Sunday, 30 June 2013

Cardiocrinums (clearly close relatives of lilies) are wonderful plants for the Meconopsis garden. This is Cardiocrinum giganteum yunnanense. It flowers from top down and has often a dark purple stem. The flower spike is not as tall as the other other subspecies -  C. g. giganteum. This will be illustrated once it has flowered. They take about 9 years to flower from seed and this first spike is always very tall (6 - 7 feet) but after that the old bulb dies. This is not the end however as it  is surrounded by offsets of varying age and usually one or more will be large enough to flower every year almost indefinitely if in a rich bed with plenty of nutrients. They have a lovely smell too.
There are two spikes growing together here.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Found this in flower today and totally intrigued. It was sown 3 years ago from my own seed of Nomocharis hybrids (Nomocharis used to be included in Lilium).  It looks like a bi generic hybrid with a lily and most likely the wonderful pink form of Lilium macklinae which grows nearby.
 from Nagaland.

Friday, 28 June 2013

BOTTOM IMAGE -------- This is a flowering spike of P.C.Abildegaard. This will almost certainly be yet another of the classic crosses of M. betonicifolia crossed with M. grandis. (all called M. x Sheldonii). It was named and distributed by Evelyn Stevens of the Meconopsis Group in the U.K. from material sent to her from a University in Copenhagen, Denmark and named after a professor there. The origin of this plant in Denmark is not known.  In Wick, where this image was taken, it is very perennial and regularly sends out suckers making propagation very easy - indeed I took six from suckers up to 60cms. away last year. The flowers, at least in Wick, always have vague mauve overtones. It has been likened to the wonderful hybrid produced in Edinburgh many years ago from the same parents and subsequently named by an Irish garden as Slieve Donard -  but with that wonderful cultivar it has always been a perfect blue where ever I have grown it. Slieve Donard is illustrated on this site on the entry for May 29th growing at the Royal Botanic Gardens this year. 

TOP IMAGE ----------- I have added an image of the perfect blue Slieve Donard growing for comparison in the lovely woodland garden of the Cox family at Glendoick (only open until the end of May).

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Arisaemas are a genus often associated with Meconopsis rich gardens. Many come from China and one of the best is Arisaema candidissima. This normally is relatively dwarf and late through (mid to late June) but rapidly comes into flower. There are many larger species but most of these suit a large woodland garden. A few years ago white and yellow forms of this were offered by a Chinese nursery but both proved to be the usual pink form

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Perhaps the most famous blue poppy of them all - it has for nlong been known as  GS600 (wrongly! - since like all the collections of Ludlow and Sherriff it should be L and S 600). The seed of this was collected by Ludlow and Sherriff in 1934 on the Nyuksang La in Bhutan. It was their 600 th collection that year. The first -  L and S 1 - was Primula gracilipes. They returned to collect seed later and is probably their most famous collection from all their trips both before and after the second world war. It does not set seed anymore but recent visitors to this area report very similar plants there to this day. They were fortunate to get seed since when they 
returned in the autumn to collect it the whole area had been trampled by yaks. All this is written up in 'A Quest of Flowers' by Dr Harold Fletcher of the R.B.G. Edinburgh (1975). I might add that even Dr. Fletcher called it GS 600!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Dactylorhizas self seed in my Meconopsis garden and I have given literally thousands away. This one is truly gorgeous and is called Eskimo Nell. It was given me a few years ago by Fred Hunt of Invergowrie, Tayside - one of the all time greats of Scottish Rock Garden club shows. He had bought it from the late Gerry Munday. I am sure it was produced from a cross with D. elata and a 'white' form of D. fuchsii. Not at all sure if this was done in culture or whether the cross arose from sowing actual seed. I have a white form of D. fuchsii which I collected very many years ago from the Irish Republic. This is a totally different plant in size, structure and flowering time.
They were well grazed by sheep and until they flowered I did not know what they were. Mine are not out yet and I will illustrate them in a few weeks.

Eskimo Nell is very strong growing and looks healthy and has clumped up well in about 4 years and I have given a number away.

Monday, 24 June 2013

There are many Iris species and hybrids that complement Meconopsis plants. This one is a black form of Iris sibirica (or hybrid) with virtually no markings

Thursday, 20 June 2013

This plant I saw earlier in the year (see 8th April on this blog) and with more or less regular outline to the leaves it resembled M regia. Recently I returned to this splendid garden in Perth and the rosette had expanded to a large flowering spike. The large flowers were a clear cream yellow with a dark stigma. It still looks typical of the species M. regia but it is in fact what we now call  M. 'napaulensis' hybrids - which originally would have included genes from M. regia and is rather a nice throwback to the true species.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Lingholm has been the standard blur poppy from seed for many years but is, after being very consistent in in colour and growth form for many years, now beginning to show variation. This was part of a large display of cultivars of blue poppies at Branklyn garden in Perth and is distinctly pale. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

This is a recent view down one of the little paths at Branklyn garden where every turn of the many paths reveal more treasures of plants and spectacular views.


Monday, 17 June 2013

There is an earlier image of the Meconopsis hybrid Mrs Jebbs on this blogsite. She was a lady who lived at Crocketford and this is one of the most distinctive of the M. Sheldonii types -- (M. betonicifolia crossed with M. grandis). This one is at the incomparable Branklyn Gardens in Perth, Scotland where they have a really large collection of many cultivars of 'big blue poppies'. Mrs Jebbs is distinguished by a rather more delicate growth form and uniquely cup shaped flowers.

Mrs Jebbs is the plant on the right.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

This is the fertile hybrid Lingholm. This was originally a plant derived from one of the M. x Sheldonii hybrids - (M. grandis crossed with M. betonicifolia). The plants were fertile because it became tetraploid and thus has two sets of chromosomes from each parent. It is easy, robust and perennial and usually a sound blue. More than 1 plant will give you generous amounts of seed which germinates well. For expert Meconopsis growers it is becoming interesting since it is showing variations on the form we have known for many years when new plants are raised from seed

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Nomocharis are a wonderful genus of about 7 species. All are very beautiful and no more difficult to grow than many lilies to which they are closely related. They tend to hybridize and the two illustrated are likely somewhat hybridized.

The top image is typical of Nomocharis pardanthina forms found in many gardens where they are grown while the bottom is very close to N. saluensis. They set good seed if cross fertilized but the most likely source will be a seed list by a society like the Alpine Garden Society or Scottish Rock garden club. Even here you may only get 1 or 2 two viable seeds in your allocation and collecting and sowing your own is the only viable long term option for a large collection. They are long lived once established.

Friday, 14 June 2013

A lovely pink form of what I grow as Meconopsis 'napaulensis'. This is very like the material brought back by the Stainton, Sykes and Williams expedition many years ago  but clearly now hybridizes with other things. Sets masses of seed and is easy. The rosette which is evergreen gradually expands in size and usually at 3 years erupts with a tall flower spike that may reach 6 feet. In the garden of my middle daughter Caroline in Invergowrie
 - who wanted a mention!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

There are several forms of Meconopsis quintuplinervia in cultivation. This is an old one and has rather a lanky stem and a slightly wishy washy flower colour. Faint praise indeed but this when pollinated with another form it
produces viable seed. This needs treating the same way as M. punicea and the seed should be sown as soon as ripe and then the seed tray kept cool and dark until it is brought into the warmth of a heated frame in late January. The great advantage of M. quintuplinervia is that it is very perennial and produces runners and plants can be split. 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Two more colour variations on the Meconopsis 'napaulensis' hybrids. Red, again probably derived from the Stainton, Sykes and Williams expedition and the white from a more recent collection in Nepal. There is in fact a spectrum of colours that goes from deep blood red to some whites just shaded pink. All are desirable but some have larger flowers than others and more attractive foliage  hair colour

 and seed should always be selected from the clearest colours.

Monday, 10 June 2013

A lovely pink form of Meconopsis 'napaulensis' at its best before any flowers have dropped. These wonderful pinks are garden hybrids and almost certainly derive from collections by the Stainton, Sykes and Williams expedition to the Himalayas some years ago.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Another Cypripedium coming into flower. This is the British native (just) C. calceolus and the plant was propagated in a flask which can now be done for Cypripediums and hopefully will take the pressure off the illegal digging of this genus in the wild.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

There are many named varieties of the big blue poppies - many sterile hybrids and some fertile. This plant, which I still grow, was photographed in the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. I used to call it Miss Jebbs but I was later corrected and it should be Mrs Jebbs who lived at Crocketford south of Edinburgh. It probably is a x Sheldonii hybrid (i.e. between M. betonicifolia and M. grandis) but is distinctive in having smaller cup shaped flowers and a dwarfer habitat. Suspect these are looking a little sorry for themselves after the long cold spring this year in Scotland with many plants, even as I write, still nearly a month late flowering.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The hybrids that are known as Meconopsis' napaulensis' are about to flower. These are largely derived from what is now known as M. staintonii which was collected many years ago by the Stainton, Sykes and Williams expedition to Nepal. A really large pink coloured form like this is well worth saving the seed from and distributing. They are all monocarpic and die after the evergreen rosette expands to a 4 foot or so flowering spike and this one took three years to flower. All three of my daughters have allowed me to plant Meconopsis in their gardens and this one was taken in Invergowrie, Tayside, Scotland. The gardens are in Cumbria, Invergowrie and Wick, north of Scotland. I have learnt a great deal about subtle climate effects in northern U.K. In all my daughters gardens they grow much  better than my garden in dry east Fife but in Wick they really thrive. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

I always hand pollinate Meconopsis punicea and this ensures full capsules and a large seed harvest. Three images taken today. 1, A typical white stigma without pollen (bottom). 2, Stigma dusted by hand with pollen (middle). 3, Anthers clearly dehiscing masses of pollen. This varies from the ocre of the present one to dark purple, and nearly black (top). 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Another classic genus for the meconopsis garden, is Cypripedium. When I first started these were available in the trade but almost certainly dug up in the wild. They were difficult to establish and most would have been lost. Recently Cypripediums have been added to the list of orchids that can be flask cultured. These can still be difficult to establish permanently in the garden. This particular plant I have had for 30 years and in a good year produces 20 to 30 flowers. They should never be moved and trying to divide a good clump can be a recipe for disaster but once happy they are wonderful plants with very large flowers. This species is C. macranthum (sometimes listed as C. macranthos) but only one name can be right and I prefer the former and was collected N.W. of the Himalayas. It is very widespread right into China and is a very hardy species. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

This Cardiocrinum has grown about 50 cms. in ten days and probably has some way to go before flowering. Will keep this posted every so often until it flowers.