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:

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The buzz of the Flueggea

You can hear it from most anywhere in the garden: the sound of honeybees going bonkers over the flowers of the Flueggea, perhaps the most obscure of the woody plants in my garden. I don't recall where I got it. At the time it went under the name Securinega, and I don't know what inspired me to buy it. Was it once considered a member of the Euphorbiacea? Am I boring you, dear reader? Now it is listed as being in the Phyllanthaceae, which means absolutely nothing to me except I read they are from the tropics. A large number of the twigs of my Flueggea die in the winter, but they can be easily be snapped off and it's not an unpleasant task. New shoots readily arise from the older wood, and of course the flowers are produced on same year's growth. If I'm not mistaken, Tony Reznicek told me I should be glad to have a male plant, as the females set seed which germinate in obnoxious numbers. 

The flower heads of garden Delphiniums get huge and heavy. How should they be managed so that they stay straight and don't break off?

Schizophragma ('hyrdangea vine') really outshined the climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris) in my garden this year. It is now all the way up into the crown of a wild black cherry. It is a stunning display that be enjoyed from a hundred feet away.

What a color on this garden monarda! And foliage that is mildew free.

The cones on a douglas-fir as of July 4. Note the mouse tails extending from under the cone scales.

Nice fruit on a recently-planted hophornbeam (Ostrya) along St Francis street.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Red hot pokers on a Fourth of July

I have read that some people take offense to the kniphofias on aesthetic grounds, but not me. This classic 'red hot poker' is growing on Spring St in Ann Arbor. That's one exciting flower IMHO. I've tried growing some selections, but I don't have enough sun and my garden is poorly organized. Some yellow ones appeared last year but this season they seem to be MIA. Enough of my sob story. There are 70 or more species, all from Africa, and many growable in Michigan. If you have any in your garden, send me pictures and whatever information you have on them!

I'm not sure if anyone deliberately purchases and plants this bellflower. It has naturalized in parts of Ann Arbor, but it sort of seems unfair to classify it as a weed. So, what is it? Is it Campanula rapunculoides (creeping bellflower)? For some reason I always thought it was a species of Adenophora, but this genus is not listed in the definitive Michigan Flora. I suppose I could look at it closely and key it out . . I'll get back to you on this!