Friday, May 09, 2008

More Recent Acquisitions, Dodecatheon etc. and Miscellaneous Other Older Plants

We bought this plant at the Master Gardener's sale last weekend. The flowers just opened a few days ago so it was not included in the previous post. Sorry for the blurry pictures of Shooting Star, Dodecatheon meadia 'Alba'. It was windy and dark when I took the pictures. Some friends came over late yesterday and I was surprised they immediately noticed this flower which is partially hidden under a Japanese maple. The flowering head is probably not much over 8" high but apparently it is not as inconspicuous as I thought. The leaves of the white Dodecatheon are much larger and robust than the pink counterpart. According to Wikipedia they are also know as "Shooting Star, American Cowslip, Mosquito Bills, and Sailor-caps" and are related to the genus Primula, primroses. Also "Primula without Dodecatheon is paraphyletic." "In phylogenetics, a group of organisms is said to be paraphyletic (Greek para = near and phyle = race) if the group contains its most recent common ancestor but does not contain all the descendants of that ancestor." "A group that does not contain the most recent common ancestor of its members is said to be polyphyletic (Greek polys = many)". More information than I care to know or remember... but included for those taxonomically inclined.

We bought the white Shooting Star to accompany this pink one which I also bought at the Master Gardener's sale 4 years ago. Surprisingly the plant hasn't multiplied much but it comes up every year like clockwork and is eagerly awaited by moi. I was again amazed that the aforementioned friends also spotted this tiny plant which is also fairly inconspicuously placed amongst larger plants.

This tiny Jack in the Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum, was also for sale. I liked the dark colored striped spathe and I hope it remains as dark when it reblooms next year.

An interesting side note. The first Jack I planted was a light green one. It was sent to me as a root, tuber?, and I just pretty much just stuck it in the ground. When the flower appeared, it was facing to the back of the bed so the part you saw was the back of the spathe and you weren't able to see the spadix or the cup of the flower. I thought it was just bad luck and it would probably turn in a different direction in the coming years. But not so. When the flower appeared the next year, it was still facing backwards. I don't know if this is an anomaly or if it will always do this but I made sure I planted this newest acquisition facing in the best direction. Here's a nice little write up on Jack in the Pulpits.

I also picked up four of these Thalictrum aquilegifolium, the Greater Meadow-rue. I bought a Thalictrum rochebrunianum last year which turned out to be a spectacular plant so when I saw these for sale I immediately "had" to buy them. I also bought a Thalictrum from Wayside Gardens called 'Black Stockings' because the stems are dark and almost black in color which I'm excited to see.

This Begonia was just the thing to brighten a dark shaded corner of our deck.

We bought some 'Knockout' roses last year in an after-bloom sale which were mostly of the light pink variety. They rebloomed later in the year with just a few flowers but enough to want to try a few more. This is 'Rainbow' and it is much more vibrant in color than the pink ones. I think they are the prettiest of the Knockouts. I found these in the local Lowes.

The white version of Bleeding Heart is blooming. I like the white much better than the pink because it is much better behaved and doesn't multiply or try to crowd out other plants.

Pink Weigela.

I'm glad to see the Trilliums are flowering again this year.

And indoors - this Easter cactus is blooming now. Apparently these vibrantly colored cacti are difficult to care for and have them rebloom. Only a few flowers are on the plant much, much less than when we first bought the plant last year. I guess they deserve the reputation for being a difficult plant to care for. We almost lost a pink flower version and it has not rebloomed.


Blogger SuzyQ said...

I love it when people post about plants I have never heard about - I am such a green gardener - and these are all such lovely plants. Thanks for helping me come up with more ideas for my garden!

7:24 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Do you still have those pink knockouts? If so, see how they do for you this year. Sometimes, depending where you got them (an after bloom sale, where?) they aren't taken all that good care of. Knockout roses are one of the strongest introduced in years. They are vertically nonstop bloomers. Mine are coming into bloom now and should be in bloom until frost. I have 6 Knockouts, 2 red and 4 pink. Husband goes bonkers over them every year...More!...More!...More!!

Knockout roses are great for most folks who don't have the time or patience or think they can't grow roses. They are definitely nice, but I like other roses even more. I think my problem with the Knockout roses is that they are everywhere now. And the really nice roses with fragrances that would curl your socks are being left behind.

Yes, I love gardening, but roses are my flower.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi SuzyQ,
Thanks for looking! It certainly is fun and an education looking at other people's plants. Trouble is - there are too many I want!

Hi Julie,
The Pink Knockouts are in bud stage but hopefully will be blooming soon. I think it may be at least another couple of weeks but who knows?

Actually we first saw some Home Run roses and immediately liked the dark red color. These were also on past bloom sale. Roses don't do well for us. Maybe we don't grow them in enough sun. So we're reluctant to spend a lot on them when we seem to kill them. The bugs/beetles, black spot, or powdery mildew seem to always do them in. There are a couple of exceptions, a dark red rose which came with the house and a freebie pink rose which came as a gift in the package with a large mailorder of plants.

I sure do like the old fashioned roses with great fragrance. Unfortunately we had a lilac colored one that was unbelievably fragrant but succumbed to one of the aforementioned problems. I'm hoping the Knockouts and Homerun roses are as trouble free as advertised.

My hats off to you!

5:39 PM  
Blogger kate smudges said...

The Shooting Stars are so pretty - they are eye-catching, although I'd have thought the Japanese Maples would have been the stars of the show. I didn't realise that the white form is larger in leaf than the pink one.

You have so much in bloom - you are fortunate to have both Jack-in-the-Pulpits and Trilliums in your garden. They are such beautiful plants. The white Bleeding Heart is striking too. It's good to see the roses too!

2:37 PM  
Blogger heirloomgardener said...

I love that Dodecatheon--you are inspiring me.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kate,
We went to a wildflower preserve plant sale this weekend where they had numerous white shooting stars blooming. I was surprised at how large they were. Some of the flower heads were at least 18" tall. They had a table full of the plants for sale and apparently they can be either pink or white. I think the dark pink one I have is a deliberately bred plant to have more vivid colors on a smaller plant. I bought another one at the sale hoping it would be a wild pink one, made difficult because only one white plant was blooming. I looked at the leaf stems and chose the one that had the most reddish color thinking that this would indicate ultimate flower color. I reasonable deduction but even if it turns out to be white that would be ok too.

A yellow trillium is starting to bloom for the first time too. Can't wait. Thanks for your visit Kate.

Hierloom Gardner,
Dodecatheons were a must have plant along with Dutchman's Breeches when I first saw them in a plant book. I remember doing an online search for them and found vendors for the plants to be non-existent - at least in the little time I searched for them. When I saw the pink one at the Master Gardener's sale, I was overjoyed. To find them again was doubly joyful especially because it was in a different color. I hope you have luck in finding a shooting star. There are probably many more online nurseries selling the plants these days. Here's one. They show a pink one.

Shooting Star Nursery

In case the link doesn't work, here's the url to cut and paste:

3:40 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Ki, I think you'll find that Home Run will be a little bit more tender than the Knockouts. Knockouts are made of iron, I swear! Home Run was suppose to be another along the same line, but it is more apt to blackspot and powdery mildew.

Bugs such as aphids, spider mites and rose slugs are best taken care of with a blast of water once a week or so to keep them dislodged. Japanese Beetles, well, there's not much you can do about them short of nuking your garden. Even then they'd probably still live. For them, you and all your neighbors, neighborhoods and farmers have to contol the larvae stage. And that's a mighty tall order. I use Milky Spore for the Japanese Beetle grubs in my garden. Use the concentrate, put it on the yard and flowerbeds according to instructions. It's expensive and time consuming to do this, but it will last for 15 years or more.

Another iron-clad rose or variety of roses, if you have the space for them, are the large ramblers, the Praire roses. I have Queen of the Praires and give it the very least amount of attention except to train it on a 130' fence. My guess is I need two to cover this fence. I will take a cutting off the one I have to start on the opposite end this year.

You'll like the Knockouts. They are such a strong rose. They do best if you give them at least 4-6 hours of sun a day.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Thanks for the information about roses, Julie. All the after bloom sale roses are setting flowers even if some were browsed heavily by deer in the fall. I guess the deer gave it a more than usual pruning but it didn't seem to faze either the Knockout or Homerun roses.

We decided to give roses one more try - hope springs eternal- and bought three scented roses. I'll have to look up the names but one was a peach color, the other a deep yellow and the third an unusual chocolate reddish brown color - it's not a awful as it sounds. We planted it where we can keep a close eye on it, where it gets ample sun so hopefully they will thrive. Wish us luck.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Ki, the chocolate/reddish brown one is most likely Hot Cocoa. It's a great rose but needs room. It gets large and will crowd out other roses to near it. Give it aleast a 6' spread, so don't plant other roses nearer to it than 3 feet. It blooms very well with semi-double unusually colored blooms. It does get some black spot and the beetles will worry it some, but it's a strong rose and should be able to brush off the disease. The beetles will probably get the blooms about mid-summer, but here, it's obvious they're not the beetle's favorite.

Good luck with all of them.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for the warning. I already planted the roses but I think there's 3 feet between them. If not I'll do some pruning - I've become fairly good at that, hacking branches off trees. We have brown chafing beetles that attack the roses. The Japanese beetles don't seem to bother the couple we have in our yard. I think it's because the crape/crepe myrtles are more to their liking.

Thanks for all your help.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

I can't wait to see your 'Black Stockings' because I've been sorely tempted by that plant before. But after having 'Hewitt's Double' do an exit on me this past winter (it appears to be the only thing I lost) I'm in wait-and-see mode.

So funny about those Jacks. I would never have guessed that they had a "front" and "back." This is what I love about great garden blogs like yours--I seem to always learn something when I visit.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kim,
Of course I had to look up 'Hewitt's Double' - I'm going to blame you if I go on another collecting mania :) It's a beauty. I'm surprised it died because it's rated to zone 5. I would wait a bit, it may yet appear. Some of my plants are starting out very slowly despite a mild winter unlike what you experienced. I'm eagerly awaiting a Meadow Beauty, Rhexia virginica which is only now putting out tiny new leaves.

I'm still waiting to confirm my previous Jack observation. The leaves are appearing so we'll see if the flower faces the back of the bed like the last two years. You are too kind. Thanks for your comments.

3:47 AM  

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