sick day -floral review
Mon, 05 Jun 2006 20:22:04 PDT
At home, sick today with a menacing sore throat and earache, I used the 
opportunity to wander around the garden and take some notes and photos, which I'll 
share with you here.

Trits and Brods
Triteleia laxa 'Humbolt Star' went from 2 flowering stems last years and 
years past, to 10 flowering stems this year!…

Sadly, right next to it, I cleared away two mushy leaf remnants from T. laxa 
'Sierra Giant', our abundant rain in the last several weeks too much for it.  
I hope the corms are okay.  Same thing happened with T. ixioides var. scabra 
'Tiger' and other selections.  In spite of the rain, T. grandiflora howelii 
flowered nicely, and there are a few solid seed capsules.  To my surprise, a 
couple weeks ago I spied the tiny yellow T. lemmoniae in flower.  I had forgotten 
where I planted a couple bulbs from Jane McGary.  It too is setting firm seed 

Triteleia hyacinthina is winning the Trit race, seeding about freely and 
producing a small forest of flower stems.  Two bulbs of this species bought from 
Jane McGary last year, look as though they'll open flowers much sooner than my 
existing form... which is what I was hoping for, some genetic diversity.  T. 
bridgesii has the same two reliable flower stems that it's produced for the 
last 5 years, except there is a smaller 3rd flowering stem this year... finally 
some increase on this splendid species.  All of these are amply covered 
photographically on the PBS wiki.

Brodiaea stellaris appears to have died out after a good run in years, 
although B. purdyi nearby slowly increases, and I count 12 flowering stems.  While I 
see buds now, the blue-purple flowers don't open until July.

C. uniflorus evidently flowered... I see 4 seed capsules, but I missed the 
bloom.  C. luteus from Paige Woodward is showing a flower bud... a fairly 
reliable doer here.  The cultivar 'Golden Orb' sold by Dutch growers, looks 
identical in flower, but only lasted 1 year for me.
C. vestae, from Jane McGary, reliable sprouts a couple narrow leaves, but no 

Lots and lots of Allium in bloom.  This year I'm particularly impressed with 
two cultivars of Allium victorialis that Paige Woodward once offered in her 
catalog, 'Kamerovo' and 'Cantabria'.  They are similar in general appearance, 
but there are key differences:

In the following view, both cultivars are shown growing side by side, 
'Kamerovo' on the left and 'Cantabria' on the right.  Unlike the form of A. 
victorialis I've grown for about 18 years, in these selections the growth is perfectly 
upright, making a bold statement, holding the yellowish-cream color flower 
heads on strong 24" (60 cm) stems in 'Kamerovo', and up to 4" (+10 cm) taller in 

A view of the flowers looking straight down, shows that 'Kamerovo' has base 
of the pedicels colored red, and slightly smaller flowers compared to the dense 
compressed spheres of 'Cantabria'.  Kamerovo has smaller, darker green 
foliage than the other.…

The flowers on each close-up:……

A view of my very old clump of Allium victorialis, with beautiful 
lily-of-the-valley-like foliage spreading 24" across (60 cm).  The flowers stems tend to 
splay out in an upward ascending way, for less apparent height, and in this 
form, the flowers are white.  In all the years I've grown this, I have yet to 
find a single self-sown seedling. Maybe the big black shiny round seeds are 
eaten by insects, mice or chipmunks?  This species appreciates heavy moist soil 
and open shade.…

A couple of other "broad-leaf" alliums are closely related to A. victorialis. 
 One is Allium listera, a Chinese endemic.  I had two clones from Darrell 
Probst, who collected the plant in China.  Both were similar, but chipmunk 
tunneling killed one clone and nearly did in the other, although it made a come 
back.  The spring foliage is remarkable, emerging a strong ruddy pinkish color and 
glossy.  It turns green, as you can see in the photo.  It flowers in July or 
August, with a small, unremarkable sphere of widely spaced wispy white 
flowers.  It likes growing in shade.…

Allium ovalifolium ends up as the real identity of plants labelled A. 
aciphyllum from Chen Yi in China.  Two different plants emerged from the bulbs 
received, one with the more typical oval foliage (A. ovalifolium var. ovalifolium), 
and another with variable foliage but typically much narrower, with a distinct 
whitish nerve down the center of the leaf (A. ovalifolium var. leuconeurum). 
They should have similar insignificant wisps of whitish flowers, but I haven't 
seen these yet... maybe this year.  Again, these are shade-loving plants.…

Allium altissimum, my plants from Turkemistan, is perhaps the tallest Allium 
in the genus, always topping out several inches over 5 feet (150 cm).  This 
year there were 5 bloom heads, which bent over in the rain, now trying to turn 
upright again.……

Allium 'Globus' was particularly nice this year... a dumb name for a good 
hybrid between A. karataviense and A. stipitatum.  I like the silvery pink color 
break from the usual purple globes.  In the 2nd photo, 'Globus' is in the 
center, A. karataviense and the cultivar 'Ivory Queen' in the foreground, and the 
seedheads of A. karataviense 'Red Globe' on the left, and bright purple A. 
jesdianum 'Purple King' behind.……

Allium jesdianum 'Purple King'…

Sometimes included in Allium, but rightly it's own genus, here's a few shots 
of Nectaroscordum siculum.  Evidently in cultivation, most cultivated stock 
are hybrids between ssp. siculum and ssp. bulgaricum.  I really enjoy the 
architectural drama of the inflorescence.  Three views; a side view, a slightly 
underneath view look up, and a worm's-eye view.………

Arisaema heterophyllum sprouted like clockwork, always on the 1st week of 
June.  Within 3 weeks, it'll reach 6' in height.... amazing.  Ariasema ringens 
produced it's green fist-like flower again, but this year facing the other way 
(there was discussion in the past, about the flowers of Arisaema having some 
directional orientation with the tuber).  The two 3-part leaves are massive and 
glossy.  A. kishidae, in a beautiful variegated form, did not appear this 
year, after blooming nicely the last 5-6 years.  A friend gave me a replacement, 
named A. kishidae 'Jack Frost'.

Arisaema tashiroi is so cute... tall and slender, with relatively small 
green, white-striped, open-lidded blooms that site just above the foliage.  It 
grows about 2-1/2' tall (75 cm).  The slender stems are marked like snakeskin; 
whitish marbled with olive green, and a tawny brown basal sheath, also marbled.  
Images of both flower and stem.……

Arisaema triphyllum is well know by all, but this plant is incredibly 
variable.  What's also interesting is their built-in emergence clock.... early in 
some forms, very late in others.  I have one that just sprouted last week, 
whereas most forms are now done flowering.  Here's a selection I made that has 
glaucous purple stems and dark flowers.…

Iris gracilipes var. alba "Buko Form" is a miniature version of the species, 
evidently collected on Buko San (mountain) in Japan.  It grows 4-5" tall, with 
a profusion of tiny white just 3/4" across.  In the spring when the leaves 
first emerge, it looks like a hedge-hog.…

Iris henryi (again).  I have already posted photos of this little treasure, 
but it surprised me a couple days after the flush of 19 blooms appeared, that 
there it was again, with a 2nd flush of 19 new flowers.  I checked Darrell 
Probst's catalog, and sure enough he states there are two buds per stem.  In spite 
of the rain, the seed pods are swelling and feel firm (see photo).…

Roscoea cautleyoides has 5 flowering stems, with 3-4 pretty pale yellows 
flowers on each 16-18" stem. I've had it for 3 years.  I tried taking a good 
photo, but it's so hard to capture the detail in the pale yellow flowers, I've yet 
to get a satisfactory image worth posting.  The plant is too stiff growing for 
my tastes, although might look good if the lower half of the stems were 
concealed with foliage from companion plants.

Corydalis flexuosa 'Blue Panda' - this is one of many named cultivars of 
flexuosa, but I find that this one actually returns each year and flowers well.  
The sky blue flowers are gorgeous, and the scent is heavenly.…

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States "New England" USDA Zone 5
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