Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring is Waking up

While the weather is still not conducive to doing much outdoors (cold, rain) the garden at Pomona is starting to wake up. Today is very windy, perhaps it is the winds from the tornado that hit the southern USA yesterday.

My thoughts go out to you all in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia.
I still have frustrating moments with the camera. Many macro shots are a blur and I just don't know how to get off the automatic settings. It is pathetic how technically challenged I am.
Despite all that it is a joy to see plants return from their winter holidays. Here are a few of the highlights.

That is Sushi with the arabis. With so much rain lately the air is quite humid, and so the arabis is headily fragrant. Kind of like sweet candy.

Charming Tete a Tete daffodils

I don't know what kind of violet this is but they turn up in the lawn every year. I think if the lawn was made entirely of violets I would be happy.

Life and death of the oakleaf hydrangea

Pretty chionodoxa

One of my favorite roses is Father Hugo or R. hugonis. The flowers are a pale single petaled yellow, sigh. Quite pretty right now with the lime of the leaves and the red stems.

I grow hepatica nobilis var. acuta or sharped lobed hepatica. This one is white. The following picture is a light violet flower, new to me, and supposed to be acuta but I am not convinced yet.

The bloodroot is doing really well in the garden and is spreading on its own. A delicate flower and pretty but I think the plant is most interesting when it is unfolding itself.

Oops! Just got back from a short power failure. It is getting stormier here....

Another success is the American Ginger. I like the Asian species as well, it has interesting foliage, however in this part of the garden I plant natives.

Signing off now before I lose power again.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Back from Birthday trip to Las Vegas

Yup, another year older.
However this year my hubby surprised me with a trip to Las Vegas. I have always been curious about this city of casinos, the lights along the strip, but mostly I wanted a glimpse of the Grand Canyon. My wish was granted. We stayed at the Belagio Hotel known for its street-side fountain displays throughout the day and evening. As hotels go, it was great. They even upgraded the room -Thank you. So here are some pics that I think will interest you.

The ceiling in the lobby of the Belagio is covered in glass flowers by the famous Dale Chihuly of California. If I could have taken something home....

They had an area near the lobby that they called the botanical garden. That is stretching the truth, but there were some interesting floral displays.

Pretty Poppies

Foxgloves and something pink I do not recognize (too early for chrysanthemums?)

with Chihuly glass

An amazing artwork of real flowers !

Poolside there were a few mentionables
Fragrant peach hybrid tea
Red hybrid teas bordered by boxwood were in beds along the pool
This single red rose may be Altissimo, backed by, I think, jasmine

The highlight of the trip was the Grand Canyon. I have always felt that the best way to see it (or some of it) is by helicopter. Despite some fear and possible motion sickness I got in that helicopter.

up up and away

We flew over the Hoover Dam

And of course there were some desert plants that I can use help in naming. Any south western readers out there?

perhaps a sage of some kind?
two cacti and....
these beauties are also found in the hotel gardens
close up of flower

Joshua Tree
There you have a brief viewing of our trip. We were in the Mojave Desert as well as the Great Basin Desert and the landscape varies immensely. I would love to return some day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We made it to Spring

Last week Burlington made it into spring. I can no longer pout and feel sorry for the lack of life in the gardens. Nothing much up yet, but here are a few snaps of what has emerged as of today.

Sedum "Frosty Morn"
Sedum 'Frosty Morn' has been in my garden for many many years. Like all sedum it is an easy care (or ignore) plant as it is trouble free. Frosty Morn is variegated and it does revert from time to time. Needless to say I have a limitless supply of green sedum whenever I want. Propagation is a piece of cake: snip off a bit and into water and you have a new plant. Last year was the first time I found seedlings in the garden bed. By some miracle it got pollinated and made babies that survived -lucky me.

I can't find the name of this Thalictrum but is has airy frothy pink flowers like its cousins. This plant (one of two) is new to me still, but is doing better than its sibling already. 

Wild Columbine
 Canada's Wild Columbine with the scarlet petals and yellow anthers. Always a beauty and a pleasure to see in my garden. I keep the Wild Columbine away from other hybrids to avoid cross pollination and so far it is working. They say it is attractive to hummingbirds but I have never seen.

Galanthus or Snowdrops
What garden is without the Snowdrop? I never knew how much it is admired and collected until I read many many posts on the Snowdrop earlier this spring. I was also ignorant of the fact that there are so many varieties out there. Perhaps a connoisseur of the Galanthus species might like to identify this one....

Lastly, are some mini daffodils. Two kinds. One I can't remember the name but the other is Tete-a-tete. I don't understand why, but I am not a fan of the large daffodils. They strike me as odd looking, and with the new colours available (peach) my thoughts immediately say, ugh. 
So there  you have it, my contribution to the early spring display. Finally.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blue roses are coming - again

A Columbian flower grower Suntory and the Australian company Florigene, are developing a blue rose. I know, we have heard it and seen it before, but supposedly they are on track to creating a real blue.  Part of the problem has been the inability to create a blue pigment. It turns out that the genes in rose petals are not encoded to take the enzyme necessary in the blue pigment “Delphinidin”.  In order to avoid this problem, Suntory has succeeded using the genes found in flowers like petunias and pansies to create the blue pigment and implanting them into roses. They are in fact creating a new rose, one with blue pigments instead of the traditional rose which have only red pigments. These new roses have almost 100% Delphinidin in their petals, which will allow the company to create a larger variety of blues.
Suntory hopes to have their first roses available in three years – but not to you and me. The company plans to market their roses to the Japanese. Apparently blue roses can fetch $500 USD in Japan, and a single blue rose $40-50. Columbia is the world’s second largest exporter of flowers after Holland, with the majority of their products going to the US and Europe.
My first reaction to seeing plants in non-natural colours is one of slight revulsion mixed with apprehension and trepidation, though I  must admit I sometimes fall for their charms (if they have any). I wonder who else feels the way I do. Do you look forward to flowers and plants in all the colours of the rainbow? Please let me know.