Wednesday, February 27, 2019


 Echinocereus triglochidiantus f. inermis

I just read that Escobaria vivapara grows most western states and three provinces in Canada. CANADA.  Those cold, windy ones in the middle.  Not a houseplant.

Escobaria sneedii
Wasn't going to leave this gem at our old rental.  That came with us. I chopped it to pieces which are all a bunch of babies now.

Sexxxy. Aw, come to daddy. 
Need me to help ya down with a front-end-loader next time I come visit? Yeah, you can come live in my front yard.

Mammillaria meiacantha

A White Sands Echinocereus becomes the host to Castilleja integra in a garden I did for a friend.

Echinocereus x roetterii

Hard Candy: Apex photos

June is perhaps as good as May for the APEX crevice garden.

Junellia succulentifolia; evergreen dwarf shrub, smells like a bag of gym socks.

Acantholimon venustum is the most common, greenish species to tolerate wetter climates. Ours looks like it wants to die now that the park fixed their years-old leaky drinking fountain nearby.  Agave kaibabensis and Maihenia poepiggii share the frame.

Maihuenia poeppigiii fruit.
It had green fruit on it in October, and I was going to leave them when cactus guru Rod Haenni said a more polite version of "They're ripe already, dummie, collect them before some bastard steals them." Sure enough: full of beautiful black, beady, glossy seeds. The seeds have been shared with growers and seed exchanges.

Buns in buns: Heterotheca jonesii seedling in Asperula gussonii
Not a common plant, Kintgen must have given me this Scabiosa graminifolia var. compacta.  It seems rare in gardens, but reblooms and reseeds in the garden like a hexane explosion. I have had to scrape up seedlings in winter.  

We get hypnotized by the Undauted Muhly Grass' pink autumn symphony, but let's not forget that Muhlenbergia reverchonii is an excellent, perfect rich-green clumpgrass until then.  More clumpgrass in steppe gardens, I say. 
Call to action.  Expect a ranting post on that.

Let's Gorge our Eyes and get Hyper for Spring.

Corydalis shanginii ssp. ainii with Aquilegia saximontana behind.

If you were curious, as one may never see a Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) seedling in real life, this is what one looks like before it dies. 
To date, I've got one living plant grown from seed.

The stickleaf family has christmas-tree shaped velcro hairs. Look'em up.

Townsendia cf. incana . North of Grand Junction, Colorado.

Allium macropetalum is often the first thing to bloom in March after the very first flowers here: humble desert parsleys.

Tulipa linifolia. Good cheese for the rock garden.

Linum cariense or aretiodes. I get so focused on planting the really important stuff I forget to record the name.  Anyone able to help me out?
In leaf.

A Buckthorn for the crevice garden. Because it's a natural limestone crevice dweller in the wild in Southern Europe.  Rhamnus pumila. Just soak up that bright green skittle.
Sunscapes has sold it the last few years. They are dioecious: plants are either boys or girls. Potted plants seemed to get infected with a root fungus that would hang with them for a while and then murder them.  I'll keep killing 5 at a time to get one of them to stay for posterity. They creep over rocks with their amazing gnarled tiny tree trunks. Self-bonsai. I realized a great use for this plant (in some public gardens I was working in) is where you need a good green in a place that is terribly exposed in winter. No problem- this guy (or gal) is deciduous and opts out of having to deal with winter.

Lepidium nanum, R.I.P. 
Let this be a lesson.  If you've proudly not watered a garden for five years, but  this year is a dangerously dry year, water your damn garden (Just once, even!) to save your plants.

'Firespinner' at Montrose Botanic

A hyrbid Sax at Dom's in Colorado Springs.

Erigeron compactus might be my new favorite Fleabane.
No. It is.

Leptodactylon watsonii.

Largest one I've seen in this state.

Scutellaria orientalis. It grows on road-cuts all over Asia, and in the garden blooms for so long you forget how long it does.  A bajillion forms and subspecies, this might be var. pinnatifida or a garden hybrid thereof.  Easy from cuttings.

Junellia succulentifolia, Agave parryi, Onosma sp.

Penstemon eatonii/barbatus hybrid?

Cornus kousa in a friend's garden.  North Side of a house.

Castilleja scabrida is most apt to succeed in a trough- here at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

Gentiana dahurica. My godsend.

I've killed every alpine Gentian I've ever tried here in the semi-desert. I plant them, crying. Again. And again.  I had one bloom. Once. With one flower. And then it died.  I think 105 F (41C) is just too hot no matter how much you water.  Finally- a part sun/ dry shade Gentiana. I don't care if the flowers aren't those tuba-sized G. acaulis you all can grow. It's true blue; look at it compared to other bastard blues on the right. They grow flats of this living sapphire at the local Valley Grown Nursery and no one buys it. I saw it naturalizing in grass under aspen in a mountain town in Colorado recently- the summers get dry up there, even.  This is the one, beloved.  Get you some.

Erigeron vagus in the Maroon Bells of Colorado.

A good mountain bike crash and hitting my head gave me the revelation for my first plant breeding. Behold, the dragonlemon.

Have another bowl.

Seedling Dionysia aretioides. Just North of a rock, sandy loam (9% silt) with no organics added. It gets a kiss of sun in high summer and just survives it. Watered weekly in the heat.  I'll try again to pollinate my older plant with this next year. Excellent fragrance. Like diving into a sea of fruit punch.

Dionysia aretioides in Colorado.
Ye old plant next to Sedum spathulifolium. Neither want our sun.
The Saxifrage is dead now, bringing it back to a total of zero in my own garden.

Dionysia involucrata 's bloom evades the focus on a phone camera. 
There is a new year's resolution to take less crappy photos.

Ages dark pink.  shadow of a north rock. Coarse sand with a little compost, but a few inches below that is heavy clay, which certainly gets it through dry spells in summer.

Dionysia aretioides takes from cuttings taken November, with hormone, in perlite, given gentle bottom heat and daily misting with all the other cuttings. I was sloppy and got these two out of 6 cuttings. While this is the most common species in cultivation, it's not easy to replace in Colorado. DBG grew piles of it for a moment and I'm glad I bought one.

Let's eat more Candy

Where did Iris sprengeri come from? I didn't record planting that. 

Like finding a hundred dollar bill you were using as a bookmark. 

Iris acutiloba ssp. lineolata (looking a little like ssp. longipetala in those standards)
I love how my gray stones really help the flowers of these exotic Iris blend right in.

Iris iberis ssp. lycotis. 

Muscari muscarimi. 
Super fragrant. Look at those brown lobes on the floret tips.

'Red Sails' Lettuce hybridized with the nearby weed Prickly lettuce weeds. 
That's fun.

Castilleja sessiliflora might be the easiest Paintbrush to grow, persisting for years and years.  Hosted here by the Escobaria or the whipcord Thuja.
Don't dismiss it because it's green, cream, and pink flowered.

Set some rocks for Nick at Betty Ford for his Silk Road Garden. I can't wait to see what he planted it with.

Manfreda maculosa comes from many soil types in Texas, has turned out to be pretty hardy, and being re-grown from seed seems to be making it easier in the garden. 
Seeds: Alplains. Plants:, Chelsea Nursery.