He always makes people stop and stare. A bit of a showoff that way, but then that is precisely the effect I hoped to create when I added my beloved Paeonia x 'Going Bananas,' one of an onslaught of hybridized Itoh Paeonia that are becoming all the rage! I have sold five so far this season, and with a price tag of close to $100, one must be a true collector, or be suffering from a bad case of Peony envy! [You know I had to say it!] GB is a stunning semi double of a whipped buttery yellow colour. I much prefer him to his showier sister Bartzella, as I have never been one for the full fluffy confections that seem to populate the Paeonia world. I know. Lone wolf out, but that's just the way I howl! Here are some more candid shots that I snapped after work this evening. I was worried as there were threats of severe thunderstorms for today when I retired for the evening last night, and, as is common with the 'single' or 'semi doubles', their flowers last for three or four days max! Rain throughout the night, and somewhat flat looking flowers this morning, but tonight........ he is absolutely perfect!
The first and last in this series are my favourite because it almost looks like the sun has been trapped in it's petals! Sigh! And then of course there is this.....
In what is the week that contains my birthday as well as the anniversary of what would have been my Fathers [June 4th] and my Grandmother's [June 9], I have been blessed with blooms on my most treasured Meconopsis. This represents the second of what I hope will be three blooms that have appeared on the first of three plants. I bought one for each of us....... the trinity of Germini's in my family. All were blessed with blue eyes, and as a result, blue has always been the colour of connectivity for me. It is the reason why there are so many blue flowers in my garden. It is my sanctuary. The place of solitude and serenity when the world around me gets too loud. And last but not least.....
The last of my newest obsession and garden addition.... the sublime Cypripedium. I have two Frosch hybrids - Phillip [pictured above] and Pluto who was featured in an earlier post. They join my native C.calceolaris, and form yet another garden trinity. I do have to say that I am more than a wee bit smitten with Phillip. There is something almost sexual about them, as was brought to my attention by a close friend who mentioned it the other night. It is true! But I love him because I have been afforded the opportunity to grow yet another rare and unusual shade perennial here at Teza's Hortus Magnificum. It truly is the reason why I continue to garden.
I've never been a blushing pansy, well not in the garden that is, so when it came to choosing a few select Cypripediums to cultivate last Fall, I went with C.'Philipp' and C.'Pluto.' Those familiar with these hortgasm worthy Holy Grail woodland terrestrial orchids, know that they do not come cheaply and as a rule are not for gardeners feint at heart. I have lost our native C.reginae too many times to count, but had read about the @Frosch selection of hybridized slipper orchids out of Germany. My trusted enabler of all things woodland garden related, Larry Davidson of Lost Horizons nursery in nearby Acton had a choice selection in his catalogue. Without further adieu, please meet the latest resident of Teza's Hortus Magniaficum - Philipp. A hybridized cross between C.macranthos and C.kentuckiense. 'Philipp impresses with his large flower in the base collar white with a claret to pink drawing. Growing to 60cm in height, Philipp is much taller than my other resident slippers [C.Pluto and C.calceolaris] and is also a late bloomer, although this year my trinity all have flowers as I create this post - with C.Pluto fading rather quickly after two weeks of sumptuous bloom!
Here's hoping that these beauties continue to enthral me for years to come. I love when I can cause a visitor to bend down to near ground level in order to experience something totally unexpected. But then again, that was my initial intent twenty years ago when I created my gardens. The Memorial Garden where both Pluto and Philipp are planted is also home to a trio of Meconopsis x Sheldon 'Lingholm', one of which seems about to open. Tomorrow is my birthday, and what a wonderful day it would be to have my most cherished children shimmering in their full glory.
With the warmest, and sunniest May two four weekend behind us, I am finally able to breathe that collective sigh of relief that most all nursery folk emitted after what was the ideal kick off to the gardening season. It has also given me time to spend some time in my own gardens. I have been gardening on this property for close to twenty years, and have come to fully appreciate the rather simplistic requirements that it requires. The results of these past twenty years never fail to elicit squeals of delight. My Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum 'Mariesii' must now be close to 3m in height and at least 2m wide. This year her distinct horizontal branches are loaded with masses of pristine white lace cap flowers.
Larix marschlinsii 'Varied Directions' almost resembles a horse [side view] in this photo. It remains one of the most talked about trees in my garden. I have been hesitant to remove the stake that you can see protruding from his ferny like foliage, and rather enjoy his sprawling, upright habit. The wee guy in the photo below is Abies concolor 'Blue Cloak' which is a diminutive weeping form of the majestic conifer that is my Holiday tree of choice, what with the intoxicating citrus smell that he emits when his needles are crushed. He is the perfect sized specimen for my postage stamp sized property!
You know you've done something right when your gardens can look like this seemingly overnight once the temperatures and soil warms enough to wake up the sleeping 'children.' The focus of my attention seems to have shifted to this long and narrow bed, as well as the Memorial Ring garden that resides beneath my Metasequoia 'Ogon.'
I do love this vignette, with the Clematis clamouring through the Wisteria and the bright green foliage of Deinanthe caerulea 'Blue Wonder' in the forefront. The cathedral shaped mirror is a personal favourite, adding depth to a relatively narrow border against the side of the garage.
Athryium 'Ursula's Red' is a staggeringly beautiful Japanese painted fern with distinctive deep maroon midrib coloration set against the traditional shimmering silver of the 'painted' ferns.
It isn't the greatest shot, but this is the near to open bud of what I surmise is Cypripedium 'Philipp', one of three terrestrial ground orchids that I am blessed to grow. I was gobsmacked at the size of the slippers on C. 'Pluto' which has been blooming his fool head off for the past week and a half. He brings me to my knees with a goofy grin on my face every time! And then of course there are the Tulipas. Not sure why I ever planted them..... not the biggest fan, he who is of Dutch ancestry and all!
There are three spectacular slippers on 'Pluto' this year. I was so thrilled to see his four eyes this Spring when I removed the pine and leaf litter from the Memorial Ring border this Spring. The residents of this garden are memorials to my Father, Grandmother and beloved friend Cathy. I am closest to each and all of them when I am alone in my gardens.
I might treat them as an annual, but I cannot be without the sublime Meconopsis, otherwise known as the blue Himalayan Poppy. I have three of them in the garden this year, and know for certain that I will have at least one bloom sometime in the coming week - the same week as what is my birthday, and the anniversaries of those of my Father and Grandmother. I love the serendipity that allows the bluest of blue flowers to bloom on this truly memorial week for me.
Some of my more rare and unusual 'children' reside in this border that flanks the side of the garage. I have a thing for Polygonatum and Arisaema, and as the two photos above can attest to, I grow some of the more unusual species within these two beguiling genera. She looks sinister with her whip like spadix, and is in fact referred to as the 'Dominatrix Cobra Lily' - and is better known in horticulture as Arisamea thunbergii sup. 'Urashima.' One of my all time favourites!
My resident, semi double Paeonia x [Itoh] 'Going Bananas is going to reward me with no less than eleven stunning yellow blooms this year! She has a way of stopping sidewalk traffic when she is in bloom!
Fagus sylvestris 'Roseomarginata' is the perfect foil for the golden boughs of Metasequoia 'Ogon' which you can make out through his maroon and pink tipped foliage. I love his open, airy habit, which again is perfect for the smaller city property.
The dinner plate sized foliage of Astilboides tabularis is a wonderful reservoir for rainwater after a light drizzle has fallen. I love the boldness of his heavily veined leaves, and utilize it in two locations. My poor Acer campestre 'Carnival' is getting smaller and smaller with each progressing season. Not really sure why. I wonder if he caught wind of the fact that A.p 'Esk Sunset' was joining the family. Unfortunately he [Esk] is performing no better - his sublime foliage is scorching in the heat and humidity of our near perfect mid May! I may find myself removing my 'Carnival' and resituating 'Esk' to that location where he can enjoy a shadier placement. Divas the pair of them! And then of course there is A.shirasawanum 'Aureum' that outshines them both, literally and figuratively. And there you have it. Tea's Hortus Magnificum for the week of May 28th.