall and takes a space between 30-60cm(1-2ft) in width.

The bright Purpletop Vervain flowers contrast well with the silvery tones of these plants.

The bright Purpletop Vervain flowers contrast well with the silvery tones of these plants.

Purpletop Vervain is a very useful plant in other ways as well. It is said to be one of the very best butterfly attracting plants and many people can attest to it.  It is often used as a cottage garden plant and is best placed mid border for this use. I have seen it used well in borders of mixed perennials and shrubs. the can be interesting combinations created with variegated and colored foliage of  other plants. Wherever you use it, Verbena bonariensis will add something interesting and people will ask you what plant it is. I know many people have asked me and are always surprised when I tell them this is the more stately cousin to the annual Verbenas in their garden….and they always want to get some!

The tiny long blooming flowers of Verbena bonariensis bloom from June through September here.

The tiny long blooming flowers of Verbena bonariensis bloom from June through September here.

Learn more about Verbena bonariensis:

Who is Carl Linnaeus and why he is so important to science: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/science-of-natural-history/biographies/linnaeus/index.html

Wiki page on Purpletop Vervain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbena_bonariensis

Other gardeners experiences with Verbena bonariensis: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/141/

Until We Meet Again Soon.

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When I was small I always looked forward to certain plants blooming in special places that I knew of. One such plant grew along Connaught Hill near where our house was. I spent many hours during the spring all the way into the fall visiting sites looking for those tell-tale plants and being excited to find them still there year after year. On such group of plants were an unusual mauve for native plants there. They of course were what I knew as Asters. In B.C. we have 26 species, some in shades of purple and some are white. All Aster species have undergone a careful scientific evaluation recently and most have been renamed. In B.C. all the 26 Asters have been re-classed as Symphyotrichum, Eurybia, Eucephalus, Ionactis and Canadanthus speices in the Aster(Asteraceae) family. Here on  Vancouver Island  the commonest species is the Common California Aster(Aster chilensis) is now should be known as Symphyotrichum chilense, and no it is not found in Chile.

The common mauve of the California Aster seen along roads here.

The common mauve of the California Aster seen along roads here.

California Aster is primarily a coastal plant which grows from southern Oregon through all of Vancouver Island and southern parts of the mainland of British Columbia. It ranges inland to the Coastal Mountains. The first place I found it was when I was picking Blackberries at a park near where I live. I happened to be along the edge of the park searching for berries and found what looked like a single plant struggling against the grass in the overgrown ditch. This of course alerted me to be on the lookout for more of these plants. I think one reason I might have missed them in the past was that their color is very similar to the wild Chicory which is blooming at the same time.

This wonderful display of California Asters was found along Widgeon Rd. in North Saanich in 2007.

This wonderful display of California Asters was found along Widgeon Rd. in North Saanich in 2007, they are no longer there now.

I soon found the best place to view California Asters was along the side of busy roads here. Roads here have large gravel shoulders which often become overgrown with plant material which is periodically cut down.  This year there  are two or three great patches growing along East Saanich Road  in an very open place and hopefully they will live on there. Another place I see them is along West Saanich Road where they have survived several years and bloom.

The only color of Symphylotrichum chilense(California Aster) I have seen here.

The only color of Symphylotrichum chilense(California Aster) I have seen here.

We naturally are dazzled by the deep and sometimes startling colors of non-native Asters, these are the common ones which we see in nurseries at this time of the year. Many do not thrive here and are susceptible to unsightly disease such as mildew, rusts and black rots.  I think we should look close to home to choose and highlight our natural bounty of plants and California Asters would fit the bill perfectly.  Symphyotrichum chilense a dense plant which grows 50cm(20in) to 100 cm(40in) tall and forms a 30cm(12in) wide clump.  If it is happy it will vigorously spread, therefore care must be taken in placement not to put it near slower and weaker growing plants. Asters are often placed near the back of the border in gardens or in more loosely designed area.

The soft flower color and attractive foliage make California Asters an attractive addition to the garden.

The soft flower color and attractive foliage make California Asters an attractive addition to the garden.

All Asters need full sun and good air circulation to keep them at their best. California Asters like to grow in areas with sufficient water that they can bloom at this late summer season.  They tolerate a wide range of soils as long as it has good drainage during the wet winter months. The can be pruned down in early summer to keep them short if you desire. These plants feed the Bees and Butterflies at this time of the year.

California Asters in amoungst the grass.

California Asters in amoungst the grass.

Look along the roadsides in your area to see the asters which are native to your area. There are many throughout the world, especially across North America and Europe.

Learn more about Symphyotrichum chilense:

a brief description of the California Aster: http://www.pnwflowers.com/flower/aster-chilensis

A list of Aster synonyms from Wiki which is very extensive:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Aster_synonyms

CalPhots page on California Aster with more technical links: http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=&seq_num=130489&one=T

Until We Meet Again soon….

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In the plant world there seems to be a cut off line just below areas where winter temperatures go below -20c(-5f). Many plants might survive but slowly die. I grew up below the cut off line and therefore many plants only existed for me in magazines or books. How I longed to live in a more gentle climate and be able to grow things like many of the Roses, Hostas and Anemones. When I came to live near Vancouver I was able to to do this. One of the first places I worked at was a wholesale grower of perennials and I was able to see greenhouses full of my new favorite plants. One plant that catches my eye every year is the delicate ‘Japanese Anemones‘, (Anemone x hybrida) which are made up of a group of crosses and some varieties.

Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'Prinz Heinrich', the darkest of all colors.

Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'Prinz Heinrich'('Prince Henry), the darkest of all colors.

The first Japanese Anemones are actually found in central and western China (Hubei into Sichuan and into Yunnan provinces). Hubie province gives it’s name to this species Anemone hupehensis. It’s flowers are variable in color ranging from white through pale pink into a pinkish purple. From hupehensis there is a form var. japonica which is much darker pink. From this variety there is a  famous double form “Prinz Heinrich'(‘Prince Henry’)  which is the most commonly seen member of the ‘hupehenis’ group.  Anemone hupehenis var japonica ‘Prinz Heinrich’ is a striking double dark color.  It opens a very deep cerise pink and fades slightly with ages. It is the first of the true doubles and has up to 20 narrow petals. it was raised in 1902.

Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert', the most common white.

Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert', the most common white.

The next group of Japanese Anemones are the the true crosses between species hupehensis var. japonica, vitifolia and possibly tomentosa. Many named plants have come on to the market and have later been reclassified as related to species or have been previously named. The key provided at the bottom is most useful to sort these issues out. There are several well know named cultivars from this group which have diverse flower colors and forms. The first and most famous is Anemone x Honorine Jobert’, a single white which was introduced to the world in 1858 which also makes it the oldest. It was found in the garden if M. Jobert  who lived in Verdun, France.

Anemone x hybrida 'September Charm', the pale pink glows in darker areas of a garden.

Anemone x hybrida 'September Charm', the pale pink glows in darker areas of a garden.

Often the first Japanese Anemone we meet in gardens is a single pink which is likely to be Anemone x hybrida ‘September Charm’. It is a relatively late arrival coming to the plant world from Bristol Nurseries in 1932. It’s exact parentage is unknown at this time.

Anemone x hybrida 'Whirlwind', a sensational form which is is vigorous and pure.

Anemone x hybrida 'Whirlwind', a sensational form which is is vigorous and pure.

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind is an older double white true Japanese Anemone. It originated in Rochester, New York and was introduced in 1887 by James Vick. It is somwhat variable in it’s petal count and form. The flowers usually have about 20 narrow sometimes twisted pure white petals.

Japanese Anemones happily blooming in full sun.

Japanese Anemones happily blooming in full sun.

Japanese Anemone are very vigorous plants once they are established which may take several years. They tolerate almost any soil as long as it is not saturated with water. They bloom best in full sun but also give a good show in shadier places which makes them very versatile for garden designing purposes. Japanese Anemone flowers are held fairly high above their foliage making these plants great for deep in flower borders and dotted amongst shorter shrubs. They have attractive foliage which has few pests or diseases. One often sees these plants growing in large patches because they spread by roots, this can be a problem if they are included in a design which is too structured. these platns are generally rated at tolerating -20c(-5f) or zone 5-9. You can assume that your plant once established will take up a 3ft(1m) space. they grow to be about 1-1.5m(3-4ft) high.

A large planting of Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'Prinz Heinrich' at Finnerty Gardens.

A large planting of Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'Prinz Heinrich' at Finnerty Gardens.

More on Japanese Anemones:

A key to unscrambling Japanese Anemones: http://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/plant_groups/Key_jap_anemones.asp

How to grow these wonderful plants: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plantprofile_anemones.shtml

Until We Meet Again….

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When I write one of these articles I first do some research. I might think I know a plant quite well but I always learn some more in the process of looking in various places. I need to make sure of the botanical name, where it comes from and if possible I like to know who discovered the plant and why it was named. I also like to make sure I know the best way to grow it and what to expect in climate, pests and disease. It is not just  it’s looks and scent which are important, it’s a total of all aspects of the subject that help to inform me if this is the kind of plant to I would recommend. Without a doubt there will always be some mysteries I can not figure out. One such plant for me is the Echinops (Globe Thistle) that is seen growing in gardens for I can not say for sure ‘which species is which’ with any great authority. In this case it really does not matter as all Echinops are shining stalwarts in the garden and should be grown more.

A beautiful steely blue Echinops ritro, the most commonly seen form in the Victoria area

A beautiful steely blue Echinops ritro, the most commonly seen species in the Victoria.

Echinops have been known and noted in writing as early as the 16th century, it was Linaeaus who gave them their formal name in 1753. Echinops Latin name meaning is very descriptive; echinos(hedgehog) ops(looks like), put it together and you have an ‘Looks-Like -a-Hedgehog’ plant!  Globe Thistle are old world plants which means they come from Europe and spread through parts of Asia and northern Africa. Not surprisingly theses are members of the Asteraceae(Compositae) family which many other thistley things belong. All members of this family have composites of many tiny flowers which are close together. The Echinops flower structure is a good example of this, each of it flower ‘spheres’ is just that; a ball of tiny flowers close together.

Echinops or Globe Thistle are a good example of a Composite flower.

Echinops or Globe Thistle are a good example of a Composite flower.

Many people do not think of spiny plants as being attractive garden plants and Echinops show how wrong we are about this.  All parts of this plant are beautiful, the leaves are whether they are grayish or bright green are thick and leathery and stand up well through the seasons. the spherical balls which turn into the flowers are stunning during their whole development. The overall silvery grayness works very well in with many colors in the garden and this makes Globe Thistles very versatile.

A favorite planting at Government House with Echinops as the star at this time of the year.

A favorite planting at Government House with Echinops as the star at this time of the year.

We must consider ourselves lucky as Echinops are extremely easy to grow and are very hardy. Like all slightly silvery plants Globe Thistles like as much sun as they can get, full sun is the best to bring out the fullness of color. Full sun will also help combat any possibility of mildew discoloring the foliage. Average soil will do. Less than average amounts of water is better, these plants do quite nicely in drier situations and are less prone to disease.  Echinops are all large plants which can reach 2m(6ft) in height and nearly as wide.

his appears to be Echinops spaerocephalus with it's maroon toned flower stem.

This appears to be Echinops spaerocephalus with it's maroon toned flower stem.

Generally Echinops are considered hardy to zone 4(-20c) but I have read about situations where they live in places with temperatures regularly going down to -40f(-40c) or zone 3a. Echinops flowers are excellent in arrangement and as dried subjects they should be harvested before the pollen shows. Globe Thistles are prickly but not so much as to be really dangerous.

This Echinops exaltatus looks other worldy floating in the trees.

This Echinops exaltatus looks other worldy floating in the trees.

The many shades of blue, the silvery overtones on the foliage and unusual flowers, what more could one ask for in a plant? I like the foliage hairy, prickliness which contrasts with all the other smooth leaves which usually surround Echinops.  It makes me think of the common thistles living here and makes me wonder how one might use them in a landscape. When looking to buy a Globe Thistle you can choose a named form which will give the certainty of color or you can grow them from seed.  In species you can usually choose the blues of ritro, bannaticus, humilis and several more. Whites are commonly  represented by exaltatus and sphaerocephalus . Seed is easily germinated with no special tricks needed.

A Great

A great Globe Thistle planting at Finnerty Gardens with late summer colors.

Now is the time to Look for Echinops in gardens, the late summer heat here has produced a bumper crop this year. I have found them in many of the larger public parks which have perennial borders. Usually they are far enough in the plantings so that no one has to worry about little ones grabbing them and being surprised or scratched.

This very blue Echinops  is at Glendale Gardens in Saanich.

This very blue Echinops is at Glendale Gardens in Saanich.

More information on Echinops:

The Asteraceae family and their intricate flowers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteraceae

Look at the middle of this page to see what others have to say about growing this plant: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/634/

Growing Globe Thistles: http://www.garden-grower.com/flowers/echinops.shtml

Until we meet again Later….

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One of the hardest thing for new students who are taking Horticultural courses is being exposed to a form of Latin for the first time; Botanical Latin that is.  We were given a test to see how well we could spell the botanical Latin names of the first plant we were learning and of course we all failed (it was planed this way!). We learned from this experience how difficult and how it would be first on the list of things we would have to study every night. Many people created ways to remember the plants spelling and pronunciation.  One plant I remember people doing this for was the plant Buddleja davidii or (Butterfly Bush),  they did it like this: My ‘Bud’ ‘Lea’ and ‘I’ went out with ‘David’, or something like that.

Buddliea davidii fully in bloom, note the tiny orange centers of each flower.

Buddleja davidii fully in bloom, note the tiny orange centers of each flower.

There is some confusion with the name Buddleja and it’s spelling. When I was in school we learned it as ‘Buddliea’ which is logical in botanical spelling terms. The spelling ‘Buddleja’ was actually said to be spelling mistake made by ‘Linnaeus ‘ with the name ‘Buddle’ . In botanical naming protocol, the original name should take precedence over newer spellings,  The letters ‘J’ and ‘I’ are seen as being interchangeable and can be considered orthographical variants in this case.

A recently planted Buddleja Davidii 'Black Knight' planted at Government House.

A recently planted Buddleja Davidii 'Black Knight' planted at Government House.

There are about 150 species of Buddlejas which only a few are grown outside of botanical gardens. Buddleja was named after Rev Adam Buddle (1660-1715), an English botanist and Pere Armand David(davidii).  This Buddleja was named and described by Franchet in 1887. Buddleja davidii is by far the most commonly grown. It was discovered in central China(Sichuan and Hubei provinces) and was introduced into cultivation in 1890. It was an immediate hit and was awarded an Award of Merit in 1898.  That form of the plant had a  mid-magenta purple flower color, since that time many color forms have been found. There are at least 3 variegated form which are highly sought after.

Buddleja davidii 'Harlequin', a sought after sport of 'Royal Red'.

Buddleja davidii 'Harlequin', a sought after sport of 'Royal Red'.

Buddleja davidii have been a very successful introduction into cultivation and where they are happy they can become something of a pest by self-seeding and forming thickets.  This need not be the case as butterfly Bushes are easy to control by deadheading after they bloom and can be cut right down to 2ft if need be.  Butterfly Bushes are adaptable to many areas including difficult coastal zones. Their late season bloom is useful to give color in this hot time of the year and they have an added bonus of being pleasantly fragrant. They can be used in deep shrub or perennial borders, massed planted, cottage style gardens, as specimens and as butterfly attractants.

A 'Buddleja davidii' pruned into a tree, very attractive and fragrant.

A 'Buddleja davidii' pruned into a tree, very attractive and fragrant.

It is easy to grow a Butterfly Bush, you need full sun for the best bloom, rich well drained soil and water during their prolonged growing season. they are considered to be fairly drought tolerant. They grow into quite large opens shrubs 3m(12ft) x 4m(15ft) wide and can be pruned into a more tree form if wanted. The form B. davidii var. nahonensis is smaller form(1.5m or 4ft) which has become popular in small gardens. They grow best in a temperature down to -15c(-1f.)  In colder areas they will be cut down to the ground, but, because they are so fast growing and bloom on new wood you can expect a crop of flowers.

Buddleja davidii 'White Cloud'  in a 'white' garden display.

Buddleja davidii 'White Cloud' in a perennial border.

More on Buddleja davidii:

About buddlejas in general; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddleja

Adam Buddle:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Buddle

Growing Buddlejas: http://www.gardenseeker.com/plants_a_z/buddleja_davidii.htm

Until We Meet Again Here….

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