In the front, along a the walkway I put in a slightly raised area with lots of road sand and planted it full of delospermas and five different kinds of osteospermums, among a few other things. Four of the osteospermums were from Home Depot, who knows what they are, but they all bloomed nicely all season long. I also brought 3 plants of O. "Avalanche" from High Country Gardens, they grow differently, making a mat of foliage with white daisies rising on single stems above the foliage. One of the three plants was more vigorous than the other two, but all bloomed off and on all season. I never got quite the show they get in Denver with them but I was pleased and they are supposed to be winter hardy. Before the recent snows came, they certainly seemed fine, while of course the Home Depot hybrids were long dead from frost.
I made a point of finding and collecting good seed from all of them, and found plenty of what appears to be good seed on the Home Depot hybrids. Avalanche is supposed to be sterile, but with careful attention I found a few sound looking seeds on it too. Not many, and now that I planted them most turned out to be empty shells but I am happy to report I have two nice seedlings coming along. I don't know if they crossed with the HD hybrids or if they are selfed, though I suspect the latter. It will be interesting to see how they compare to the parent plants later on this year.
Osteospermums produce two kinds of seeds, flattened ones in the middle and triangular, much thicker, ones on the outer ring of the center of the flower. In the case of Avalanche, the few good seeds were all triangular, in the Home Depot hybrids they tended to be triangular with possibly a few good flattened ones. I haven't yet started the HD hybrids but it will be interesting to see how well they germinate and what new colors I might get.
It is possible that Avalanche is mostly sterile not because it is an interspecific cross but because many Asteraceae are self incompatible and all stock of this variety is cutting raised. Sometimes even with self incompatible Asteraceae one gets a good seed or two anyway.
I'm looking forward to growing more of these South African daisies in my gardens this year, they flower all summer long till frost and seem to not attract critters of the four legged kinds.
|Pelargonium incrassatum, pink form|
|Oxalis cf obtusa|
|Massonia cf pygmaea|
Oxalis melanosticta in fall 2013
Oxalis melanosticta in December 2014
|A spuria iris|
|Iris sp Tibet|
|Iris sp Tibet|
Iris dwarf bearded hybrid from seed
I grew a lot of iris seeds out a few years ago, mostly from SIGNA, which has an amazing seed list, and also from NARGS and other sources. I am bad with labels though, especially in my school garden where animals and weather conspire to move labels or destroy them. So I have a lovely mélange of iris species and hybrids grown from seeds. I think most of the unnamed ones above are versicolors, but maybe some are virginica as well, I just am not that familiar with the differences among some iris species to know. Any ID corrections or suggestions for any of the above are welcome. I can tell the slightest variation in a pelargonium species but when it comes to a group I am less familiar with, its harder for me to tell them apart. Nonetheless the irises are an easy group of plants to grow, generally speaking. Their worst enemies are voles, and they have done in the bearded irises I planted in the garden except for some seed grown smaller varieties near the road. They also chewed up what I think is sp Tibet this past winter, but amazingly it regrew from the slightest bits of root and rhizomes, but no blooms this year. The flowers shown are from last year. It is a rather tall growing one with dense grassy leaves about a foot and a half or two long. The pseudacorus is in a place where it gets pretty dry and I remove its seedpods so it is well behaved in that spot, whereas it would be a menace if planted anywhere near water. The ensatas are either straight species collected in Russia or hybrids, I think the former since they all look the same. Rather pretty, they bloom a bit later than some of the others. I've collected a couple of bags of seeds of some of the smaller "versicolors" or whatever they are, and will plant them out in corners of my home property as deer aren't going to bother them. Iris fulva is one of the Louisiana iris species, it is quite impressive with its oddly colored flowers. I also have yet more iris seeds to plant from past acquisitions and have done so in a plastic windowbox planter that is in the cool garage for now but will go out for stratification sometime after the blizzard passes, or maybe to the unheated part of the attic where they would be safer from critters. Growing iris from seed is fun, and I have some Pacific Coast iris hybrids under lights right now, they are supposed to be hard to grow here but they do indeed survive and bloom in NY. Their biggest fault is that they don't like being transplanted, but one vigorous plant made the move to the new house successfully and from the many seedlings I have in pots from the The Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris and NARGS I suspect many will survive after I put them out in spring. Growing them from seed is the best way to see what can take our climate as any that cant will be weeded out by the next winter (or summer). I am sure that with persistence one could create a race of Pacific Coast iris that would be ideally adapted to the East coast as well.