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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Home-grown Successes

Here are some successful plants I grew from seed last year and this.  One I find very exciting is Geum chiloense 'Mrs. Bradshaw', with seed purchased from J. L. Hudson.  I have Geum macrophyllum growing wild in my yard, a local native, so know the Geums are strong growers and good at self-seeding.  I started Mrs. Bradshaw last year and she waited until this year to bloom.  The flowers are quite intense in color though the buds started out yellow and I was concerned they would stay that way.  
Here they are growing with Verbascum phoeniceum and Anchusa azurea, other plant successes started last year.   The Anchusa is a qualified success since it seems to be the only survivor of several I set out last year.
The Verbascums did very well, some even bloomed a little last fall, and have a range of colors from pink to light and dark purple and magenta.  Another plant success in this photo is Fibigia clypeata, with fuzzy leaves and yellow flowers, similar to money plant in having silvery discs in its seed pods.  It also bloomed last year.
Another shade in the Verbascums, a light magenta, surrounded by an edible winter-growing plant, Corn salad, that in addition to making a nice flavorful addition to a salad makes a nice spring ground cover.  It has tiny white flowers and takes a while to mature the seeds so I can rip them out in early summer.
An annual I'm growing for the first time this year and hope to see naturalize is Limnanthes douglasii, Meadowfoam, which looks like poached eggs.  I found it to be a rather delicate seedling and somewhat hard to transplant but seems to be doing OK.  They have a lot of buds coming so should continue to bloom for a while and hopefully self-sow since they are a native plant.  It would be great is they would actually cover the ground in big sheets of bloom as is their reputation.  Don't they look unreal.
The Agastaches are slowly getting planted out, rupestris bloomed very early and is still blooming in the garden, I hope to see what the others can do and if they will come back next year.  This has been such a crazy year, with so much cold and wet weather, it made it hard to get out and work in the garden but that didn't stop the weeds from growing gang-busters so it's very hard to find a good place to plant anything and will require a lot of work.  The vegetable garden comes first, unfortunately for the Agastaches, but is about finished planting, so more perennial planting can be done.  Some Agastaches are out, though.

Some shrubs I'm trying this year, requiring cold stratification and succeeding so far as seedlings, are the cute-as-a-button Berberis fendleri, native to New Mexico, and with berries tasting like sour cherries according to the High Country Gardens catalog.  I have still to get it planted out and living through the winter before I can consider it a success.  It will be getting transplanted soon and will have to be a bigger size before going in the ground.
Next is Rhus aromatica, a Sumac with edible berries that should stay low, on the left.  I just looked at it and was surprised to find it is now 18" long.  On the right is Rhus trilobata.  It can get 5-6' tall and wide, and both can have orange or red fall color.  They are related to poison oak, so while edible I am a little hesitant to try them, and hope they will be good to grow.

So for all the successes here, there are many that were no-shows this year, or worse did not germinate or sprouted then failed.  But it is worthwhile whenever I find anything that does well as it makes up for the failures.  And perhaps someday I will learn to grow those.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Next Wave of Fragrant Flowers

The roses have started to bloom, first as usual is Zepherine Drouhin, which has a delicate rose scent.
And she is thornless, as well.  Another thornless rose is a white once-blooming old garden rose (OGR) given to me, so NOID.  It has a light OGR type scent and is very prolific, but lost its support so is flopped over.
Champney's Pink Cluster has really outdone itself this year, really loaded and fragrant enough to waft a light rose scent.
The flowers are borne profusely and blow rather fast, starting pink and becoming whiter as they age.
Another fragrant rose, with very large apricot blooms, is my favorite for blossoms, Apricot Nectar, an older Floribunda, now over my head.  The flowers are 5-6" across when fully open, and truly magnificent.
Another rose which is nearly scentless but included for its brilliant color, is Dublin Bay, which has extremely long-lasting blooms.  It has been a very slow grower but seems unaffected by the rose disease that decimated some of my roses last year.
Sombreuil, a climbing rose, has an old rose scent and a high petal count in a quartered bloom.  It doesn't have a very long bloom season.
On to some non-rose scented flowers.  One of my favorites is Valerian, with an intense scent that demands a lot of sniffing.  They self-sow slowly so can multiply, and this year are over my head.

The flower famous as a perfume scent, Lily of the Valley, has enchanting small bells but a very short bloom season.  White flowers have such a glare, they are hard to photograph.:-(
A rare scented flower, one I got from Collector's Nursery, is Abelia mosanensis, which I admired for its wonderful fragrance in their gardens, and bought in '02, but it is just now blooming for me for the first time.  I did have it in a different location where it did not seem to be doing well and moved it to my concrete front porch bed where it receives more heat and frost protection.  It is quite different from the other Abelias in flower form and leaf/shrub form, being a rather lax grower that for me requires some support from a trellis.  I hope to get several flushes of bloom but I'll have to see how it does.  Nice little bouquets.
 Finally, a real spring charmer, earlier than the regular daylilies, Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus, the lemon lily.  Rather than smelling like lemons it smells like orange or lemon flowers, and has a nice strong scent unlike regular daylilies.  It multiplies well and has been divided several times to produce several nice clumps.
You can see it is a regular bloom machine for several weeks.  This plant has been in place for 3 years.  The fragrance even wafts a little and is delightful.

Well, I hope you are taking time to smell the roses and other worthy scents in your garden, and happy summer!