Alpine plant order

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

So, I've sent off a plant order to Beaver Creek, and it should be shipped on Tuesday! Oooh, ooh, can't wait! (It's like the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where Calvin sends away for the propeller-top beanie and, in an agony of anticipation, checks constantly to see if the mailman has delivered it yet, LOL!)
It's mainly to fill new troughs (with a few incidentals for more general garden use) and some of the selections are intended to add some summer or long-season bloom (going from the descriptions that were offered, anyway). I'll likely end up rearrange existing troughs a little too, in order to spread the bloom season out a bit more.

So, any experience with or comments on these?
Acantholimon caesareum
Adenophora remotiflora v. album
Androsace studiosorum
'Chumbyi' (Wonder if I already have this? Has there been some reorganization of A. primuloides to A. studiosorum?)
Anemone critina, speciosa - for the border
Asperula gussonii
Beluta nana
- Ingwersen's Form ex. Norway
Calyptridium umbellatum v. caudiciferum
Cassiope mertensiana
(for one of the acid beds, I think)
Centaurea pindicola
Claytonia megarhiza
Convolvolus boisseri v. boisseri
Cotoneaster microphyllus
Daphne kosaninii
Delphinium speciosum
- for the border
Dracocephalum aff. densum
Edraianthus pumilio
Gentiana cachemirica
Gypsophila aretioides
Hypericum rhodoppeum
Iris reichenbachii
Junellia wilzeckii
Lamium garganicum ssp. garganicum
Limonium minutum
Oxalis enneaphylla 'alba'
Oxytropic parryi
Physoplexis comosa
Potentilla fruiticosa
'Cascade Cushion'
Pterocephallus pinardii
Salix serpyllifolia
Silene nigrescens
Thymus sipyleus
Ulmus parviflorus
Zauschneria californica ssp. latifolia

This message was edited Sep 1, 2007 10:05 PM

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

That's an enviable list, Alta.

I grow Gypsophila aretioides in a trough. Three years now. It has stayed quite tight and firm for me, although it hardly seems like it grows. No flowers yet, but I don't think it is supposed to much.

Iris reichenbachii I am really excited about. I have one from seed from NARGS, and two that I picked up at a nursery in Iowa this summer. My seedling is now in its second season in a 4 inch pot in soil that I now deem way too rich, and foliage is 4 inches tall. It seems to be tolerating the "unnatural" soil quite well. The ones I bought were in 2 inch pots, in alpine soil, and are 2 inches high. When I transplanted them into troughs, I could see the rhizomes - huge for the size of the plant. Obviously well grown.

A word of advice, base solely on my limited experience about this iris: When you get them, they will probably seem like they are planted too deep, as mine did. The "poor" plants look as though they are gasping for air (or sun), with their necks well below the surface. But when I looked at my seed grown plant, where the seed was planted less than 1/8 inch deep (and never transplanted), it looked the same. Today's further investigation reveals the top of the rhizome to be 3/4 inch from the suface. FYI, that seed grown plant was from seed collected in 2003, but not planted until the fall of 2005.

Salix serpyllifolia you've probably already seen in one of my troughs here Leaves are tinier than thyme and the plant is remarkably tolerant to heat and humidity, unlike most of the miniature species willows.

somewhere, PA

Ooooohhhhh...I'd be checking for the mailman every couple a minutes too
if I had that order in. Can't wait to see all the pictures to come. :-)

I have a pot of Edraianthus pumilio I started from seed last winter. They've
bloomed already and are quite pretty. (I really have to separate them!)


Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Well, still waiting here... *drumming my fingers on the desk*... :-) (Actually, since I'm also waiting on the NARGS book order, which is apparently in transit, I really am checking out the window all the time, hoping to see a delivery van!)

Interesting that I. reichenbachii seems to plant itself a bit deeper.... by contrast, I remember your advice about I. suaveloens, i.e. that it needed to be set quite shallow to bloom well. Amazing how each has its adaptation.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get the ones we were discussing on the "extending the bloom time" thread - will have to try again later by other means (from other greenhouses, or from seed)... ahh, more fun to come!

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

Iris reichenbachii is so weird that way. But still, I'd plant it however it is growing when you get it, assuming it's a happy plant. It's still possible this phenomenon is just me.

Yes, my Iris suaveolens rhizomes are right at the surface, and happy there. Although I don't remember actually saying they needed to be, as I have had no experience otherwise. Maybe just that it is a bearded iris in general, which of course, seem to like their rhizomes exposed.

But I will say, to get the coolest sickle shaped foliage of I. suaveolens, it cannot be encroached up - full sun and lots of elbow room. This I do know for sure, as the same suaveolens pictured here was getting a bit shaded from another plant, and the leaves grew straight and twice as long. Remove the other plant, and new leaves were again the desired crescent shape, and shorter. Sheesh, what a picky plant. And I can imagine what burying the rhizome might do, considering. But maybe with your more alpine climate, it won't be such a "problem." This pic taken in early March, is what I think it should look like - and a completely evergreen iris, even in Minnesota.

Thumbnail by Leftwood
Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Yes, your comment was in the realm of bearded irises in general:

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

I'm flattered, AG, that you kept(or remembered) that. That iris is still an all time favorite. Thinking about the rhizome subject more, I wonder if it has more to do with climate and soil type. Since then, it seems to me I remember laurief saying she has her hybrid bearded iris below the surface because she's zone 3 Minnesota. And she does very well.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Should probably start a "small irises" thread but...
Here's another in the same group... (likely you already have it), Iris attica:

Edit: Oh, and I meant to add that the plant just leafing out at that time, to the rear of the iris, is a hardy purple-flowered osteospermum that I've had for years! It wasn't purchased as O. barbariea v. compactum 'Purple Mountain' (was just a bedding plant from the greenhouse) but it may well be that. I continue to be amazed by this plant!

This message was edited Sep 4, 2007 12:36 AM

Thumbnail by altagardener
Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

Iris attica is a new addition for me this year. Can't wait for it to mature. Your flower to plant proportion is grand! I hope mine will be like that.

Osteospermum . . . very interesting.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Errr... well, I always figure one should take the opportunity to feel flattered whenever possible :-) .... but it's really more a function of memory, and what anyone's happens to retain or discard - I seem to retain stuff about plants!

Probable O. barbariea v. compactum 'Purple Mountain' with the purple flowers. (The yellow/orange flowered osteospermum is an annual from the planter above, which unfortunately was so pendulous that it overhung all the more interesting [IMO] plants below!) Among "the plants below" are a couple of interesting new thyme species - surprisingly vigorous, though - have overrun the adjacent tufa chunks in just one season!

This message was edited Sep 9, 2007 1:20 PM

Thumbnail by altagardener
St. John's, NL(Zone 5b)

You are really pushing your zone. Several of the plants you ordered have a tough time surviving in my zone 5b, but then you don't get 5 months of slush! I'd really be surprised if you got Cassiope to make it...I was under the impression it needed 'snowbed' conditions...not a situation likely in Alberta unless you live in Banff. BTW, where do you live? My brother lives in Calgary and I've spent a lot of time between there and Waterton Lakes.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Yes, I am in Calgary, as it says under my username.

Well, the "flip" response to your comments would be that I'd appear to be "pushing the zone" for a great number of things that have been growing happily in the yard for years, LOL! (And so begins my "zone rating" diatribe that I launch into at least once on every forum I participate in.... ;-) ) But, more humbly, I have found that published zone ratings are usually so inaccurate as to be almost useless. (Yet if I believed them, my plant list would be a pathetically-limited.) It is only by trying supposedly "out-of-zone" plants that I've found a darn wide range of plants that actually do well and overwinter successfully here. The more I see of people's comments on various gardening forums, the more I'm convinced that this cool temperate and dry climate is actually quite favorable to the survival of many plants, despite the lack of snow cover, chinook conditions, and freeze-and-thaw (all of which, theoretically, should be positive death on anything but those cruddy 100 or so garden species that the published zone ratings would admit should grow here).

Yes, I agree that the Cassiope is a long shot and that it does probably really need snow cover, and is therefore not likely to do well for that reason (and the same for Phyllodoce, probably, re. the other thread). That would definitely be one of the limitations of the Calgary climate, no question about it. Are there others on the list that jump out as absolutely requiring snow cover? (I realize that may be a difficult question to answer, though, if one has gardened in areas with good snow cover, and never in areas without it.)

Believe it or not (and I'm sure you warm zoners will get a bit of a chuckle from this ;-> ), I thought I was being rather restrained with the order... Relying on the supplier's notion of zone ratings* (not equivalent to required conditions, note), I actually, for once, did not select anything rated at anything warmer than zone 3 - quite remarkable and probably a personal record, LOL!

Anyway, time will tell for what is happy in this climate... and in the conditions I subject it to... the fun is in finding out! Cheers!

*Presumably, I would hope, compiled from a combination of natural range zone ratings (which horticultural authors in general seem to totally ignore**!) and feedback from clients...

**On the subject of horticultural authors and plant books, I'm actually torn on whether or not it is at all beneficial (to me, at any rate) for such publications to incude zone ratings.... better to include natural range info (elevation, general conditions, min temp) but this, unfortunately, is a rarity. So, on that point... I just received my NARGS book order... am currently browsing through a well respected (I imagine) guide to rock garden plants... and, don't get me wrong, I appreciate very much having this book (and my other hort-based plant books)... but if I actually embraced the zone ratings in it, I'd be honour-bound to inform the local rock garden folks that they might as well turn their plantings back to lawn, 'cause most of that stuff just don't grow here, LOL!

St. John's, NL(Zone 5b)

are you a member of CRAGS? I have spoken to them twice in the past few years.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Yes, I'm in CRAGS (as I've mentioned previously). I'll have to keep an eye on the speakers list, and plan to attend in case you go on the lecture circuit again!

somewhere, PA

What is CRAGS? I googled it and nothing that sounds related to an alpine organization

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

It's the Calgary Rock and Alpine Gardening Association, the local NARGS affiliate. The group provides garden tours, workshops, speakers and a semi-annual (or annual, this year) plant sale. It has a website too (but, honestly, there's not a great deal of interest on that).

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.