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Posts Tagged ‘Woodland plants’

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 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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In the Great Victoria we a blessed to have many parks and rural areas which we can explore, often the nearest ones are the places that are overlooked.  I had been to Dominion Brook Park near where I live several times with my sister and her son to play and explore the large safe. It was only later when I took my father to see the park that I realized what interesting plants were there.  In reading about the history of the park this is not surprising. It has one of the oldest plant collections in the area. It dates back to 1913 when it was established by the then Canadian Department of Agriculture as a demonstration arboretum and ornamental garden for the public to enjoy.

Dominion Brook Park in North Saanich.

Dominion Brook Park in North Saanich.

Dominion Brook Park  still has significant collections of conifers, Hollies, Camellia and Rhododendrons which were imported from some of the most famous nurseries in the world. If you go to the park at this time and look across the main pond you will be surprised to see a fiery red Rhododendron blooming and sometimes reflected in the still water. This is one of the original Rhododendron which was brought from Arnold Arboretum by Ernest ‘Chinese’ Wilson to give to the new park. The red  Rhododendron strillgilosum is one of the species he discovered in his plant collecting trips in China which he became famous for.

 

Brillant Red Blossoms of Rhododendron strigillosum.

Brillant Red Blossoms of Rhododendron strigillosum.

 

 

Rhododendron strillgilosum overlooking the pond.

Rhododendron strillgilosum overlooking the pond at Dominion Brook Park.

Rhododendron strigillosum is a dramatic sight to behold at this time of the year and is a break from all the yellows, whites and other pastel colors that seem to dominate  now. The red coloring stands out from the other early blooming rhododendrons such as  sutcheunense(pink), dauricum(mauve) and moupinense(white to pale pink). the species is not too common to find and you will have to look in an specialty garden or collection. What is common are the hybrids from this strigillosum which bear definite resemblance to the parent and several have become famous in their own right.  Etta Burrow, Grace Seabrook, Malahat, and Taurus are but a few which are commonly seen in gardens in this area.

Rhododendron stigillosum is Loaded with Blooms.

Rhododendron strigillosum is Loaded with Blooms.

Rhododendron stigillosum is easy to recognize as is a large  rounded shrub or small tree which can grow to 25ft in a suitable location. It has long elliptical leaves with edges that are often rolled under. Looking more closely at the leaves, bristles which are reddish are seen coating it. These bristles are most noticeable on new growth  as well as on the branches.  This plant is found in the provinces of Sichaun and Yunnan, China at 7 to 11,00 ft( 2100-3400 m). It was introduced to Arnold Arboretum by E.H. Wilson in 1904.  It was award  an AM (Award of Merit) in 1925.

 

Rhododendron strigillosum in Finnerty Gardens.

Rhododendron strigillosum in Finnerty Gardens.

Rhododendron strigillosum and it’s hybrids are all easy to grow. Like all rhodos’ they like rich well drained soil with some extra organic material added early each year. Rhododendrons are shallow rooted therefore it is especially important that they are watered throughout the year. Next years flower buds are being set in late summer when we often have an extended dry period, if watering is neglected it will effect blooming the following spring!   Rhododendron are usually forest dwellers and show their displeasure at being exposed to too much sun by having yellowed leaves, dappled conditions are prefered.  These are fairly hardy plants and tolerate temperatures down to  5-14f (-10 to -15c). for short periods.

 

'Taurus', one of Rhododendron strigillosums offspring

'Taurus', one of Rhododendron strigillosums' offspring

 Links for Learning More About Rhododendron strigillosum:

A well researched article in the with some great insight  into the species. (PDF file)  http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/vrs/january2008.pdf

Quick overview of the species. http://www.rhododendron.org/descriptionS_new.asp?ID=175

Dominion Brook Park Homepage:
http://www.northsaanich.ca/Municipal_Hall/Departments/Parks_and_Trails/Parks_Information/Municipal_Parks/Dominion_Brook_Park.htm

Who is Ernest ‘Chinese Wilson and why he is important to us.  http://www.plantexplorers.com/explorers/biographies/wilson/ernest-henry-willson.htm

Arnold Arboretum: http://www.arboretum.harvard.edu/

Until we meet again….

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