We’ll call this one the Botanical Garden Edition as I took most of these photos at the various botanical gardens I worked and studied at over the years. Some of these plants I have waited ten years to grow and now I finally can. I just have to find them.
This first plant caused quite a sensation at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden when I was an intern there in 2003. This amazing specimen was right at the entrance to the perennial garden and no one could go past it without stopping and freaking out over it. It is Angelica stricta 'Purpurea' I am not sure where Lily Ricardi got it originally but I know she shared some seed with Annie's Annuals so I will hopefully be able to get it at some point. I actually collected seed from this specific plant and sent a bunch of packets out all over the world to various friends from a garden forum I posted at back then.
Another exciting plant that Lily introduced me to that summer was Mathiasella bupleuroides a very unusual umbellifer from Mexico that was named after botanist Mildred Mathias. At this stage it looks almost like some sort of bizarre Hellebore but once the flowers fully open it is quite unique. Despite the fact that it is a North American plant it is probably easier to get in England than it is here but I'm sure I'll track it down eventually.
Dierama pulcherimum is another one that stops people in their tracks. It is from South Africa so it does quite well in California gardens so I am not sure why I don't see it more often. I try to put it in gardens that I design whenever I feel it is appropriate. I have a Dierama mossii that I started from seed a few years ago that I have been nurturing in a pot. I'm sure it will be happy to finally get in the ground. There is a dark purple cultivar called 'Merlin' that I want to get ahold of as well.
Agrostemma githago is a pretty Mediterranean annual that makes a great cut flower. Like Dierama the flowers are at the end of gently swaying wands that add movement to the garden. Annie's always seems to have this in stock and I have the perfect place for a row of them along the white picket fence bordering my driveway.
I'm not sure what it is about Catananche caerulea that I love so much but I have wanted to grow it ever since the first time I saw it in bloom in Mendocino. I pretty much love all little daisy flowers but these are not shaped or colored like a typical daisy.
Now with Jasione perennis (aka J. laevis) I just love to say the name. Jasione. Say it with me. Jazz-e-oh-nee. So ridiculous sounding. I love it.
Lily had quite a collection of Eryngiums and I would like to grow many of them but Eryngium maritimum stood out as a favorite. It grows in dunes across Europe and is sort of silvery green but also with a hint of that metallic blue that it shares with some of the other Eryngiums. If I remember correctly gophers loved them so I'll have to protect mine with chicken wire. I just know there is an army of those little devils waiting for me to start planting.
Another one that is fun to say. Himalayacalamus hookerianus 'Teague's Blue'. I am so excited that I actually found a source for this plant and specced it for a garden I just finished designing. I really hope the homeowner likes the design and goes ahead with it. I know she will love this plant. There are a lot of really interesting bamboos but the colors on this one are sort of otherworldly. And it is a clumper too so it isn't going to eat your entire yard!
I'm not actually sure how Crambe cordifolia will do on the California coast. I have never seen it growing here. But it is a common staple in English gardens. A bit like babies breath on steroids. These plants were in the order beds at Kew but I saw them planted at almost every garden I visited in England last May and June. If I can get my hands on some I would love to give it a try here.
Digitalis are one of those delightfully collectable plant genera. So many different species and cultivars and so many of them are beautiful (or at least interesting). They brownish and orangish ones used to be a nightmare to ID because it seemed like every book on the subject gave conflicting info. But Google images seems to have helped narrow things down and I feel pretty confidant that this is Digitalis laevigata. Hopefully the seed that I ordered will actually be the correct plant as well.
How can you not love Verbascum bombyciferum. First of all another fun name to say. And then it is like a jacked up lambs ear that goes crazy and creates this huge spiky candelabra of yellow flowers but the inflorescence is still all fuzzy. Verbascums are already fun plants as it is but to have one that is fuzzy like a pet is way cool. They are monocarpic but they seed around after they bloom and die.
And finally a plant that is so cool I am posting not one but two photos of it. The incredibly bluest of blues, Techophilaea cyanocrocus from Chile. What is it about Chile having plants with all the best colors? Remember Puya chilensis from last time with its intense chartreuse flowers?
Here they are at the old alpine house at the New York Botanical Garden. My friend Marc is manager of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections at NYBG. I figure if I trick him into coming to visit me and hold him hostage maybe they'll trade me one of those plants to get him back. I mean they don't need ALL of those, right? I just NEED one!
Well hopefully you liked this latest edition of plants I need and maybe learned about a new plant or two that you can now lust after yourself. And hopefully in the next year I will be growing some of these in my garden and will have new pictures to share.