Certainly one of the jewels of the western United States is Lewisia rediviva. This photo was taken in central Wyoming along the Beaver Divide a bit east of Lander. Early in July that year our group had been exploring the hoodoos to the west of the Divide and decided to 'botanize' the area. Dick Yeatts came across a patch of these lovelies along the north face of a ravine. The contrast of the brilliantly colored Lewisia with the predominantly muted tones in this place made for quite a sight.
Photo credits to Bob Skowron.
Gosh! Could there ever be a more perfect specimen? It's as breathtaking as the Greenland scenery!
Hugh, a gorgeous rediviva, such a deep pink form! When I lived near the Seattle Washington area in the mid 1980s, I'd frequently go up into the dry Wenatchee Mts (a spur off the Cascade Mts) in Eastern Washington where one could find both L. tweedyi (in some fine yellow and peachy forms), and L. rediviva in a beautiful white form accented with pink stamens. I apologize for the poor quality of my small photo of the white form, it's a scan from a 35mm slide taken circa 1985.
Even though I grew this drylander in my rainy Pacific Northwest garden, I successfully cultivated them by emulating the way they grow in the Wenatchee Mts, invariably poking out from under a loose flat rock. Lifting the rock would reveal a carrot-like root just sitting there horizontally barely engaged with soil. They were fairly easy to grow from seed (seed freely produced in cultivation) planted out in raised sand beds, seedlings placed under the edge of protective rocks.
Mark - I employ somewhat the same method here in along the Front Range of the Rockies in Colorado. My population of Lewisia are tucked into crevises, almost vertical. They thrive. There is something about a gaudy Lewisia display in the Spring that makes my heart soar!!
On an American Penstemon Society meeting in the area of Bishop, CA we ran across a smaller white form that from a distance looked like L. nevadensis - a real cutie! As we neared it was obvious to us that indeed it was L. rediviva.
On the SRGC Forum, I've just been made aware of the following link to unbelievable Lewisia rediviva hybrids made by Michael J. Campbell, in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland. Strap yourself in and take a look. Many Lewisia species are involved here, I like the Lewisia wallowensis color selections very much.
Follow-up to my previous posting, Michael Campbell had this to say about his plants, when I asked whether he ran a nursery and if his hybrids were available commercially:
Mark,there was no interest in them so I disposed of most of them,only about 30 left. I tried showing them but the judges always disqualified them for one reason or another.(Alpine plant judges do not like Lewisias)I then tried showing them in the noncompetitive classes and got some silver and gold awards.
In the end I got disillusioned and got rid of most of them. I have some growing outside in a scree bed and they are doing fine.
I don't have a nursery any more as I am retired now. The local Development authority took my nursery land to build a factory, and then didn't bother.'Typical.'
...and added this:
Mark,while most of them were sterile they did root easily from the spent flower scape, a lot of people refused to believe that so I had to put picks on the forum to convince them.
What is interesting is, most of these hybrids were sterile, but propagated readily from flower stem cuttings!
Mark, here is a link to the page about the cuttings.
Thanks Mark! What a spectrum of lucious Lewisia!! It's a shame how fate and timing can alter the acceptance of new introductions. The Lewisia wallowensis are indeed eye candy.
Bruce Meyer, an amateur hybridizer from Salmon, Washington also produced some amazing extreme crosses of Lewisia decades ago and sent me samples: tweedyi-rediviva-brachycalyx etc. When Roy Davidson was doing his Lewisia book I told him and he didn't believe that sort of cross was possible.
Judging by the commercial success of 'Little Plum' and 'George Henley' and several others, which are being mass produced across America of late, I suspect that many of these hybrids would be eagerly scarfed up by the Proven Winners and suchlike programs. Especially since succulents are now the in thing...
You are right: timing is everything. I also suspect these Lewisia hybrids could form the basis of a floricultural industry: they could be the new Valentine's flower (one for every mom and sweetheart in the World: that's a pretty good market I suspect)
I am a rain shelter obsessive but I don't protect Lewisia rediviva in the winter. It starts to break dormancy in the Fall and in our garden seems happy with all the rain it can get over the winter as it puts on new growth. Of course the drainage has to be extremely positive. I am most concerned about keeping it dry in the summer after it has become dormant but I don't fuss with it. I just have it planted out of range of the sprinklers.
I grow the local white flowering L. rediviva. It is designated as Lewisia rediviva var. minor.
It grows all over my garden seeding in readily. It takes about three years for it to reach flowering size.
As was pointed out by David Sellars, they need moisture in the winter and spring, when they are in active growth but dry in the summer and fall.
We find this Lewisia on dry clay slopes and rockie screes all through the foot hills of the Eastern Sierra range and across the whole of Nevada and well into eastern Utah.
Wowee Zowee, John~! That white bitteroot is STUNNING! How about sharing a bit of seed.
My dry garden is full of pink ones that are beginning to self sow: they can use company!
John - yes indeed, the white is stunning - since I will see you in Reno in a few weeks, I would not mind being a mule for transport of a few seeds to Panayoti. Of course there would be a carrying charge of a few seeds :) - My stubby little Lewisia nevadensis would love the company!
I went for a walk in the foothills to day. About 6000' elevation and came across a dry meadow dotted with hundreds of Lewisia rediviva var. minor in bloom. I took some shots of the bigger clusters of plants and flowers. Thought you may enjoy seeing them in habitat
Fantastic John, thanks for showing those delectables. Is the ground there as hardscrabble as it looks? Just look at all those buds on the last one :o
I wouldn't mind taking a walk there either!
Yes I guess hard scrabble would be accurate. A lot of sharp volcanic stone from pea size to football size. All locked together with a sandy/clay substrate. It is dry right now and will continue to dry even more through out the Summer, but in the early spring it is sticky.