Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Home Gardens in June--So many flowers

Kniphofia sp and Shirley Poppies
Kniphofia sp and K northiae (wide leaves) etc

Crinum bulbispermum

Nierembergia repens

Hedychium hybrid orange fls

Musa basjoo

Gardenia Kleims Hardy

New bed in front yard

Artemesia sp Piateck

Berkheya radula and possible hybrid with cirsiifolia

Iris ensata

Linaria ornithotriphora light colored form and Silene armeria

Lilum regale or something close

Dioscoria villosa

Impatiens bicolor en masse

Aquilegia chrysantha

Silene virginica pink form

Knautia macedonica and Sanguisorba sp maybe menziensii

Nemesia sp Verlatenkloof

Lilium hybrid

Hosta sp

Senecio sp
Cotula sp Tifffendell

Larkspur (Consolida ajacis and Lychnis coronaria)

Viola tricolor and Berganthus katbergensis

Berganthus katbergensis
Crassula vaginata

Kniphofia hirsuta and Silene armeria "Aphrodite"

Scutellaria ocmulgee

Scutellaria ocmulgee

Diascia fetcainensis African Queen

Senecio polyodon

Coreopsis hybrid

A mini desert garden with Berganthus, delospermas, and others

Clematis morefieldii

Clematis morefieldii

Helichrysum splendidum

Helichrysum splendidum

Penstemon, Artemesia, etc

My "meadow"

Digitalis sp

Tanacetum corymbosum

Ammi majus

Ammi majus and Papaver rhoeas

Marshallia grandiflora

Shirley poppies and Linaria genistifolia

Impatiens namchabarwensis
 Quite a few things were blooming at home on or just before June 23, so I took a few photos.  Some are common, many are rare.  In some cases I am not certain of identification, so if there are any errors or clarifications, let me know. 
Lets start at the top.  I transplanted this kniphofia, a species I got via an Index Seminum many years ago when I worked at NYBG from one of the German botanic gardens, I think in Bonn.  I believe it is a form of caulescens, whatever it is it is bone hardy and very reliable.  There are some K. northiae nearby, they can be distinguished by their wider leaves and one of them actually bloomed earlier this spring despite the cold winter.  I also planted quite a few seed grown Crinum bulbispermums out last summer and fall, thinking it would be a mild winter and maybe they would come through.  Well they exceeded all expectations, in that if they survived last winter, they will survive any that follow.  Not yet quite large enough to flower, I think the bulbs will fatten up nicely this summer so I can expect flowers next year.  The Nierembergia repens are from divisions of my plant at school, it rebounds with great vigor and is flowering away right now.  The Hedychium is something I got vie ebay from North Carolina, its an orange flowered hybrid, and I had an extra pot so I planted it against the house fairly deeply for a Hedychium, but still I am shocked at how well it wintered over.  I should get flowers later this summer.  Musa basjoo is already famed for being hardy, my small plant came from my friend Andrew Block and even though it was planted in midsummer and didn't get very big, it came back and is growing rapidly now.  A bit of a surprise was to find my Gardenia Kleims Hardy is sprouting at the base, it looked like it was toast come spring, and although it is not far from the house I didn't expect it to live.  I don't know if those basal shoots will grow enough to get it through another winter, but if we have a mild one it may do fine.
I set up a new flower bed in the front yard, smothering the grass with black plastic and digging in copious amounts of road sand and some "sweet peat" (horse manure with something else I forget) to amend the heavy soil.  Its so heavy it had that anaerobic stink when I dug it up, and I had to literally crush the balls of clay with my gloved hands to mix it thoroughly with the road sand.  In this garden, which gets sun all day long and is exposed to potential deer predation (no fences in the front) I planted deer resistant things like agastaches, daturas, salvias, ageratum, linaria, crinum, catharanthus,  etc,  It may not look like much now but in another month I expect lots of color.  Near the driveway on a raised area sits a lovely artemesia I picked up at the Stonecrop Gardens Alpine plant sale, it was labelled sp Piateck, which is the collector I assume.  I like it for its fine attractive foliage, in fact I like most artemesias except for mugwort, now that is a plant I utterly detest for its constant airborne assaults on my gardens from its wind dispersed seeds.  Now this little species is a much tamer thing, I wouldn't mind it spreading around forming nice soft mounds of foliage.  In another garden which I am adding the road sand to, Berkheya radula did well with some mulching with dead vegetation this winter and I have a white one which I suspect is a hybrid with cirsiifolia or maybe purpurea.  As can be gathered by the reader, I am rather fond of this genus of South African thistle daisies, whose potential is hardly known here in the USA.  I moved a cultivar, whose name I long ago lost, of Iris ensata from my old home to a spot in the veg/flower garden.  It was a vegetable garden to the previous owners at one time and is surrounded by chickenwire, but I put u posts and 6 foot mesh which is a better deterrent to the local deer, but since it was the only somewhat protected spot when I first moved here I put my flowers from my old home in there especially but not exclusively those favored by deer. So in there are my lilies and daylilies, and some pale colored Linaria triornithophora,
Aqulegia chrysantha with its lovely long spurred yellow flowers, Knautia macedonica, whose color I love, and many other treasured plants.  I have two plants of Dioscorea villosa that I collected in Bluefield WV, they have weird knotted tuberous like roots near the surface and very attractive foliage.  I am surprised more folks don't grow it for its foliage, its a rather nice and tame deciduous vine.  A rare pink form of the normally fire engine red Silene virginica is also in bloom, as is a Sangisorba I grew from seed, probably S menziesii.  Impatiens bicolor reseeds to excess in one area of that garden and a couple of other gardens where I let it, this is the species Panayoti Kelaidis collected in Pakistan before he had to be airlifted out due to 9/11.  It grows in a few gardens in Denver, where it always seems to need water, but here on the east coast its found conditions more to its liking, and is a reliable resower.  Like most all of the Himalayan annual impatiens, excess seedlings are easily removed, and its purple and yellow flowers make it well worth growing, even if some thinning is required. 
The previous owner planted tons of hostas, which of course are deer salad, so although I defend the rows along the driveway and a few others with Liquid Fence, I've also been known to put Roundup on others, especially the variegated ones which I don't like.  For some reason I never caught the variegated is special thing that most gardeners seem to feel, I like a few variegated plants but most look weird to me, and hostas are usually among them.  Plus I'd rather replace them with other things that aren't so attractive to deer such as hellebores.  Still I do have a species or two in the veg/flower garden (venusta or yingerii?), as well as a big plant of a double flowered variety.  Its a pity that they are so favored by deer as they are very useful plants, tolerating heavy soils and shade without complaint.  Even without variegation there is a wide diversity of leaf form and colors among them and they vary in size from minute to monstrous.  Many of my neighbors also have hostas, and they survive getting eaten or they are also sprayed with repellants, and I think our deer population is rather low, but still they can be destructive so I try to make my property as unwelcome to them as possible. This includes fenced gardens, regular spraying with deer repellant, and planting things they don't like in areas accessible to them.
In several locations I have a nemesia strain that I grew from seeds collected in Verlatenkloof South Africa by Panayoti.  In the past I planted a blue flowered nemesia with it and so there are some other genes mixed in, but this strain has been with me for years as it resows readily.  The originals were mainly white and pale pinks, but now they come in shades of purple and lilac too.  Wherever I go, so will this nemesia strain, they are so easy to grow and come cooler weather in fall they really shine as their flowers increase, colors deepen, and they survive the first few frosts that destroy other flowers.  A senecio species I collected in South Africa back in the early 90's also resows readily.  Like the nemesia it starts blooming in late spring/early summer but looks its best in fall when it is covered with masses of yellow daisies which, like the nemesia, resist the first frosts.  Deer don't touch it, since pretty much all senecios, native and foreign, are toxic to most herbivores.
Cotula sp Tiffendell is one of a few hardy cotula species, and arguably the best of the bunch.  It grows to perfection in Denver, and does well here too, being totally winter hardy.  It had some dieback this winter but came back strong, and its worst enemy is hot weather with heavy rains.  It makes a nice groundcover in sunny well drained soils.  Senecio polyodon has been around a while in the UK and is less known here, it comes from wet areas in the high Drakensberg, and bears multitudes of little purple daisies.  It is a perennial, and if more than one clone is planted one can get seed to grow more of it.
Larkspurs are an old fashioned flower, one of three annuals I remember from my childhood that resowed regularly in my great grandmothers garden.  The other two were calendula and opium poppies, and now I have all three in my gardens too.  I like the single flowered larkspurs the best, and it is hard to find seed of them but I spotted some growing along a road where they must have been part of an annual mix, and I collected the seeds.  The double forms lack the grace of the single flowered ones, and now that I have several plants in bloom I am confident they will resow for years to come.  This property also had tons of Lychnis coronaria, probably because it is both deer resistant and a prolific seeder.  I kept one clump because I do like it, especially in its screaming magenta form, but I will keep it under control because it can seed around too much.  It has done so in my school garden where I have both the magenta and white with pale pink center forms.  Gotta admit though I like the strong flower color with the grey leaves, and it is simplicity itself to grow, just give it good sun and its happy, even in the most miserable of soils.
I grew some Viola tricolor from NARGS seeds and got little pansies which reached blooming size quite quickly.  They are planted among some Berganthus katbergensis, grown from seed I collected in Panayoti's garden.  The berganthus are rock hardy in Denver, but did not like our wetter winter, though perhaps they would be more tolerant of a mild winter, but last winter was anything but mild.  So I had pots of them inside, separated them and planted them out and they are blooming now.  The flowers open in the afternoon/evening and are already setting numerous seedpods.  It appears they might bloom all summer long at the rate they are going, new buds keep appearing.  I will lift some plants come fall and put them in my cool garage and keep them on the dry side as insurance, along with collecting seed.  A succulent that is truly hardy here is Crassula vaginata, at least that's what I think I got it as from Lifestyle Seeds in SA.  I am growing out more, now that I see that it survived the winter.  I actually dug it up while working more road sand into that part of the garden and noticed the crown had some life to it, so I replanted it. 
Kniphofia hirsuta is one of the smaller growing species and an early bloomer.  It looks nice with the pale form of Silene armeria "Aprodite" growing nearby.  I got "Aphrodite" from the UK, as I had never knew of another color form of the easy to grow Silene armeria.  It is an easy annual which will not be in peak bloom for long, but is lovely when it does, and it is a reliable resower. 
Scutellaria ocmulgee is something I picked up a couple of summers ago from Plant Delights nursery, it is another rare native plant but wow it looks great this year.  It is full of flowers on a tidy plant, and one wonders why it hasn't been discovered by gardeners before.  Diascia fetcainensis African Queen is the hardiest of the diascias I have grown and one small plant I transplanted into my home garden is doing well so far.  It should spread out into a mat in coming weeks, and will flower pretty much till frost. 
A red flowered coreopsis hybrid is one of several that made it through the winter, I got it from Santa Rosa Gardens during their end of the season (late June) summer sale.  They specialize in ornamental grasses and sedges and carry many perennials as well.  I never fail to get some stuff from their sale, its probably the best sale on the internet as not only are the plants dirt cheap but they also ship free if the order is large enough.   Their normal shipping charges are also very low compared to other nurseries.  The plants might appear a little beaten up on their arrival, but are always healthy in my experience, and quickly grow once they are in the ground.  This rather large clump is in its second year only, so they do sell stuff that tends to grow well. 
A rare native clematis, C. morefieldii, is one of the viorna types that has bell shaped flowers.  Despite its southern origins, namely Alabama and Tennessee, its quite hardy here and this year has done well.  It looks nice on its trellis, and I hope it seeds so I can grow more.  Because it is federally endangered, it is difficult for nurseries to ship them even though they are obviously propagated in cultivation, not collected material, so its easiest to just pick them up at the nursery if you find one.  Never seen a cop looking for nursery propagated endangered plants yet during my travels, but I find it sad that the federal government doesn't encourage nurseries to grow some more of these endangered but beautiful plants for the horticultural trade.  It would both better protect the species from extinction directly, and also make the public more aware of its existence and value, so as to increase a constituency that would favor protecting the habitats where these rare plants occur. 
Helichrysum splendidum is the easiest of the South African helichrysums to grow here, it does not melt in summer heat and rains, and is cold hardy, resprouting from the base during the coldest winters and remaining almost evergreen during the mildest.  It is a large growing, spreading plant that ground layers itself as it spreads out.  Small bright yellow strawflowers are produced in clusters right around now, and it flowers most vigorously after a mild winter, but even this year they are flowering too. It grows easily from cuttings or seed, and like many asteraceae it is best to grow multiple clones for fertile seed set.
One of the gardens (their are raised beds and a lot of brick and slate patio work in the backyard) has become a flowering meadow of sorts.  In it I planted lots of things and some I think were part of a British wildflower mix.  I also planted a grey artemesia I have had for years, the original came form Brooklyn Botanic Garden decades ago when I worked there for a summer.  Right now there are the last aquilegia flowers, Ammi majus, a graceful white flowered annual, poppies, Silene armeria, Sedum kamtchaticum, larkspurs, lavender and many other treasures.  One I especially enjoy is Tanacetum corymbosum, it is a strong stemmed plant with a cluster of bright white daisies on top.  the foliage is pinnately divided, so it looks odd to me, I have never seen it before and don't think it is commonly grown here.  It must have come from one of the flower seed mixes I put in there, most of them from Chilterns seeds in the UK which has some really unusual stuff.  A very small flowered creamy yellow digitalis is also in there, the plant is much daintier than any of the other yellow flowered perennial species I have grown. 
Marshallia grandiflora is another rare species that pops up in the seed exchanges, and I never saw a marshallia I didn't like, so I grew several of them and they are flowering now in their second year.  All marshallias have the same sort of flower, and most come from moist habitats,  I also have M, trinerve which grows taller, and a plant of M. caespitosa which is a species from drier habitats further west than where most of them are found. 
It might seem that deer would leave poppies alone, but they do eat them so I have to spray them to be sure they leave them alone.  They wont bother the nearby Linaria genistifolia though, which is something I got from one of the UK seed exchanges.  It has grown much larger here than at my old house, up to a meter tall, with lots of yellow snapdragon flowers on a blue green foliaged plant that looks more like a perennial euphorbia of some sort before the flowers appear.  It will spread to a limited degree from roots and much more so from seed, so it bears watching, but it is rewarding and easy to grow, and pest proof so far. 
Its rewarding to see the first flowers of self sown Impatiens namchabarwensis appear.  These blue flowered impatiens are easy to grow once acquired, at least in our kind of climate.  They are smaller, less aggressive plants than the other Himalayan species I grow, which are bicolor, two forms of glandulifera, and balfourii.  All are easy plants which do especially well when the weather is not too hot.  All of them resow strongly, so some thinning is needed to keep them in check, and with over half an acre I am able to keep them in their respective areas so they don't directly compete very often.  In fact I am sure namchabarwensis would lose out since the others grow taller if they were all growing together, but I keep some areas reserved especially for this special Tibetan blue impatiens. 

A few things from the school garden in June

Amaryllis belladonna foliage and dierama in front

Allium texanum

Allium texanum

Kniphofia baurii

Iris sp (Spuria type?)

Berkheya purpurea and Allium sp

Iris ensata

Asclepias speciosa

Linum sp
Penstemen digitalis with Echinacea tennesenensis

Nierembergia repens

Freesia laxa
June in the school garden brings out lots of flowers, there were quite a few before as well.  I have not had as much time to weed and deal with things at my school garden due to the demands of my job and the fact that I am working so hard on my home gardens.  In fact I really threw out my back and hip with the digging, weeding, planting, and incorporation of road sand to amend the clay rich soil in my home gardens, so I have to take it a bit easy for a while. Despite the severe winter, lots of nice things are blooming now. The wall part of the garden still did a good job of protecting the Amaryllis belladonna and other not quite cold hardy in NY plants there, and the foliage is looking good now before it dies back in July and hopefully we get flowers soon afterwards as in years past.  Its a perfect microhabitat for this species, which I doubt is growing outside anywhere else in NY.  Allium texanum might be hardier but all I know is that it does love the spot by the wall, its large flower heads (for an allium) are quite attractive.  Later it will go dormant for the summer.  The Freesia laxa in the last photo also thrives by the wall, it tends to get buried among other plants, but  both red and white forms bloom sporadically there.  Kniphofia baurii from Silverhill Seeds threw up quite a few spikes in the slope garden where it is not protected, as did an Iris species, maybe a spuria type, I am not so good with labels these days, with large yellow flowers.  Whatever it is I grew it from seed, as I do with most plants. Seed grown Iris ensata are quite lovely, I have both hybrid mixes and true species spread around in the garden from the SIGNA seed exchange.  Asclepias speciosa continues to slowly spread and shows its awesome flowers in a dryish well drained spot, and futher upslope on the way into the school building a nice Linum sp I picked up somewhere at a plant sale is proving to be very perennial and floriferous.  Penstemon digitalis blooms nearby, in this area there are a fair number of other native plants as well.  Finally I can't like Nierembergia repens enough, its got huge white flowers on a dense small mat which spreads at a reasonable rate.  It survived this winter, so I dug out pieces to bring home which are taking very nicely and if anything spreading faster than the mat at school which is bounded by the sidewalk on one end and a gravelly patch behind it where water dripping off the eves after rainstorms makes most plant life impossible. It blooms for a long time and I have grown it for some years, yet I never see anyone else around here growing it.  It does not set seed, must be self sterile, makes me wonder if there are variants of it in its native Argentinian habitat.