Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘August 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……..

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

This time of the year usually is warmer and the Roses would be in full bloom, I guess I will have to wait a bit more. In the meantime I am reminded that there are so many other plants which are now stealing the show and some of them do it in a way which is more subtle than just big wonderful blooms. Often we overlook fantastic foliage which accompanies the flowers. How about this novel idea, a plant which the foliage is just as much the star if not more, a tall order I would say! One plant I and many other gardeners would nominate is Achillea ‘Moonshine’ (Moonshine Yarrow).

Achillea 'Moonshine is part of the street plantings in Brentwood Bay and looks good year round, tidy foliage and bright non-fading flowers.

Achillea 'Moonshine is part of the street plantings in Brentwood Bay and looks good year round, tidy foliage and bright non-fading flowers.

Achillea ‘Moonshine’ comes from the famous plantsman Alan Bloom(1906-2005) and Bressingham Gardens. If you look through perennial plant books you will see the name Alan Bloom and Bressingham Gardens mentions many times. Alan Bloom came from a plant family, his father grew cut flowers and fruit for a living . Alan left school to go into the business, his wise father said he should try as many areas as possible to find where his interest were and he settled on hardy perennials. After working as an apprentice Alan started his first wholesale perennial nursery in Oakington, the place of his birth. It took only 4 years for Blooms nursery to become the biggest of its kind in England. In 1946 he purchased the Bressingham Hall (near Diss in Norfolk) which included 228 acres of land. He  began developing it during the 1950s and early 60s, during this time he also introduced nearly 200 newly named  plant selections and hybrids which originated from his nursery and the famous  gardens.

The golden flowers and silver foliage of Achillea "Moonshine" is bright and soft at the same time making it an easy plant to work into garden designs.

The golden flowers and silver foliage of Achillea "Moonshine" is bright and soft at the same time making it an easy plant to work into garden designs.

‘Moonshine’ Yarrow is a cross between A. clypeolata (silvery foliage ,strong chrome yellow flowers) and taygetea( ferny foliage and creamy yellow flowers). It was discovered as a seedling around 1950 and introduced into gardens about 1954. It was quickly recognized to be an outstanding plant and was awarded an A.G.M.(Award of Garden Merit) from the Royal Horticultural Society. The plant has proved to be one of the best ‘Blooms’ introductions and is seen in many situations from well maintained gardens to the tough street side planting.

The silvery foliage of Achillea 'Moonshine combines the delicate 'ferniness' of A.taygetea with the silver sturdiness of A. clypeolata.

The silvery foliage of Achillea 'Moonshine combines the delicate 'ferniness' of A.taygetea with the silver sturdiness of A. clypeolata.

I first encountered Achillea ‘Moonshine’ a the wholesale perennial nursery I worked at in the early 1990s and I knew at once that this was a great plant compared to the other Yarrows which were grown there at the time. The foliage was beautiful by its self and the slightly creamy yellow flowers seemed to bloom for the longest time. These plant were always quickly bought up by the local nurseries, landscape architects and designers who put in orders or came to visit the nursery to see the plant stock we had there.

Here Achillea 'Moonshine' is used as a way to hide unsightly Rose stems along the exterior of the Rose Garden at Government House in Victoria.

Here Achillea 'Moonshine' is used as a way to hide unsightly Rose stems along the exterior of the Rose Garden at Government House in Victoria.

Achillea ‘Moonshine’ is an easy to grow plant which tolerate a good amount of neglect which makes it a very versatile plant for use in many situations. It does require full sun to produce the silveriest foliage and the most golden flowers, but, this is little to ask for such a grand reward! It takes most kinds of soil as long as its well-drained as wet feet can lead to trouble for most Achilleas. It is a fairly compact plant growing 60 cm.(2 ft.) high by about the same wide. Keeping it slightly under-watered will keep the floral stems from sprawling.Cut it back after its first flowering for it to repeat later in the summer. Divide it every couple of years to keep it vigorous.

Achillea 'Moonshine' is excellent as cut or dried flowers and will continue to give pleasure long after other flowers are spent.

Achillea 'Moonshine' is excellent as cut or dried flowers and will continue to give pleasure long after other flowers are spent.

Achillea ‘Moonshine’ is hardy to -30 c.(-20 f.) and takes wet climates well as long as the soil is well drained. In the hotter areas it is said that the plant melts out in full sun conditions but I can find no explanation as to what this means. I might assume it is better to give it richer soil(moisture retaining) in those areas. Use this plant in any hot border, such as that with Lavender and Sages. Let the yellows and purples play together with the silver foliage to create a classic color combination.It works as an accent, specimen, in borders or containers and massed. It attracts butterflies to your garden during the summer. An added bonus is it is both deer and rabbit resistant and drought proof.

These "Moonshine' Yarrow have been cut back and are now coming into their second bloom of the summer.

These "Moonshine' Yarrow have been cut back and are now coming into their second bloom of the summer.

Mining For Moonshine:

Good advise for growing you own ‘Moonshine’ http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.010.500

Alan Bloom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Bloom_(plantsman)

Bressingham Gardens are worth a visit if you travel to England:

http://www.bloomsofbressinghamplants.com/about-us/the-perennial-tradition/the-bressingham-gardens.html

Other people comment about there experiences with this plant: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/48885/

…………I hope you mine some gems here and come back soon…………

 

 

Read Full Post »

The muted colors of the autumn season will soon be upon us, the plants are beginning to look tired from the long hot summer. The end of the season brings on a slow decline. It is harvest time, the moon is big and the crops are high and full of ripeness. Certain plants remind me of this season because I would only see them now when I was growing up in the north. Dahlias are the flowers I remember being huge and have brilliant and interesting petals and color combinations.

A sumptuously colored Dahlia with a 'Ball' classification of flower.

A sumptuously colored Dahlia with a 'Ball' classification of flower.

There are about 35 species of Dahlias which all originated from central America, from Mexico through Guatemala, Hondurans Nicaragua, Costa Rica and other areas. The first Dahlias which was documented were encountered by Francisco Hernández de Toledo(1514-87, who was a naturalist and physician to the King of Spain. He was sent on the first scientific exploration of the new world in 1571 and spent 7 years gathering and classifying specimens he collected and interviewing the local people on their use. His works were published in 1615.

The first species Dahlia recorded would have been single flowered and look something like this.

The first species Dahlia recorded would have been single flowered and look something like this.

Later another botanist, French Nicolas-Joseph Thiéry de Menonville was sent to Mexico in 1776 to steal cochineal insects (the source of red dye at the time). He went unofficially succeeded in bring back the insects. In the notes of his adventure he notes Dahlias were unusually attractive flowers. Dahlias where first grown in Europe at the Madrid in the botanical gardens there in 1789. The seed had been sent from the botanical gardens of Mexico. The first plants were named  Dahlia coccinea in 1791.

Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff'(1924) is one of the most famous culitvars of the past and is now widely available.

Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff'(1924) is one of the most famous culitvars of the past and is now widely available.

Other seeds of different species where later germinated in England and roots were sent to Netherlands to grow. Crossbreeding began from these original collections of plants is where all our fancy Dahlias come from today. During the 19th century thousands of new cultivars where grown and the best were selected for their brilliant colors and unusual flower and petal forms. The name Dahlia honors Anders Dahl who was a Swedish botanist.

This brilliant bi-color Dahlia is classified as a ' Semi-Cactus' flower form.

This brilliant bi-color Dahlia is classified as a ' Semi-Cactus' flower form.

Since 1900 flower forms have been classified into groups. Dahlias are now bred for competition which is very popular here, at this time there are test gardens and competitions which are judged. Kids love the flowers which can range in size from the small cm(2in) to 30cm(1ft) or more in diameter. The overall size of the plant also have an extraordinary range from less than 60cm(2ft) to 3.5m(10ft). The range of color and petal forms and heights is due to the fact that they are homologous and have 8 sets of chromosomes compared to the normal 2 which most other plant have.

This Dahlia cultivar exhibits not only very unual petals, but, also streaks of colors in them.

This Dahlia cultivar exhibits not only very unual petals, but, also streaks of colors in them.

The popularity of Dahlias is partly do to the ease of growing them and their availability in such a range of colors and forms. You can buy them anywhere that plants are sold as roots, seeds or in packs of small plants.  Like all good plants they like rich, deep, well-drained soil with plenty of nutrients. They need full sun and plenty of water during their growing and blooming stages, this will help them avoid getting unsightly mildew(greyish powdery fungus on their leaves). The larger flowered types should be in a shelter  from strong winds.

The vivid colors of Dahlia flowers are hard to overlook in the garden at this time of the year.

The vivid colors of Dahlia flowers are hard to overlook in the garden at this time of the year.

Although Dahlias are considered hardy annuals and can take a touch of frost and survive If you want to save the tubers it is best to harvest them before this happens.  Dig them up carefully as the skin is thin and can be damaged easily.Remove the leafy tops and let them dry slightly, After they have dried a bit place them in a layer of dry peat moss. Place them in a cool dark place for over winter storage.  Check them periodically for any signs of rot or decay and cut it off or throw it out. You can have flowers for many years this way. In a few months you will notice small bud which show which to plant them. Plant them when all chances of frost is over or start them in a sunny location in your house a few weeks before you plan to plant them.

There are many classes of Dahlia flower forms, this is a beautiful Semi-Double form.

There are many classes of Dahlia flower forms, this is a beautiful Semi-Double form.

Dahlias are important to Mexico. The Aztecs grew and harvest the plants for food, medicinal and decorative  purposes. The strong woody flower stems were also used for water tubes and pipes. In 1963 the Dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico.

Deconstructing Dahlias:

Classification of Dahlia flower forms: http://www.dahliaworld.co.uk/dahlia.htm

Dahlias according to WIKI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahlia

Storing Dahlia tubers: http://www.dahlias.net/dahwebpg/TuberStor/TuberStor1.htm

Read Full Post »

One type of plant which I really did not know when I was growing up were broad-leaved evergreens. You know the kind I mean, the leaved trees and shrubs which do not shed their foliage in autumn. I grew up in an area where this kind of plant had to grow below the snow line, the only native plant which fitted into this category were less than 30cm(12in.) high. Here in the mild west coast there are many broad-leaved evergreens, most are shrubs with only a few trees. One of these trees which I first saw in Vancouver was the impressive and beautiful Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia).

Magnolia grandiflora iss named for it's huge flowers which can be up to 30cm(12in) in diameter.

Magnolia grandiflora iss named for it's huge flowers which can be up to 30cm(12in) in diameter.

Southern Magnolias are indeed true southerners as they grow in the south-eastern United States from Florida up the coast to Virgina and west through Arkansas and Texas. It is a wide area and is found in a variety of locations which all usually have increased moisture. Often they are found on the edges of water, and swamps, along slopes and ravines and in floodplains, all these sites are good sources of water which are quickly drained.

Some of my relative are impressed with the massive flowers of the Southern Magnolia seen at Finnerty Gardens.

Some of my relative are impressed with the massive flowers of the Southern Magnolia seen at Finnerty Gardens.

Magnolia grandiflora was first brought to the garden world in 1726 by Mark Catesby(1682-1749). he was an English naturalist and always had an interest in collecting oddities.  To this end he travelled to Virginia to visit his sister in 1712. While he was there he collected seed and plant samples which he brought back to a nursery in London in 1719. In 1722  he was selected by the Royal Society to collect plant samples in Carolina. Catesby again came to North American and collected  plant and bird samples from the east coast and the West Indies. From his samples he later published ‘Natural History’ in folio style between 1733 and 1746. This folio was the first of its kind and was very influential. Many of his specimens ended up in the collection Hans Sloane who later gave everything to the British Museum.

The foliage of the Southern Magnolia is beautiful.

The foliage of the Southern Magnolia is beautiful.

Magnolia grandiflora has in the past been an important source of timber and was used in many ways;  for furniture, boxes, venetian blinds, sashes, doors and veneers. The characteristic qualities of the wood are that it is fairly hard, stiff and has little shrinkage.  The wood has a pleasing color with the sapwood being of a pale yellow tone and the heartwood being a deeper brown. The tree itself is one of several Magnolia species which were used in North America in a medicinal way. The foliage is now used by florists who appreciate its sturdy quality and the beautiful rust colored indumentum on the undersides of the leaves.

Magnolia grandiflora is the state tree and flower of Mississippi and is the state flower of Louisiana.

Magnolia grandiflora is the state tree and flower of Mississippi and is the state flower of Louisiana.

Magnolias are a very ancient plant and their seed heads have an almost reptilian quality to them, although here I have never seen ripened seed of Magnolia grandiflora. They seem to have evolved before bees existed and the flowers are designed to be pollinated by beetles. The name ‘Magnolia’ refers to Pierre Magnol who was a French Botanist who was the first person to use the concept of plant families for classification purposes. ‘Grandiflora’ not surprisingly refers to the giant sized flowers.

The unusual seed head of Magnolia grandiflora.

The unusual seed head of Magnolia grandiflora.

We are lucky to be able to grow such interesting plant like the Southern Magnolia and to see their magnificent blooms. These are trees which can grow to 27m(90ft) in the wild but rarely gets anywhere near that in a garden setting. The tree developes an attractive pyramidal form as it ages which makes it a good choice for the home garden. My sister has a postage-stamp size front yard and here their Magnolia grandiflora fits in beautifully. Some people complain about the fact that it sheds its leaves slowly during the year, this is common for all broad-leaved evergreens.

Magnolia grandiflora flowers have a delicate citrusy scent which is fresh and elusive in the garden.

Magnolia grandiflora flowers have a delicate citrusy scent which is fresh and elusive in the garden.

When choosing a site for your Southern Magnolia you need to select your site carefully. This will over time become a large tree, so not too close to a building is best. They have very brittle roots so only plant this tree only once, do not replant it later if at all possible as it might not survive the move. The roots are shallow and do not like to be damaged, care must be taken when planting under this type of tree, a simple groundcover or even grass is best. They like a nutrient rich, well draining soil. Pruning can be done during early spring but rarely need it except for shaping or removal of damaged limbs. Few pests or disease effect this tree or damage its foliage.

This avenue of Southen Magnolias is found off of Rock Street and leads to the top of Playfair Park in Saanich.

This avenue of Southen Magnolias is found off of Rock Street and leads to the top of Playfair Park in Saanich.

Magnolia grandiflora are said to be hardy to -20c(-10f) or rated  at zone (6)7-11. There are forms which are especially hardy and grow in colder areas such as Ontario and Ohio, ask at your local nursery for forms which are best for your site. In the colder zones they can be damaged by drying winds when the ground is frozen as they are unable to get water to their leaves, this is a common problem for broad-leaved evergreens. Choosing a site which is protected from these winds will help solving the problem.

On the Southern Magnolia Route:

Wiki has a lot of interesting information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnolia_grandiflora

You will enjoy the work of Mark Catesby:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Catesby

Check out my article about ‘Million Year Old Magnolias’:  https://namethatplant.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/multi-million-year-old-magnolias/

Botanical scientific information about this tree: http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=200008470

Until I see you on my blog again….soon I hope!

Read Full Post »

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….

Read Full Post »

When I was a child my father gave my mother a large flowering tree as a present. We had it for many years and it bloomed faithfully throughout the year and brought a touch of the tropics to our chilly northern home during the long cold winters.  When i went to Hort. school in North Vancouver learned many shrubs and one of them was a hardy form of this plant. The plant we learned was Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon) which is still not a often seen shrub here and people ask how it can live here.

Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Bird', one of the most striking flowers in the plant world.

Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Bird', one of the most striking flowers in the plant world.

Hibiscus syriacus is found growing widely in Asia. It is the national flower of South Korea and is used in emblems representing the country. It is also much used and revered in China and Japan where it can be seen growing in a more tree form. It is a popular plant there where it’s ability to tolerate hot summers and late bloom season of bloom make it stand out.  In Europe it has been seen in gardens since the 16th century.

The purest of whites seen in the pristine Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana'

The purest of whites seen in the pristine Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana'

It is surprising to see this Rose of Sharon in bloom each year as it is so late to leaf out and I feel that many people might feel that it is dead and remove instead of waiting for it to wake from it’s late slumber. It is true that is doe not make the nicest looking shrub early in the season being that it is very twiggy and late, but, the pay-off is unforgettable. Who is not awed by the stunning Hibiscus syriacus blossoms which absolutely smoother it at this hot time of the year.

A large Hibiscus syriacus shrub in full sun along upper Quadra St. in Saanich.

A large Hibiscus syriacus shrub in full sun along upper Quadra St. in Saanich.

Rose of Sharon as you can see makes a wide, rounded shrub which has finer texture leaves and upright branches. It is often a specimen in the garden and this is how I have seen it used in the parks here. It is less commonly seen in gardens here, most often it’s place has been taken by other members of the Malvaceae family here which is sad. I am always thrilled to find another shrub and eagerly look forward to traveling Quadra Street and seeing  the two Hibiscus syriacus blooming at a house along the busy thoroughfare.

Hibiscus syriacus 'Mauve Queen',one of the more common color forms found.

Hibiscus syriacus 'Mauve Queen',one of the more common color forms found.

Hibiscus syriacus are surprisingly easy to grow and adaptable to a variety of situations.  They will grow to a medium sized shrub 2m(7ft) tall by 2.5m(9ft) wide. They need well drained soil with some extra moisture retention ability. full sun will produce a dense shrub which will be loaded with blooms every year. These shrubs are hardy to -20c(-10f)  or zone 5 here. In cooloer climate a protected site is best such as next to a southern wall where extra heat will be held. their nature shape whith dense branching will mean little to no pruning will be needed to keep it’s shape.

An unusal Double form, likely to be Hibiscus syriacus 'Lady Stanley'

An unusal Double form, likely to be Hibiscus syriacus 'Lady Stanley'

The most important thing to remember if you get one of these beauties is that they are one of the latest to leaf out, so remember not to dispair in late April when there is little sign that it is alive. Give you Hibiscus syriacus few more weeks and it will spring into action and ‘poof’ like magic will come zooming back! Now is the time to go hunting in your neighbourhood or local parks to find some Rose of Sharon blooming. Happy Hunting!

Look, I found this Hibiscus syricacus 'Woodbridge' at Finnerty Gardens.

Look, I found this Hibiscus syricacus 'Violet Clair Double'at Finnerty Gardens.

More about Rose of Sharon:

How to grow Hardy Hibiscus:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/3343918/Hibiscus-syriacus-how-to-grow.html

A little more about Hibiscus syriacus in Asia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_syriacus

Hunting for new cultivars:  http://www.springmeadownursery.com/hibiscus.htm

http://www.springmeadownursery.com/hibiscus.htm

Until We Meet Again Later….

Read Full Post »

After I had graduated from  horticulture training I worked for a summer practicum at a small but famous public garden in North Vancouver. There I started to get a taste of the range of plant materials I would from now on work with. During my short time there I decided the next place I would work at would be more specialized in perennials which had I had become enthralled with.  Early the next year i went to work at the largest perennial grower in Canada and started to learn all there was to know about this vast group of plants.  I now associate the wonderful colors of Asters, Helenium and particularly Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’(Goldstorm Rudbeckia) with this time of the year.

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' blazing in the sun in the Government House Gardens.

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' blazing in the sun in the Government House Gardens.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is the happy discovery of Heinrich Hagemann who worked for the famous plantsman Karl Foerster in 1937. He picked it out from a crop of Rudbeckias growing at a nursery owned by Gebrueder Schuetz . He noted that Rudbeckia fugida was a better form that the other commonly grown members of the species.  Heinrich Hagemann then took the plant back to the nursery he worked at and managed to convince Karl Foerster(the owner) that this plant should be propagated and introduced as a new and better Rudbeckia for gardeners to grow. The Second World war intervened and it was not until 1949 that the public had the chance to start growing it.

What Can be Better Than a 'Rudbeckia Goldstorm' at the Height of Summer?

What Can be Better Than a 'Rudbeckia Goldstorm' at the Height of Summer?

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is so beloved that in 1999 it was selected the Perennial Plant of the Year. It is a reward richly deserved as selection is a vigorous competition between many excellent plants. The criteria are many and the panel who make the selection are all experts in the field. This plant is always propated from cuttings.

udbeckia 'Goldstrum is the backbone of this sunny border.

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum is the backbone of this sunny border found in Sidney.Many

Rudbeckias come from the prairies whereas this one is from the east coast, ranging from New Jersey to Illinois. This may be why it is tolerant of a larger range of situations.

The gold color of Rudbeckia 'Goldstorm' is strong and often dominant in garden bed designs.

The vibrant color of Rudbeckia 'Goldstorm' is often dominant in garden bed designs.

Since it’s introduction Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’ has been one of the most popular of all  perennials which are grown.  It has some many things which to recommend it. Throughout the year this plant looks orderly. It’s foliage is more substantial and dark and stands up well against pests and all forms of weather. It’s glowing blossoms give a steady performance over a long period.  It always look tidy even when the blooms are spent. It is also a very low maintenance plant and is easy and tolerant in all areas from near the ocean shore, windy sites, areas with summer droughts and sites with shade.

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' looks great with other vibrant and strongly colored plants.

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' looks great with other vibrant and strongly colored plants.

If you would like to grow some Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm‘, it is easy.  To get the best performance from your plants give it well drained but moist soil. Locate your plants in full sun for the best display of blooms. Clumps will expand over time and are easy to divide, so your friends will love you if you can give them some. Remember to remove spent blooms and clean all the leave debris in the fall to keep the area pest free. Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’ grows 60-75cm (1.5-2ft) tall and spreads to similar width. they are quite hardy and withstand a chilly zone 4(-30c or-20f). These plants are widely used in many situations; mass planting, borders, ocean exposed sites, butterfly attractants and use as late season color are but a few ways commonly seen.

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' seen with close relatives Echinacea and Chrysanthemums.

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' seen with close relatives Echinacea and Chrysanthemums.

To learn more about Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’

What the Perennial Plant Association has to say;  http://www.perennialplant.org/99ppy.asp

B.B.C. Plant Finder infromation; http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/800.shtml

Fine Gardening says: http://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/rudbeckia-fulgida-var-sulivantii-goldsturm-orange-coneflower.aspx

http://www.perennialplant.org/99ppy.asp

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: