Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer is great, but...

Yes, it is technically still spring by the Gregorian calendar, but if you go by a phenological calendar, it is definitely feeling like summer in C-bus.  Since I never got around to it in May (or April) and since the last flower of these just faded and collapsed in the last couple days, I thought it would be fitting to dedicate a blogpost as a send-off to the Cypripediums.  After the heat and drought of last year, I'm surprised that so many of these lived.

The first Cypripedium to flower for me was the primary hybrid Aki Pastel.  Truth be told I find these plants underwhelming.  I can appreciate them because of their large flowers and vigor and persistence in the garden, but the color pattern does not, in the clones that I grow, tend towards the pure white color of other "pastel" variants in other crosses.  Two clones flowered in early May.  I like the spreading nature of the lateral petals in the first clone.

In contrast here is Cypripedium Michael Pastel flowering for the first time.  This is an excellent plant! So far it has the purest white flowers of any "Pastel" variants to flower.  Its amazing to me that a hybrid with such difficult to grow parents is so easy to grow.    

Cypripedium Inge has taken several years to establish but has finally flowered for the first time.  I quite like this hybrid and hope it continues to develop and add more stems.  

A plant that has been in my collection for a long time is Cypripedium Maria.  I started about 10 years ago with some seedlings from Germany, and only a couple of clones are left, but the plants are indestructible and increase in size and flower every year.  The flowers have the sweet fragrance of the Cypripedium parviflorum parent.

Cypripedium Sam Saulys is a cross of Cypripedium Gisela x Cypripedium xandrewsii from Gardens at Post Hill.  So far this plant has great vigor, large flowers, and good coloration.  

Last but not least is my favorite of them all -- Cypripedium kentuckiense.  These are a couple of several year old seedlings from Spangle Creek Labs.  These are two of my favorite clones.

Spring Reloaded

I always feel like I missed spring (and blogging during the spring).  So much is going on that it is hard to live in the moment and before you know it, the heat has picked up, the rain has tapered off, and the soil hardens and cracks -- tell tale signs that summer has arrived in the midwest.  As the transition to summer takes place, spring ephemerals quickly retreat and await next season for the their flash of magnificence.  Any way, now that the summer flowers are starting to take hold, I thought I would share a few more Trillium photos and start thinking about next spring.

Here is a  form of Trillium stamineum with good, darkly mottled foliage that was selected by Nearly Native Nursery.  I have only had it a couple of years, but can already tell it's going to be a good clumper (like other stamineum).  This is truly one of the most distinct and easily identified Trilliums and one that people immediately flock to when they see it.  It is very hardy here and in the Midwest is one of the best garden plants in the genus.  I would absolutely love to find ( or trade for) a yellow flowered form of this!

Below is another clone of T. stamineum that was given to me by a friend just this spring.  This clone as collected by Fred Case and was considered by him to be one of the best forms of this species.  The clump my plants were divided from was well over 100 stems.  Very excited about this one!

Speaking of Fred Case plants, below is another one given directly to me by Fred himself and a plant I had long been interested in.  Supposedly this is a naturally occurring hybrid: Trillium decipiens x Trillium underwoodii.  As mentioned in his book and extolled by Fred himself, this was one of the few forms from the T. decipiens/underwoodii complex that was cold hardy in Saginaw, MI.  This plant came directly from the Case garden where it was growing in heavy shade in a protected site.  It has grown very well for since that time in a container.  

A first time flowering Trillium for me this year is the rare and often confused Trillium viride.  These plants were given to me by a friend in Illinois that collected them near Beardstown, Illinois.  Apparently  this population has suffered mightily and is in decline.  These plants, after growing in my garden for two years, have substantially increased in size and vigor and appears well-adapted to my conditions.  The first picture shows the flower the day it opened and the second a few days later.  

Trillium viride.  The foral fragrance is reminiscent of sweet shrub (Calycanthus floridus)

Trillium sessile is one of the most common Trillium species in the Columbus, Ohio region.  Most populations have flowers that are maroon-red in color.  In some populations there can be some striking flower color breaks that make for quite nice garden specimens.  Here are a few of the best from this year.