5 Aug 2012

Plant Hunting [From the Comforts of Home]


[**This post is in response to when I am asked what it is about those ‘foreign and exotic’ plants that make me choose them over natives!  Truth be told I continue to be mesmerized by both, the ‘exotics’ and the ‘natives’ as this post will attest to!**]

It was incredible beyond words! My first ever plant hunting expedition, deep in an unexplored, unnamed rainforest! It was the experience of a lifetime for me!

DSC_0037Flora that I had only glimpsed before in the pages of my favourite gardening books was within touching distance. See there, in the distant left, why it looks like the unmistakable foliage of Arisaema ciliatum. I must get closer!

DSC_0015Careful where you step! These rainforests seem to be ‘layered’ with plants, there’s hardy a path to follow! And what do we have here? It looks like Roscoea cautleyoides ‘Kew Beauty!’ Where there is one Roscoea more are destined to follow!

DSC_0013See what I mean? Judging from the height and the fact that the reverse of its foliage is a bruised wine colour, I would assume this to be Roscoea purpurescens ‘Spice Island.’

DSC_0031Is there anything more beautiful I ask? Ok. So maybe I do have a preference for the whipped buttery yellow flowered species, but they are all mesmerizingly, breathtakingly beautiful plants that we can grow back in my Fergus garden! Why aren’t more gardeners aware, and clamoring to the nurseries to snap up these beauties! Someone needs to go on a radio show and pontificate at length on their beauty!

DSC_0579Copy of Copy of Copy_(2)_of_DSC_0056[1]The deeper into the forest we go, the more familiar the plants become! Diphylleia cymosa and Syneilesis aconitifolia make visitors squeal with delight when they stumble upon it in my garden…. I wonder if the chimpanzees here share my enthusiasm? [And yes, Diphylleia is native to North America!]

coryflexbluepandaCopy of Copy_(2)_of_Corydalis_flexuosa_'Blue_Panda'[2]Danger Will Robinson, Danger! Where this blue resides, the other one can’t be far off!

DSC_0049 DSC_0037 People ask me all the time what I mean when I use the phrase ‘Holy Grail’ perennials. I am also know to utter the term ‘hortgasm’ in the same sentence. This…… Meconopsis grandis is an example of a ‘Holy Grail’ plant! A brief respite at what looks like what might have been a Monastery where plant hunters of yesteryear stopped in order to sort and separate the seed they’d collected brought me face to face with another of the ‘Holy Grail’ players: Deinanthe caerulea. 

DSC_0051 DSC_0023 This bright red can only mean I’ve stumbled upon Podophyllum hexandrum in fruit! The unmistakable foliage beneath the ripening seed can only belong to Paeonia x 'Going Bananas’ – one of those delightful crosses between P.suffruticosa x P. lactiflora. In the distance you can see the familiar whipped buttery yellow of Roscoea! A veritable treasure trove of plants all within two feet of one another! One couldn’t have planned it better had they designed it themselves!

Copy_of_DSC_0119[2] DSC_0019 Thalictrum delavayi ‘Splendide’ towered head and shoulders above me – close to 3m in height. Luckily it had seeded itself so that I could capture its beauty up close and personal on seedlings that were under the 2m mark!


I decided to stop the night outside a small village where a magnificent stand of Kirengeshoma was just starting to bloom! One of my all-time favourite woodland perennials, it too needs someone to get on the horn and start pontificating its beauty and splendor in the partly shaded woodland garden. Perhaps a budding radio personality will read this and help spread the word! [Hint! Hint!]

kirengeshoma Scan3 DSC_0142[1]  Cypripedium reginae will forever reign supreme when it comes to native plants in my heart of hearts! I could spend hours staring at her mesmerizing beauty….. saying nothing to the fact that she remains one of my favourite subjects when armed with the camera! She makes taking a mediocre picture impossible! Now its time to rest my head…… the journey continues tomorrow. Here are a few random closing shots…..

deinanthe bifidaDSC_0044



Its hard to explain just how big some of these Asian treasures can grow! This robust Arisaema foliage seemed to dwarf everything in its vicinity! I was so thrilled to have been able to capture its mesmerizing beauty when in ‘flower!’

‘To sleep damn it all! Another busy day tomorrow!’



The Magical Christmas Wreath Company said...

Love the Roscoea purpurescens ‘Spice Island’ beautiful colour.

outlawgardener said...

Gorgeous finds on your plant hunting expedition and no Sherpa guide necessary!

Cypripedium reginae takes my breath away but I've killed her once and am reluctant to try and rekindle a relationsip in my own garden.