This week started with the screech of a tornado warning emanating from every iphone in the house. We scrambled out of bed, turned on the TV, and saw that the putative tornado was a few miles southwest of us, tracking northeast. Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, we got the kids up and took shelter with the spiders in the crawl space. Luckily, the storm broke apart before reaching us, so after a few minutes we were able to go back in for breakfast, a little soggy from the rain but otherwise unscathed. Strong winds the rest of the day stripped most of the remaining flowers off the dogwoods but did no other damage to the garden.
After the storm on Monday, the rest of the week has been sunny and dry, though cool–we flirted with frost on Wednesday and Thursday morning, but even the volunteer tomato seedlings that are sprouting in the vegetable beds were unaffected.
1. Myrmecocattleya Memoria Louise Fuchs
In the greenhouse, Myrmecocattleya Memoria Louise Fuchs is perfuming the air. This orchid is a primary hybrid of Myrmecophila tibicinis, famous for its hollow pseudobulbs inhabited by ant colonies, and Cattleya bicolor, a very tall and spindly Brazilian biofoliate species. This particular plant is actually the product of self-pollinating a first generation Myc. Memoria Louise Fuchs, but under the rules of orchid nomenclature, it retains the same grex name. Its pseudobulbs are relatively short and stout, like those of its Myrmecophila parent, while genes from C. bicolor have shortened the inflorescence. Both species tend to have clustered flowers, but this plant has inherited fragrance and rich purple color from C. bicolor, and nicely crisped petals from M. tibicinis. All in all, a good result of hybridizer’s efforts.
2. Rhododendron cf. periclymenoides
I featured this deciduous azalea in a Six on Saturday last April, but the flowers then were not at their best. I am almost sure that it is R. periclymenoides, the native pinxter flower. I now have a second plant on the other side of the house–an R. alabamense that I purchased from a reputable source last autumn has also bloomed out as R. periclymenoides.
3. Rhododendron austrinum (Florida flame azalea)
Another North American deciduous azalea. This plant was in one of my earliest blog postings, but it is so lovely I couldn’t resist showing it again. The early butterflies love it.
4. red azaleas
Next up, two evergreen azalea hybrids. Above is Rhododendron ‘Wolfpack Red’, one of the CarLa hybrids resulting from a collaboration between horticulture departments at North Carolina State University and Louisiana State University. This clone is named for the NC State Wolfpack, whose colors are red, white, and black (but predominantly red).
Below is an unlabeled hybrid that I bought several years ago at Costco. I really like the color of this plant–its red is at the orange end of the spectrum, unlike most red azaleas which have hints of pink or magenta. I may try propagating it this year, but my success rate with Rhododendron cuttings is not high. Maybe air layering would be better?
5. Narcissus ‘Thalia’
Narcissus ‘Thalia’ is a century-old hybrid that was recommended by Scott Ogden in Garden Bulbs for the South (Timber Press). This is my first year growing it, but I really like the gently nodding white flowers. I hope it comes back next year.
6. Epimedium ‘Stoplights’
I keep falling for pictures of spidery Epimediums in garden catalogs, and when they bloom I am always surprised by how tiny they are and how brief the flowering season is. This one is no exception.
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.