31 August 2006


Here you can see the same Lapageria flower 12 days after it opened, without any signs of getting tired. I did notice stigmatic fluid (pardon my French) for the first time today; I wonder what it's been waiting for. You'll also notice two new shoots on the left that are now 2 feet tall without any sign of true (or at least adult) leaves. I'm starting to see why it's in Liliales. The... uh... brown spots date to some substandard gardening in early summer, which I can't blame on housesitters, unfortunately.

Hedychium update: In addition to the PBS discussion I found the other day, I did some actual research, with books:

Flowers July-September... Some growers have found [Hedychium coronarium] reluctant to flower, which may be due to the source of the plant material or the fact that the plants in question are not the true species. For other growers this ginger is among the earliest and most reliable flowerers in the genus. Plants thrive in full sun (although some leaf scorch may occur unless humidity levels are high), to bright shade, but flowering is most prolific when the plants are positioned to obtain at least some direct sun.

T. M. E. Branney, Hardy Gingers including Hedychium, Roscoea, and Zingiber (Timber Press, 2005).

I've already moved mine into morning sun. It may be too late.

This excellent book, by the way, reveals that many ginger species are hardy down to 5 degrees F. People think they're "exotic" because of how they look, but many are native to the high Himalayas. It was only in 1970 that someone finally noticed this at Kew, and planted out some H. densiflorum they'd been growing under glass for 100 years. So maybe you too can grow ginger.

29 August 2006


"Hardscape" occupies a special place in the pantheon of words more absurd than their nominal referent, which in this case is concrete. A tiny 2" slab which my neighbor's demo hammer sliced through like a knife through warm butter, but concrete nonetheless, as easily ascertained by a CAT scan of my back. Unfortunately gardening is taking a back seat to demolition these days, but since it is in the interest of procuring more plants, all is for the best. Fall is planting time!

Also, irrigation. That will be nice the next time the most annoying foreigner in the world housesits in August.

By the way, 9 days since opening, the first Lapageria flower shows no signs of senescence, and the second is about to open. It's the exact opposite of the Brugmansia (in terms of pendant trumpet-shaped inflorescences). I'll try to take a picture that doesn't suck.

21 August 2006

Chilean bellflower

I know you've been pining away in my absence, but it was worth the wait: The Lapageria rosea is blooming. These have been called the most beautiful flower in the world, usually by people attempting to extort ridiculous sums for them on the internet.

Regardless, it is indeed beautiful. This cultivar (Nahuelbuta) dates to at least 1919. Its "sepaloid tepals" seem quite distinct from the "petals," but what do I know? Check out some of the other cultivars here.

09 August 2006

I love the marine layer

The garden appears to have survived my absence despite a somewhat clueless housesitter, although the Leucospermum is not too happy about it. We survived ungodly weather, a hornworm holocaust, more daylilies than I care to recall, and a lovely tour of the Arnold Arboretum, and we photographed none of it. I rushed around with a flashlight as soon as we got back, making sure everything was ok. Few developments, aside from wilting, and a single unopened lily bud. The first flowers have appeared on the Zauschneria/Epilobium. I'll try photography again soon.

© 2006