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:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More plants from bizarro-world

Another Arisaema from Asia. Given its appearance 'cobra-lily' better describes it than 'jack-in-the-pulpit.' It's hard to see in the photo, but there is a crazy tendril that extends from the flower, looping up and under the leaf, then back down all the way to the ground. A dark plant, indeed, attractive to . . . ?

Another Arisaema -- this one came to me directly from a 'nursery' in China. Most likely they pulled it from the wild and put it right into a shipping crate labeled 'USA.' I feel a little bad about having contributed to the harvesting of wild plants, but only a little. Maintaining biological diversity is not a priority for Chinese society right now, and plant explorers race against the tide to find, identify and collect species there before they are extirpated. We can play a role by keeping some of the genetic stock alive in our gardens.

Like a bellwort on steroids. I believe this is Disporum flavens from China and Korea. A striking and hefty plant. In my shady well-drained soils, I do well growing the early spring blooming 'wood-lilies,' a term I use loosely to include the solomon's-seals, fairy-bells, bellworts, dingle-berries, elf-toes, Smilacina, etc.

Spaceships coming in for a landing. This barrenwort (Epimedium sp.) is another plant I received from China. It just so happens that of the 20 or so epimediums that I grow, this is perhaps my favorite. The Chinese pull these plants up by the ton, powderize them, then ship the stuff to the US where it is sold at gas-stations in the southern states under the name "horny goat weed." 

It's nearly impossible to garden around this thing. Whenever I start pulling weeds or playing with the dirt, it flops down on its back in front of me and squishes whatever happens to be growing there.

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