Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's gloomy and gray this Saturday morning so I focused on orange....things

I know the flower is Glaucium grandiflorum, Red Horned-Poppy, from Annie's Annuals and Perennials. I love all Horned-Poppies, all red/orange flowers, large unique fruits, and all grey foliage so this plant really works for me. Plus it's happy with the suuny sand in the front garden. Wow. I expect though, that it's one of those "short-lived" plants so I'll need to propagate it. I think I'll collect seed; that way I'll have enough to give plants away.

I don't really know what the bottom growths are but they do look reminiscent of the Cedar Apple Rust teliospores on Juniperus. It's some stage of a rust life cycle. I'm not that embarrassed at not being able to identify the fungus; it's humbling though, that an evergreen broad-leafed xerophyte has been in my garden for over a year and I have no idea what it is! And apparently no record of planting it. I guess it'll flower this year, if the rust doesn't kill it, and become identifiable. Isn't it wonderful that a 120$ camera can double as a microscope? Actually I took this picture on the stage of my dissecting microscope; the light is strong and well colored.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Styrax dasyanthus

Dipelta floribunda: the flowers are pleasant but the persistent calyces are showier

Dipelta is an attractive largish shrub whose fragrant light pink flowers have attractive yellow throats. It's a one season plant, sort of formlessly glumply, like a Weigela or a Forsythia. Still, if you had a few acres it would be a plant you'd want to have.

Pittosporum sp. we don't know what it is but we know it's hardy to below 0 F

We obtained it from North Carolina State University, doubtless an acquisition of J C Raulson. It has those pleasant little yellow flowers with a wonderful fragrance. Pittosporum tobira, is I guess the commonest of the genus but it can only be grown here with microclimates and magic. We just received Pittosporum parvilimbum and P. illicioides 'Strappy' from Cistus Nursery. The former looks a bit like our plant. Anyway, I always say, you can't have enough fragrant shade evergreens.

Ilex x attenuata 'Sunny Foster'....Gaudy Yellow Foliage Week Day 4?

Or is it five? I'm confused by missing yesterday while Blogger was down for repairs. Anyway this is quite a plant. It may take a year or two to take hold, but when it does....brace yourself. I know only from reading it in Dirr that this was a discovery of William Kosar, one of our own (an Arboretum scientist). In 1964.

Foster's is a hybrid of two native species a native hybrid? Foster's is a cross between Ilex opaca and Ilex cassine. Eventually reaching 30+ feet this is an impressive statement in the landscape.

Iris sanguinea along the path to the Pagoda

This is a nice iris with good foliage. Directly behind the iris on the left side of the picture is Jasminum parkeri flowering at the base of the tree.

Daphniphyllum macropodum var. humile

Here's one plant that doesn't seem to miss the giant Cedar. I would have thought that full sun wsn't its cup of tea, but wow. That's the most fruit it's ever had!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stewartia rostrata again; it's flowering now

And the red blotch on the petal visible in the bud (scroll down) does hang around in the flower!

Acer miyabei.....the fruits are sort of pretty

When the peonies and iris are flowering, it gets difficult to focus on the subtle features in the garden but the light on these samaras just caught my eye.

Wednesday started out with a wonderful sunrise silhouetting the Magnolia macrophylla

The sky got even better, but I was driving to work and photography just didn't seem like a good idea.

Rubus cockburnianus 'Goldenvale'.....Day three of Gaudy Yellow Foliage Week

I love this plant; it's everything I know is wrong about yellow but it feels so right.... The color in the top picture is correct.....I swear. It's difficult to get color values right with this much color in the sun. I'm sorry. The bottom picture shows the form of the plant accurately. It's a typical Rubus. Ours is rooting at the tips which produces an attractive carpeting effect, but scares the hell out of me because,'s a Rubus. If we turn our backs it'll own the garden. So we're going to remove the rooted tips tomorrow as part of our group project.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stewartia rostrata bud.....I must have been missing this stage

Something else I have to admit: that I walked by it for two springs and didn't notice! It's crazy isn't it? Bright red bracts enclose a bud revealing petals flushed in patches with red. I don't remember this and it isn't because I'm old, it's because I missed it twice. I Googled the species and looked at some pictures; clearly this is typical. A few photos of newly opened flowers showed some red on the petals. A very nice plant and one that ought to have a larger presence in the trade.

The pointed configuration of the petals in bud curiously presages the "rostrate" (beaked) shape of the fruit that give the plant it's name.
When the large Cedar fell two winters back it took most of the afternoon shade from this Stewartia. It turned crispy brown last summer but obviously has recovered. We'll have to see how it does this summer.

Rhododendron Back Acres 'Saint James'.....I think

There are two Back Acres selections in bed C-3 (China Valley, bed three). The other one is 'Theron Perking' of the eponymous Perkins Garden, owned and administered by the Langdon School.

The "Back Acre" azaleas are cultivars that Ben Morrison produced after he retired from the Arboretum. A few, including this one, are quite spectacular. We have an odd selection of azaleas in the Asian Collection. There are banks of pink flowers in the lower valley, but otherwise they tend to be a bit isolated and at the orange end of the spectrum. Orange flowers tend to look good amonst the green of the forest as Betty observed last week. Still, in the season of azalea overload, its intersting to see our isolated specimens glowing in the forest.

Gaudy yellow foliage week day two: they call it 'Mellow Yellow'

They really don't....well, I guess some people do. Lots of us call it Spirea thungergii 'Ogon' because we feel funny saying Mellow Yellow, which is, I guess, a trademark name. I remember there was a plant in one of the display gardens at Behnke's and it was more trouble than it was worth. We'd sell our 20 or 30 plants and then, for the rest of the season, have to explain to infatuated would be purchasers, why they couldn't buy the display plant. Most of us would have happily given it away so we wouldn't have to tell anyone else that they had to wait for next year.

And you know what? It's one of my favorite garish yellow foliage plants. It's gauzy and graceful, a light airy contrast to, for example, the Ilex cornuta 'Carissa' hedge it terminates nicely along Hickey Hill Road in the Asian Collection . I even like the tiny white flowers; they bloom with the earliest of spring flowering shrubs.

Hey, who am I kidding? I like colors, bright colors, colors that seem like they just wouldn't fit into a garden. They do though. I could do more than a week of yellow foliage; I bet I could do a month......but don't worry. I won't.
For various reasons, all of which have to do with money, we are doing our own irrigation repairs from now on. Today Nathan and I borrowed this nice torch from facilities and they suggested we braze rather than sweat. They supplied the rods so we used them. Since the rods contain copper and silver you need more heat. We got the union up to cherry red and everything worked just like it was supposed to. It was a new experience for me; I worked for a well driller for a while and sweated a lot of copper but this does seem quicker, easier, and produces stronger results. We aren't certified but I'm thinking we're qualified. That's good.

This is not a pretty picture; I admit it. Still it makes me happy

Because those are the Orchis/Ponerorchis graminifolia that I planted last spring and there's more plant material there than there was when they went dormant sometime last summer. No flowers, I admit, but we've got to start somewhere.

When I mentioned to a friend, Carol Allen, who knows a lot about orchids that we had three plants in the ground and that one had flowered she responded, "you'll never see them again." So I'm glad they are alive and have grown. Not to spite Carol, but because possibly we stumbled onto a site where this plant can live. Another Carole (Bordelon) described the region she had seen them in in China as an area with dry springs and hot summers. Well....we don't have dry springs but we do have bed "U" which is de facto dry due to all the maple roots. And we have hot summers so we went for it. I only hope that next year I'll have pictures of flowers to post. Or at least more leaves.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The light was harsh when I got home from work....but interesting

It was such a contrast with the soft leaf-filtered morning light in the collection! Rhus typhina 'Tigereye Bailtiger' and Clematis 'Nellie Moser'.

Early moning in the Asian Collections

From the top: Paeonia suffruticosa 'Spring Carnival', Iris above the GCA Circle, Asarum splendens and Hosta 'Halycyon'

'Spring Carnival' is a Saunder's hybrid with Paeonia lutea in it. Not a new hybrid, it dates to the Second World War.

The hosta/asarum combination is along the path to the Chimonanthus overlook. Nathan saw it in a picture and reproduced it. It's just beautiful. Halcyon has been around a while but is still one of the best of the blue hostas at retaining its blueness into the summer.

{As of yet unidentified salamander} Ha Ha. It's not even an amphibian; it's a Broadhead Skink

Thanks Val.