Lily Lion Heart

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Alluring Agapanthus

Awww the beautiful purple of Agapanthus! I love the piercing colour, and find Agapanthus to be a statuesque, regal plant, one that should be included in any summer garden. They are long lasting, an extra bonus. From where else, South Africa, but of course! I grow an Agapanthus cultivar of which I do not know the name of. It is outstanding!

Agapanthus praecox, the largest of the evergreen species is photographed below. Gaikaskop, Amatola Mtns., S.A. 2000M. January 2012. It is one of the most commonly grown ornamentals in the world. I live in Zone 6, and can overwinter this outdoors in the ground with mulch.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Colourful Calochortus

I quite like the genus Calochortus, however I only grow 1 at present clavatus var. clavatus.  A few years ago I purchased some from Telos Bulbs a great nursery in California.  I grew a total of 4 species of which I lost 3. Next year I have decided to order more.  They occur from southern British Columbia down to Mexico and Guatemala, with the largest concentration in California. They grow from perennial tunicated bulbs. The common name for the most part is Mariposa Lily, however the campanulate species are known as Fairy Lanterns, and another type called cat's ears is so called as the flowers look like pussy ears. Mariposa comes from Spanish and means "Butterfly", quite aptly named as the flowers of many species resemble the eloborate colours and shapes of a butterfly. They comprise some 70 species and grow in grasslands, and chaparral on dry slopes and hillsides.

C. clavatus var. clavatus has lovely yellow flowers from California, and stands 30cm tall and is grown in my cold greenhouse for the winter.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Chinese Charmer

Polygonatum prattii is one of my favourite of the genus. I currently grow P. hookeri, P. falcatum, P. prattii and soon P. aff. graminifolium. The Chinese Polygonatum are delightful. I look forward to their appearance every year, as it is amongst some of the later plants to make their debut in the garden. They are a north temperate genus of approximately 60 (39 in China, half endemic. They are rhizomatous perennials with pendulous flowers, solitary or clustered at the nodes. Prattii is 30cm and comes from w. to sw. Sichuan, and nw. Yunnan.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Captivating Cypripedium

In 2009 my Father and I travelled to Tobermory and Flowerpot Island on Georgian Bay in the Grey-Bruce Peninsula. This trip was with the Southern Ontario Orchid Society. This region is rich with native orchids and other native flora and it didn't disappoint.  I took many photos at the time with my Blackbery, and wish I would have invested in a REAL camera, a Digital SLR. I saw the beautiful C. reginae, arietinum, parviflorum and calceolus. C. calceolus was ubiquitous in habitat. What a sight to see! Seeing plants in habitat is what I get excited about. I currently grow C. parviflorum v. Makasin, C. reginae, and C. x alaskanum. Let me say that none were wild collected, as I am not a proponent of that, however if they were going to be bulldozed for a housing development, I would be there in a heartbeat with trowel in hand to save the plants I could.

C. parviflorum v. Makasin- They grow in fens and wet forests, however in cultivation they prefer mesic conditions. If they are grown in soil that isn't too rich in organic matter and lean towards the sandy side they will increase readily. They are found from Alaska across Canada to the southeastern U.S. This is one of the easy Cyps. to grow. They have lovely dark maroon sepals and petals, and are sweetly scented.

C. reginae- is one of the showiest Lady's Slippers and another one that is fairly easy in cultivation. In nature is grows in calcareous fens, however in cultivation does not prefer wet conditions, but rather well-drained mesic composts. It has been overpicked and should be protected from further exploitation due to its pulchritude. It's especially common in the Great Lakes region and its range is from Saskatchewan east to Newfoundland, south to North Carolina, west to Arkansas and north to Minnesota. The glandular hairs of the foliage may cause a rash similar to that caused by Poison Ivy, of which I am immune.

C. x alaskanum-is a natural hybrid between C. guttatum and C. yatabeanum confined to Alaska , Kodiak Island and the Aleutians. It is a tiny orchid (probably the size of a quarter) with lovely pink spotting on the lip, sepals and petals. Sadly this year I had one bud which was about to open, and within a few days after that the bud was brown. I was, and am still perplexed. The picture of this diminutive gem is from last year.  I grow it in a rich moist compost in the shade.