Six on Saturday: My First Allium!

Allium species have been somewhat elusive. I had seen only pictures of them from other gardens. By the time I finally decided to try them in my own garden, they were no longer available from local nurseries. When I found them online, there were too many cultivars to choose from. It was baffling. Tangly Cottage Gardening sorted it all out for me by giving me my first two, Allium schumbertii and Allium christophii. They are exquisite, and are now generating seed. I should have gotten better pictures of them while they were in the middle of bloom, rather than before and after bloom. Since there are only three pictures of them here, three pictures from work were added, for a total of Six on Saturday.

1. Robinia pseudoacacia, black locust, is a horrible weed. This one had been falling for a long time before it landed in this motorpool yard. At least it warned us to avoid damage.

2. Gunnera tinctoria, Chilean rhubarb, regenerates efficiently after winter dormancy. It was completely bare only a few weeks ago. It should get much grander through summer.

3. Lilium asiaticum, Asiatic lily, was a gift from a neighbor two winters ago. Its dormant bulbs were unimpressive at the time. They were splendid last year, and are more so now!

4. Allium schumbertii, Persian onion, is one of two species of Allium that were gifts from Tangly Cottage Gardening! This unfinished bloom was more than a foot and a half wide!

5. Allium schumbertii, Persian onion, is also known as tumbleweed onion because these seeded trusses break off to disperse seed as they tumble about the deserts they inhabit.

6. Allium christophii, star of Persia, is the other of the two species of Allium from Tangly Cottage Gardening. I hope that both species are reliably perennial, and their bulbs multiply.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

Six on Saturday: Four Feral Iris?

The iris that live in my garden will likely always live in my garden. Each one has history. I got my first Iris pallida from my great grandmother’s garden at about the time I was in kindergarten. Less than twenty others have been added since then, because I am so very selective. I must be. Otherwise, my garden would fill with iris which I would be obligated to perpetuate. These four iris pictured here are at work, although #4 originated from my garden, where the two other white iris that are not pictured here live. All finished bloom a while ago, so these are old pictures.

1. Dicentra formosa, which I believe is Pacific bleeding heart, blooms at about the same time as the bearded iris. Some of the colonies are quite broad under the redwood forests.

2. Cestrum fasciculatum Newellii ‘Ruby Clusters’ could do without either its first variety name or its subsequent cultivar name. I did not select it, but am getting to appreciate it.

3. Yellow iris appeared next to a debris dump many years ago. It could have grown from a scrap, or could be feral. It seems wimpy. It got canned, but should have been relocated.

4. White iris seems prettier at night. During the day, it seems to be slightly grayish, with oddly pale yellow beards. I believe that it is feral. Two other cultivars are perfectly white.

5. Blue iris, with both dark and light blue, could actually be a cultivar. It is impossible to be certain. The flowers are simple and not ruffled. The stems are tall, but a bit too lanky.

6. White and blue iris, of these four, is the most likely to be a cultivar. Lanky stems could be a result of neglect. I hastily interred the rhizomes last autumn just to keep them alive.

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Six on Saturday: Rhody’s Rhodies 2022 – Prettier Than Pink? – (a sequel)

Some flowers excel with particular colors. Jacaranda is best in blue. White looks plain or boring. California poppy is best in natural orange. Pale white, pale purple, pink and any other modern color seems weird for them. Poinsettia should be red, or perhaps white or pink, but not ‘peach’, ‘plum’ (whatever color that is) or yellow! Although I had never met a rhododendron that I did not like, I do find that the best are either purple or red. Pinks are very appealing too, but not quite as ideal as the others. White rhododendrons can be rather bland. These six rhododendrons bloomed prior to last Saturday. Since I intend to limit the redundancy of pictures of rhododendrons this season, they will be the last.

1. White is my favorite color. White rhododendrons should therefore be my favorites. So, are they? I would prefer this one to be brighter white, without tan spots or pink stamens.

2. White, to me, seems mundane for rhododendrons anyway. This is brighter white than the other, and lacks pink stamens, but has yellow centers. Simple white would be better.

3. Lavender, or whatever this color is, seems a bit more appropriate for rhododendrons. It is slightly more pinkish than it seems in this picture. Can it really qualify as lavender?

4. Lavender is a tint of purple, like pastel purple. Therefore, this may qualify as lavender more than the previous picture. It is slightly more bluish, with a slightly ruffly structure.

5. ‘Anah Kruschke’ was likely the most popular cultivar grown on the farm, and for good reasons. The pinkish purple bloom is exquisite and reliable. Foliage with form are ideal.

6. Purple and red are, in my opinion, the best colors for rhododendrons. Not many other flowers can bloom with such rich purples and reds. Other flowers provide better whites.

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Six on Saturday: Rhody’s Rhodies 2022 – Pretty In Pink

There are too many rhododendrons here. Working with them in a landscape situation is very different from growing them on the farm. The farm generates hundreds of primary cultivars, with hundreds of others to potentially introduce. Thousands of plants grow in cans on much of forty acres. Ideally, most develop an abundance of floral buds, but then leave the farm prior to bloom. Here, only a few hundred rhododendrons bloom well and mature within their landscapes with no intentions of ever leaving. These are mostly pink with one that blooms pinkish red.

1. Mothers’ Day Rhododendron blooms reliably for Mothers’ Day annually, regardless of how early or late other neighboring rhododendrons bloom. No one knows its real name.

2. Now that I see this one in this picture, I do not remember if it was more rosy in color. It seems to be a simpler but bright pink now. I am not so proficient with analyzing color.

3. This one also seems to be a bit different from how I remember it. I thought that it was more like watermelon red, rather than reddish pink. This is why I will not choose colors.

4. Oh, I should remember the name of this one. My colleague grew it! I delivered it years ago. It looks like ‘Rocket’ but I do not believe that it is. I should have saved the old label.

5. Of these Six, this is the only rhododendron that I know the name of, and is one of only a few that I may identify here. It is one of the most common cultivars; ‘Mrs. G. W. Leak’.

6. Most of our rhododendrons here are pink or purple. Only a few are red. This might be the darkest red here. I refer to it as ‘Taurus’, but it is not. Individual flowers open widely.

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Six on Saturday: Politely Naturalized Exotics +1

Exotic plant species that appreciate endemic climates and soils seem like they should be the next best options to native plant species. A few unfortunately naturalize aggressively enough to displace native plants species, and interfere with the natural ecosystem. A few can not naturalize without their preferred pollinators that did not come with them from their origin. Some have potential to naturalize, but either refrain, or are civil about doing so. Some that are invasive within landscapes are not as invasive in the wild, particularly if they need more water than they get from local weather. I occasionally find exotic plant species, including a few that I am surprised to find.

1. Sticky monkey flower is the ‘+1’. It is the only one of these six that is native rather than exotic. Its odd name leaves one pondering how a monkey is involved and why it is sticky.

2. Mock orange seems to be naturalized, but contrary to common belief, may actually be native. A single flowered variety and a double flowered variety may be different species.

3. Jupiter’s beard is most certainly exotic and naturalized, but does not seem to be polite about it. It can get quite invasive. However, it does not get far from irrigated landscapes.

4. Iris remains a mystery to me. I grew this same seemingly simple species while in high school, but have never identified it. It naturalizes, but only where it gets sufficient water.

5. Spanish lavender is obviously not native since it is from, well, Spain. It can naturalize, but is not aggressive about it. The honeybee is much more aggressively naturalized here.

6. Crinum, like the Iris, is unidentified. I am not even sure if it is a Crinum. It grows wild with sticky monkey flower, in sandy soil that gets dusty, dry and warm through summer.

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Six on Saturday: Best For Last

Seed are germinating; and cuttings are rooting. I try to finish my propagation before the end of winter. Some seed appreciate the last bit of chill to maintain their schedule. Some cuttings prefer to start their rooting process while still dormant, so that they are ready to grow by spring. The last and most important of these six pictures is irrelevant to cuttings and seed though. Only the names of those involved are relevant to horticulture; and half of that relevance is merely, although amusingly, coincidental. It will be interesting to see how many can answer the question presented with the last picture. It was difficult to get a reasonably clear picture, and after all the effort, the clarity may not help much.

1. Esperanza seed from Crazy Green Thumbs is finally germinating! Poinciana seed that came with them are still inactive. My rush to sow them prior to spring seems unfounded.

2. Poinciana seed of another kind and from another source is germinating though. Brent thought that I got royal poinciana seed. Rather than disappoint, I procured a few online.

3. Canna seed germination is a surprise. These seed were discarded runts from pods that were still green when deadheaded. I saw them growing from the trash and canned them.

4. Red passion flower vine was a runt also. None of a few other cuttings that got plugged properly took root. This one was too dinky, so was left in its jar of water, where it rooted.

5. Angel’s trumpet cuttings are growing like the red passion flower cuttings should have. They were scraps from pruned out frost damage. Many appeared dead prior to plugging.

6. Lily and Rhody are nearly indistinguishable as they frolic. Their genders are opposite, and their faces are distinct, but they scamper too fast to discern. Can you identify them?

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Six on Saturday: Brent’s Pointless Pictures V – Hawaii

Brent left for vacation in Hawaii at about the same time that I returned from vacation in Oregon and Washington. Since I told him to stop sending me so many pointless pictures prior to my vacation, he is now sending even more. I might have gotten more pictures of his vacation than I got of mine. Although I would like to see Hawaii for the horticultural aspects, I am not otherwise impressed by what little I know about it. Perhaps I would get a better impression of it without so many of Brent’s pointless pictures. These are a few of the lesser pointless pictures, without the selfies.

1. Accommodations were quite comfortable. Brent enjoyed the forests around this guest house, which was only a few miles from the Penthouse in Waikiki that he also stayed at.
2. Palms of all sort are common in Hawaii. I have no idea what the palms to the left are. Nor can I know if this is a picture of those palms, a rainbow, or a utility pole with cables.
3. What is this? It must be in the Araceae Family. It looks like some sort of Philodendron that does not develop a vining stem. Some familiar species are not so familiar in Hawaii.
4. Doum palm is a weird palm that branches. There are actually a few species within the same genus. No one seems to know why it was never popularized in Southern California.
5. Is this Kentia palm? There are so many unfamiliar palms in Hawaii that identification is baffling. This group certainly is pretty. The palms to the left looks a bit more familiar.
6. Brent labeled these as windmill palms. If they are, why are their trunks bald? Perhaps they are one of those few shedding species of Trachycarpus that is not yet available here.

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Six on Saturday: Rhody’s Roady IV (not Hedera) – Carson

Carson is Rhody’s Roady. Like most of the vehicles here, he is named after a place. Beau is named after ‘Beau’lder Creek (Boulder Creek) (although his name was actually derived from Hobo). Lee the Chrysler was named after Bever’Lee’ Hills (Beverly Hills). Roy was named after Gil’Roy’ (Gilroy). So, Carson is named after Carson City in Nevada. He took Rhody and I to the Pacific Northwest on vacation. We returned two and a half weeks ago with only a few pictures. These six are some of the last, which were taken during the last two days, as we drove back. The drive was totally excellent!

1. Douglas fir grows wild everywhere we went. Red maple is not native, but is very happy in a neighbor’s yard. This could have been a good picture if not photobombed by Carson.

2. Oregon white oak is likewise native to almost all the regions that we traveled through. However, we did not see many. Although uncertain, I think that these are some of them.

3. Mount McLoughlin is visible from only several miles of Highway 5. It seems to be too visible though. Scenery is obscured by dense forests elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

4. Mount Shasta is even more visible for many miles of Highway 5, not only because of a lack of dense forest, but also because highway 5 gets nearer to it. This was at a rest stop.

5. Apple trees were still being pruned where we stopped for the night on the return trip. The trees to the left are finished. The vigorous trees to the right are about to get pruned.

6. Orchard House was our lodging for the night. It was as grand as Cedar Lodge! Rhody, of course, is near the lower center of this picture. Carson, Rhody’s Roady, is to the right.

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Six on Saturday: Rhody’s Roady III – Oregon

Oregon, which is one of the most excellent states in America, was merely a drive through state with this trip. We spent our first night just south of the Southern Border of Oregon, and then spent our second night on the North Shore of the Columbia River, which is the Northern Border of Oregon. I really should have planned to spend more time in Oregon, particularly between Portland and Astoria. Well, I also should have stayed longer within the regions of Ilwaco. Anyway, our return trip was just as efficient, within only two days. We stopped at many of the rest stops on Highway 5 though.

1. What is this? I saw it at various places north of California. I do not remember where I first encountered it. It may have been just across the border, in the Siskiyou Mountains.

2. Oregon grape is nothing special at home. It gets shabby and only blooms sporadically. I wondered why that grumpy wannabe nandina is the Oregon State Flower. This is why.

3. Western red cedar grew on top of a tree stump and dispersed its roots mostly between the decaying wood and bark, so now stands on its roots above decayed bits of the stump.

4. Grove of the States; what a splendid idea! However, a few State Trees do not live here, so required substitution. Furthermore, many were replaced with random or wrong trees.

5. Douglas fir, which is the Oregon State Tree, grows wild locally, so the specimen within the Grove of the States is exemplary. It is not visible in this picture of its plaque though.

6. Rocks are still a ‘thing’. This one was at the base of a tree that I believe to be a mature Oregon white oak. Goodness; we stopped so much that I do not remember where this is.

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Six on Saturday: Rhody’s Roady II – Washington (the State)

Our vacation continued from Ilwaco, where I took both pictures #1 and #2, to Silverdale and Poulsbo, all within Washington. The Tomeo Residence, where I got pictures #5 and #6, is in Silverdale. The farm, where I got pictures #3 and #4, is near Poulsbo. For most of my vacation, I did exactly what I wanted to do. I pruned a few apple trees that were in need of major structure pruning. I wanted to do more, but got distracted. (That is a long story.) Apples were about to bloom.

1. White grape hyacinth could be my favorite of the many goodies I received from Tangly Cottage Gardening. I try not to choose favorites, but I wanted this for a long time, and it came directly from the planter beds at the Port of Ilwaco! They are approved by Skooter!

2. ‘Golden Fragrance’ grape hyacinth was blooming in the same bed with the white grape hyacinth. I thought I got a picture. This could be Muscari paradoxum, but I do not know. 

3. Pluot was still in early bloom when we arrived in Kitsap County. I dislike pluots, but it might substitute for apricot, which is unreliable in the local climate. Peach is absent too.

4. Apple trees were barely beginning to bloom. It was technically too late to prune them, but I did anyway. They have been neglected for too long. I finished less than half though.

5. Heather was blooming quite colorfully. It seems to be about as popular there as lily of the Nile is here, likely because it performs so reliably. It was strange to see so much of it.

6. Hyacinth and many other early spring flowers were still blooming splendidly. I should have gotten a better picture of a colony of hyacinth, but wanted to get a close up picture.

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