Friday, May 18, 2012

Iris ensata 'Imperial Magic'

 Many of the Asian iris are finished flowering or on their way out, but the Iris ensata selections are either peaking, or just coming on. This is a cultivar that's available through retail nurseries and as beautiful as it is, there are a hundred more available, all stunning and all different.

Trollius chinensis at the GCA Circle

I know I photograph this plant every year but I can't help myself, I'm in's something about the form. I'm reading the Game of Thrones books; maybe it's because it looks like a crown?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This is the giant Catalpa speciosa in the National Grove of State Trees

Of course we know how Dr. Olsen feels about catalpas. I like pretty much all plants and can't help but admire the stately elegance of this specimen. I like the arrangement of the flowers, like happy faces crowded into a window smiling out at the world!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Acer henryi, a very nice Chinese maple, is approaching six feet in height

Well, would you believe it? I have a picture of Amanda sowing the seeds that this maple germinated from. Wow. It'll be interesting to see how large it can grow during my tenure. I'm thinking 20+ feet? I planted the reddest one from the 2008 NACPEC Trip.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Rose Garden, in the Herb Garden, smells great

 The roses have grown tremendously and the poppies, larkspur, and foxgloves are, as always, wonderful. I can't believe I haven't been to this garden in six weeks.

Magnolia macrophylly along the Fern Valley roadside...I love those leaves

An explosion of penstemon at the entrance? to Fern Valley

Monday, May 14, 2012

Clematis viorna x crispa 'Odoriba' and Clematis and Clematis x 'Duchess of Albany' (C. texensis x C. 'Star of India'

I walked down to the sunny cultivar bed in the Fern Valley Meadow this afternoon and found that the clematis had grown tenfold over the past year. In the bottom picture, C. x 'Duchess of Albany' is resting amongst flower spikes of baptisia. They seem to be getting along.

Castanea henryi

What! another species named for Augustine Henry. China Valley is full of them. I could stand touching this chestnut and hit 5 other species with a rock. If I was accurate enough; I know I've got the range.

There are 3 species of chesnut native to China and at least two of them smell horrible when they flower. This is a young small tree, but I picked up the distinctive odor of fermenting underwear as soon as I rounded the corner 100+ feet from it. The flowers are nice though and it is being tried in crosses with our native chestnut in an attempt to slip genetic resistance to chestnut blight into C. dentata as gently as possible.