May 24, 2016

For Love of Lewisias

For Love of Lewisias

Lewisia Redivia: Beautiful, pink or white.

I mentioned Lewisia redivia in my last post and waxed, if not eloquently, at least enthusiastically about it. It’s undoubtedly my favorite Lewisia but I grow at least five other species from seed, all of which have their positive attributes.

Nevadensis: Such a wonderful lightning-white blossom.

Pygmaea: Exquisite small pink or lilac flowers.

Longipetala: Pinkish blooms.

Tweedyi: Only managed to carry two plants over from last year, but stunning when in bloom (mine a creamy salmon/apricot). I’m wondering if they will bloom this year, and in fact, I seem to have misplaced one of them.

Cotyledon: Blooms in a variety of warm, even somewhat ‘garish’ colours. Much hybridized.

The biggest challenge to growing Lewisias, at least here in the northwest of the northwest, is preventing them from rotting during the winter or early spring. Germination is the easy part and I keep a healthy stock in pots which I am able to protect during the winter, but even then I loose too many. Those in the garden I consider annuals once planted out and it is a pleasant surprise when a few manage to defy our damp weather and burst into colourful song in spring.

Human nature is a fickle thing and placing a plant into a medium that is 80%, or more, grit, gravel and sand seems somehow contrary to common sense, even cruel, but that is what they need, and I suppose, enjoy. They develop a considerable carrot-like tap root to access the moisture they need from deep underground, while keeping the upper part, their succulent leafy rosettes, high and dry. Cold is not a problem, provided it is of the alpine Rocky Mountain variety - a winter land of dry powder snow, not a covering of the heavy, almost cement like stuff we often suffer through. 

For some reason the only pictures I can locate easily are of redivide and cotyledon, sorry.

May 16, 2016

Rhododendron Walk

A Quiet Stroll, Teacup in Hand


Despite the overwhelming amount of work required to simply maintain what we have already created, the pleasure derived from simply being able to stroll around the garden at any time we feel so compelled is compensation enough - at least that’s what I tell myself. Two days ago neighbors were over for a ‘Rhododendron Walk”, before the majority of these Ericaceas family members started to fade. It really is fantastic; an extravaganza for the visual receptors.

Purple Passion, Sappho and Unknown

We have a minimum of 75 different Rhododendrons, and of some we have several plants. They bloom beginning in early April and will continue until mid June, if we’re lucky. Early May seems the most opportune time for viewing this year. A few photos, and one of a clematis (also in good form this year), none of which capture the rapture of being confronted by such beauty.


Percy Wiseman and Azalea Chetco


Anna Rose Whitney

Percy Wiseman

Hackmann's Belona

President Lincoln and Blue Poppy

Clematis Violet Charm

Of course the garden is thronged with hundreds of other flowers, all eager to take advantage of the sun (when it shines). Lewisia (four or five species, of which I think redivia is the best, Iris (Bearded, Siberian, and others), Aquilegia, Anemone, gentian, etc. And so many more to look forward to. So what am I doing sitting here, with so many delightful tasks begging for my time.