Six on Saturday: Curiosities

It is such an exciting time in the garden, with so much going on and new appearances to look out for every day; however, a long list of pre-garden-opening jobs  (not to mention the fairly persistently damp weather) has precluded a catch up of May blooms, but perhaps it will happen tomorrow – before I run out of days in the month!

For today, let’s instead look at some more curiosities, after the puzzling camassia and primula cross of last week – starting with one of two blooms on a pot of sarracenia in the Coop. The picture is a little misleading as the bloom is not attached to the pitcher on its left. Not yet fully open, the flower is a couple of inches or so across and looks very out of scale with the pitchers. The stem of the second one is even longer than on this one but the bud is still tightly furled.

There is probably rather too much in the way of arisaema foliage (if that is what it is*) in certain parts of the garden and it is one of those plants that just seemed to appear from nowhere – I certainly have no recollection of ever having purchased it, and am guessing that this one must be a UK native. This is the first time I have found a flower though, and although most of the clumps are in the shrub border I found the bloom on a small patch in the woodland. No doubt some reader will be able  to give me more details about it, including whether I ought to be restricting its spread. * it isn’t, and has been correctly identified by Pauline and Chloris as Arisarum proboscideum or mouse tail plant

Popping up in the streamside grass this week was Ornithogalum nutans, which hasn’t been seen for a little while after arriving out of the blue and appearing occasionally in recent years. Note the sprinkling of cowslips and two fine dandelion seedheads – as well as the length of the grass, which will be attended to by hand shears when we next have a dry day, now that the daffodil and crocus foliage has partially died down.

Similarly reappearing after an absence is the first hint of this geum in one of the bold borders – from its location, I am confident it will prove to be Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, but what it has been doing for the last four or five years is a secret it has not yet shared with me.

I added a number of small woodland plants to the woodland edge border at the end of 2019, but was puzzled by the yellow bloom on one of them last year as it is not often I would choose to purchase a yellow-flowering plant. Edrom Nursery, where I purchased the plant from, no longer had it in stock so I couldn’t check if it was what it was meant to be, and I failed to get a photo whilst it was still in bloom. It was meant to be Cardamine heptaphylla ‘Helen Myers’, but when it bloomed again this year and once again I searched for clarification I realised from the leaves that it wasn’t even a cardamine! A photo and email to the nursery provided a very prompt reply with an apology and an identification of the plant as Hylomecon japonicum, which sits next to the cardamine in the nursery. A replacement will be sent when available from this very helpful and efficient small nursery. in the meantime I have to avoid mistaking the blooms for Welsh poppies, which they resemble, and plucking them off…

Last summer a friend shared a packet of seeds with me (three seeds from a packet of six!), and this is the result: Aquilegia ‘Chocolate Soldier’, a curiosity indeed…

Do pop over to Jon the Propagator’s blog for more contributions to this Saturday meme, curious or otherwise.

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21 Responses to Six on Saturday: Curiosities

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Okay, now that is weird; not just because your geum had been hiding, but that ours did the same. It was not gone for four years, but might have been gone for two years, so was presumed to be deceased. Not only did it reappear, but it did so in perhaps three spots.

  2. Such an unusual collection, I love the chocolate columbine!

    • Cathy says:

      I am not sure about the aquilegia/columbine – it look a bit insipid in the border but might look completely different in a pot

  3. Pauline says:

    Arisarum or the Mouse Plant, on account of the flowers looking like a mouse diving down a hole,does spread, so be warned. I’m now digging mine out as it is spreading too far. I like your aquilegia, very unusual colouring.

  4. Chloris says:

    Your little mouse tail plant Arisarum proboscideum should form mats in damp soil, mine didn’t it disappeared without trace. And don’t talk to me about vanishing geums, what happened to my ‘Flames of Passion’ I’d like to know. Gone the same way as my ‘Pink Petticoats’. And if they pop up with one bloom in 4 or 5 years I shan’t be impressed. I adore your Chocolate Soldier.

    • Cathy says:

      That is a very polite way of telling me I got the name wrong – I knew there were ‘a’s and ‘r’s and ‘m’s in it but got the combination mixed and should have looked it up before I wrote it down! If you would like me to replace some of yours I could happily do that, along with some Geum rivale if you wanted a geum that never goes away (and self-seeds prolifically!) 😉 You have reminded me that I had Flames of Passion once (is that what happens whn you get older…?!)… Not sure about Chocloate Soldier myself yet…

  5. Cathy says:

    Some plants seemingly wish to be mysterious and hide some years! The Ornithogalum is really striking, and if we always had such damp springs I would be tempted to plant some. Not sure about that chocolate aquilegia, but I am a bit particular about aquilegias in general. So ‘sweet’ of a friend to share the seed though. 😃 Hope you get some nicer gardening weather for your preparations.

    • Cathy says:

      I planted some ornithogalum bulbs in the entrance border two years ago; the first year nothing came up and this year there is just foliage, so it is clearly quite particular! The friend has a very small garden which she has been future proofing, so has to do things in small measures. I don’t think her seeds germinated as well as mine did…

  6. Heyjude says:

    The chocolate aquilegia is a little too insipid for me, but interesting. I seem to have ‘lost’ my Geum ‘Koi’ but I will leave well alone in case the roots are just hibernating!

  7. Jim Stephens says:

    My Hylomecon hung around for a couple of year before vanishing without ever flowering. My experience with Arisarum squares with Pauline’s, in the right conditions it’s a spreader. Ornithogallum appeals, as a later flowering bulb.

    • Cathy says:

      The nursery are going to send me the correct plant this week, so even if I am not so keen on yellow in the garden I have done well out of their mistake, if my hylomecon hangs around! There are places where I will begin to dig the arisarum out, although it has got into awkward nooks and crannies so may not be easy!

  8. It’s wonderful to finally see gardens in bloom. I don’t think I’ve seen a sarracenia before.

    • Cathy says:

      I am fortunate to have a garden with winter bloomers too, but att this time of year the borders are bulking up and prpeparing for months of abundance. Sarracenia are carniverous plants and some are native to the UK, but mine are in a pot in the Coop where they need to be consistently damp

  9. Anna says:

    Some interesting curiosities indeed Cathy and no doubt much to ponder over. Arisarum or mousetail plants can spread quickly so one to keep an eye on 😄 I wonder where that geum has been up to.

  10. Love the look of your Aquilegia ‘Chocolate Soldier’. Apart from its unusual colour, it’s a very pretty shape. So will you keep your Hylomecon japonicum? Interesting to hear about your geum’s disappearance and subsequent re-emergence. Maybe there is hope for mine after all.

    • Cathy says:

      I think I might move the aquilegia to the woodland edge border, as it will be completely overlooked where it is – I can visualise it in a pot, with gravel to add contrast to the subdued colours. Yes, I shall keep the hylomecon (rude not to!) but will continue nearly mistaking the blooms for Welsh poppy; the replacement came today – exceptional service from the nursery 👍

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