Six on Saturday #27, May 5, 2018

Here we go again.  Six more plants blooming on a Saturday.  When you are finished here, get on over to The Propagator’s site for more Six on Saturday.

1.  Philadelphus inodorus (scentless mock orange)


I grew this pretty native shrub from seed obtained from the NC Botanical Garden’s annual members’ seed list.  It seems to be primarily a species of the Appalachians, but the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has records for Orange and Randolph Counties in the NC piedmont.

2.  Melittis melissophyllum ‘Royal Velvet Distinction’ (bastard balm)


I bought this European perennial partly for its pretty flowers, but mostly for its common name.  It’s Latin name suggests that it is popular with bees, but I haven’t been able to track down the origin of “bastard balm”.  For the first two years, it produced a fairly sad little flowerless rosette, and I wondered if it didn’t like our climate or soil.  But, this year it has grown three flowering stems that are about a foot tall.

3.  Iris tectorum (Japanese roof iris)


As with many other Japanese species, Iris tectorum loves our climate.   After the flowers fade, the foliage remains neat and tidy throughout the summer and autumn, dying back only in midwinter.  I started with a single plant ten years ago , but I scatter seed every autumn.  Now there are scattered clumps and large drifts throughout the garden.  Some of the older clumps suffer from iris borers in late summer, but there are always enough seedlings to replace them.  I think it might be nice to get a few of the white form to intersperse among the typical lavender flowers, but the whites have suddenly become hard to find at local nurseries.

4.  Arisaema triphyllum (jack in the pulpit) 


This is another plant that is slowly spreading through the garden.  I started my garden population from seed of local wild plants, but at this point I’m on the third or fourth generation of cultivated plants.  A. triphyllum isn’t as bizarre as some of the Asian Arisaema species, but I like our little native.

5.  Amorphophallus konjac (konjaku, voodoo lily)


Hey, who planted this stinking aroid so close to the house?  And right next to the beautifully fragrant Persian musk rose, too.  Oh, yeah, it was me.

There are three flowering this year.  The burying beetles and blow flies are so pleased

6.  Sarracenia flava (yellow pitcher plant)


Fresh young pitchers of one of our native carnivorous plants emerging from my bog garden which is in desperate need of a renovation.

19 thoughts on “Six on Saturday #27, May 5, 2018

      1. I had not heard the name “bastard balm” before so I also looked it up. Well I hadn’t heard of Melittis melissophyllum either. Insofar as Wales is concerned, it seems to be confined to the south western corner and is a plant of woodland/woodland margins, including in some of the grander country estates where it has spread from the wild, rather than domestic gardens, thanks to its seemingly specific requirements. At £2 for 5 seeds I’m not tempted to experiment “from scratch”. But perhaps because it’s not common in gardens, a grown plant (£10 for a 1 litre pot!) might be worth a go as something different. I think I can deliver the conditions it needs. Then maybe I can propagate by division in a couple of years.

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  1. I wonder if the common name “bastard balm” for Melittis melissophyllum may have arisen from the plant’s similarities to (and differences from) lemon balm (Melissa officinalis).

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  2. You introduce us to unusual plants in this Six on Saturdays, plants that we are not used to seeing every week. You seem to live in a wet zone because of pitcher plants, irises … All these plants are beautiful and congratulations for your A.Konjac … I have sauromatum bulbs that have bloomed and I know it (mine in less odorous I guess)

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    1. We get about 1220 mm/year of rain, distributed pretty evenly throughout the year. The pitcher plants are native to the coastal plain, where the soil is very sandy. They don’t like piedmont clay, so I built a raised bog garden in a wooden frame lined with plastic. The soil is 50% peat, 50% silica sand.

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      1. Good to know. I have some sarracenias but potted around my pond. Cumulative annual rainfall is about 650mm. Not enough to have them in the ground… I just bought a Gunnera manicata, planted near the drains of the gutters. We will see if it settles well there…

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        1. Good luck with the Gunnera. I was very impressed by the plants I saw growing in British Columbia last summer, but unfortunately, I think it is too cold in winter (and maybe too hot in summer) to grow them here.

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  3. What an interesting and unusual six you’ve posted for us. I love that iris tectorum and want one in my garden immediately! I think you receive a lot more rain than we do.

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    1. Is 1220 mm/year more rain that you receive? Unlike some irises, the Iris tectorum doesn’t want constantly wet soil. It seems to like very well drained soil that is moist but not soggy. The name comes from its traditional cultivation in thatched roofs.


      1. Our average annual rainfall is 679mm, but we’ve only received 159mm so far this year, so we’re well and truly behind. I have to choose plants that can cope with a dry situation.

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