Lupinus lepidus var. utahensis

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

Very interesting.  What a shame he didn't remain there to garden after so much effort and great results (but I guess there is more to life than just gardening.) 
You've hit the nail on the head there... being "gifted" as a rock gardener is all about providing the conditions that are needed, which requires much more effort in some areas than in others.

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

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

This sounds really similar to Peter Korn's garden in Sweden, which is on an even more epic scale. When he talked to us on this he said he lived in one of the wettest parts of Sweden (60" annual rainfall), and didn't have consistant snow cover through winter (ie: fluctuating winter temperatures), and yet he grows an extraordinary range of plants from Lewisia tweedyi and hardy cacti, through to Meconopsis and Pulsatilla vernalis. Very much supports Lori's comments, although I would find it very hard to leave a garden like that!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.

Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03

It's hard to believe, but that was only a small portion of his garden. He had a huge greenhouse where he sowed thousands of seeds a year, had over 4000 Hepatica hybrids that he grew from some very expensive Japanese stock, a front yard filled with hundreds of spring ephemerals (it was shaded by 4 huge Sugar Maples), species crocus and daffodils, plus two huge 'traditional' rock gardens filled with spectacular specimens that nobody else here in NE was growing. He was the person who introduced me to rock gardening, and he was a master at what he did with his garden.

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

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

Peter wrote:

I've tried them from seed 10 times, and although I've actually gotten a few flowers one year, they have only wintered over once. I've grown them in sand, in gravel and sand, and pretty much every other soil medium possible, yet they've simply never really liked it here in the northeast. The person who originally introduced me to rock gardening, Larry Rue, built a huge sand berm about 15 feet long, 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall, and had them self sowing on the south face. Somehow I don't think my wife would be terribly happy if I replicated it here in my garden area, or as she puts it, in the territory she has permitted me to garden. But it IS a beautiful plant, one I'm sure I'll try again to please enough so it will survive 2 years at least.

An update on my results so far with Lupinus lepidus var. utahensis...
Over-wintering them doesn't seem to be the problem particularly here - it is more sustaining them through the summer after flowering that seems to be the trick... 
From the original two plants that I planted out in the lower part of my tufa garden, both came through one winter and bloomed in the second year from seed.  One plant, the one in the less-built up position of the two, rotted away after flowering. 
The other plant, slightly higher up in the bed, came through a second winter, bloomed again (in 2012), and then also appeared to rot off.  Both plants flowered extravagantly, and set a lot of seeds each time, which resulted in large numbers of seedlings coming up in place of the old plants.

I've moved a number of the seedlings to the new tufa beds, which have much better drainage and leaner conditions, and are built up significantly above the regular soil level, to see what their longevity is like there.

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

Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

McDonough wrote:

I see from the CalPhotos site that there is a Lupinus ssp. sellulus var. lobbii (Donner Lake Lupine).

Lupinus seems to be a genus that has only been horticulturally "scratched at the surface"; so many wonderful garden-worthy species.

I saw this variety growing on the Steens Mountains of eastern Oregon. The correct name is currently Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii. It formed very nice low mats at elevations above 9,000' on the wind blown crest.

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
John P Weiser


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