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Posts Tagged ‘Mass Plantings’

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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We are now on the edge of what I call ‘change over season’ which is when we move from the summer season of warm dry weather to the cool wet winter. This time of the late year is when big storms start to roll in dumping vast amounts of rain along with heavy winds. Now until the start of December is when we have power outages and roads blocked by tree limbs falling across them. The trees which were glorious in their fall coat of colorful leaves are suddenly bear from the repeated gusting of wind and punishing rains. The sounds of creaking tree limbs, rumblings of the tides and sometimes distant thunder make us want to bundle up warmly.  This is the time of the year where our gardens start to become skeletons of their former vibrant selves, only the backbones are left. One of the best bones left in the garden here is Miscanthus as it does stand up well with the new heavy fall season. The best of these grasses for staying power is Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’).

A wonderful Maiden Grass in bloom growing in Sidney B.C.

A wonderful 'Maiden Grass' in bloom growing in Sidney B.C.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ is a fairly old hybrid which was has been in use since its introduction into cultivation in 1888. It is an improvement on the original beuatiful Miscanthus sinensis in that it has much finer, narrower leaves giving it an overall dainty and graceful look.  The leaves and fine and narrow and stand up well over a long period of growth.  The  foliage delicacy makes it a useful and attractive addition to gardens which are too small for  the larger Miscanthus sinensis forms.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' in flower at Glendale Gardens.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' in flower at Glendale Gardens in mid October.

Miscanthus sinensis orginally comes from Japan, China, Taiwan and into Korea. I have not been able to find out exactly where the form I am writing about today originates from although several very similar forms clearly are from Japan. I suspect that is the case with Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' blooming at Finerty Gardens in late October.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' blooming at Finerty Gardens in late October.

It is said that Maiden Grass is a shy bloomer in cooler climates, here in Victoria we often have hot dry summers which verge on droughts. It blooms here regularly whereas you might have problems in Vancouver or other areas near to here. Location in the brightest, warmest place you have will facilitate more blooms. This is one grass I would want to have even if it does not bloom, it’s vertical accent in the garden early in the year adds so much to a design. It is rated hardy to zone 4 or -30c (-20f) and up.

Here Maiden Grass is used in a mass planting, can you imagine the effect when it is blooming later in the year?

Here Maiden Grass is used in a mass planting, can you imagine the effect when it is blooming later in the year?

Even though Maiden Grass is delicate, it still is a formidable plant to put in a garden. the best plantings I have seen are using them in mass plantings, in long deep sunny borders and in grass gardens as specimens. They also make an attractive informal hedge and also make very good container subjects. Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ grows to be a tall 1.5m(6ft) when in bloom. Its arching form also adds weight and substance coming in at a 1.5-2m(6to 8ft) space. It is a slow grower, but once established is very steady and  predictable in its habit year after year.

The delicate plumes of Maiden Grass hold up well in wet weather.

The delicate plumes of Maiden Grass hold up well in wet weather.

The emerging bronzy plumes of Maiden Grass will fade to a papery cream with age. The grass gradually turns golden shades from the base up the fades out to the familiar dried grassy color which it will hold over the winter. When we emerge into the other side of winter and plants are starting to emerge from slumber, now is the time to cut the Maiden skeletons down. Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ is one of the first grasses to stir and needs to be unencumbered to resume its growth.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' seedheads have started to fade into the variegated foliage here.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' seedheads have started to fade into the variegated foliage here.

It is best to buy Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ in a container as growing it from seed is exceedingly slow. Even dividing these plants is a hard job, when i worked in a nursery dividing grass required a machete to cut them up. Fortunately for us most nurseries carry Maiden Grass year round as they are popular plants. Also lucky for us these are easy plant to grow and do not require any special treatment.  Plant them a sunny site with  fertile well drained soil which can be sandy. You have to be a bit patient as they are slow to establish.

If you walk around the Sidney waterfront you will see many uses of Maiden Grass.

If you walk around the Sidney waterfront you will see many uses of Maiden Grass.

More about this charming Maiden Grass:

A great website all about grasses for all climates: http://www.bluestem.ca/miscanthus-gracillimus.htm

Wiki page on Miscanthus sinensis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscanthus_sinensis

Until we meet again soon…..

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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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When I moved to Vancouver Island I noticed right away the change in the native plants. On the southern tip of the island it is drier than the mainland and you find species not found elsewhere. The tree lupines are one of the plants which grow here, so is Oceanspray(Holodisus discolor) which is like a tree-form Astilbe. I also noticed some plants in gardens which I had not seen anywhere else. These where not uncommon plants, just forms which seemed almost endemic here. These where likely brought long ago by people who moved to the area and then passed about as plants were. My mother was given pieces of Daylily and Iris from her mother and then the clumps are split when someone enthuses about how beautiful they are…. and the cycle repeats. This must  be what happened here to see so many places with Hemerocallis fulva ‘Kwanso’.

Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso' a very ancient triploid double flowering Daylily.

Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso' a very ancient triploid double flowering Daylily.

Here near Sidney I found little seaside cottages with gardens brimming with great big clumps of this unusual form of  the Tawny ‘Kwanso’ Daylily.

Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso comes full circle having been recently replanted at the Sidney Information Center with it's period plantings.

Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso' comes full circle having been recently replanted at the Sidney Information Center with it's period plantings.

It’s parent Hemeocallis fulva is not know in the wild, although it first appeared in China and Japan. It is a triploid and is self-sterile and has be reproduced by division of it’s rhizomes. It was brought here from Europe in the 17th century and it was so successful at this that it has become naturalized in parts of North America and Europe.

Hemerocallis fulva or the Tawny Daylily, which has spead in North America and Europe.

Hemerocallis fulva or the Tawny Daylily, which has spead in North America and Europe.

Another form of the Tawny Daylily is seen commonly as well. It is Hemerocallis fulva var. littorea which is native to Japan where is grows in the grass near the oceans on Western Honshu and Kyushu islands. It blooms in late October there.

Hemerocallis fulva var. littorea, the 'Tawny Lily' which is planted in Brentwood Bay.

Hemerocallis fulva var. littorea, the 'Tawny Lily' which is planted in Brentwood Bay.

Hemerocallis fulva var. littorea is said to be smaller in stature and the leaves appear to be a darker green. Here it is best seen in a planting in Brentwood Bay where it is used as a mass planting in the middle of the roundabout and is repeated at intervals in a perennial planting which runs along West Saanich Rd through the community. It has been interesting to see how this planting design has fared since it’s installation several years ago.

The 'roundabout' in Brentwood Bay palnted with Hemerocallis fulva var. littorea.

The 'Roundabout' in Brentwood Bay mass planted with Hemerocallis fulva var. littorea.

Anyone who loves Daylilies can understand the importance of this species in breeding of new varieties which there are now hundreds. All other known Hemerocallis are yellow toned to yellowy orange and pinkish. Breeding new colors only really began in the 1920’s with Dr. A.B. Stout who started a program to expand the color range. Since that time over 45,000 new hybrids have been introduced which range from nearly white through blood red to blackish purple.  The flowers themselves have changed to having broader petals to show off their extravagant colors. Many new plants have been breed to be shorter in  overall stature  and to have longer bloom periods.  More recently a new addition to the Hemerocallis fulva family has been seen; a variegated form of ‘Kwanso’ (H.f. var. Variegata) with white stripes running through it’s leaves.

The variegated Tawny 'Kwanso' Daylily in 2006 at Govenment House in Victoria.

The variegated Tawny 'Kwanso' Daylily in 2006 at Govenment House in Victoria.

Growing Daylilies is easy which is why they are such successful plants.  Tawny Daylilies need a bright sunny site with well drained, rich soil. They need a fairly large area as they can grow  into a 1m(3ft) by 1m(3ft) clump quickly. Daylilies make excellent subjects for mass planting and can make an attractive informal edging as the foliage is attractive, durable and does not get ratty looking during the late summer. Keep Daylilies tidy by removing the spent flowers stems when they are finished. Most forms are quite hardy and will easily withstand zone4 (-20c or -15f). Propagation of Hemerocallis fulva forms as well as all Daylilies is by division which is very easily done in the spring.

The broad foliage is an attravtive foil to the facinating Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso' blossom.

The broad foliage is an attractive foil to the fascinating Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso' blossoms.

Further information on Tawny Daylillies:

Paghat’s experience with the Tawny Daylily: http://www.paghat.com/daylily.html

Growing Daylilies; how to do it best: http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/daylily2.html

A more technical description of Hemerocallis fulva: http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=200027676

Visit Brentwood Bay: http://www.vancouverisland.com/regions/towns/?townID=30

Until We Meet Again Later This Week…..

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