In remembrance of paintbrush lost

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03
In remembrance of paintbrush lost

I know it looks like the wild, but if you look carefully at the upper right you can see a corner of the veggie garden and the edge of the trough this grew in.

For ten years or so this astonishing Castilleja scabrida graced this trough, invariably coming into full bloom at exactly the time of the Rock Garden Club spring plant sale: year after year we had to lug the damn trough down to the Gardens for the sale, and always some one would sidle over and offer to buy it. Who would sell the only trough in the world brimming with this tiny, brilliant and actually quite abundant Castilleja from the slick rock of the Colorado plateau and especially the San Rafael swell. The mystery is that no one has bothered to go out there and gather lots and seed and replicate our feat.

Except David Joyner--the long time president of the Wasatch Chapter of NARGS--who grows dozens of species of Castilleja like weeds: don't you just hate people like that?

You don't have to be annoyed with me, however, since this little gem is long gone. Although the delight it brought me for most of April and May year after year still lingers: thank heavens we have cameras and pictures to prove things. As Geoffrey Charlesworth observed, it really doesn't matter if you've grown a plant so much as it does that you have photographed it to PROVE you've grown it!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Castilleja miniata, while I suppose not one of most sought-after species, has been a good performer here out in the front yard.  The plants have chosen to hang around for 8 years now, and every year in the last while, I find a small number of self-seeded additions.
I must branch out to other species, though. 
Any one else with Castilleja-growing stories to share out there? 

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

I would be thrilled to have those C. miniata in my garden: kudos!

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

HughGmail
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-07-08

Here's C. scabrida from May, 2009, taken during a camping trip to the Bucklhorn Draw area of the San Rafael Swell.  Our campground was about half way between Buckhorn Draw and the Black Box canyon of San Rafael River.  It was a particularly dry Spring last year, but these beauties put on quite a display!

Hugh Mac Millan
Former NARGS Web Master, Moderator
Eriogonum enthusiast
Zone 5+- - Front Range, Colorado (Denver area)

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Wow, that species is stunning, especially against the harsh backdrops of its habitat!

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Kelaidis wrote:

As Geoffrey Charlesworth observed, it really doesn't matter if you've grown a plant so much as it does that you have photographed it to PROVE you've grown it!

Ha, ha! I'll remember that, next time I'm tempted to have the whole darned thing paved over!

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mueller
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-01-01

Kelaidis,

Starting a trough full of scabrida, from seed, has been my plan for this year.  I'm glad to know that it could work.  

What did you use as a host plant?  Nold, in "High and Dry", recommends artemesia frigida or blue grama grass for Castilleja.  I wasn't sure what to do since I think both can be taller than the target plant.

Scott

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Scott,
I just thought I would mention that there have been some very good articles on germination and cultivation of Castilleja in the NARGS Rock Garden Quarterly, that might be of interest, if you have access to them.
I can suggest the following (and there are very likely others):
Volume 63, #2 (Spring, 2005):  Growing Castilleja for Restoration and the Garden, Lawrence & Kaye
Volume 65, #3 (Summer, 2007):  Techniques for Growing Castilleja in the Garden, Nelson & Joyner

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

Scott,
  I don't think Castillejas are so very fussy: I remember we did have some stunted Artemisia frigida in that trough, as well as various dwarf crucifers (like Lesquerella alpina) and dwarf penstemons (Penstemon caespitosus and P. acaulis) and various tiny erigerons and other composites.

    Giving the seed some scarification (lightly!) and a good long freeze thaw cycle is important. Also fresh seed on some Castillejas seems to germinate better,

That's my recipe! Now I need to reapply it...

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I have not lost any but have for long thought of trying to grow some paintbrushes in my garden. What do you think of sowing in situ? Is it better to do so in fall with as fresh seed as possible?

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Weintraub
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-24

Castilleja integra should be growing on my land, as it is common in similar habitats nearby. My plan has been to collect fresh seed and scatter it about. With such a wet winter, this may be the year to find a prolific stand and collect seed for that purpose. It may take a couple of years for it to germinate and bloom, but if I'm successful, a report will be forthcoming!

In your case, you may have to have a host ready before scattering seed. Let me know if you need seed to get host plants going. I have access to blue gramma and several other native grasses. I'd have to wander around a bit to find the right species of Artemisia if that's your preference.

Hoy wrote:

... What do you think of sowing in situ? Is it better to do so in fall with as fresh seed as possible?

Barbara Weintraub
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
6700 feet elevation - high and dry
nominally zone 5b; i think it's closer to 6a

Pages

Log in or register to post comments