Friday, May 02, 2008

Flower favorites!

I will probably be updating this with a couple of pictures from my garden later on today. Until then, read this and droooooooooool with envy.



Iris Chrysographes

There is nothing bad to say about this gorgeous plant. (This picture doesn't show the fine golden 'writing' on the fall, unfortunately) It is very nearly perfect in every way. The leaves are narrow, graceful blades that come up about 24 inches, attenuate like sumeo-e brushstrokes, and steel blue-green. The blossom follows the oriental iris design, a fine, delicate dragonfly shape, velvety blue-black and slightly diamond-dusted. The falls are decorated with the finest, glittering golden line, and bumbles find it endlessly interesting. They wander around inspecting the writing until they blunder into the throat and find the nectar, which seems to surprise them. They'll visit the same blossom three or four times in rapid succession as though they're amazed that this thing really is a delicious flower.
The plant springs from a fiberous crown and forms coronas and tufts. It needs to be divided every 2 years or else the crown will heave itself out of the ground and center kill. It dies down to a mound of fibers in the winter.

Primula 'Velvet Moon'
A primula leaf is not my favorite leaf in the whole world; to me it looks kind of like a mutated lung or something. But these leaves are dark shining green and on the smaller side, and from the center of the rosette rises the most gorgeous blossom; typical single primula in form, but a velvet, deep, black-red with a small golden throat. It is the most gorgeous flower in the springtime when everything else is coming up in Easter egg pastels, and it works well next to those hard rhododendron pinks. The blossoms are carried in clusters of 3-5 above the rosette about 5 inches high on a dark stem. If you can keep the slugs from chewing on it, this makes a wonderful specimen planting. I hold mine in planters that I set on the ground, and when the blossoms die back I clean them out and refresh the medium. This keeps them looking nice. toward the end of the summer offsets can be separated from the main crown and potted up. Let them get a good start. They can be overwintered out of doors; just don't let them flood. They're pretty hardy...but like all primmies, the slugs LOVE them.

Hemerocallis Lilioaesphodelus 'Lemon High'

A beautiful daylilly with a tall form and a large yet graceful, trumpet-shaped flower, that smells good. Yes! The blossom is a hard canary yellow, and it is EDIBLE! It tastes like butter lettuce. The only drawback is, that honeybees find something so attractive about the nectar that they will literally chew a hole through the side of the petals to get at the throat-I've stood and watched them do this. If you've ever grown cabbage roses you know what I'm talking about.

Hemerocallis 'Golden Chimes'

A medium-sized daylilly with a mahagony-brown stem and a mahogany stripe up the backs of the graceful, buttery, cadmium-yellow flower. The leaves are bright spring-green and on the grassy side, at least for a daylilly, and the flowers carry high above the clump on branched stalks. This is the most refined of the daylillies.

Tulip 'Black Parrot'
Big, blue leaves followed by a 15 inch stalk atop which the oddest and most beautiful black blossom opens. The petals are 'parroted', which means that they have an odd, ripped-up or tendrilled appearance. It is a single blossom, so it retains the classic 'tulip cup' shape. The color is deepest purple-black-red, shiny on the outside and super velvety on the inside. This is a plant that no photograph has ever done justice to. In life this is a showstopping flower, proportionate in all it's parts and made for the sun to hit and the wind to sway.

Pulmonaria 'Mostly Boys'

(pictured is 'Blue Ensign'. Imagine this with three pink flowers and you have 'Mostly Boys'.)
A lungwort with a plain, light- green leaf and the most incredible, peacock-blue blossoms, with just enough pink ones to draw the attention. It comes out in April and grows in the shade, so its appearance is a benediction in the rain and the gloom. And what a blue!! This is a sport off 'Blue Ensign', I think.

Magnolia Stellata

Just a glorious little flowering tree.

Papaver somniferum, various colors

The blossoms come in every combination of colors there is, but it's the blue ruffly foliage and the Aubrey Beardsley form of the plant, with it's arching neck and odd seed pod that really earns its place. A drift of these is beautiful in bloom, and just at beautiful when the blossom has fallen.

California poppy 'Thai Silk' all varieties esp. Fire Bush

(This is 'Mission Bells. Imagine this, but with fewer pure yellows and shiny.)
A California poppy is a gorgeous little plant anyway...ferny, delicate blue-green foliage and simple orange cups rising above that. Thai Silk is something special again, though. The foliage is the same, and the shape of the blossom is too, but the petals themselves are crisp and pleated lengthwise, and they shine with the exact luster as silk fabric. The color range is cinnebar and golden yellow and peach-orange and purple-mahogany; a very Indonesian palette. It is simply yummy!!!

" " 'Mission Bells'
Very similar to 'Thai Silk', but without the shimmer. Color range is buttermilk white, clear yellows, oranges and mahoganies.

Artemesia 'Spanish Lace'

(Like this, only without the guys' head in the middle.)
You could call this a crappy shrub, or a sturdy herbaceous perennial. It likes very dry soil and full sun, and the foliage is the main attraction. It will get small round yellow button flowers on it, which look something like a chamomile blossom. You cut them off. The foliage is like a cloud of needle lace and is a bright silver-blue-grey. 'Spanish Lace' is a very apt description. I've had mine in a galvanized bucket directly in the path of the northeaster for the past 5 years and it comes back every year like a champ.

Snapdragon 'Apricot Fire' 'Black Prince'

These two look good together. Apricot fire is a 12 inch bushy plant with green leaves and a blossom that is apricot above and yellow below. Black prince is a 16 inch spiring plant with dark leaves, black stems and a red-black blossom with a lighter red to orange throat. Super striking on their own too, but stunning together.

Nigellia Damascena

Words cannot express. Lacy, delicate green foliage... Beautiful, glorious peacock blue blossom....MMMMmmmmm!!!

Delphinium Blue Mirror

This is a short-lived perennial in this climate, but it comes pretty readily from seed. The blossom and the foliage are a lacier and more refined version of the usual delphinium pattern, and the blue....! Maxfield Parrish would have killed for this blue!!

HTR 'Don Juan, Tropicana

I will never grow them. HTR's are simply too demanding. But I love to see them well-grown in other peoples gardens. They are truly an ornament. Don Juan is a climber-rambler, and the leaves are dark glossy green. The flower is dark, dark red with a glowing red heart. Just dreamy.
Tropicana is like a pillar version of 'Josephs' Coat'. The blossom colors are more pronounced and it carries its red tones more aggressively than Josephs Coat; a variety that tends to run to washed-out yellows and peaches.

Rosa 'The Mermaid'

A well-grown tree of this rose in full bloom is a like a tidal wave of whipped cream. Pretty, simple-double blossoms are on the smaller side, but it flushes in the hundreds of thousands. Imagine an apple tree in spring, but with larger blossoms. That gives you a rough idea of the size and effect of this rose.


  1. I left some spittle in your garden.

  2. man.....I love your garden so much. I can't believe you didn't include those neat parrot tulips, or the mauve clematis, or the black vagina have a great garden. I wish I could come sit in the twirly willow in the back yard and steal hazelnuts.

  3. mj: when are you going to come barf on my hosta???

    SSA: BLACK VAGINA WILLOW???? WTF??? are you high? are you...what?? HUH?
    BLACK VAGINA? THERE ARE just, no. nononononnono. go lie down.

  4. Sound absolutely lovely. I used to have house plants. I can't remember what happened to them. I think they slowly left the house. Kind of snuckout in a plant like manner. Pretty sure I didn't smoke them. But as for outdoors, nothing likes to grow in my yard.

  5. Damn. I thought it was just things like sidewalk/pavement, elevator/lift and aluminum/aluminium that we had this linguistic divergence. See, I'd call your lemon high daffodils, and I'd call your blue thingies bluebells.

  6. If I could convince plants not to die in my yard I"d love to have more of them...sosmethign about remembering to water them I suppose...

  7. I wisht I had smell-o-vision...sigh. I adore fragrant flowers, roses are pretty but the hybrids just don't smell rosie.

  8. Ok you can eat some of these but how many can you smoke?

  9. A BLACK VAGINA wonder your keeping that quiet.

    The rest of the flowers look fantastic , I bet your garden is a riot of colour and texture:-)

  10. Your garden must indeed be a thing of beauty. They are all gorgeous (am I being too girly?)
    Keep faith with your flowers. Anyone who grows those is needed by Planet Earth.

  11. MMMM...thanks for the nostalgic wallow. What IS it about blue flowers? They stop me in my tracks, too.
    And you can grow P. somniferum without the heavies raiding you??? It's not lawful here.(I believe some growers in Tasmania have a licence to grow for the legit medicinal trade, but security is high)
    I wonder if SSA is thinking of a Salix virginiana?
    Gorgeous garden, FN. Thanks again

  12. how terribly lovely...thank you so much for sharing...i have really enjoyed this post!

  13. Well you missed Naked Gardening Day.


  14. Anonymous11:58 AM

    i want to come and visit your flowers. they're so pretty. especially the first ones with blue/black leaves. i think i had a hair color like that once.

    so ssa's high now? where'd she get the willow idea?

  15. Does Spanish Lace attract Spanish Flies?

    I'm sooo's freakin' SNOWING here today so going 'out of doors' is unthinkable.


    I'm OK.

  16. I love your garden. You could probably manage a Don Juan. I don't know what the roses grow like over in the Northwest, but the DJs were my mother's least demanding roses. Although my FAVORITE rose is the english tea rose named "Pat Austin." I miss that rose something fierce. Great apricot coloring, blooms all season long, beautiful cup shape and a gorgeous scent. Also, because not a tea rose, a little bit easier. (For us at least.) (Not mine - but for an ideacheck this one.)

    Damn it all, now I wish I had a yard. I see you have a thing for black and blue hued florals. Fitting ;) (also, count me in.)

  17. wow! what a gorgeous yard you must have, sugar! i am so jealous, but also, too damn lazy to even attempt something like that! xoxo so, i'll just droll and stew in my own hell of non growing-ness/killer thumb bricked courtyard.

  18. Good idea - try some of the Austin roses, they grow into big bushes (well, in San Diego they did) with no care and gorgeous scents.
    Sadly I can't grow any of those (except the California poppy) here, but I think I'd rather do the sunshine than the flowers.

  19. gale: wait a second; i've seen pictures of your yard that you've posted and it looks nice!

    qenny: Here's what we mean by daffodils and

    geo: a lot of it is choosing the right plant for the location, too. some plants are literally so easy that you stuff them in the ground and ignore them. I have LOTS of that type!

    retro: see, thats a good point. the hybrids were developed for show winning blossom form, not fragrance. i don't plan on entering any shows! i want nice perfume too!

    knudson: in my garden? none. not this close to an international border!!! but theres a couple that you can get blizted on (artemesia absinthum, papaver somniferum, morning glory 'heavenly blue') and a couple that will kill you very unpleasantly (aconitum, among others)

    beast: it's a PUSSY willow. 23 year old woman can't bring herself to say 'POOOOOOOOSAY'. good gravy marie. (and pix will be forthcoming!)

    pither: this is the second time you have made tiny girly hearts orbit around my head. aw geeze! *blush*

    dinahmow: yeah, I can, its a trip! if I were to let one tiny marijuana plant take root i'd have the dea down on me like stink on shit but i can grow opium, lsd and absinthe with perfect impunity.

    daisy: oh gawrsh! *stubs toe, blushes*

    MJ: pardon me while i put on my clothes and brush the grass clippings off my tits. what? saywhat? naked what?

    pink: come on UP! bring awaiting and the kids! and re the SSA: i think a large part of her issue is having been raised by me.

    donaldo: yes. yes, it does. spanish flies, spanish men, spanish automobiles and spanish dirigibles. it gets crowded here sometimes. I have to scatter hot dogs periodically.

    christine: that is a gorgeous rose! my problem is, i'm lazy and i don't want to prepare a special planting bed for one plant. my soil here is blue clay and silt without a single rock in it, so i have to chop in brown material every year just to get anything to come up at all. teas tend to like a soft root run and the best they'd do here is one seasons worth before it all went hard again over the winter. sigh. the austin is SO LOVELY, though! *snif*

    savannah: aint you living down south? you can grow things down there that i would KILL to grow! go stick something in the ground right now! a sweet potato! anything! go!

    joeVEgas: you can grow all the wild things that they're marketing this season out of Australia, though. go take a look around the net; theres some wickedbad stuff on the market now for your climate that nobody else will have. (gnawing own flesh in jealousy)

  20. HAPPY BIRFDAY!!!!!!!

    (everyone else, harass ma)

    At least we are not in our 40's like FROBISHER

    ***points at FROBISHER ****

  22. Dang! I forgot!

    You’ll have to make do with this old Happy Birthday message!

  23. Ooh I am sooo envious. I can't wait to have my own garden. I have a constantly-growing mental list of stuff I want to grow. Maybe I'll do a post on my fantasy garden.


  25. Anonymous6:06 PM


    i'd come and visit but i don't have a passport that allows me to travel outside the south.

  26. Anonymous6:08 PM

    and we all know that beast is older than frobisher. i saw his drivers license. it's 000-00-0001.

    *waits for beast to attempt to figure out the insult. bets it'll take him awhile.*

  27. ****maintains a dignified silence***

  28. Anonymous8:22 AM

    dignified silence my ass!!!

    *you can't figure it out! you can't figure it out!*

    above said in an annoyingly sing-song, taunting voice.

    *for good measure sticks tongue out at beast - but far enough away to make sure no trouble comes of it.*