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’, 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?
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.