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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.


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