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Posts Tagged ‘Perennials’

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 I was very small going even a few house from home was a big adventure, I never knew what I would come across. I would walk up the lane with the big fences, past the garage at the corner and the decide which direction to turn. I would walk to the next block and turn and by the time I pasted the second white house I would want to go home. There I found a most peculiar plant with flowers that looked like hearts suspended which were on slender branches amongst the tender green leaves. Never knew such a beautiful plant existed and was in love with it instantly. Bleeding Hearts (Laprocapnos spectabilis) have been in my heart since that time and definitely piqued my curiosity about plants in a way that insured gardens would be a central feature in my life.

Any child would be fascinated by the Bleeding Heart(Lamprocapnos spectabilis) flowers.

Any child would be fascinated by the Bleeding Heart(Lamprocapnos spectabilis) flowers.

Whats this you say, I know this plant to be a Dicentra spectabilis…and what is this silly name you are now calling it Lamprocapnos spectabilis ?. Yes it is true the name has changed and just recently and we can thank our ability to see plants at a molecular level know so we change their family based on their genetic make up.  The original study appears to have been done in 1997 and the acceptance of the new name was accepted in late August 2006. this is not the first name change, originally it was classed as a Fumaria and later as a Dielytra. As for the common name, take your pick of : Bleeding Heart, Venus’s Car, Lady’s Locket, Lyre Flower, Tearing Hearts, Our Lady in a Boat, Chinese Pants and the list goes on.

The brightly colored stems of Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) in the spring add excitement to the garden, you know something wonderful is on the way.

The brightly colored stems of Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) in the spring add excitement to the garden, you know something wonderful is on the way.

 Bleeding Hearts were first mentioned in “Vollstandige Lexicon der Gartneri und Botanik’ (1804) a book written by German Botanist Friedrich Gottlieb Dietrich(1765-1850).  He was the designer and director of the  Botanical Gardens in Eisenach and Wilhelmstal. During his lifetime he taught botany ,collected plants mainly in the Alps and was a Professor of Botany. With his access to the gardens he was able to see many of the new plants be sent from other parts of the world to be catalogued. From the original mention of  Bleeding Heart  (listed as Fumaria) in 1804 it seems the plant was not long-lived. It was introduced into english gardens in 1812 with the same short-lived results.

The sublimely beautiful Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Alba' (White Bleeding Heart) is a more delicate plant than the more common pink variety.

The sublimely beautiful Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Alba' (White Bleeding Heart) is a more delicate plant than the more common pink variety.

In 1846 Robert Fortune (plant explorer extraordinaire) purchased a live Bleeding Heart plant at a nursery in Shanghai China and sent it back to Kew with a note saying that he thought this plant would become very popular with gardeners. within 5 year the plants were being sent to continental Europe and North America and were well-distributed in Great Britain. It was such a hit that by the end of the 19th century it was seen as being a ‘cheap’ (as in common but very charming.) although William Robinson saw its beauty describing the flowers as ‘resembling rosy hearts’ (that are) ‘in strings of a dozen or more gracefully borne on slender stalks’ (and) having ‘remarkable beauty’.

The delicate foliage of Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) is a perfect foil for more solid plants and structures like this bench.

The delicate foliage of Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) is a perfect foil for more solid plants and structures like this bench.

Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) is from asia but is found in a wide range ; from Siberia through Korea into Japan and south into China. It is not common anywhere in the wild. It would be found in fairly low to quite high elevations from 30 -2400 m.(100 – 7900 ft.). With this diversity of range it is not surprising to find it is quite hardy surviving -40 c and f. tempetures (zone 3 where I spotted my first plant as a small child). An added benefit is that these plants are deer and rabbit resistant and should be used by gardeners who have these problems.

Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Bleeding Hearts) might look delicate but they are tough, hardy plants.

Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Bleeding Hearts) might look delicate but they are tough, hardy plants.

Growing a Bleeding Heart is easy; you will need rich humusy  moisture retentive soil, dappled exposure and a site which offers protection from winds which can damage the foliage and blooms. The plants if they are happy with produce a large vigorous clump which produces dense roots. They grow to be about 1 m.(3 ft.) high by about the same wide.  Plants do have brittle roots so care should be taken when planting near its base. These plants are easily divided in autumn or early spring, growing them from seed is somewhat tricky as it has to be sown as soon as it ripens. There are several forms you might be interested in buying, my favourite is the glistening white Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ which has beautifully green leaves. You might prefer ‘Gold Heart’ although I find the golden chartreuse foliage clashes with the pink flowers. A new addition is Valentine’ which has deeper, richer colored flowers.

This collection of Laprocapnos spectabilis was a single plant last year and is happliy growing in its new location.

This collection of Laprocapnos spectabilis was a single plant last year and is happliy growing in its new location.

For the most part Lamprocapnos spectabilis is a carefree plant with few pests other that the odd aphid or slug slimming around. Often plants get messy looking after they bloom, you can cut them down to 15 cm. (6 in.) and they will regrow with new vigour and often will produce a smaller crop of flowers in late summer or autumn. Late autumn offer up golden tones which are appreciated.  This plant can be used in a variety of ways; it is often a foil for bold foliage and mixes well with the more dainty ferns. It is used as an accent, specimen, in shade and woodland gardens, in perennial borders for spring interest.

Dissecting Lamprocapnos(Dicentra):

Paghats article on the plant: http://www.paghat.com/bleedingheart.html

ARS-GRIN page on the new name: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?408089

In Wiki you will encounter the name change: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamprocapnos_spectabilis
……………Hope you don’t change your mind and decide to leave soon………….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Joyous Links for Autumn:

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you here again soon….

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I haven’t written about any large leaved  plants other than Hostas yet, well this week is my chance to do that.  These are not by any means the the largest but they will be classified a coarse in texture.  Making space for one of these plants if you possibly is well worth. I first saw some of these plants working in a perennial nursery on the lower mainland and fell in love with them even though they looked really odd in one gallon pots. When i see Rodgersias, any species of them in a garden I am trilled by the beauty of their leaves.

Bronze tinted Rodgersia aesculifolia emerges in the spring.

Bronze tinted Rodgersia aesculifolia emerges in the spring.

there are 5 species of Rodgersia which are known to us. The first to be found was Rodgersia podopyhlla. This plant was named by the famous Botanist Asa Gray (Gray’s Manual of Botany) in 1885. He chose to name the plant for Rear Admiral John Rodgers(1812-1882) who lead a pacific expedition(1852-1856) where this first species was found.  Rodgersia popdophylla is the only species which is found in Japan on the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido as well as in Korea.

Rodgersia podophylla is the most commonly grown species seen in parks here in Victoria.

Rodgersia podophylla is the most commonly grown species seen in parks here in Victoria.

The other 4 species of Rodgersia all come from Asia, ranging from most of  China, south in to Myanmar through into Nepal. Rodgersia aescutifolia was found by Pere David in 1869 and he later discovered the species Rodgersia pinnata in 1883.  Rodgersia sambucifolia was found by Ernest Wilson in 1904 while he was in Yalung, in western China. Rodgersia nepalensis is the most recent discovery which is still not commonly grown here. R. henrci is now considered a form of aescutifolia.  The former species R. tabularis has been removed and given it’s own name Astilboides tabularis, it has large round leaves and slightly different looking flower scapes.

Rodgersia pinnata and it's selected=

Rodgersia pinnata and it's selected forms offer more of a range of flower color.

The species of Rodgersia are known to interbreed which has created difficulty in horticulture in naming plants accurately, none the less these are all beautiful plants which add much to the look of a garden. There are also newer color forms with deeper brown and blackish tints. Rodgersia has the darkest leaves which often have tones of black and flowers sepals and stems which can be in dark maroon tones.

Here Rodgersia sambucifolia has deep maroon and black tints of early autumn at  the U.B.C. Botanical Gardens.

Here Rodgersia sambucifolia has deep maroon and black tints of early autumn at the U.B.C. Botanical Gardens.

Rodgersias are remarkable adaptable and hardy given the right care.  These plants are normally listed as shade plants but take full sun if they are given adequate water. They are water suckers and this why they are often seen near or along water edges. Full sun will mean better flowers and more vigorous and deeply textured leaves.

This remarkable floral display of hybrid Rodgersias is in full sun at Finnerty Gardens in Victoria.

This remarkable floral display of hybrid Rodgersias is in full sun at Finnerty Gardens in Victoria.

Rodgersias have large leaves and spread slowy creating loose clumps of leaves. Most well grown plants will form a clump which is 1.2m(48in) high(including floral scape) by the same wide. The exception is Rodgersia sambucifolia which only grows about 1m(36in) high and wide.  The all apreciate rich humusy soil which retain moisture well during drier times of the year.  Site away from drying winds and sites where they might scorch from the sun in more southern sites.

Beautiful Rodgersia pinnata leaves emerging from a bed of Vancouveria hexxandra and Dicentra formosa.

Beautiful Rodgersia pinnata leaves emerging from a bed of Vancouveria hexxandra and Dicentra formosa.

Rodgersias are surprising hardy, lately I have been reading about gardeners on the prairies who successfully grow many of the species and they seem to thrive with some extra mulch covering them for the winter.  The prairies( Alberta through Manitoba) are definitely cold with winters which haves periods with temperatures below -40c(f) zones 2b through 3b.  This all comes as a surprise as they are rated at -20c(-4f) in most publications. Late frost there can damage the leaves and flowers are not so commonly seen, but its really the leaves you  really, really want!

The floral scapes of Rodgersias are made up of  hundreds of tiny, fragrant flowers.

The floral scapes of Rodgersias are made up of hundreds of tiny, fragrant flowers.

Rodgersias can be incorporated into your garden in many ways. Look to put them in a large perennial border or a shrub border, use them for contrasting texture. they look very well in woodland settings as well as shade gardens. The foliage, flower and seed heads add color throughout the year. Fall foliage color can range from blacks, browns, reds and yellows depending on species and growing conditions.

Finding your Rodgersia:

Technical key to tell Rodgersia species from each other:  http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=128667

A closer look at Rodgersia podophylla flowers: http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/potd/2007/12/rodgersia_podophylla_1.php

Wiki lists all 5 species of Rodgersia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodgersia

Now what should I choose for next week…..

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I have been fortunate to have worked as a grower at a nursery.  This gave me the opportunity to grow plants which are not that well known. Some plants aren’t well known because they are hard to grow while others just have a false reputation for that. One plant I grew was the eastern(North American) form of a local plant. I never saw the local plant until a few years ago when i was with my father driving near Nanaimo which is north of here. It was magical, carpeting a dappled area in the woods. Last year I finally found Henderson’s Shooting Star(Dodecatheon hendersonii) in many places.

Dodecatheon hendersonii is known as Broad Leaved Shooting Star.

Dodecatheon hendersonii is known as Broad Leaved Shooting Star.

Henderson’s Shooting Star is a very delicate looking plant which grows amoungst other more showy plants. it is often in bloom at the same time the local Erythronium oregonium(White Fawn Lily) is and grows in the same places. The hot magenta flower color helps it stand out even though the flowers themselves are quite small.  The shape of the flower, with it’s extremely reflexed petals make it look quite unique.

An extremely rare white form of Dodecatheon hendersonii.

An extremely rare white form of Dodecatheon hendersonii.

Shooting Stars are a strictly North American species. The most commonly grown member of them is an Dodecatheon meadia which is found in the east growing  from Pennsylvania to Manitoba and south through Georgia and Texas. In the west we have many species which overlap in some areas. Dodecatheon hendersonii is probably the most western as it grows on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and moves  south to west central California. On the mainland it grows on the western side of the coastal mountains though the Siskiyous and the Sierra Nevadas. There are at least two named varieties. Var. hansonii is found in the Siskiyous and scattered locations in the Sierra Nevadas. Var. hendersonii is more widespread and found along coastal B.C.  to southern Oregon.

The leaves of Dodecatheon hendersonii lay flat to the ground unlike most others of the species.

The leaves of Dodecatheon hendersonii lay flat to the ground unlike most others of the species.

Dodecatheon are members of the Primulaceae family. Dodecatheon is Greek; Dode(ka) meaning 12 and theo(s)n meaning god. The word dodecatheon refers to the 12 principle or most important gods which resided on Olympus. Pliny gave this original name to Primulas which grew where he lived. Primulas were thought to be under the care and protection of the 12 gods. The reference to the gods in the scientific name is thought to note that the flowers look somewhat likes thunderbolts which would be cast down on earth the gods when they were unhappy about what was going on. Hendersonii refers Louis Forniquet Henderson(1853-1942) who was the first botany professor at the University of Idaho.

Dodecatheon hendersonii are seen on mass along the sides of Old West Saanich Road near Victoria.

Dodecatheon hendersonii are seen on mass along the sides of Old West Saanich Road near Victoria.

Henderson’s Shooting Star grow in shallow soils which are damp during the spring growing season and then become bone dry during the long summer droughts which can extend into October here. This is the perfect type of situation for these plants. Often I have found them growing amoungst the Camas leaves, along rocky edges of roads and on moss covered bluffs.

These  bright magenta  blossoms of Henderson's Dodecatheon will soon be replaced by brilliant blue Camus.

These bright magenta blossoms of Henderson's Dodecatheon will soon be replaced by brilliant blue field of Camus.

When growing Dodecatheon hendersonii it is best to reproduce their local environment the best you can. If you are successful they will seed themselves and you will have a nice colony to look forward to every spring.  plant in a mossy mix with rich soil, make sure it will drain adequately during the winter rainy season. They prefer to live below deciduous trees or shrubs or along the edge of such to be protected over the summer. These plants go completely dormant over the summer therefore it is wise to mark their site so as not to dig them up accidentally.

Henderson's Shooting Star next to a bluff of sandy gritty soil.

Henderson's Shooting Star next to a bluff of sandy gritty soil.

Henderson’s Shooting Star grow between 10 and  20cm tall(4-7in). They can grow taller if they are in richer soil. Here they tend to be in the shorter range. They are likely to be hardy to -10c(14f) or slightly colder. The last two winters have had spells of -10c and I think they have been more abundant than when the winters are warmer, maybe it is less likely they will rot. Slugs love these plants especially when they are just coming out of the ground in the early spring, protect them from these raiding feeders.

Can you imagine having a huge patch of Henderson's Shooting Stars growing wild in your backyard.

Can you imagine having a huge patch of Henderson's Shooting Stars growing wild in your backyard.

Some choice places to look for Shooting Stars:

Royla B.C. Museum has a great section on native plants:http://www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Natural_History/Plants.aspx?id=958

How to grow and propagate them from experts:http://www.goert.ca/propagation_guidelines/forbs/dodecatheon_hendersonii

All the Dodecatheons you could possibly want:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodecatheon

Until we meet again on these blogging pages….

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When I came to live on the coast i was surprised to see how some plants were used. the climate here is just a notch below where many tender annuals will grow as perennials such as Snapdragons which winter over, sometimes for many years like the ones outside my kitchen window. Others are house plants elsewhere like Fatsia which grows as an attractive shade tolerant shrub here. One of the most surprising to me was the delicate and dainty Cyclamen which even as a house plant where a mystery to us. It was quite thrilling to find that Cyclamen hederifolium(Ivy-leaved Cyclamen)produce an especially abundant display here.

The delicate and dainty Cyclamen hederifolium blossom.

The delicate and dainty Cyclamen hederifolium blossom.

Cyclamen hederifolium was named in 1789 by Aiton but for many years has wrongly been sold as Cyclamen neapolitanum. More recently it has been split into varieties which refer to where it is found. C. hederifolium var. hederifolium and C. hederifolium var. confusum which we non-specialists can say are basically the same. we do know that these plants do grow in a wide area from southern France down into Italy and its islands. Then it moves east through Croatia, Bosnia down through Greece and it’s many islands over to western Turkey. It grows in a wide range of terrains from sea level up to 1400m(4300ft). It ranges from the richer soils of woodlands to maquis and gariques which have dry thin soils and occur on the dry lower mountainous slopes of the Mediterranean area.

The summer drought here does not bother Cyclamen hederifolium at all.

The summer drought here does not bother Cyclamen hederifolium at all.

There are many places I have found these beauties. Playfair Park has the best and most bountiful display right now in amongst it’s Rhododendron collection.  In Finnerty Gardens you will find them dotted about in shady spots. I also found them out along a country roadside where they have naturalized in clumps.Cyclamen is from the ancient greek ‘kylos’ meaning circle which refers to the shape of  the corm it’s growth springs from. One Cyclamen hederifoliums’ common name is ‘Sowbread’ which refers to Cyclamen which is said to be the favorite food of swine in southern France and Italy. Ivy-leaved and ‘hederifolium’ refer  to this Cyclamens the attractive leaves.

The interesting markings of Ivy-leaved Cyclamen are varied and colorful in the cool grey, drab winters here.

The interesting markings of Ivy-leaved Cyclamen are varied and colorful in the cool grey, drab winters here.

There are several species of Cyclamen which are seen regularly in gardens here. Cyclamen coum is the other most commonly grown variety. It is easily separated from Cyclamen hederifolium by it round, kidney shaped leaves and it bloom period which is in the early spring.  Both are easy to grow and have long lasting, attractive foliage.

Cyclamen coum have rounded leaves and bloomin in Febuary and March.

Cyclamen coum have rounded leaves and bloom in February and March.

Cyclamen hederifolium grow from a thick woody corm which is bulb-like.  This corm helps the plant survive the long hot, dry summer season in the Mediterranean.  It is easy to grow these beauties. They like to grow in fun sun to part shade in a location with soil which has at least a good part in leaf mold.  Plant the tubers  with their budding side up  3-5cm(1/2-1 1/2in) deep. Avoid planting in an area which has summer wet as this is the time of rest for this species. Water throughout fall into late spring as this is the growing season. These plants grow well under dappled shrubs and are also excellent container plants. In the wild pink is the most common color, while in cultivation whites are much more commonly seen.

LushCyclamen hederifolium plants are attactive in the dead of winter at Playfair Park.

Lush Cyclamen hederifolium plants are attractive in the dead of winter at Playfair Park.

Ivy-leaved Cyclamen spring from the earth and remind us that summer is waning.  Autumn is about to come forth with all it’s brilliant shades and slowly the seasons change with longer nights to come.

More about Cyclamen hederifolium:

From the Cyclamen Society: http://www.cyclamen.org/hederif_set.html

How to grow Cyclamen: http://www.hardycyclamens.com/grow_hardy_cyclamen.html

Dave’s Garden always has interesting comments from other gardeners: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1590/

Until we meet again….

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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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