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Friday, June 27, 2008


The other day I posted a photo about a plant but couldn't remember the name. Well here it is, Callirhoe involucrata. Now please don't ask me to pronounce this out loud, I can usually come up with a decent pronunciation but this one has me totally stumped.

I've had Callirhoe in the garden 4 or 5 years now. The same two plants, never more, never less. I bought them in a small pot and over the years I've learned little about them.

Callirhoe doesn't stand up on it's own, it needs surrounding plant material to clambor along or a rock wall to cascade down.

It has no pests that I've seen except for rabbits which occasionally find it absolutely delicious.

The flowers only open when the sun is up, they close up in early evening but the strong magenta color still makes the closed buds beautiful.

Today I went to Mobot's site to learn more about this plant. It is part of the Malva family and can grow as far south as Texas (Pauline, are you taking note?). Also, it likes dry to medium soil so I'm guessing it would also do well for Gail in her stony Tennessee soil.

This plant is native to America, I wonder if any of you folks overseas seas have it in your gardens?

If any of you have tips on how to propigate this plant, leave a message. I remember hearing it seeds around but I don't have any seedlings here that I know of.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

1 + 1 = Another 1

A few years ago my younger daughter Emily decided she wanted to hybridize some daylilies. Typical of a child, she looked at the process in a whole different light. First she came up with the name she liked and then she looked for the flowers that she though would give her a seedling with the right qualities.

Her name of choice was "Mac & Cheese" so you can guess what color daylilies she decided to work with. This first photo is 'Nutmeg Elf' and it gave Emily the color she wanted. She used this daylily as the pod parent.

The daylily Emily chose to use as a pollen parent was 'Itsy Bitsy Spider', shown in this photo.

All together I think we have 5 seedlings still from that cross. This is the first one to bloom this year. It has clumped up nicely and has excellent budcount and branching. I can't say the flower form is too different from either parent though.

Here you can see it in a clump. It stands quite tall for a small blooming daylily, both parents have that trait. While it will never formally be introduced, it's an excellent plant to have in the border.

I hope the other seedlings bloom before I leave for Germany so I can photograph them and show them here. One of them has an excellent form but unfortunately doesn't have the bud count or branching that this seedling has. Then again, maybe this year it will be better.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tickled Pink

This week it seems I'm using lots of color in my blog postings. Today's title though really has nothing to do with color in the garden. Instead, something happened to me yesterday that I have to share here.

In ten days I'm heading to Germany with my mom. We have a train pass and besides visiting lots of relatives, we're going to see as much of Germany as possible in 15 days. In order to get ready for the trip I've been taking nice long walks every day so I'm in tip-top shape. Last night I went to our high school and walked on our new track.

As I was walking on the track a woman I recognized jogged past me and we said "hello". On the next lap she stopped me (she was VERY excited) and said she had to show me something. She handed me her cell phone to show me a picture on it. It was a photo of a Japanese Iris. Then she explained that she had bought that Iris at one of my plant sales.

I don't know what I was more tickled about. The fact that she was so excited over a flower or the fact that she had a picture of it in her phone so she could show people. Either way, she really made my day :-)
This post isn't really about flowers but of course I had to put up some photos. The top photo is the bloom on Centaurea dealbata in a sea of Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' (can you tell I use this Nepeta like crazy?)

The name of the plant in the bottom photo has just totally escaped my brain. Hopefully it will pop up again and I can post it here. If not, maybe one of you will jog my memory.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If I did Roses...

This past Saturday I attended a Long Island Daylily Society meeting at Planting Fields Arboretum. The meeting was a short one and I had 15 minutes to run through one of the display gardens. Since it is June, I decided to go for the rose garden.

The first view one sees is a long pebbled path bordered by a massive wave of Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant'. I thought this was an excellent choice since Lavender isn't always reliable here on Long Island. One big change I noticed was that many of the roses in bloom were smaller fairy type roses. Either it's the season or they've been changing out the tea roses once they die.

Walking down this path was an amazing experience as the air was filled with the buzz of the thousands of bees at work. Even when there was no wind the blooms on the Nepeta waved to and fro as the bees collected their pollen.

The sun was quite bright so this photo is a bit harsh. I loved the color combination of the hot pink roses with the lavender Nepeta blooms.

At one point the garden meets a crossroad (path) that takes you past the perennials. Spaced all along it are posts that are holding up bowers of roses.

It was the most delicious feeling to walk down this path. When you put your nose up against an individual bloom there was no scent but with this multitude of blooms, the whole air was delicately perfumed.

Looking up this is what you would see, it was just heavenly.

One final look upwards. I could imagine being a little girl and lying down on the pebble path as the rose petals rained down. If I grew roses I would want to grow them like this.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lavender Illusions

The humidity today is so high it feels like the air is wet. Yesterday I posted about the yellows in the garden, today we'll look at the lovely colors the Iris Ensata (Japanese Iris) are showing.

This first clump here was the inspiration for the title of this post, Lavender Illusions. What a lovely color!

This is that seedling that I showed earlier last week. It doesn't seem to open all the way so I guess it will be tossed on the compost heap later this season. Then again I might not be able to be so heartless and I might just have to move it some place else in the garden.

Another clump in bloom out front. This one is a deeper color, more blues and purples showing here.

Japanese Iris are so easy to grow. They like the same conditions as my daylilies. As much sun as possible, lots of good compost, fair amounts of water and dividing every 5 years or so. How can you go wrong with these beauties?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yellow season

Last year I was posting on a garden list when another gardener posted about how she doesn't like yellow in her garden. I was shocked! So many of the perennials I love are yellow, it's such a strong, happy, sunny color that I never thought somebody would deliberately leave it out of their garden.

As a tease for her I made the above collage in hopes that I would persuade her to fall in love with yellow.

Yesterday as I walked around the garden I thought of her again. It's yellow season in my garden. All the pinks, purples and blues are fading away and the yellows are popping out all over.

Coreopsis are hitting their peak. There are two kinds in this photo, my favorite is Coreopsis 'Zagreb'.
The yellow Kniphofia is also at it's peak. I would love to find more of these that do as well as this one variety. In the past I've had quite a bit of success with some Kniphofias only to have them totally disappear one year.

Here's a close up of the bloom on a Coreopsis lanceolata. I think that is the variety although this isn't my original plant. This type of Coreopsis is short lived but if you leave some heads on they will self sow and you will continue to have them in the garden.

Just winding down are the pale yellow blooms on the Ruta graveolens (Rue). I'm pretty sure they give me a second big bloom flush in the fall. Yesterday I found a few new seedlings which makes me quite happy :-)

Asclepias tuberosa can stop me in my tracks with it's stunning beauty. I now have two clumps along the driveway and it looks like a third one is starting further into the bed.

Hidden under my climbing rose I found the daylily 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' beginning to bloom. This poor baby needs to get moved out of there ASAP!

Another daylily has begun, lots of yellow in this one too, it's 'Wings of Chance' and this photo doesn't do it justice.

The Corydalis lutea is still blooming up a storm. That's one long blooming perennial if you ask me.

As a closing shot, I'd like to show you a flower I came across yesterday as I ran through Planting Fields Arboretum. I was there for a daylily meeting and had about 10 minutes to run to the rose garden and then back to my car. On the way I spotted this beauty but could find no name tag.

If I had to pick a name, I'd try Centaurea but I'll hold off and see if anybody else has a better suggestion. It was growing in full sun and at least 4 feet tall (well over a meter).

Off to walk the garden,