Archive for the ‘Plants I Love’ Category

The past two days have been on and off thunderstorms bringing much needed rain that washed everything clean and perked up the gardens. I walked around the yard just now and here is what is looking good……


Some of my propagation trays that currently have many Primula, Arisaema, Arum, and other assorted goodies.



I just discovered this mystery Arum/Arisaema. I didn’t plant it here and I as yet don’t have any idea what it is. If anyone knows please let me know in the comments. It’s really nice but it’s growing up through a small Hosta and I’ll need to move it at some point.



Not the clearest photo but I do love this Acanthus mollis. It came with me when I moved to Vermont from Massachusetts and it never fails to make me smile when it blooms. The leaves are also wonderful!



Another friend that moved here with me seven years ago. Magnolia macrophylla is a beauty! I bought this from Ellen Hornig when her nursery Seneca Hill Perennials was still open. It’s now about 8 or 9 feet tall. It has never bloomed but with leaves as large as these I don’t mind. (too much) It’s plants on the stream edge so it never goes dry and seems very happy, only dying back slightly in winter, which may be why it doesn’t bloom. But I have seen a lovely mature speimen at the gardens of Cady’s Falls Nursery about an hour and a half north of here!



I love my Sempervivum and so wish I had more sunny garden space to add lots more of them.



A Papaver somniferum that has self-seeded into this garden. I think I will now always have them since I don’t always cut the seed heads off in time. And why would I? When I can have lovely flowers like this every year for no effort on my part what-so-ever!!




Aralia ‘Sun King’ is a beautiful spot of sunshine in a shady garden. If it got just a bit more sun it would be 10 times brighter, but it’s a beauty just as it is.





In the seed pots I am so happy to see how well these Podophyllum hexandrum are doing! I collected the seed for these from my plant and now I’ll have a few more to spread around.



My Epiphyllum of unknown parentage is in bloom and it’s gorgeous!! I got a cutting of it a couple of years ago from a neighbor here and it has done so well even in my fairly shady house and garden.



More seedling trays with loads of Primula of different species. I think these are from seed I collected at Kris Fenderson’s gardens in New Hampshire last year and they are P. bulleesiana in apricot, pink and yellow. Next year they should bloom and hopefully I’ll have lots of plants to share.



One of my annual planters on the the deck with a little owl I bought last spring in Georgia while visiting my daughter.



A favorite plant!! Dienanthe caerulea…Also purchased at Cady’s Falls. it’s a Hydrangea relative and is so hardy and beautiful!! I need to figure the best way to propagate it.





Another houseplant. Anthurium crystalinum. It has huge leaves with a crystal dusted appearance. I first saw it at the NYBG years ago and ordered them in to sell when I worked at Ward’s Nursery in Gt. Barrington, MA. It’s an easy plant to grow but it does need a high humidity to its best, so I mist it a lot during the winter.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd for a parting shot…the rainbow after yesterdays thunder storm. There was a huge crack of thunder and it started to hail all while the sun was still shining! Next came this rainbow over the lake! I love it here!



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Today seemed like a good day to tend the Primula auricula bed by weeding, feeding and cleaning. The above photo shows the bed after I got everything all cleaned up. the plants are in full to just past full bloom. As you can see this end is getting too much shade from a large hemlock hedge, so I’ll be moving them out to the other end soon so they’ll get more sun. Right now the sunnier end is full of Primula sieboldii, Helleborus and other assorted Primula.

What follows is a sampling of the auricula that are in bloom now and what I hope to be able to increase enough of to have some to sell at future plant sales and enter in primrose shows. Most of them aren’t named…they mostly came from Susan Schnare of New Hampshire who developed a sensitivity to them and now gets a bad rash whenever she handles them too much. I sure hope that doesn’t happen to me!!



The next photo shows an interesting growth in the center. It looks like it was trying to form more petals but couldn’t quite get there. I really like the fleshy-pink color.


Next is a really pretty plum purple with great farina on the center white ring and a yellow raised crown around the tube. But too bad it’s a pin-eyed plant and not a thrum. Show quality plants must have the anthers showing at the tube and not the pistil as in this one.


This next one is the softest pink. Susan got the seed from Leslie of Pop’s Plants in the UK and so she named it ‘Leslie’s Pink’. I love how the central eye is kind of star-shaped and it’s also a good increaser of offsets, so I should have a number of these to offer in the future.


These next few photos show an assortment of plants all in need of cleaning up of the old leaves that are now starting to soften, yellow and rot. They must be removed so that the crown of the plant doesn’t get infected with the mold and start to also rot away.




Here is what I’m talking about……all those browned bits must be cleaned away. The dead leaves are easy to remove by just gently pulling downward on them.


And here is a nice clean plant. Look at all those offsets!! I could dig this plant up and gently divide it up into many smaller plants, pot them up and hopefully overwinter them for next year’s plant sales. Which I will do, but not today. That will be saved for a future post where I’ll show how to do it.


Next comes the feeding…I use Espoma brand bulbtone granular fertilizer because it’s mostly organic and has a good portion of natural phosphorus for good root growth in addition to trace minerals and other good things. I use it on all of my flower beds. Sprinkle it around each plant and lightly work it in with a cultivator.


Here is an offset raring to go! Look at those roots just ready to bury themselves into the soil. This is when the plants are sending out lots of fresh new roots and so it’s a good time to take offsets to increase your collection and have extras to share with friends.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASharing plants with fellow gardeners is one of the joys of gardening! I dug quite a few plants today as I will be spending tuesday helping a friend dig up her Iris beds that has become something she doesn’t want to take on anymore. A couple of other people will be there and so I’m bringing plants to share and I’m sure I’ll be going home with lots of new ones! Gardeners are great that way!

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I was having a sort of blue day earlier when my camera battery died and I couldn’t find the charger or my other camera…..I think Steve has borrowed it. Very frustrating. So I walked around the gardens anyway looking at what was in bloom, and don’t you know it was mainly blue flowers! My garden & I were in sync. Although there weren’t many of them they were so very welcome indeed!

This fantastic plant is lighting up the front border!

This fantastic plant is lighting up the front border!

Gentiana x macaulayi ‘Kingfisher’ purchased a few years ago at Cady’s Falls Nursery in Morrisville, VT. There are more flowers on than ever and it has been in bloom for a few weeks already. This extended fall has been so great! Cady’s Falls is the nursery that all of us at Rocky Dale Gardens look forward to visiting every year. They grow most their plants on site from seed, cuttings, grafting, etc. And the selection can’t be beat!


Primula ‘Belarina Cobalt’ has sent up a surprise…and it is most welcome indeed! I am hoping it will be full of buds in the spring so I can dig it up for the spring primrose show at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens! I sent for this last spring from Sequim Rare Plants in Sequim, WA. I also ordered a few Primula auricula from them and they sent the biggest most beautiful plants. I highly recommend them.


Here we have another Gentian in the very small rock garden on the west side of the cabin. It bloomed in July and was the most glorious ever. I have moved this plant around so many times trying to find just the right spot for it and now I think I have. It has got a long tongue-twisting name…Gentiana septemfida var. lagodechiana…try saying that three time fast!IMG_3073

And lastly here is my lovely Aconitum x cammarum ‘Bicolor’. This photo doesn’t do it justice. It was huge and full of flowers while draping itself over an Azalea along the stream garden. this one also has never had so many flowers. I think the spring & early summer rains were so beneficial to the gardens along with the cooler temps all summer.

So after the garden stroll and a new knitting project getting cast on I’m feeling much less blue and quite a bit more jazzed about how well the gardens did this year. Time to start planning where to add a few more blue beauties.

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It’s fall, and that means many Cyclamen start blooming or sending up their beautifully patterned leaves! I have become somewhat obsessed with growing Cyclamen either from seed or purchasing them from a few good growers. In the past few weeks they are all showing some sort of new leafy growth or popping up their delicate looking flowers. I have read many times that most ‘hardy’ Cyclamen won’t grow here, but I can tell you they grow just fine here in zone 4-5 Vermont!

The following have all been grown outside in my gardens for at least one year. Some are from seed I obtained through the seed-ex of the North American Rock Garden Society, the American Primrose Society or from John Lonsdale and Plant Delights Nursery.

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Give them a well drained soil with a little bit of sun and they are happy! Plant the corms about 1″ deep and cover with a gritty soil mix so the corm stays dry over winter. They are glorious almost all year sending up fabulous new leaves late summer & fall. C. hederifolium bloom now, while the C. coum blooms in early spring. The all silvered leaf plant above is C. purpurescens which blooms in mid-summer.

Most will self sow when happy and you can see in the second to last photo that C. coum is very happy! I have seedlings coming up all over that bed!

There are also a few non-hardy types for the sunny windowsill. While the common C. persicum can be found almost everywhere now you should give a few of the rarer ones a try. Most need to be started from seed which can be found on many of the specialist plant society seed exchanges or purchased from a few specialty growers such as Arrowhead Alpines you can see they even use a cyclamen leaf in the title of the nursery!

Here are a few of the plants I have started from seed or bought in already potted. The first is C. graecum a lovely thing I got from John Lonsdale with fantastic leaves. The second is the same but one I grew from seed. The third is C. rohfsianum that I picked up at a chapter meeting of NARGS a couple of years ago grown by a friend who says his has over 75 flowers on it this year! Mine hasn’t flowered for the past two years!! Don’t know what I’m doing wrong here but the leaves are lovely to look at anyway. The last is a C. pseudibericum also from John. It has the one flower on it this year and will be sending up beautifully marked leaves very soon. I have them all in a sunny east facing window. During the summer they are pretty much in a dormant state outside with no watering except what nature gives them. I repot them every 2 years or so and topdress them with a pretty gravel mix.

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Please gives these beauties a try. They are so rewarding!

Thanks for stopping by…..please leave me a comment and let me know about your adventures with the fabulous Cyclamen!

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