Wednesday, February 25, 2015

the orchids

A few orchids, just to make winter a bit more bearable. This is Dendrobium moniliforme Sekkoku. These plants need a bit of winter chill to bloom.The plant above is hiding its flowers among the stems.

 This one has flowers facing outwards.

 I have a half dozen divisions of this clone of Neofinetia falcata and with this many, the flowers seem to appear much more frequently, almost constantly for the past few months. It's good that I have these, since I also have a dozen more varieties which are grown for their leaves and don't bloom much if at all.

 Dendrobium MicroChip is a small plant, and flowers are not fragrant, but it is a very charming plant. The flowers remind me of lilies of the valley.

NOID miniature phalaenopsis from the grocery store. I saw those spots and had to have it last year. New stems this year, with more branching.

spring hellebores

Well, not quite spring, but it feels and sounds like it (the wind is quite gusty today!). Nope I'm not sick of hellebores yet. Not when there is nothing else in the garden that's blooming.

 H. niger Nell Lewis has surprised me with flowers that appeared last week. I wasn't expecting anything, although I was checking this plant periodically. Suddenly there they were. Much, much later than H. niger Jacob and Joseph, and with nodding rather than outfacing blooms. Not the typical H. niger "Christmas Rose" blooming time. 

 H. x orientalis 'Connie' has opened, but you have to lift the hanging flowers to see them. They are supposed to be outfacing. The hellebore hybrids (x orientalis) are typically late winter/early spring bloomers rather than the midwinter H. niger.

 But this is how they appear in the garden from human height. So mostly appearing white in the garden.

 The "Select White" from Pine Knot is far from white.

 This is the spotted white double that I showed in a previous post, but in the garden it looks like this.

 So it is questionable whether or not it is worth having double flowers when they hang and only the backs are visible. But nice if you cut them and float them in a bowl.

 I can't bear to do that though, so my garden display is more like this. I lift them to look at their faces when I visit them.

 'Champion' has faded to green, although still keeping its form.

 'Jacob' has long faded to green and with growing seed pods.

'Joseph Lemper' almost all faded to green. One late flower still almost white.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


The return of Dendrobium Love Memory 'Fizz', the plant I got at my niece's wedding in Hawaii, two Thanksgivings ago. Very similar to last year. I'd forgotten how nice the fragrance is.

hellebore update

The next wave of hellebores are developing. This is the plant that I couldn't resist at the now defunct High Country Gardens. First bloom to open this year.

This plant has survive and grown despite the very un-hellebore condition of our climate, and gave me the motivation to try more. It gets full winter sun which is also anti-hellebore, but that may not be such a terrible thing since as the sun moves to summer, it gets shade all day. It is also next to our water feature which I suspect is a bit leaky.

Hellebore 'Connie' was planted last year, and is also a spotted white, but a single. I'm going to have to figure out a way to give it some shade this summer, as it gets the opposite conditions as the HCG double spotted white - full shade in the winter, and sun in the summer. It is very unhappy with that. The flowers should open up in the next day or two.

Just like us, no plant is perfect, and Hellebores have their faults. Maybe a better word is "quirks." One is that they fade to green, and some fade fairly quickly. The first flowers of H. x ericsmithii 'Champion' have already faded to green, although it has produced a number of new flowers. And I guess I shouldn't complain too much since this is the third week of bloom, which is as much or more than many seasonal flowers like bulbs. I happen to like the white hellebores, and there are many more colors including near-black. I think that most of the colors look muddy. Not complaining, just commenting.

H. niger 'Jacob' has faded to green also, but its flowers started coming out just after Thanksgiving. Two months of beauty is not bad, especially when we are talking December and January. Some would argue that the green flowers are just as pretty as the white.  Flowers fade to green faster, the warmer the temperatures.

The problem also is that hellebores are very variable from seed. This one is of the 'Select Whites' from Pine Knot, and it has opened mostly green. We'll see how it develops, but I suspect that I will replace it with another 'Jacob' or a 'Joseph Lemper."

The flowers of H. niger 'Joseph Lemper' are bigger that his brother 'Jacob', and this year were several weeks later. He is still putting out new flowers, the first ones have faded to green. I think his flowers look a lot like Carpinteria, the California bush anemone.