Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dwarf Red Tree Fern

Dwarf Red Tree Fern
Blechnum brasiliense
(BLEK-num) (bra-sill-ee-EN-see)
Synonyms: Red Brazilian Tree Fern, Brazilian dwarf tree fern

Even though this plant lacks the traditional trunk of a tree fern it still has a stubby 12 inch stipe that can be seen if observed closely. Its new growth is anywhere from bright red to washed out pink and the fronds harden off to green.

In botanical terms these photos are examples of Circinate vernation. That’s the name for the way a fern frond emerges. Staying tightly wrapped until hardening off a bit. This plant was growing outdoors during the summer but was brought in during the winter.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hybrid Columbine

Hybrid Columbine
Aquilegia ‘Swan Red and White’

This is always a favorite of mine. This plant has nice big, detailed and colorful flowers. Columbines are a true biennial but if you try you can start a nice patch of them by spreading the seeds out when they are ripe. My experience is that some types come back true to seed and some don’t. There is also that gray genetic zone where for a few years they come back the same color and then wash out. I’m not sure what the Swan hybrid series will do. The plants did well this year and I wouldn’t mind having some of them back.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

White Gaura

White Gaura
Oenothera lindheimeri
(ee-no-THEE-ruh) (lind-HY-mer-ee)
Synonyms: Gaura (GOW-ra), Apple blossom Grass, Lindheimer's Beeblossom, Wandflower

This plant changed its scientific name a while back and I still use the old one. I am so not a trendsetter or rider. It is now classified as an Oenothera and I am not sure why. That is a genus, which sends a bit of a chill up my spine because of tendency to run a little rampant and be invasive. However, I have leaned to grow Sundrops and know how to manage them now (borderline iron fist). This plant is much more graceful and a better garden citizen then most Oenothera.

This is a tough plant that is long blooming. It absolutely needs full sun to flower properly and good drainage. It is drought tolerant and can grow in dry areas but I have found it likes a bit of moisture too, especially during establishment. It can be short lived but worth having as a supporting character in the border.

Since I haven’t posted in some time here is a bonus photo

Garden Peony Coral 'n' Gold
Paeonia lactiflora
(pay-OHN-ee-uh) (lak-tee-FLOR-uh)

This photo doesn’t quite do justice to the color of this flower. It’s a Mr. Lyman Cousins’ “Innerglow” hybrid. Known for their luminous qualities and fragrance. A true winner.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Lipstick Lychnis

Lychnis Lipstick
Lychnis (LIK-niss)

This is a plant that clearly exceeded its ability to get named. There are many identities that this plant is masquerading under. Developed by Sunny Border Nurseries here in Connecticut this plant shows a lot of potential. The vermillion color is super and only partially represented here. The dark foliage tips add a beautiful background that is a nice compliment to the flowers.

Generally I think of Lychnis as a cooperative plant that grows well in lean soil and dry conditions. It often reproduces from seed but not in a bothersome way. This plant can be used in the cottage garden, perennial border and in tough rocky areas.

Here is another one from my non-flower photography tries. It is a conversion from a color shot because the D70s does not have a monochrome setting. It is a box car on the Housatonic Railway.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dalmatian Peach Foxglove


'Dalmatian Peach' Common Foxglove
Digitalis purpurea  
(dig-ee-TAH-liss) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

This Foxglove is part of the ‘Dalmation' series. They are colorful and tall but still a biennial. I used to worry all the time about my Foxglove plantings but have lately taken to letting them find their own balance. All the careful deadheading, staking, pinching never really produced better results then just letting the plants bloom and go to seed. The mother plants will die and even if they live to a second or third year they are not very vigorous by then. If the patch starts to look at little dilapidated adding a few plants to the gene pool can be helpful.

I don’t think that these flowers were quite living up to their color potential on the nursery bench. They should gain better color after being planted.

Chocolate Cosmos
Cosmos atrosanguineus 'Chocamocha'
(KOS-mus) (at-ro-san-GWIN-ee-us)

This is an interesting species of Cosmos that certainly bucks the popular trend of pastels, washed out colors and yellows that seem to be dominating the color space right now. In this climate Cosmos is treated as annual but is a very reliable self seeder. The flowers of this particular species are sterile and the plant is extinct in the wild. All plants are from a single vegetative clone. It has been hanging on that way since 1902.

The slightly fragrant flowers appear in summer and keeps blooming until the frost. Like most Cosmos this species is a native of Mexico.