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: guerinw@gmail.com

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The rare and difficult Franklinia, in flower, here in Ann Arbor, this week

Franklinia altamaha is a plant of legendary stature. A member of the tea family, it was first observed (among those of European descent) by William Bartram, who discovered it along the Altamaha River in Georgia in 1765. On later visits he collected seed. Good thing! By 1803 or thereabouts it had vanished from the wild, and all specimens currently in existence derive from his original collections.

It's a difficult plant to grow and flower. This is Tony Reznicek's fourth attempt in his garden in Ann Arbor's north side. He writes, "I think I may have it. My tries have included two supposedly hardier forms (of which this is one), so it is evidently a fussy plant. But is is such a legendary species that I'm glad to fuss!"

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