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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

My prim(e) name is usually connected to a Rose.

P.v

P.v

I come in many colors, pink, yellow, white and in between.

Magenta

Magenta

This is a common color you will see in me!

I am a very old fashioned plant  and am referred to in many old stories and poems.

I am Vein

I am Vein

People often say I’m vulgar.

I think I am more of a star in a star!

Pure and Pristine

Pure and Pristine

If you need more come back tomorrow.

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I first came across the lovely Eranthis hyemalis or Winter Aconites at my grandmothers garden in South Surrey near Vancouver. My mother showed me them blooming under a huge Cherry tree and there where hundreds of  the golden gems dotting the ground . She wanted to know if she could grow them in Prince George(where I grew up), I said I didn’t know and would find out for her. As they seemed to be extremely dwarf Buttercup type plants I hoped they would grow in the north(zone3). It turns out that they can with protection as they are hardy from zone 3 to 8. Both my mother and grandmother are both dead now and I have thought about these delicate plants off and on through the years and wondered why were they so uncommon?

Winter Aconites blooming in the sun.

Winter Aconites at Glendale Gardens blooming in the sun.

I hadn’t seen any Winter Aconites until last week when I was out looking for a suitable plant to highlight for this weeks article and stumbled upon them at one of my favorite gardens. I knew at once what I had come across and  knew I would just have to write about them. after finding them at Glendale Gardens I wanted to see if they were planted elsewhere. The first place i thought of was Finnerty Gardens which are located on the grounds of the University of Victoria, so, I went there and was not disappointed. There were several groupings of them located near the edges of  of the developed gardens.

A group of Eranthis hymalis at Finnerty Gardens.

A group of Eranthis hyemalis at Finnerty Gardens.

Each plant is quite small but it’s impact is huge. they hug the ground being at the most 4in(10cm) high. Each stem bears a single large 5 petaled blossom which  is 3/4 to 1 in(2.5cm) across. Each flower is charmingly encircled by a delicate green ruffle. If these plants are happy they will increase and create carpets of bright blossoms followed by delicate foliage and then finally go dormant in late spring.

Glorious Gleaming Golden Winter Aconites

Glorious Gleaming Golden Winter Aconites

The tiny Winter Aconites  are truly one of the delights of spring which you won’t notice the rest of the year as they go dormant over the rest of the year. Being a member of theRanunculus family they do not like being moved which may have lead to their scarcity in gardens. This means they need careful placement. Fortunately there are many suitable locations which they can grow.

Fully opened Winter Aconites February 17 2009

Fully opened Winter Aconites February 17 2009

Ideally they are placed somewhere slightly out of the way that can be easily seen. Often good placement is at the base of a deciduous tree or in a rock garden niche which has sufficient moisture in the spring when they are erupting into a glowing show. They mix well with other spring bulbs such as Galanthus and Crocuses and other early blooming plants such as Primulas which bloom in the late January through early march period. It would also be possible to intermingle them with very low growing groundcovers which are not too dense.

Several healthy clumps of Eranthis hyemalis.

Several healthy clumps of Eranthis hyemalis.

Winter Aconites originate in Europe,  growing from France through Italy and crossing the sea into Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. They have happily naturalised in other areas of Europe as well. They grow there in deciduous woodlands  such as those dominated by Horse Chestnuts(Aesculus hippocastanum) and rocky places. Winter Aconite are relatively easy to grow as they are not too particular about soil and will accept any as long as its not at an alkaline or acidic extreme. It should be rich in nutrients such as a loam and able to retain moisture in the important early spring growing period.

Winter Aconite blossoms in detail.

Winter Aconite blossoms in detail.

If you are lucky you can find a neighbor who will share these dainty giants with you as they are best lifted and the tiny tubers divided up. The next best is to purchase the dormant tubers and then soak them a few days in damp peat before planting in the late summer about 1 in deep. Sow freshly collected seed in the location where they are to grow and then be patient as it tales 1 to 2 years before blossoms will be seen. Always remember to mark where you have planted the tubers or seeds so you will not accidentally disturb them while they are dormant.

Links to This Weeks Subject:

Finnerty Gardens where many of these pictures where taken is a hidden jewel at the University of Victoria grounds. It is a good place to learn the names of plants as many have been marked:

http://external.uvic.ca/gardens/index.php

A good source of information on Winter Aconites

http://www.hort.wisc.edu/mastergardener/Features/bulbs/winteraconite/winteraconite.htm

I look forward to chatting with you again next Sunday, right here.

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I am a Glowing Golden Globe peaking out across Southern Europe and all of Asia.

Glowing Golden Globe

Glowing Golden Globe

I often am found in the forest, but not always.

Green Ruffles

Green Ruffles

I have a green ruffle around each of my flowers.

I am dainty yet stocky all at the same time.

Golden Eye

Golden Eye

Buttercup is one of my more famous cousins. Now can you guess who I am?

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I was found in the woods.

I am blushing

I am blushing

I can be spicy and sweet.

or I can be a bit prickly looking

Tall, Narrow and prickly Sometimes.

Tall, Narrow and prickly Sometimes.

Most of the time you will not pay attention to me

Except NOW!

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

Can you tell who I am…..I need HELP!

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Victoria has a reputation of being thought of as being the most ‘English’ of North American cities, therefore,  you would expect to find the most ‘English’ of all plants commonly planted here. It is true that Erica carnea or Winter Heath(Heaths have needle like foliage and Heathers have scales) is planted here, it’s not very common and good Heather gardens are hard to find at all. The best one which I know of is the Heather garden at Glendale Gardens in Saanich. This garden covers the range of species which are commonly called Heather including other Ericas,  Calluna and Daboecia.

Heather Garden At Glendale Garden

Heathers at Glendale Garden

Erica carnea is the most adaptable of all the heaths.  This type of Heath originally comes from southeastern France and grows east toward Switzerland  and southern Germany to Austria then south to Yugoslavia.  It is found in mountainous areas which is why it is more cold hardy than other Heaths (zone 4-8).

Erica carnea varieties are low growing shrubs that are no more than 8in.(20cm) tall with a spread of 22in.(55cm) at the most.  They have a fine texture being that they have fine needle-like foliage and delicate racemes of tiny colorful bell shaped blossoms.

Flower and foliage fo Erica carnea Isobel

Flower and foliage fo Erica carnea Isobel

Erica carnea blooms in the darkest, coldest months of winter and is often seen happily poking up through a blanket of snow in full flower. Since it was introduced into Britain in 1763 there have been over 100 cultivars  selected with flowers ranging in color from white through to strong red purples as well as those with unusual foliage colors.  The most commonly seen cultivars in Victoria are ‘Springwood White’ and ‘Springwood Pink’ which is light pink, ‘King George’ that is mid pink and ‘Vivellii’ which has a rich pink flowers.

E.c. 'Springwood White' the purest of the Whites

E.c. 'Springwood White' the purest of the Whites

The needle-like foliage also can be selected for its color effects. It normally is a fine mid to dark green hue, but varieties such as ‘Aurea’  have a lime yellow color in the summer that turns a more golden tone as the weather cools. E.c. Bell’s Extra Special  is similar and has reddish blossoms.

E.c Bell's Extra Special foliage color.

E.c Bell's Extra Special foliage color.

Heaths are long lasting plants which look best in a bed completely devoted to heathers species. A few smaller conifers and bulbs such as daffodils are suitable to add. Careful selection can create an ever change display of color both in foliage and flowers throughout the year.

Dazzling color display with dwarf conifer in the background.

Dazzling color display with a dwarf conifer in the background.

These are low maintenance plants which can be lightly pruned soon after blooming. It also will grow in a wider range of soil types and does not need an exclusively acidic site. They do not tolerate drought as they are shallow rooted therefore adding some peat for moisture retention is a good idea.  Also plant them so their foliage rests on the soil.  They require full sun for the best  growth.  For best impact plant in groups of 5 in a single type, a bed can be made up of several groupings like this. Mass plantings are very common as well. Single plants can be used with great effect in rock gardens.

The Links of the Week

Glendale Gardens in Saanich is where all the pictures here come from.

http://www.hcp.bc.ca/index.php

To learn more about Heath and Heathers go to  The Heather Society

http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/heather/

Royal Horticultural Society page on Erica carnea.

http://www.rhs.org.uk/WhatsOn/gardens/harlowcarr/archive/harlowcarrpomfeb.asp

Until we meet again  next Sunday at this time…..

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I am called a ‘She’,  I am called a ‘He’.

Golden What?

Golden What?

Prickly….Maybe?

I am in many colors, both in my flowers and foliage.

I'm blushing!

I'm blushing!

I am so Shy, so, What am I?

P.S. check the bottom of the Jelena post, there is a new picture from yesterday.

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For this first entry I had to do some legwork, as I don’t normally take that many pictures of plants in the dead of winter here. At this time it is more difficult to get around because we have had an uncharacteristically large dump of snow which began the week before Christmas. The roads are still icy and there are piles of snow along the sides, fortunately it is melting fast and will be gone soon.

I decided to check out one of my favorite plant places to see if anything would catch my eye and pen. Lo and behold There glowing next to the path was a Hamamelis x intermedia Jelena.

hamemelis-x-jelena-shrub

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’,  January 2008

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ is sometimes misnamed as ‘Copper Beauty’ and is a coppery orange yellow bloom and rich burnished to orange to plum fall foliage.

This year the colors seems to have intensified the petal colouring and caused it to be a more reddish tone.

img_6468_edited-cropped

Winter cold effects the flower coloring.

hamamellis-x-jelena-cropped

More normal coloring for Jelena Witch Hazel.

‘Jenela’ is a cross between the two Asian species: mollis that is Chinese and japonica f. purpurescens tfrom whic it gets its reddish colour. Both of these plants natural hybridise in the wild were their paths meet.

It originated at Kalmthout Arboretum near Antwerp, Belgium in about 1935. The name Jelena comes from the gardener Jelena de Belder, who with her husband Robert worked there. Hamamelis x intermedia Diane was named after their daughter.This a blog post about theHamamelis festival at  Kalmthout Arboretum:http://thegardenwanderer.blogspot.com/2009/02/kalmthout-arboretum-hamamelis-festival.html The fragrance is just one of the surprises, it is an unusual citrus spicy blend . It will draw you to this plant on a warm day in January when this plant is glowing with blossoms in the garden. The spidery flowers withstand winters worst weather and are not damaged at all.
An added bonus is the interesting seed capsules which remain on the tree over winter.

img_6472_edited

Hamamelis make excellent specimens and are in focus during their winter season of bloom. Later with wonderful fall foliage coloring take the stage. They are also at home in a woodland setting where they can fade into the background when not in bloom.They grow into low widespread single or multi-stemmed shrubs therefore siting is important. To show their best they like full sun on their branches and moist well drained soil for their roots.

January 20 2009, after its warmed up.

January 20 2009, after its warmed up.

Hardiness rating is zone 4 about -25C, so it will grow in most of Canada and U.S.A.

Check out these sites:
For Hamamelis in general:
http://www.witchhazelnursery.com/
How to grow and more
http://landscaping.suite101.com/article.cfm/hamamelis___best_landscape_sites

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