Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another Cool Native Plant, the Canadian Columbine

Another native plant that I've really enjoyed growing in my garden is Aquilegia canadensis. It's sometimes called Wild, Red or American Columbine, but I prefer Canadian Columbine.

Photo from Cornell University, Cutler Botanic Garden

In any case, it's a beauty to combine with Hostas, ferns and other North American woodland natives in a shady garden. It's short-lived but self-seeds pleasantly, and is also relatively resistant to the nasty Columbine borer.

The common names, and my preference aside, the USDA does indicate that its distribution pretty much covers the eastern half of the North American continent.

One recent form that is particularly impressive is 'Little Lanterns' which is a shorter version, but also seemingly more prolific in it's flower production. Here's a two-year-old plant with an impressive number of flowers.

Even more recently, the Dyck Arboretum in Kansas, discovered and developed a pink-flowered version called 'Pink Lanterns'. I have yet to try it, but it looks promising and I can hardly wait.

Photo from Jelitto

Here's to the Canadian Columbine, and dirt under your nails.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Spring Beauty I - Dicentra spectabilis 'Goldheart'

One beauty that came out a few years ago and has since done well, is Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart', with the usual pink and white flowers, but accompanied on this version, by brilliant golden-yellow foliage. The emergence of this plant in spring is truly a sight to behold.

It was developed by fellow-Canadians Nori and Sandra Pope while they were looking after the gardens at Hadspen House in Somerset, England. It has good vigour and simply wonderful colour.

Here it is brightening up the shady front of a Blue Spruce:

If you have not yet, please try it this year -- you will be pleasantly surprised.

Here's to dirt under your nails.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Spring has finally sprung ... enjoy.

A cool red Helleborus (Hellebore) with interesting lighting.

Iberis (Candytuft), Aubrieta, and Phlox in a wonderful combination.

A Primula veris and Myosotis (Forget-me-Not)

A Primula and Myosotis (Forget-me-Not)

A Primula and Viola