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Posts Tagged ‘Cut Flowers.’

This week the America Iris Society is having its national convention here in Victoria. All the important public gardens have been prepared in the last year for the event by planting out beds of many species, hybrids and cultivars in them. With the cooler than normal spring that has effected this area of the continent most of the plants are behind their bloom schedule. One of the important species is looking lovely non the less and has some blooms. I am referring to Iris pallida and in particular the variegated forms of Iris pallida ‘Argentea Variegata’ and I.p. ‘Variegata’ (Variegated Sweet Iris).

Iris pallida Argentea Variegata has a lovely creamy quality which is a standout in any garden.

Iris pallida Argentea Variegata has a lovely creamy quality which is a standout in any garden.

Iris pallida comes from the Dalmatian Coast (former Yugoslavia) into northern Greece and up into northern Italy. It is sometimes called the Dalmatian Iris for this reason  The plant is fairly variable in flower color ranging from dark purple, lighter purple into pink and white. With the color variablity there are also several subspecies (ssp.). I.p. ssp. pallida has pale lavender flowers originates in western former Yugoslavia where it grows on the limestone cliffs there. I.p. ssp. cengialtii has darker  purple flowers with white or orange tipped beard and greener leaves and is found in north-east Italy. Iris pallida ssp. illyrica is sometimes classed as a separate species (Iris illyrica) and the issue at this point is unresolved. It has mid purple flowers and is found in its namesake, ancient Illyrica (northern Dalmatian coast). I.p. ssp. pseudopallida comes from the southern Dalmatian coast. There is  another subspecies that is known as I.p. ssp. musulmanica which I can not find any information about.

Iris pallida has unmistakable grape scented blossoms  which delights and excites the nose and is reminds many of us of our youth.

Iris pallida has unmistakable grape scented blossoms which delights and excites the nose and is reminds many of us of our youth.

I worked for many years in the wholesale area of horticulture and during that time was able to observe many plants over a long time in different conditions. Variegated Sweet Iris was imported into Canada by the perennial grower I worked for and I could compare it to many other Iris species, cultivars and hybrids at the time. Not only was I.p. ‘Argentea Variegata’ brought in but the golden variegated (‘Aureo Variegata’) form was brought in. It was clear at that time that I.p. ‘Argentea Variegata’ was the better form, is stronger growing an is less prone to disease in the wet winters we have here. This may be the reason that I.p. ‘Aureo Variegata’ is not seen and probably not sold in this area any more.

The foliage of the Variegated Sweet Iris is distinct and beautiful

The foliage of the Variegated Sweet Iris is distinct and beautiful

There is another variegated Sweet Iris which is often mixed up with Iris pallida  ‘Argentea Variegata’ and it is I.pallida ‘ Variegata’. It is hard to tell them apart at a glance but Iris pallida ‘Variegata’ is much whiter and does not get the creamy- buttery tones in its leaves. It is also said that it is more vigorous but I can not say this is true as I have not seen the plant growing over a period of time to say for sure.I feel it is likely these plants are much mixed up in trade and often mis-labeled for each other.

This I believe is Iris pallida 'Variegata', as you can see there is no real buttery coloring in the foliage. Note all the pictures in this article where taken on the same day in one garden.

This I believe is Iris pallida 'Variegata', as you can see there is no real buttery coloring in the foliage. Note all the pictures in this article were taken on the same day in one garden.

We are fortunate that Iris pallida ‘Argentea Variegata’ is much easier to obtain today and is an easy plant to grow in our gardens. It needs a bright location with full sun to part shade to bring out its best qualities. As with all rhizome producing Iris it is important to plant them very shallowly.  It likes very good drainage with humus rich soil, this is particularly important if you live in areas of high humidity or have to deal with wet winter like we have here. Good air circulation is a good idea as this will help dispel any fungus which might be lurking about. You will see signs of fungus with leaf spotting and greyish discoloration along the blade edges.  Keeping the area clean and removing spent leaves is also important for the same reason. Plant rhizomes should be divided every 3-4 years to thin the plants out and renew soil.These Iris pallida 'Argentea Variegata' (Sweet Variegated Iris) were planted for the American Iris Society convention which is be held in Victoria this year.

These Iris pallida ‘Argentea Variegata’ (Sweet Variegated Iris) were planted for the American Iris Society convention which is be held in Victoria this year.

Iris pallida and its forms are reliably hardy to zone 5 or -23 c. (-2o f.) and I have read that they can be pushed to even colder zones if they are well protected. These plants grow 60 cm. (24 in.) high and about 30 cm. (12 in.) wide. Variegated Sweet Iris are specimen plants which do not need competition in the garden so keep other plants at a distance to show them off. They definitely can be used as an accent and make the most impact mass planted. They can also be used in containers and are most often seen in perennial borders.

 

Finding your Variegated iris:

American Iris Society: http://www.irises.org/

Where does this species come from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illyria

Iris pallida is an ancient plant but not much is written about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_pallida

……I hope you will be reading what I write again….soon…..

 

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When I was going to for Horticultural training the thing I missed the most was walking in the woods like I could do at Home. I had come from a rural area to a verge large city to go to school and going for a walk was a way to relieve tension from my studies. There was a small park at the end of my street which was undeveloped and I would visit there and find new(to me) plants which where native to the area. One plant I came across looked kind of familiar, like a Heuchera but different, as it turns out it was a close relative. Tellima grandiflora (Fringe Cups) is related to several well-known garden plants and should be seen more in gardens.

Tellima grandiflora (Fringe Cups) are found edging a shade path in Beacon Hill Park.

Tellima grandiflora (Fringe Cups) are found edging a shade path in Beacon Hill Park.

I always am interested in what the botanical latin name of a plant means and how it might relate to it. In the case of Tellima it turns out to be an anagram of another plant which is closely related to it: Mitella. I have found no information on why an anagram was chosen for its name. Another case I know of is for a species of cactus Lobivia which is an anagram of the country which it is found in Bolivia. Grandiflora is not at all unusual and refers to the large flowers.

The common name 'Fringe Cups' refers to the lacy petals of Tellima grandiflora flowers.

The common name 'Fringe Cups' refers to the lacy petals of Tellima grandiflora flowers.

Tellima grandiflora is a plant which grows in the woodlands and dappled light of the Pacific North-west from Alaska through British Columbia, Washington, Oregon into Northern California. This is generally a plant of coastal areas and along the mountains that run just inland. They are also found in the inland wet stripe running through eastern B.C., Washington, north Idaho and Montana. Here on Vancouver Island it is a common site along roadsides and is often mixed with other plants such as Tiarellas, Sedges and Ferns.

Here at U.B.C. Botanical Gardens the Tellima grandiflora grow wild as a natural groundcover in the Asian Garden.

Here at U.B.C. Botanical Gardens the Tellima grandiflora grow wild as a natural groundcover in the Asian Garden.

Tellima grandiflora comes from the Saxifragaeae which has given us many familiar garden plants such as Saxifraga, Heucheras, Tiarella and Fragaria (Strawberry). All of these species have been hybridized and are well used in the garden. Tellima grandiflora may have been hampered in its acceptance because it is a is the only species of the genus and is not represented in any other form in the world. There are records of crosses between Tiarella and Tellima being found as well as that of Tolmeia menziesii crosses but none of these have been seen as worth being developed as they have much smaller flowers than Fringe Cups and the foliage is not unique enough. Only recently has been offered a named Tellima grandiflora ‘Forest Frost’ which to me looks like it probably is mis-named and is fact a cross with a Heuchera. It will be interesting to see what comes of this new plant.

 Winter coloring of Tellima grandiflora often brings out burgundy tones which fade with new growth.

Winter coloring of Tellima grandiflora often brings out burgundy tones which fade with new growth.

Tellima grandiflora for the most part is a well-behaved garden plant. It self-sows in place that it is happy, if this is not wanted all that is needed is to remove the spent flower wands soon after they finnish blooming. It can be somewhat short-lived like many members of the Saxifragaeae family are, therefore i usually keep a few seedlings about to replenish older plants and I like how they will pop up in my pots of Hostas and amongst the hardy Geraniums. Fringe Cups make a good addition to the garden and its foliage and flowers work well in spring when other plants are slow to emerge.

This accidental combination of Meconopsis cambrica, Tellima grandiflora and Claytonia sibirica is charming and bright at the same time.

This accidental combination of Meconopsis cambrica, Tellima grandiflora and Claytonia sibirica is charming and bright at the same time.

Tellima grandiflora is an easy adaptable plant to have in your garden. It like rich, humusy soil which retains moisture well during the dry months of summer. It like dappled positions and will bloom admirably in more shady situations. In overly sunny sites it often has more yellowed foliage and is smaller in its overall stature. This last winter was colder than usual and Fringe Cups came through in great form, no damage is done to the foliage and steady growth is seen in the earliest spring. These plants are typically 60 cm.(2 ft.) high and 45 cm. (18 in.) wide but may be slightly large or smaller depending on conditions. They are rated as tolerating -20c.(-4 f.) which is suspect is with much snow cover. Here the extreme cold might get to be – 15 c. (5 f.) with the wild chill added and they do not suffer.

Tellima grandiflora is incorporated into several gardens at Government House in Victoria. Here it is the Cutting Flower Garden.

Tellima grandiflora is incorporated into several gardens at Government House in Victoria. Here it is the Cutting Flower Garden.

Fringe Cups can be used in a variety of ways in the garden. I have seen them used as accents, mass planted, in woodland and more formal settings. They fit into fragrant gardens and ones for cut flowers as well as shade and winter gardens. They also make an excellent mass planting  and blend in well with many damp tolerant plants. their delicate flowers on tall stems have an amusing effect against very bold foliage. These plants are much better known in Europe than they are here and we should start changing that.

T is for Tellima:

Rainyside has a good page: http://www.rainyside.com/features/plant_gallery/nativeplants/Tellima_grandiflora.html

In case you are wondering about anagrams:  http://www.anagramsite.com/cgi-bin/getanagram.cgi

Washington Native Plant Society page on Tellima: http://www.wnps.org/plants/tellima_grandiflora.html

…………..See you on the trails leading here soon………..

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I always like it when I find a plant which is versatile, can be used in many ways and has an unusual or desire color…what more could a plant lover want? I also like to find beautiful plants which can  live in a wide range of climates, be they very cold or very hot. So plants I first encountered in parks or botanical gardens while others I have been introduced to in nurseries where some clever person realized what a wonderful plant it was. This plant i was introduced to because I had to learn to grow it at a former job as a grower in a nursery. Knautia macedonica (Crimson Scabious) is a plant which has great qualities for a plant and adds long period of color into the  garden.

Knautia macedonica has an unusual deeply colored flower which blooms for months over the summer into late fall.

Knautia macedonica has an unusual deeply colored flower which blooms for months over the summer into late fall.

As you might have guessed Knautia macedonica comes from Eastern Europe near the Mediterranean and Black Seas, more specifically the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania and south eastern Romania. In the past this plant was used  to relieve skin roughness and was used as a treatment for dermatitis in the Balkans. Knautias are closely related to Scabiosa and at one time where classified as being from the same family, therefore the common name of Crimson Scabious. They both come from the Dipsacaceae family which also includes over 350 species which grow mostly in Europe, Asia , Africa and Australia.

Crimson Scabious blooms from June until late in the year.

Crimson Scabious blooms from June until late in the year.

There are several species of Knautia other than Knautia macedonica which are good garden plants and also bloom for a long period. Knautia is named after German doctor and botanist Christoph Knaut (1638-94),.He was born and lived in Halle where he published ‘Flora’ (Compendium Botanicum sive Methodus plantarum genuina) in 1687 with his brother Christian. In ‘Flora’ he described 17 different classes of plants. Carl von Linné( Linnaeus) later studied this work when developing the plant classification system we all know and use today.

Knautia macedonica produce masses of small flowers on wiry stems.

Knautia macedonica produce masses of small flowers on wiry stems.

Crimson Scabious is native to limestone scrub lands and grass meadows where the soil can be poor and scant rain falls during the long growing season.  The attractive basal leaves often have a greyish color and dry up during its period of bloom, at that time its blossom stems can easily be seen weaving through other plants and popping out to create interesting color combinations. The crimson color starts out with an almost blackish tone (like Chocolate Cosmos) and takes on a bluish hue as it ages, I have found it is a hard color to photograph.

The powerful red color of Knautia macedonica changes as the flower ages and takes on a bluish tinge.

The powerful red color of Knautia macedonica changes as the flower ages and takes on a bluish tinge.

Crimson Scabious is a plant which can grow in a variety of situations, this is because it a very easy plant to grow. You will need well drained soil which is rich in nutrients, full sun for the best possible blossoms and some dead-heading to keep the plant tidy. I think this is a plant for the middle of the border as it gets quite big and can flop if it is not staked  or cut back. It looks good weaving through strong foliage such as irises, Daylillies or grasses and can be used to cover areas of early bulbs which will have died down by late may and June.

Knautia macedonica may have small flowers...but... they have big impact in the garden.

Knautia macedonica may have small flowers...but... they have big impact in the garden.

Knautia macedonica grows to at least 1m(3ft) tall and by the same wide. There is now a shorter form(‘Mars Midget’) which you can easily grow from seed. There are also a seed color form (‘Melton Pastels’) which give a range of colors from from pinks through lavenders and the traditional red.

If you like intense colors, Crimson Scabious is a must for your garden!

If you like intense colors, Crimson Scabious is a must for your garden!

Although Knautia macedonica is listed as tolerating temperatures down to zone 5 -20c(-4f) it can be pushed much lower in a drier site to the low zone 3(-30c or -20f)It is sucessfully grown in prairie gardens in Saskatchewan. This plant will give you months of pleasure not only in the garden but also in a vase as they make a excellent cut flower which needs no special treatment. Butterflies will come to your garden more often as well.

From bud through to seed-head Knautia macedonica is an intriguing plant.

From bud through to seed-head Knautia macedonica is an intriguing plant.

Knowing Knautia macedonica:

A prairie gardeners experience with Crimson Scabious: http://em.ca/garden/per_knautia_macedonica_mars_midget.html

Martha says…: http://www.marthastewart.com/plant/knautia-macedonica

Growing it in the pacific northwest: http://www.paghat.com/knautia.html

Same time, same place……next week?

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When my mother was alive I was always sending her plants to grow in her northern garden. I was working at wholesale nurseries at the time and was able to get some of the less common plants for her. I sent many types of plants for the steep border which was at the front of the house. Many plants prospered and were totally happy there and a few struggled. The one plant she loved the best was the Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris). She loved the big purple blooms and then latter the silky seed heads which lasted a long time.

The traditional purple form of Pulsatilla vulgaris is a happy camper here in Victoria.

The traditional purple form of Pulsatilla vulgaris is a happy camper here in Victoria.

Pusatilla vulgaris is just one of about 35 species of Pasque flower which all live in the northern hemisphere.  This plant grows in areas of Great Britain(East Anglia), Sweden to Finland and into the Ukraine. It generally grows in dry grassland areas as well as in chalky soils.  There are other species which are known but slightly different in form. One of the most common of these is Pulsatilla halleri which often hybridizes with other species.

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Rubra' is one of the glorious color forms which has a real knock-your-socks color.

One can easily imagine where the common name 'Danes Blood' came from when seeing this Pulsatilla.

Pulsatilla have several common names. Pasque Flower refers to when this plant generally flowers, at Passover(Easter), another name ‘Danes Blood’ is because these flowers are said to grow where Danes shed their blood. Pulsatillas belong to the Ranuculaceae family and they resemble other famous members of the family like Anemone. At one time they were called Anemones and are sometimes listed as a subgenus, in older books you will see this occurance.

I particularly like this color combination of the pale Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Alba' with a dwarf Pieris with it's fresh foliage.

I particularly like this color combination of the pale Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Alba' with a dwarf Pieris with it's fresh foliage.

Pusatilla vulgaris is a tough plant which can live in a variety of places and temperatures. My mother lived in an area which goes down to -40c(-40f)  regularly and the plant thrived just as well as it  does here where it rarely goes below -10c(14f).   Here I see it growing in the rocky slope of Terrace Garden at Government House as well as in the fantastic alpine/rock garden at Beacon Hill Park. Even in the Novitiate Garden at St Ann’s Academy there is one in the border under the veranda.

Pulsatillas will produce wispy, silky seed heads which last long after their flowers are spent.

Growing Pasque Flowers is quite easy, they like a spot with good drainage and average soil. They need plenty of water in their growing season during the spring and early summer and less when they become more dormant during later summer and autumn. In places where it does not freeze or snow it is important for them to be in areas where water can drain away easily. They need full sun except in very southern areas where they would prefer some shade during the scorching afternoons. I have seen them growing here in full sun as well as in very shady areas.

These three Pulsatilla vulgaris grow to be bigger more showy plants every years with dozens of flowers.

These four Pulsatilla vulgaris grow to be bigger more showy plants every years with dozens of flowers.

Each Pulsatilla vulgaris can grow to be 30cm(12in.) tall and as wide with the ability to produce many flowers every year. These plants produce a woody root and can not be divided. Pulsatilla are grown as container subjects, in rock and alpine gardens, perennial borders, early spring features, deer resistant gardens and used in native and woodland settings. To increase your crop you will can sow the seed as soon as it becomes ripe. It needs to go through several months of cold before it will germinate, therefore sow it outside in a well marked place. The seed is viable even in very cold climates as long as it has a good coat of snow to protect it.

As the flowers of Pulsatilla vulgaris age the petals often get larger and the color may fade.

As the flowers of Pulsatilla vulgaris age the petals often get larger and the color may fade.

More on Pusatilla vulgaris and it’s forms:

A page on the double form ‘Papageno’: http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.450.350

some great pictures and advise on this page: http://www.robsplants.com/plants/PulsaVulga.php

Until we meet again on this flowery path…

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I have worked at several large nurseries over the years and the first was a large company which grew perennials. It was recommended I work there as it was the largest in Canada for that type of plant. I was not disappointed and learned a great deal from the vast array of plants they stocked on a regular basis. It was also interesting to see what plants they would introduce to this area of Canada which is by far the mildest and has the widest range of options. Many plants were new not to just me but in some cases to the rest of North America.  At that time many new plants were originating from New Zealand, South Africa and South America. One spectacular plant is the very late blooming scarlet red Schizostylis (Hesperantha)coccinea or Scarlet or Scarlet River Lily which is from the Drakensberg Mountain area of South Africa.

The spectacularly colored Schizostylis coccinea or Scarlet River Lily.

The spectacularly colored colored Schizostylis coccinea 'Major' or Scarlet River Lily.

Scarlet River Lilies have been known since 1864 when they were brought into cultivation in Europe. The area they come from is quite high up in the mountains 1500-2500m(4900-8200ft.). They also grow in very moist areas, beside stream banks and seasonal islands. It is felt that this is an adaption to their climatic situation which is part of why they have been reclassified to be listed as  Hesperantha coccinea. Other members of Hesperantha grow from corms and Schizostylis coccinea grows from rhizomes. ‘Schizostylis’ refers to the the flower being in parts of 3 which is common with all members of the Iris(Iridaceae) family. ‘Coccinea’ refers to it’s red  flower color which is how it is seen in the wild.

There are up to 30 color forms of Scarlet River Lily which range from pure white to deep scarl

There are up to 30 color forms of Scarlet River Lily which range from pure white Schizostylis cocccinea 'Alba' to deep scarlet.

In the wild Scarlet River Lilies live up to their color name and are good shade of red which works in many situations. Since being brought into cultivation many shades have become known and some are quite delightful. I first  became familiar Schisostylis coccinea with ‘Major’ with large red flowers, then,  ‘Sunrise’ which is coral pink and  Mrs. Hagarty which is a lighter pink color.

One of the pink forms of Schizostylis coccinea commonly seen in the Victoria area.

One of the pink forms of Schizostylis coccinea commonly seen in the Victoria area is 'Sunrise'.

As I noted Scarlet River Lilies normally live in moist areas and this feature makes them very useful in the gardens. It is hard to find such bright plants with attractive and disease resistant plants for boggy areas. I much prefer this plant to many of the Irises commonly used as they can become to aggressive. This plant is also easily adapted to other areas where there is adequate moisture in the soil.

A planting of Scarlet River Lillies in a broad border of mixed perenials ans shrubs at Governement House.

A planting of Scarlet River Lillies in a broad border of mixed perenials ans shrubs at Governement House.

When growing  the easy and adaptable Schizostylis coccinea, choose a sunny site for the best show of blooms. Soil should be rich and moisture retentive. Care must be taken to make sure they do not dry out  when they are setting their flower buds as they will be lost. Buds also can be damaged by early frosts. These plants take -10c(14f) and is rated at zones 7 through 10. I have seen them sited in mixed borders, at the base of sunny slopes and along water ways and next to informal ponds and pools.  They also can be used in mass plantings for long blooming fall color.

The clean damage free foliage of Schizostylis cocciniea at this late time of the year is a real bonus.

The clean damage free foliage of Schizostylis cocciniea at this late time of the year is a real bonus.

The overall effect of this plant is relaxed as the leaves and floral stems are often lax. Scarlet River Lilies make great cut flowers, I place the red form in my tall large dark blue glass vase for a wonderful effect. It is best when buying these plants to choose them when in bloom as I think there is quite a lot of mis-labeling happening.

Picture a vase overflowing with spikes of Scarlet River Lilies...beautiful.

Picture a vase overflowing with spikes of Scarlet River Lilies...beautiful.

More about Schizostylis coccinea:

How to grow them:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/3324532/How-to-grow-Schizostylis.html

Techincal information about why they have been reclassifed: http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/pbs/2003-February/001617.html

other members of the Hesparantha family: http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/HesperanthaTwo#coccinea

Until We Meet Again Later….

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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

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Growing up in the North, my experience with bulbs was limited. We could not grow many of the showy plants that came from bulbs or if we did we would have to dig them up and store them over the winter in the garage if we had one which did not freeze. This stopped many people from growing things like Gladiolas and other more showy and multicolored flowers. it is a pity. When I moved south to go to school I saw this incredible red orange type of tall sword leaved plant which looked like the for-mentioned Gladiolas. It was not that, but a fiery Crocosmia blooming during the hottest days of summer. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is the most robust and showy of the bunch.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer': One of the most powerful of all colors in the garden.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer': One of the most powerful of all colors in the garden.

Crocosmia(often called Montbretia) are a species of bulbs which are found in South Africa which has an extraordinary array of species, said to be the most in any area in the world. This genus is very small with only 12 species being named. it was named in 1851 by Jules Émile Planchon, who was a well known botanist who spent most of his career at the University of Montpelier as well as as the Royal Botanical Gardens in London.  Crocosmia are from the Iris(Iridaceae) family and this is particularly reflected in the upright spiky foliage. Crocosmia are grown from corms just like their close cousins Crocus and Gladiolas.

A Perfect Planting of' Lucifer' Crocosmia in Brentwood Bay.

A Perfect Planting of' Lucifer' Crocosmia in Brentwood Bay.

There have now been an amazing 400 cultivars created with the best of them now fairly common throughout the world. They are easily reproduced from the corms which form chains of smaller ones which can be separated and grown into new chains or clumps. Crocosmias also set large amounts of fertile seed which is easy to germinate and grow into attractive new plants which will have bright red oranges to chrome yellows and every shade in between. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is a selection which comes from Alan Bloom (1906-2005) who has named several other well known forms. Alan Bloom is a very important plantsman and over his career he introduced more than 200 new perennial cultivars into the gardens of the world from his nursery at Bressingham Hall  which later became the world famous Bressingham Gardens.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' gleaming in the long boarder at Playfair Park in Saanich.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' gleaming in the long boarder at Playfair Park in Saanich.

‘Lucifer’ is said to be hybrid of Crocosmia and Curtonus which are often lumped together. It is unclear if it is a true hybrid between two closely allied plant genera or just a cross between 2 or more species in the Crocosmia genus only.  One thing is clear though, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is well named with it being the most brilliant of all colors. It also seems to be most vigorous  of the named Crocosmias I have seen; with the plants I photographed this week being as tall as me!

These Crocosmia 'Lucifer' at the same height as me.

These Crocosmia 'Lucifer' at the same height as me.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is an easy chioce to add to your garden.  Crocosmia require average soil with medium moisture retention especially during their growing and blooming season which extends into later summer. To get an impressive show plant your corms in groups of 3 or more, about 3in( 7cm) deep, right side up.  They enjoy full sun to make their stems rigorous and strong. If they are happy new corms with form and clumps will expand and can easily be divided. When moving the plants it is important to make sure you get all the tiny corms which will reappear if not removed completely.  To keep them tidy, remove the spent flowers and cut off any browning foliage if it bothers you. Spider Mites are one pest which can be a problem here and can damage the foliage and flowers. They are hardy to -10c( 20f) and sailed through the winter here and look more spectacular than usual.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' looks smashing with many shades and shapes of foliage.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' looks smashing with many shades and shapes of foliage.

Crocosmias are stiff upright plants which work well in the back of boarders as well as used in mass plantings as you have seen. They often are used as specimens because they are so showy and standout from other plants at this time of the year. They look great with many other foliage plants and you can play with the flower colors. I like seeing white Shasta Daisies with Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ because the whites are whiter and the red looks even more potent.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' makes an attractive cut flower.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' makes an attractive cut flower.

More on Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and others.

Species Crocosmia and what thier is to know about them.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocosmia

Growing Crocosmias.  http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=H680

Bressingham gardens and the Blooms family http://www.bressinghamgardens.com/familyhistory.php

Alan Bloom who all plant lovers should know. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Bloom_(plantsman)

Until We Meet Again Later in the Week…..

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