lblanchard: (swannfountain)
It was the chance purchase of a lovely book called Grandmother's Garden: The Old-Fashioned American Garden 1865-1915 at a clearance sale at the local used book store that primed me to notice -- when it crossed my newsfeed the next day -- a review of an exhibition on American Impressionism and the garden at the New York Botanical Garden. Book and exhibition both featured the work of Celia Thaxter -- author, novelist, salonista, watercolorist, and painter of china -- who gathered an artists' colony around her at the Appledore Hotel in the Isles of Shoals each summer and was a sought after guest in winters in both Portsmouth and Boston.

It's for her gardening prowess more than her literary/artistic endeavors that she fascinates me. That, and the fact that Childe Hassam painted her garden incessently (see this Google image search). I'm also interested in the work of Anna Bartlett Warner, who had about the same pedigree but who worked a garden near West Point.






Image of pp 86-87 of the illustrated edition of Celia Thaxter, <i>An Island Garden.</i> Link leads to the page-turning interface on The Internet Archive, from which an accessible text edition may also be downloaded
Celia Thaxter, An Island Garden, illustrated by Childe Hassam.
Click the image to reach the book in a page-turning interface on the Internet Archive,
with option to download it in a variety of formats.







Neither woman was made of money, so they started many of their plants from seed. It was before Jiffy Pots or market packs, so they made do with eggshells. I've been fretting that my morning omelet produces a lot of eggshells, which could probably be put to good use somehow. Here is Celia Thaxter, from her book An Island Garden, on the practice:

For those that do not bear transplanting I prepare other quarters, half filling shallow boxes with sand, into which I set rows of egg-shells close together, each shell cut off at one end, with a hole for drainage at the bottom. These are filled with earth, and in them the seeds of the lovely yellow, white, and orange Iceland Poppies are sowed. By and by, when comes the happy time for setting them out in the garden beds, the shell can be broken away from the oval ball of earth that holds their roots without disturbing them, and they are transplanted almost without knowing it. It is curious how differently certain plants feel about this matter of transplanting. The more you move a Pansy about the better it seems to like it, and many annuals grow all the better for one transplanting; but to a Poppy it means death, unless it is done in some such careful way as I have described.

The boxes of [other seeds that do not need the eggshell treatment at first] are put in a warm, dark place, for they only require heat and moisture till they germinate. Then when the first precious green leaves begin to appear, what a pleasure it is to wait and tend on the young growths, which are moved carefully to some cool, sunny chamber window in a room where no fire is kept, for heat becomes the worst enemy at this stage, and they spindle and dwindle if not protected from it. When they are large enough, having attained to their second leaves, each must be put into a little pot or egg-shell by itself..., so that by the time the weather is warm enough they will be ready to be set out, stout and strong, for early blooming. --Celia Thaxter, An Island Garden, pp. 14-15


Sounds good to me, so I've started saving eggshells for spring. Instead of boxes of sand, they may end up in their cartons (with holes poked in the bottom of each pot for drainage. It also occurs to me that certain calcium-loving plants might be happiest if I didn't break off the eggshells but simply crushed them a bit when setting out the seedlings. A substitute for bone meal, perhaps, and I plan to try it with whatever hippeastrum seeds I need to germinate next year. I may also try drying the little eggshell topses and grinding them up in the second-best coffee grinder, the one I use for flaxseed etc.

Bonus link: organic gardener shows how it's done. They boil the eggshells to clean and sterilize. Some other google source says that you can sterilize them by putting them in the oven after you've removed a roast or backed goods and let the residual heat do the job.
http://www.17apart.com/2012/01/how-to-plant-seeds-using-eggshells.html
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
A mental note to myself: LJBook is now integrated into BlogBooker, with limited functionality in the free version (smaller number of downloads permitted every six months, lower-resolution images). It will still do.

https://www.blogbooker.com/
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is one in what has now become an almost-weekly series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

Anemone demissa is definitely not a squinny. I don't believe that Farrer painted any plants he did not fall down and worship, and this is his rendering of Anemone demissa, reproduced in E. H. M. Cox, The Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer. There is no listing for this plant, however, so apparently although it has a collection number it is not one of his introductions.


A. demissa, watercolor by Reginald Farrer, in
E. H. M. Cox, The Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer

I found only the brief notation that "[T]his is a Chinese variety of A. narcissiflora, q.v." for it in The English Rock Garden, and a quick search of my Acrobat files for Farrer's two travelogues for his first expedition (On the Eaves of the World and The Rainbow Bridge) did not yield a mention, either. Perhaps it will turn up in one of his dispatches to Gardeners' Chronicle, or his more botanically-inclined report of his first expedition to the Royal Garden Society.

Here, instead, is his description of the generality of anemones from The English Rock Garden, the bit about A. narcissiflora, and a screencap of A. demissa page and text from the Ulster Branch of the Alpine Garden Society, plus a scrap from a Gardeners' Chronicle dispatch that may refer to this plant. Note how the image of the plant with background mountains on the Ulster page (after the jump) shows the how accurately Farrer portrayed the plant in its environment.

It appears that this is a rare pink variety. Most of the sites and images I found on the web show white flowers. I haven't identified the variety this is, but the week is young.

show text and image )
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is one in what has now become an almost-weekly series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

For today’s Mimpish Monday, I offer you the second of Reginald Farrer’s dispatches to the Gardener’s Chronicle describing his second exploration in Asia. This one had no illustrations of its own, but it was by no means lacking in botanical names. I like his description of the brambles as “defeating any beater who was not armed from head to foot in coat of mail.” He does say that the huge and hideous bramble that is the largest of all does produce delicious fruit in riotous abundance.

Farrer does not seem to find any plants worthy of great rhapsodies in this dispatch, but he does have complimentary things to say about several. As he does not give a species name for the bulk of them, I cannot offer photos of those – but I did find photos, and one botanical illustration, of three.

Do not try to follow his rambles on a map – as usual, he makes up his own nomenclature for place names.


Anemone obtusilobia By M.S. del., J.N.Fitch lith. - Curtis's Botanical Magazine, London., vol. 141 [= ser. 4, vol. 11]: Tab. 8636 - [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9464030

Click here for the second dispatch )


The pdf version of Gardener's Chronicle was sourced from the Bioheritage Diversity Library, http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/48390#/summary . I am transcribing the dispatches because they are difficult to read in pdf and the OCR has enough errors that it's simply faster to keyboard. Ultimately, I hope to produce a Word / pdf document out of the dispatches, possibly with the images, for my personal use and the edification of any friends who want it. One last note: Gardener's Chronicle does not italicize the genus/species names, so I have not done so either.
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is one in what has now become an almost-weekly series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

I believe I've mentioned before that Reginald Farrer sent home regular dispatches on his second expedition to the Gardener's Chronicle. Had he lived, he would almost certainly have written another book or books about his travel -- indeed, I believe his dispatches to this publication were partly intended to build interest in both a forthcoming book and in the seeds he intended to bring back. (And partly because he couldn't help himself from sharing....) E.H.M. Cox, who traveled with him in the first year, produced an account in Farrer's Last Journey: Upper Burma, 1919-1920, and almost certainly drew heavily upon these accounts, in addition to the letters Farrer sent him after his departure.

The pdfs of the Gardener's Chronicle are not easy to read, and not searchable, so I am transcribing them as I have time. There are 39 of them, plus an obituary notice (I believe that Cox wrote it, but can't remember offhand). When they learned of Farrer's death, the editors despaired of having any further Farrer dispatches, but received a fat packet of dispatches-in-progress that were saved by his native assistants, so there's an extensive record. I hope some day to find where the Farrer/Cox correspondence is housed and look at it.

Shortly after making last week's post, on Nomocharis basilissa, I returned to transcription. I'm up to Number 9 of 39 and have great hopes that I will finish by next summer. The winter nights are long... And what did I find, but Farrer waxing rhapsodic on yet another Nomocharis -- Nomocharis pardinthina. Here's a watercolor:


Nomocharis pardanthina, watercolor by Reginald Farrer, in E.H.M. Cox, The Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer

effusive description and more photos here )
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is one in what has now become an almost-weekly series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

A short Mimpish Monday because it's a Labor Day and I don't feel like laboring.

I haven't yet found anything in Farrer's writings about this plant, Nomocharis basilissa. I am guessing that if it turns up at all it will be in one of Farrer's dispatches back to Gardeners Chronicle. I should mention, after reading [livejournal.com profile] pameladean's comment, that this is not one of the 14 mimpish squinnies and I have no reason to believe that Farrer disliked it. Indeed, if he had he probably would not have painted it. Oh bother, I didn't mention that, either!


Nomocharis basilissa, watercolor by Reginald Farrer, published in E.H.M. Cox, The Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer

Here's a link to the only page about this species that I found on a desultory Google search: http://www.the-genus-lilium.com/n_basilissa.htm
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is one in what has now become an almost-weekly series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

I have limited time for mimpishness right now; there is a wonderful exhibition of impressionism in American gardens at the New York Botanical Garden, and we're going to see it Friday, so my head is full of American gardeners and American impressionists right now. So here is a quick one -- a watercolor by Reginald Farrer, Lilium hyacinthinum, reproduced in E. H. M. Cox, The Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer (1930).



Farrer may have written about this species, but I did not find it in a quick search of my pdfs of his two travel books, nor in the pdf of his The English Rock-Garden. It may be mentioned in one of his dispatches to The Gardener's Chronicle from his last expedition, but those are not easily searchable. A search at the Biodiversity Heritage Library brings up several references to the plant, but none by Farrer. Here is what he says about Lilium in general:

Lilium.--We will not turn our overburdened eyes in this direction, lest we should never be able to turn them away again, for thinking of the hot limestone rocks in the far South where L. pomponium hangs among the brushwood in balls of scarlet fire, above the dancing clear blue flames of Aquilegia Reuteri; or the alpine meadows filled with the stark and stalwart chimes of L. Martagon; or the dark sombre cliffs of the Cottians where L. croceum finds root-home where none can be, in the smallest ledges of the cliff, till up and down the sheer and terrible walls twinkle at you from afar a thousand little sparks of flame that are the golden goblets of the lily, held up to catch the daylight in the darkness of the precipice, and radiate it forth again in living fire. But are there not books of such matters, to be bought for 1s. 9d.? Let these then be purchased; for indeed Lilium is no special race for the rock-garden, and, though all its members are always and everywhere to be desired and worshipped, they are not so special for the rock-garden as for beds especially made on their behalf, where their cult may be unstinted and unchallenged.

Reginald Farrer, The English Rock-Garden, Vol. 1, p. 450


(I love the Old English-y, Anglo-Saxon-ish construction "root-home" -- something the Beowulf poet might have used.)

These days the plant goes by the unwieldy name Notholirion bulbuliferum (Lingelsh.) Stearn SPECIES. and has a collection of synonyms: Liliastrum bulbuliferum, Notholirion campanulatum, Notholirion hyacinthinum, and Paradisea bulbulifera.

more photos here )

I imagine next Monday I will still be full of the wonders of the New York Botanical Garden...
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
This is an occasional series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes engravings of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

Last Monday was my birthday, so I treated myself to a mimpery-free Monday.


Eryngium giganteum
By Jean-Pol GRANDMONT - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20574891

I am puzzled by the inclusion of this species in Rorer's book, since Farrer has nothing bad to say about that particular species -- although there are others that incur his ire. Do hop over to the link I shared above to see Rorer's bristling Eryngium, whose foliage includes "the tusk of a sword-fish." Here is the entry from Farrer's The English Rock-Garden:

Setting aside the giant species, best fitted for the border, and adequately described in any catalogue of such things; setting aside also the terrible species from America which are best fitted for the hot and stony wild garden (where their tropical-looking foliage, like the tusk of a sword-fish, may have its splendours, and not be disgraced by the ensuing dingy heads of blossom enclosed in a cup of pointed bracts like some Protea or an Artichoke gone mad) -- it is important for the rock-garden to know which species will best suit its style, and, more important still in one case, which is which. For beautiful E. amethystinum is often sent out under the name of the much more beautiful and much rarer E. alpinum. But the two are very easily known apart. Look down from above upon the hard sugar-loaf of blossom enclosed in its wide-spreading frill of steely blue: if that cup be handsomely but thinly starry, with long spiny bracts rather broad and stiff and solid, and owning a toothing here and there, then the species is E. amethystinum. But now what a change. Look down upon the next: here the frill is double, treble, quadruple, and each bract is toothed again and again into long thorny-looking spines of its own, until the whole effect is that of a blue lacy collar of richness unparalleled. This is the only, the unsurpassable E. alpinum, a plant of the mid-alpine limestones, scattered locally here and there along the mountain chains, nowhere in any great quantity, though common enough in the small limited stations where it occurs. But in nature, accordingly, it is a prize of such preciousness that it should neither be dug nor picked-even if its root did not forbid the one crime, and the hope of seed dehort from the other. It is indeed a superb and uncanny splendour of some foot or 18 inures high, blooming through the later fullness of summer, and, like all its kind, perfectly happy in the rock-garden in any very deep loam. No other, following, can compete with this, except its peer, E. giganteum, of nearly a yard high, from the Caucasus, with much the same frill, but here of an ivory-white so ghostly-clear that the plant is called Elves' Bones. For the rock-garden, too, is fitted rare and lovely E. spinalba from the Southern European ranges, about 18 inches high, firmly spinous, with stems and frill of a silvery pale grey-blue fading into white. But for places of choice, even in the very foreground of the rock-work, there are two species of front rank to match. Of these E. prostratum, in our gardens, forms a quite small central rosette of thin oblong green leaves, sparingly toothed and wholly unarmed, from which lie out upon the earth in a star all round short prostrate stems of 3 or 4 inches, with flowers and frills of a beautiful blue. This is sometimes treated with tenderness, and felt to be impermanent, if not a biennial, even when grown in good rich ground on sunny exposures. In point of fact, this is a bog plant from Texas, and in damp places should make a running carpet, rooting as it goes, along all its ground-hugging branches. Quite different from this is the last Eryngium with which it is at present necessary for the rock-garden to concern itself (though there are many others to supply a full collection). For in the high dry open places, between 8000 and 11,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada of the Old World, dwells E. glaciale, the neatest, finest, and most unfriendly of little thorny tuffets, armed in copious spikes of silvery grey, deepening towards shades of blue, with fish-bone spines of ivory glinting as its stems of 3 or 4: inches unfold towards the frill and the flower. This, indeed, is thankful for open very deep soil in the fullest sun and with perfect drainage, where it grows on happily into a clump, and may be raised from seed, having, like all its kind, a root so heroic and profound as utterly to discourage division or removal. It blooms in summer.


Perhaps Farrer has bad things to say about E. giganteum elsewhere. Or perhaps, having once before aroused the ire of the formidable Miss Willmott by calling her own rock garden too violent for his taste, he was reluctant to cross her again. She was, in addition to being formidable, a recklessly extravagant buyer of plants. And, I suspect, a good part of Farrer's motive in his writing was to stimulate demand for alpine plants -- a demand that he would be happy to see supplied either by him or by the seedsmen and nurserymen for whom he was prospecting in the East.

more photos below the cut )
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is an occasional series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes engravings of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

After wandering through the Tibetan border with Reginald Farrer, I return us to Abigail Rorer's fourteen mimpish squinnies. Today's mimpish squinnie is Tricyrtis hirta and this entry is from The English Rock-Garden, Vol. 2.


By Juni from Kyoto, Japan (Flickr.com - image description page) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATricyrtis_hirta.jpg

Tricyrtis. — These strange plants have all the same resemblance, differing chiefly in their stature, so that one picture may suffice to express their almost inexpressible quaintness. From a short stock they send up more or less arching stems of a foot or two, embraced by dark hairy leaves, corrugated and oval-pointed, which from their axils almost all the way up emit large and evil flowers, very late in summer as a rule, or autumn, built on the scheme of a lily, but wried by perversity into an almost Aubrey-Beardsley freakishness of outline and heavy waxen texture and livid sombre colour of putrid pinks, freckled and spotted with dark purple till their name of Toad-lily is felt to be apt. They like the treatment of Trillium, and with the
Trilliums should be planted and there left undisturbed for ever, in a rather warm corner, however, that their flowers may develop betimes, for often they are nipped in the bud by autumn. T. hirta (T. japonica) is the best known ; but a better plant is T. macropoda, if only that it blooms earlier, in June and July, in rather closer sprays. Much smaller and quite dainty and charming in its sinister way is T. Hototogisu. Pronounce this " hototongeese," and think of it accordingly as meaning the nightingale of Japanese woodlands, a frail 6-inch stem or so, set rarely with heart-shaped leaves, and bearing several flowers only, in a loose spray, notable and noble for the delicate build of the plant.


By Schnobby (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATricyrtis_hirta_b.jpg


For Abigail Rorer's treatment of this plant, click here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer/48--Tricyrtis-hirta.jpg
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
For today's Mimpish Monday, we find Reginald Farrer close to the end of his expedition to Kansu and Tibet in 1914-15.

THE RAINBOW BRIDGE
The Hastened End, pp. 274-276


Down the depths of the Dene we rode, and up the shingled miles of the confluent river, meeting, in the alder-coppice of the boulder-bed, with the abandoned antlers of an elk, left there till its lucky murderer should have time to come and reclaim them. Then up the mountain-side we still rode, and up to the Ma-chang, and up and up and up into the Alp, and over its bays and folds, till we actually attained on horseback to the mountain of black blocks above the Clear Lake.



It is a curious place, so loose a compilation of somber vast rocks that the turf between is springy with unfilled holes beneath, and there are deep caverns and hollows everywhere among the boulders, and water trickling and lurking, as if the whole hill were a sponge. As it indeed is, a slack-woven texture, full of pores and passages, lightly accumulated, and never settled down into solidity. Here we encamped; Bill in one tent, and I in another, and the staff in the big white one, lent us by the Viceroy of the Koko-Nor.

read more )

[This is an occasional series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
This is my horticultural triumph for the year -- actually, it's sheer dumb beginner's luck and a rogue seed that grew into a plant that decided to bloom in Year 1 instead of Year 2.



This would be Leontopodium alpinus, aka edelweiss, growing here in the mountains of South Philly (elev. 36 feet). It appears that every scornful word Reginald Farrer said about the reputed difficulty of growing the stuff is absolutely correct.
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
I like this passage from The Rainbow Bridge, the second volume of Reginald Farrer's account of his 1914-1915 collecting trip to Northwest China/Tibet. Here, Farrer is writing about a vision of loveliness shared by his fellow traveler William Purdom. The two of them were moved by the beauty of the Harebell Poppy, Meconopsis quintuplinervia.

click to read purple prose and see purple-ish flowers )

[This is an occasional series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
It's my new safe-for-work expletive. And it's backed up by a graphic:



The Holy Family at work: from The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, Morgan MS M.917. More info and some backstory about the strange history of this manuscript here:
http://www.themorgan.org/collection/hours-of-catherine-of-cleves/69#overlay-context=collection/hours-of-catherine-of-cleves/69

Thought I'd tack on some updates on The Scamp. His appetite and energy level are both much improved. I had his megabucks prescription refilled so I now have two of those bite-proof 1 mL syringes, but it doesn't really matter. He's conditioned to expect Greenies dental treats before, during, and after the medication and he's more or less resigned to being squirted. This morning he opened his mouth, as much as if to say, "Well, if you must..."

I also ordered the rolling cat carrier (it's huge!). Some time this weekend I will take him around the block to see how he does, before taking him out in traffic for real.
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
Here's a photo of a Reginald Farrer watercolor. I don't think I've posted it before. It's one of twelve from E. H. M. Cox, The Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer, currently sitting atop my file cabinet but going back to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society library today. Unsurprisingly, I now have images of the entire book, most taken with my iPhone. This is Cremanthodium delavayi. I love the way Farrer paints the landscape and the companion flowers -- the blue corydalis and the white I-don't-know-what. Click the image to embiggen.

lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is an occasional series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

YAY! It's home -- my beautiful Cypripedium tibeticum -- all professionally framed and stuff. It will live on the mantel (as it is here).



This is the one that got me going when I saw it in the exhibition at the University of Pennsylvania library. Farrer describes the actual plant as "a small squat thing, rather like a malignant Tibetan toad in appearance." Rorer has riffed on that exquisitely.

In other mimpery, one of my Leontopodium alpinum, aka edelweiss, appears to be putting up a flower stalk. This isn't supposed to happen. They're perennials that bloom the second year. But I'll take it, especially since it may allow me to post about the plant straggling upwards to the limited sunshine and putting up one squinny star, just as Reginald Farrer would.

lblanchard: (swannfountain)
...it being a holiday and all.

I am finishing up my editing of Flower Show pictures -- finally! -- and leave you with a miniature rock garden of flowering plants, including several primulas. Come to think of it, primulas were a favorite plant of Reginald Farrer, so there's a touch of Farreriana, after all.



It is surrounded by a lot of bling, as well as a diagram and captioning for the varieties of wee plants contained therein:

1 - Primula x 'wharfdale butterfly'
2 - Arabis sturii
3 - Primula x 'hemswell blush'
4 - Primula allionii 'joan hughes'
5 - Dionysia aretioides
6 - Saxifraga longifolia
7 - Primula allionii 'anna griffith'
8 - Primula allionii 'maurice dryden'
9 - Sempervivum arachnoideum 'rubrum'
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
UPDATE: The cell phone and I are reunited, thanks to a conscientious cab driver

I am fidgeting, having gotten up at 5 am fretting about the loss of my cell phone after a free Philadelphia Orchestra concert last night. This will be a very expensive free concert if it doesn't turn up.

It could be in the concert hall -- they don't open until 10 this morning, and there's no guarantee that a cleaning or security staff will have turned it in first thing. I could have left it in the taxi. I called the dispatcher, who said she'd put out an all-drivers call and if someone finds it they'll get in touch with me.

Roy turned off Verizon for my phone and I just changed all my passwords so no one can send prank emails from my accounts or buy stuff on Amazon. It's set so that it will wipe all its data if someone tries to guess the passcode more than 10 times. I'm only missing the last day's worth of photos and I think (although I'm not sure) that I've backed my contacts etc. up to the cloud. They all synch with my email accounts, anyhow.

But bleah. What a nuisance. And what an expense. I absolutely need it for work and as an independent contractor I don't get issued one (or a replacement). This also means that when the new iPhone 7 comes out I won't be able to get an upgrade...
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
We took him for his ultrasound on Friday. The results: gallstones; slight thickening in intestinal wall consistent with mild inflammation; slight changes in pancreas consistent with mild inflammation. Diagnosis: mild triditis. He will be on steroids for the rest of his life, starting with a high dose and dropping down. He will be on antibiotics for a month, maybe longer.

The compounding pharmacy affiliated with the vet's is making an all-in-one liquid for him to get 2x/day -- 2 mL each dose. It's an oil-based thing with beef flavoring. They suggest I try mixing it with his food before torturing him (and me) with twice-daily medicating. Fingers crossed that he'll eat it but I'm not optimistic.

Here's a photo of him showing off his ultrasound haircut.

lblanchard: (swannfountain)
Mimpish Monday has come early this week on account of I hit save instead of just letting LJ autosave my draft until tomorrow)

[This is an occasional series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

Had he lived, Reginald Farrer would no doubt have written a travel book or books as engaging as On the Eaves of the World and The Rainbow Bridge about his two-year expedition to Burma. But he did not live, dying on October 17, 1920 at the age of 40 after a short illness. However, he did leave behind a series of dispatches to The Gardeners' Chronicle, which were published from June 1919 to some time after his death. The publication received a large packet of dispatches that Farrer prepared for mailing before his death, and which they doled out through 1921 and 1922.

Farrer was accompanied, for the first year, but the young E. H. M. Cox, who published an account, Farrer's Last Journey, in 1926. Much of it was cobbled together from these dispatches as well as from letters Farrer sent back to Cox and other correspondents. Cox, alas, is not the storyteller Farrer was.

The Gardeners' Chronicle isn't the easiest thing to read in pdf (if you don't believe me, check the first page here). And the OCR is a hopeless muddle, so I am transcribing them as time permits. Here's the first -- more botany and less drama in these, but they're still glorious.

click here for the first dispatch )
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is an occasional series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: http://www.theloneoakpress.com/prints/newer.html ]

I was leafing through E.H.M. Cox, The Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer, yesterday, and a familiar name caught my eye. Here's the entry for Belamcanda punctata Moench. Hey, I know that plant, says I -- it's the blackberry lily. A little googling reassured me that there's only one species in this genus and I have photographed it in the wilds of Virginia my very own self!

From the book:

        BELAMCANDA PUNCTATA Moench.
        "Very Moracoid in appearance." F. 758
        This difficult Iris-like plant was raised at Highdown and flowered. It has red flowers and is
        more attractive as a curiosity than as a garden plant. It is difficult to keep alive.

Not in the Blue Ridge, it isn't. It has naturalized there, and I photographed it a couple years ago in an unmown meadow at the entrance to the Fox Hollow Trail. Behold my photos!




Also, it has now been reclassified based on molecular DNA evidence, and this "Iris-like plant" is now named Iris domestica. It was more widely known as Belamcanda chinensis before that, and is a plant of many names: Other synonyms are Epidendrum domesticum L., Vanilla domestica (L.) Druce, Gemmingia chinensis (L.) Kuntze, Ixia chinensis L., Morea chinensis, and Pardanthus chinensis Ker Gawl.

Clearly, Reginald Farrer thought it had virtue as a garden plant -- otherwise, he would not have collected the seed on his Kansu expedition and sent it home. On the strength of that, I pronounce it not mimpish and not a squinny.

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