Six on Saturday #44 (May 11, 2019)

Another Saturday, another six plants in the garden or greenhouse.

1. Vaccinium sp.


This native species grows mainly under the deciduous trees at the north end of our property. I think it may be Vaccineum stamineum (deerberry), but V. stamineum reportedly grows 3-6 feet (1-2 m) tall. These plants form low, slowly spreading clumps no more than 1 foot tall (~30 cm) and usually less.

A second dwarf Vaccineum species, perhaps V. tenellum (narrowleaf blueberry) grows interspersed with the putative deerberry (see the first image here).

2. Tradescantia x Andersoniana cultivars (hybrid spiderworts).

Tradescantia x Andersoniana plants are hybrids of several North American spiderwort species. Given sufficient moisture, they grow well in partial shade to full sun and bloom beautifully from early May until well into June. The flowers are some of the best reasons for an early morning walk through the garden when it is still cool and wet with dew. Individual flowers are very short lived and usually collapse by early afternoon–or before noon on hot sunny days–but more flowers are open the next morning.  Bees and hoverflies love them.

Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’

Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’, with its striking chartreuse foliage, is probably the most commonly available cultivar. The leaves of my plant seem to become more green later in the year–perhaps a response to increasing night temperatures?

Tradescantia ‘Concord Grape’?

Last year, a local nursery received a large shipment of Tradescantia ‘Concord Grape’ plants which showed some variability in flower color. I picked one with the brightest magenta flowers for maximum contrast with the blue-green foliage.

I find these plants to be very difficult to photograph satisfactorily with a digital camera.  The flowers are usually over-saturated, and the color balance is often subtly wrong.

3. Amsonia tabernaemontana (eastern bluestar)


This member of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) is a true piedmont native.  I grew it from seed obtained from the NC Botanical Garden seed distribution program.  The flowers are a very pale blue.

4. Calanthe tricarinata (monkey orchid)


C. tricarinata finally bloomed, so now I can add it as an update to the Woodland Orchids post.  The flower of this species supposedly resembles a monkey.  I can’t see it.

5. Paphiopedilum niveum


In the greenhouse, a miniature slipper orchid.  Paphiopedilum niveum grows on limestone in Thailand and peninsular Malaysia.  It is the easiest of the Brachypetalum paphs to grow, being much less susceptible to rot than its relatives like P. bellatulum or P. godefroyae.  My plant was purchased as a young seedling from the old Oak Hill Gardens nursery in Chicago, and it has been producing its cute little flowers every May or June since 2003.

6. Encyclia fowliei


Encyclia fowliei is a pretty little epiphytic orchid from Bahia, Brazil which was described as recently as 1989.  I have two plants: one purchased for beaucoup d’argent when the species was difficult to find in cultivation, and a second purchased for pocket change a few years later when H & R Nurseries in Hawaii started selling vast quantities of seedlings.

The Propagator is the host of Six on Saturday.  Head over there to see his Six and find links to the blogs of other participants.

12 thoughts on “Six on Saturday #44 (May 11, 2019)

  1. All the orchids are stunning, but there’s something about the colour combo of #6 that is especially satisfying. The colour & the structure, both. Beautiful. I also really love the spiderworts. Such short lived blooms! Supposedly, the number of weeks it blooms makes up for the fleeting appearances. Great Six, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not easy to reproduce the exact color of tradescantia with a photo but you have succeeded.
    I also grow them and they are not yet in bloom here …
    For me, the monkey orchid was rather the orchid dracula for which we really see the head of a monkey. Do you grow it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a problem with digital photos is that they are so dependent on the screen. On my phone these pictures look pretty good, but on my iPad the ‘Sweet Kate’ flowers are too blue.

      I don’t grow Dracula orchids, and they rarely appear at local orchid shows. Most of them do not appreciate our long hot summers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful orchids. I have amsonia tab. seeds but they’ve not germinated (yet). I also have an a. Hubrichtii plant which has bluer flowers and more needle-like leaves. Quite the show in the autumn.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I only discovered orchids when I bought one by chance at a garden sale. I did not have a clue how to keep it so I left it outside all summer in a shady location and watered it when I remembered. December it started to flower so I moved it up onto the terrace and wow! i was not disappointed. Your selection are wonderful and I feel inspired to buy more. Are they all hardy or was I just lucky with the one I had
    Cymbidium Orchid
    here is a link to the picture

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a beautiful cymbidium. Congratulations.

      Hybrid cymbidiums like that aren’t what I would call fully hardy (with respect to cold tolerance). They really like cool frost-free conditions in winter but you should probably bring it indoors if you ever have a forecast colder than a degree or two below freezing.

      In terms of toughness and ability to thrive under minimal care, then many orchids qualify.


  5. Another type of Vaccinium? We lack blueberries here, but there is a native huckleberry. I have never heard of deerberry.
    Tradenscantia showed up on the farm years ago. I would guess that it came in with someone else’s plants. I certainly did not bring it in. Anyway, it bloomed in those same two colors, almost as if they were the default colors for it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s