Thursday, July 30, 2009

Niagara Parks' Botanical Gardens, July

Here's a set from several dates during the month of July.

The following are several pics of the very cool Ensete, commonly called the False Banana, although it is closely related to the true Banana (Musa sp.). While the fruit is not edible, the root is an important food crop in parts of Africa. In any case, it makes a dramatic and very tropical statement in the garden. The Niagara Parks Commission is using more tropicals each year in their gardens, and doing so quite effectively.

Most of the Daylilies were at their peak during the second half of this month. The first is 'Fairy Tale Pink', an older diploid bred by Pierce and registered in 1980. It has however, won several awards, including the Silver Stout Medal (the American Hemerocallis Society's highest honour) in 1990, and remains an outstanding pink-flowered variety.

This was a nice but unidentified red.

Here's Stamile's 1989 introduction, the tetraploid and aptly-named 'Strawberry Candy'. It is also a multiple award-winner, including the Silver Stout Medal in 1998.

This is a close-up of the older (1967 introduction by Fay) of 'Mary Todd', another award-winner, including the Silver Stout Medal in 1978.

This is the classic Liatris spicata 'Kobold', or Dwarf Blazing Star (the "kobold" is a goblin-like creature from German folklore). Unfortunately, most nurseries are propagating this plant by seed these days, the result of which is the usual variability, and therefore some not-so-dwarf plants. I have seen however, some offering a plant called 'Kobold Original', which should grow to only 40cm (16").

This combination caught my eye for the designer's principle of the use of "semi-transparent" plants, in this case, the white flowers of Artemisia lactiflora 'Guizhou', through which one can see the hot flowers of a Helenium.

A close-up of an Echinops (Globe Thistle) flower.

This is a good example of the effectiveness of a mass-planting, in this case, Stachys monieri 'Hummelo' in front of a gold-leaved Cedar.

There's certainly been plenty of attention paid to the genus Echinacea in recent years, in particular regarding all the new hybrids and selections. Below however, is the species E. pallida or Pale Coneflower, native to Ontario and most of the eastern U.S. I like it for its drooping petals, and although it is usually relatively pale in colouration, some darker forms exist as well.

The flowers of Salvia sclarea or Clary Sage, are unique to those used to the typical purple-blues of S. nemerosa, and are also a good plant to learn about the details of the parts of a flower, as it is the larger bracts that surround the actual flower that provide the ornamental value.

For most of the spring and summer, I have a hard time resisting taking yet another picture of Hosta 'Sun Power'. This one has some interesting lighting showing off the texture and colours of the beautiful golden-yellow leaves.

Finally, I'm not a big fan of Astilbe, simply because they require too much water to grow well and look nice here. This year however, with all the rain we've had, they are simply beautiful. This unidentified pink-flowered variety caught my eye with its darker pink stems.

Summer is moving quickly -- enjoy the long weekend, and here's to dirt under your nails.

MPD, the coolplantsguy

No comments: