This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Monday, April 11, 2011

The first frit: cuter than cute

This little sweetheart is Fritillaria pudica, and although you've got to get very close to appreciate it, it's probably my favorite of this generally bizarre genus of bulbs. Most frits give off an aroma not unlike  human sperm (not that I would be familiar the sperm of other animals), but this one smells as sweet as a freesia.  It's one species of many that are indigenous to the western US. The only reason I don't fill my garden with it is that, even though it is grown commercially en masse by the Dutch, it still costs a couple bucks a pop. 

This species also happens to be one of the few plants that seems to be actually content in my little rock garden. The soil is moist and very well-drained in spring, then very dry and hot in the summer -- just like much of the states of Oregon and Washington. 

Behind the fritillaria is a rock cress, Arabis ferdinandi-coburgi 'variegata,' one of the few variegated plants that I love and grow.  And behind that is a piece of tufa that I collected from a farm field near Sandusky, Ohio. Tufa is in much demand amongst rock gardeners, but I haven't found much use for it. My stock is up for sale. 

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