Friday, February 18, 2011

Agave (filifers ssp?) schidigera 'Shira ito no Ohi'

This Japanese selection of a north American native is a beautiful little plant. Brad tells me though, that it stays small. That would make it a good candidate for a mixed container but maybe not so good for the Florida garden. Maybe I could chip out a hole in a rock and plant it a couple feet in the air? My eyes just can't appreciate it 5 feet away (down).

Nathan discussed the new stairs with one of many visitors we had today

Nate is really moving on this job. He's finished 2 of 5 sections and is close on one more. That would be 60% done this week. Carole will probably be amazed but in a good way.

The color of the sunrise mimicked the tungsten lights in the greenhouse

It seemed as though the light in the sky was somehow emanating from the small room in the greenhouse. Interesting start to the day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bulbine natalensis

I like this plant and look forward to its flowering every year. I've posted it before, possibly more than once. The funny thing is though, I must never have googled it because if I had, I would have remembered the 10 zillion sites devoted to bodybuilding and the cult of the anabolic steroid. Seriously, if you though steroids were pretty universally demonized, google this plant. Apparently its just a cauldron of chemical health.

Hey after laboring on the steps Monday and running up and down hill with pre-emergent today, I'm feeling my age; maybe I ought to eat my own plant, or one of Brad's......I'm going to pass. It does make me wonder though, what the active principle is in Aloe vera.

The new steps from the Asian Collections parking lot

Nathan's really rolling. Amanda and I helped a little as laborers but after we finished the prep work Friday, it's been all Nate. This picture is on my way home so the sun is only striking the stones after filtering through the foliage on the right. I stopped to look this morning when the sun was striking directly, though obliquely. It highlighted every textural nuance and called up the warm reds.

I believe this rock is usually sold as Pennsylvania fieldstone. It's a mudstone, part of the Catskill Formation, a huge late-Devonian continental (non-marine) deposition that approaches 2 miles in thickness on its eastern edge The proto-Atlantic Ocean was closing; mountains rose, the Acadian orogeny, as Europe and North America crunched together. The sediments that eroded were deposited towards the west in, primarily, fresh water. It seems odd that so thick a deposit wouldn't have been marine but occasional fossilized fresh-water fishes confirm the story.

Anyway, 350 odd million years later it looks good as steps.

Brad has been growing all these odd Aloe varieties since last year

I expect they'll find their way into containers this summer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It stays light so late now that I took a quick turn through China Valley after work today

The sun was low in the sky so textural subjects were well lit and well defined by their internal shadows.

I guess those are down feathers caught amongst the buds of the Flowering Apricot. In the middle is a very nice wild collected Hamamelis mollis that live in the middle of China Valley. It's real fragrant and the flowers are huge, but it did have a lot of brown leaves still hanging on. That's the issue with mollis. The fungus on the bottom was an outlier of a large colony that had completely covered three feet of this branch. It looks like a pancake but I'm going to pass.

Elymus canadensis (bottom), Dodecatheon pulchellum, Aquilegia caerulea, Cercocarpus montanus (top) and more

Scott, Kevin, and GrayC, on their trip to S. Dakota, Nebraska, etc., scouted last spring, collected last fall, and now Brad has germinated quantities of their collections. It's pretty exciting.

I love plants. Beautiful plants are wonderful, curious plants delight me, but there's something about unknown plants.... Of course I know the genus Dodecatheon, but aren't they all pretty? How beautiful must a plant be to be named "the pretty" Dodecatheon? Hundreds have germinated. All Aquilegia are beautiful; this one, Aquilegia caerulea, is part of many garden hybrids but in its basic form is as nice as the selections...I think. I saw an Astragalus I didn't know and that Elymus; I've no idea what Cercocarpus mantanus is, but I'm going to find out.

These are just a tiny part of the total collections. I'll be watching them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day opened with a rosy sunrise

Hamamelis Hill: full speed ahead. That groundhog knew what he was talking about!

Up until this most recent warm spell, we'd had only a few flowers here and there on the Witch Hazels. Look at them now: full bloom. I was on my way in to break today and the light on the flowers caught my eyes. I didn't take any close-ups; I couldn't have actually because the winds were too strong. Seeing all the flowers on the Hamamelis sent me after the early flowering Prunus mume varieties but nothing yet. I'm sure they'll begin to open later this week.