Re: Got the Blues

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Booker wrote:

Very pretty little Himalayan annual ...

GENTIANA SYRINGEA

Cliff, that's a gorgeous little item, do you grow it?  Does it make the seedex rounds?  What sort of conditions would it need; I'm assuming moist and peaty?

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Booker
Booker's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-30

McDonough wrote:

Booker wrote:

Very pretty little Himalayan annual ...

GENTIANA SYRINGEA

Cliff, that's a gorgeous little item, do you grow it?  Does it make the seedex rounds?  What sort of conditions would it need; I'm assuming moist and peaty?

Hi Mark,
The image was taken today in my garden ... this little gem is growing in a trough/planter in a peaty/gritty compost where it was planted after being purchased from Aberconwy Nursery in early summer. (£3, quite expensive for a tiny annual).  I am very hopeful that it may seed itself in this trough, but it is only tiny at present and will probably produce a miniscule amount of seed. It is not being specifically watered any more than anything else in the garden but our summers are considerably damper and cooler than New England!

Cliff Booker A.K.A. Ranunculus
On the moors in Lancashire, U.K.
Usually wet, often windy, sometimes cold ... and that's just me!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Booker wrote:

Hi Mark,
The image was taken today in my garden ... this little gem is growing in a trough/planter in a peaty/gritty compost where it was planted after being purchased from Aberconwy Nursery in early summer. (£3, quite expensive for a tiny annual).  I am very hopeful that it may seed itself in this trough, but it is only tiny at present and will probably produce a miniscule amount of seed. It is not being specifically watered any more than anything else in the garden but our summers are considerably damper and cooler than New England!

Cliff, I wish you success in growing that little annual Gentian, and getting it naturalized in your trough.  I'm sure you'd have a much better chance of success in the UK than here.  I like the idea of encouraging small or smallish annuals in a rock garden, to naturalize and help infill and weave together other plants.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

One of the more unusual members of the genus Caryopteris is Caryopteris divaricata, from China, Japan, Korea, growing in mixed forests on mountain slopes and along roadsides; 700-2900 m.  While appearing shrub-like when viewed in flower in late summer (August - Sept/Oct), this species is actually a deciduous perennial, sprouting from ground level each spring and growing to about 5'-6'.  

In late summer it erupts into a cloud of beautiful blue butterfly-like flowers, and those fascinating downward curled stamens and style.  The loose, open panicles of individually large and separate flowers look very different than the clustered inflorescences of the more familiar shrubby Caryopteris species and cultivars; so much so that it fools many people when seeing this plant for the first time.

Beware of the foliage however, pleasant enough to look at, and a good backdrop to the blue flowers, but they exude a rather obnoxious acrid stink when the foliage is brushed up against or bruised.  Pulling unwanted seedlings is similarly fraught with the unpleasant scent issue. However, in the garden no ill scent can be detected unless handled, so don't let this "feature" put you off too much; it remains one of my favorite late summer / early autumn garden plants.  There is a lower growing white-variegated leaf form named 'Snow Fairy' frequently available in nurseries, but I don't grow that form.

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200019299

PS:  the flowers bear a striking resemblance to the annual Bluecurls, Trichostema dichotomum, see:
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=282.msg4076#msg4076

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Wow, a Caryopteris I might actually, purposely grow!  If it flowers early enough for you to get seed, Mark, then I should be able to at least get flowers in my climate.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

RickR wrote:

Wow, a Caryopteris I might actually, purposely grow!  If it flowers early enough for you to get seed, Mark, then I should be able to at least get flowers in my climate.

Rick, I have long since given up on the familiar Caryopteris species and cultivars, they just aren't reliably hardy here.  But Caryopteris divaricata is 100% hardy here, and makes lots of seed (sometimes too many seedlings appear), but I can certainly share seed. I think it would do just fine in your climate.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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

Booker wrote:

Very pretty little Himalayan annual ... GENTIANA SYRINGEA

What a delightful little plant, Cliff.

That's a very interesting account of Caryopteris divaricata, Mark.  I'd love to try that one too, if you will be collecting seed.

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

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

"Too many seedlings" don't scare me.  I have three species of impatiens, Campanula americanum and even Thalictrum thalictroides is becoming a weed.  I still love them all, and don't mind their rambunctiousness.  Yes please, send the Caryopteris seed along, if you remember when the time comes.  Thanks.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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

McDonough wrote:

One of the more unusual members of the genus Caryopteris is Caryopteris divaricata, from China, Japan, Korea, growing in mixed forests on mountain slopes and along roadsides; 700-2900 m.  While appearing shrub-like when viewed in flower in late summer (August - Sept/Oct), this species is actually a deciduous perennial, sprouting from ground level each spring and growing to about 5'-6'.  

I grow this species too. It is perfectly hardy here and behave as you tell but grows only to 3' here.

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

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

Not the bluest and an annual too!
Gentiana campestris is an annual selfsowing in our meadow at the cabin in the mountains. The species is very variable, the tiniest plants have but one flower and the tallest have hundreds. It starts flowering in July and continue till October.
Here visited by Bombus hypnorum.

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

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