Friday, May 19, 2017

Perfect Blue

Gentiana sino-ornata forming mats of 30-40cm, if only, my mat would be 15cm at most and I am quite chuffed by this beautiful blue Gentian with all its incredible markings. Autumn flowering from China 5,800m, in moist, acid fertile soil. Mine is doing best in the trough. I grew 2 seedlings and have put one in the garden, not growing terribly well, but the trough growing Gentian is doing beautifully, not a lot of flowers, well actually one only. From Vi Czech seed 10/2014 and the Dianthus microlepis below  also from Vi Czech seed 11/2015, is a tiny Dianthus really only suitable for a crevice garden or trough. Only 1 seed germinated, but that is all you need as you can propagate the Dianthus from cuttings or seed once I get it established. Dianthus microlepis is from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania, best in a lime free soil. There is a white form that looks very beautiful on the internet.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Members pictures from oversea's

A lovely Crocus photo from Jon Crocus vernus at 1,300m Piani di Ragnolo in Italy. Green with envy at the moment.

A wonderful scree, rock garden from Pruhonice Castle Gardens from Fermi, and a photo of Oron and Will nice to see what you look like Oron.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cyril Lafong Garden 2011

During the winter I will be putting some of the beautiful Scottish gardens on the blog that some of us visited after the AGS conference of 2011. Cyril's garden is a garden that you would never forget, if you are an Alpine tragic like me. You just have to click on the picture above and you can see what I mean.
This garden and glass houses were immaculate and full of rare plants. The Lafong family must have worked for months before our arrival, because I know how dirty a glass house can get after winter inside and out and there were a few of them. At the back a yellow Pulsatilla flavescence, Siberian from Holubeck seed.

Looking up to the glass houses from the main lawn.

 A new crevice garden that Ian Christie and Cyril had built not long before our arrival.

Clumps of pale apricot Erythronium's and Erythronium Pagoda with Fritillaria and Trillium's growing in and around them.

Steps leading up to the bulb frame with a large white Lewisia tweedi flowering in the corner, and on your left Rhododendron vaseyi? in flower.

Large beds that allowed you to walk around and explore all the plants at eye level.

Rhododendron Egret in the garden.

The main glass house or Alpine house, was better than Kew Gardens or Wisley, full of Alpines that you thought you had died and gone to heaven on entering the door way. Paraquilegia's, Cypripedium's, Androsace, rare Pulsatilla's and a lemon Lewisia tweedi on a stool with scissors and tweezers, that was being tidied up before our arrival. An absolute credit to the grower of these spectacular alpine plants.

A large pan of Pleonie under the staging.

One of the Paraquilegia behind a large pink Lewisia and the yellow flowering Sebaea thomasii on the left and a Pulsatilla in bud.

Paraquilegia anemonoides pale form.

Paraquilegia anemonoides

Gentian acaulis purple

Tanacetum leontopodium ex Pyrethrum

Cypripedium ? in the bulb frame

Cypripedium x Hideki growing in the Glass House.

Cypripedium x ventricosa

Ranunculus amplexicaulis Big Danny growing in the bulb frame.

The very rare white form of Jeffersonia dubia alba growing in the garden.
(Well its rare in Australia)

Podophyllum emodi

A hybrid Trillium from New Zealand that I think is Trillium sulcatum x Stewart Preston.
I do apologize I could not get all of the pictures to load last night, I have got it to work tonight. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Raising Ramonda and Ericaceous plants from seed.

It is always a challenge to grow some of the fine powdered seed of some of the plants that we covert, such as Cassiope, Rhodothamnus, Ramonda and Shortia from seed. I have been ordering Ramonda myconi Rosea from seed for ages and struggle to get it up in the conventional ways. So I have decided to give it go this way and see how I go. Ramonda myconi and R. myconi alba is in Australia, but we have decided that there is no one with Ramonda myconi Rosea in Australia that we know of and seed is the only answer. So here goes a good potting mix with plenty of leaf mulched mixed through, fill pot leaving about 3cm on the top of the potting mix for the sphagnum moss or peat. I am using sphagnum moss this time if this does not work then I well try peat next year.

Finley chop the sphagnum moss like you would when chopping herbs in a cup, with a very sharp pair of secateurs.

Spread sphagnum moss evenly over the top of your potting mix, label seed, date, and where it came from, and spread seed over sphagnum. Now there are two ways of watering the seed in you can use a spray water bottle and water your seed in with that, or you can carefully water in with a hose fitted with a fine nozzle, starting away from the pots and then moving the hose over your seed, no need to drown the seed just a short spray at this stage. Some people recommend sterilising the potting mix first, other's pour boiling water over the potting mix in the pots before putting the sphagnum moss on top. I haven't done any sterilising as I want the leaf mulch, which is supposed to contain bacteria to aid in seed germination, to do its job.

Carefully place your prepared pot in a zip lock bag, and zip it up, you would hate to knock it over at this stage with all that preparation, hang the bag in a cool shaded place for the seed to germinate, try and resist looking at the seed for at least 3 to 4 weeks or longer if you possibly can and apparently you prick the seed out as soon as there is a little bit of size to the seedlings, if left in the bags for too long dampening off may occur.
Alternatively you can cover the pots with cling wrap and place on the window sill and have the same success rates. Cross your fingers with both ways and hope for the best. I will let you know how I progress

Little hanging pots of golden goodness.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Oxydendrum arborumn

A small tree for growing Alpine plants underneath it's beautiful foliage, it belongs to the Ericaceae family so will only grow in an acid soil, Oxydendrum arborumn is from North America. When we first bought our garden we did not notice this small tree growing in a large raised bead, it was only in the spring we could hear all the buzzing in the garden above our heads, the bee's were just loving the lily of the valley flowers, goodness knows how they get their noses in the flowers, as the flowers, on large racemes are quite small. The whitish-grey racemes stay on the tree until the middle of winter, then fall off, but before they fall off  they create quite a contrast as the leaves change from green to all the red and burgundy colours of Autumn.
Stephen Ryan has a very good reference to this small tree in his book "100 Trees and Shrubs to give your garden the edge."

Androsace strigillosa from central Himalaya from Nepal to Bhutan, very easy in a deep trough, up against the edges, where it can use the peat in the cement to keep its self cool, This lovely seedling was on the Bunfight from Cynthia about 4 years ago.10-30cm in height with pure white flowers on the inside and lovely red buds and reverse on the flowers. It does not mind the warmth as long as it has shade in the summer months.

Antirrhinum hispanicum? seed collected in a rocky drain on the side of the road in Traveleleze, a beautiful village with white houses and terracotta flat roove's in the Mountains of Spain. With very interesting Tymes, Lavenders, Oregano and all manner of plants that would grow very well in Australia. If we could get seed. To see the flowers with all their markings properly, click on the picture.

Calceolaria fothergillii from seed VI from Czech in one of my troughs, not heavily marked by garnet -red, but they are so interesting Calceolaria flower's with all forms of their pouch's. From southern Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. You need to watch out for aphis on these little treasures, as they will kill or weaken plants before you even see them, so spray regularly to kill the aphis.

Cimicifuga americana from SRG seed 1990, a beautiful woodland plant with white racemes of flowers.
Needing a deep soil with plenty of leaf mulch and moisture.

Epimedium seedling from David Kennedy that he nick named Big Mumma has not been Named properly yet and is not commercially available, as he will need time to propagate it. Just shows you what you can grow from seed doesn't it.

Maianthemum bifolium from Western Europe to Japan, a quite little woodlander that just spreads around gently, I also grow this in an old copper trough that has aged beautifully and is now mostly green, so that the slugs and snails leave it alone, they will not climb the copper to eat the plants. Penny used to sell this plant from her Nursery in Mt Macedon no longer there.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Crocus from seed.

Crocus from seed is so rewarding, I have found it is better to plant the corms into the garden in their second year from their seed pots, otherwise you can forget to water or water too much and loose the babies. They will probably not flower for another year after that, but the following year they will if they are in the right position. I did not grow this first Crocus from seed above and below but Otto did and he gave me a couple of bulbs 4 years ago. It is a very special Autumn flowering Crocus caspius collected by Paul Furse and his wife collection number 5035 while travelling in 1965 in northern Iran, they wrote in their notes "common, dug by pigs" I was looking at Janis Ruksans book of Crocus of the World and he said he went to the same area and hunted for this Crocus caspius and could not find it. I immediately thought the pigs ate the lot, having come from a farm I can quite believe this, but you think a few would have survived. This Crocus comes from a moist position 1,300m above sea level, mine is shaded during the summer months by a Bletilla striata, it grows easily in a semi shaded position.

Crocus gilanicus from AGS seed above and below only one seed has germinated but hopefully this will multiply not sure if it is correctly named, but I need to wait and get some one to look at it, it should have white filaments and mine are yellow.

Crocus hadriaticus from Marcus Harvey's collected seed on Greece, I have included this Crocus in an earlier blog but there is such variation in seed, the other photo of Crocus hadriaticus had no stripping on the lower part of the flower and this one does. Sunny position Autumn flowering.

Crocus banaticus top photo is AGS seed 2015 a very large, deep dark flower, and below is from SRGC  seed 2015 just the regular C. banaticus flowers, it comes from moist meadows 130-700 m from Romania, SE Slovakia, E Hungary, NE Serbia and NW Ukraine. Autumn Flowering needs semi shade in Australia, dig a little course grit through your soil before you plant it, it will grow better if it is in a loose soil, if your soil is heavy like mine.                                                      

Much excitement when I found Fermi's Narcissus obsoletus below not quite out, the slugs always get the flowers before I ever get to see them. I did dig these up in the summer as they had become congested and needed more sun, there are more flowers to come I may get a better photo in the next lot.