Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Too good to be true?

Here are some photos of the very rare and desirable Lilium philadelphicum x Lilium catesbaei flowering for the first time in my collection.  I obtained this hybrid from a friend who made the cross using L. philadelphicum as the female parent and L. catesbaei as the pollen donor.  Now I'm going to backcross this plant the Lilium philadelphicum var. andinum forma immaculata.  That should provide for some fabulous segregates among the progeny that will allow for continuation of the breeding lines in a new direction.  Exciting stuff. I took these photos with a couple different settings, but don't think I captured the true color with either.  What can I say, the sun never really came out yesterday and it's hard to take great photos in the dark.

Odds and Ends

This plant of Cymbidium erythrostylum is flowering for the first time.  Definitely worth the wait. At first I kept hoping the lateral petals would open, but they don't.  Oh well.  The fact that the flowers last for 4-6 weeks more than makes up for this.

This is a Cattleya hybrid that I was given with the name 'Alecia'.  I can find no reference to this, but at this point I really don't care.  Who wants to discount a plant with a floral display like this because a name can't be readily applied.  Some plants are just meant to be enjoyed.

Here is my hand in an attempt to give the flowers some scale.  The fragrance of these long-lasting flowers is to die for.  Perhaps this is a Cattleya hardyana type?

Here is the fabled Lachenalia viridiflora. The flower color is to die for, and only Ixia viridiflora can even come close.  These plants are embarrassingly easy to grow and hopelessly flop all over.  Next year  a nice, lean medium is in order.  This plant always flowers around the time of the legendary Ohio State/Michigan football game.  Is that a good a bad reminder?

Since this is a post of totally random lanes, here is one the make it interesting.  This is a form of Symphyotrichum (Aster) pratense collected in Kentucky.  I have not seen many other forms of this species, but word on the street is that this deeply colored form is something special.  Now I just need to think of a good cultivar name...

Symphyotrichum pratense cascading out of a raised bed.

A side view of the flowers of S. pratense showing the characteristic phyllaries and the scale of the flowers.  These flowers are quite large among our native asters.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lilies can do the strangest things...

I received this very rare form Lilium philadelphicum var. andinum forma immaculata (or so I have seen it called) from a friend that produced bulbs through tissue culture.  This form originates from Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, where it was found in one the northernmost populations of Lilium philadelphicum.  

This variant is well-known to the people of this region and is the symbol of the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre (http://www.biodiversity.sk.ca/).  Rarities such as this can be responsibly enjoyed by botanists and horticulturists when ethical collection protocols are followed to enter such plants into cultivation.  When propagated in vitro this species can be maintained over a long period of time.

You may also be wondering why this plant is flowering now.  Turns out that, despite being notoriously difficult garden plant, when grown in small containers and given supplemental lighting in greenhouse conditions, this species is very plastic and two flowering periods per year can be achieved.  Here is an article about forcing Lilium philadelphicum

The entire plant is only 8 inches (20 cm) tall and displays the characteristic upper whorls of foliage that defines var. andinum

The best is yet to come.  Today I harvested the pollen of the yellow phil.  I also stained it with acetocarmine and the pollen is quite viable.  Below are some pictures of an F1 clone of a Lilium philadelphicum X L. catesbaei hybrid made by the same friend who tissue cultured the yellow phil.  I am going to cross it to this plant when it opens in a few days.  It will be interesting to see if the cross takes and the ration of yellow progeny, if there are any.

Lilium philadelphicum X L. catesbaei clone showing a robust flowering stem.

Lilium philadelphicum X L. catesbaei