Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Calathea roseopicta 'Medallion' and Kong coleus

Calathea roseopicta 'Medallion' and coleus Kong
I would like to take a lot of credit for this attractive combination, but the credit goes to the protean fecundity of that mother of invention, necessity. I had bought the Calathea on impulse and needed a place for it. It would look great in the house but almost surely die quickly. A shady place outside seemed like a good idea, but exactly which shady place? So I decided to put it out on the deck, and noticing the free space between the two coleus, popped it into that space. Then I took a second look and realized "Wow, that really works!"

The Calathea came unlabeled, but a quick search of Google images led me to the name used above.

Nomenclature note: most of the plants once known as Coleus , after banishment to Solenostemon in the late twentieth century, are now placed in Plectranthus. A half century ago Ernst Mayr provided a very plausible species concept. But no one has ever done the same for genera, and I gave up "believing" in genera decades ago.  I treat them as opinions, some well-founded, some not so much so.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lilium 'Corsage' back from the brink!

Lilium 'Corsage' photographed June 17, 2017

Lilium 'Corsage' photographed June, 1979
I was growing lilies for nearly twenty years before I took an interest in what was going on in the greater lily world - the organizations, the hybridists, the commercial suppliers of hybrid lilies and so on. I became aware of hybrid lilies from two main sources: the catalog of Blackthorne Gardens and the catalog of the Peter de Jager company. The de Jager catalog back in the 1960s had pages of beautiful, full-color modern photographs of the de Graaff hybrids, among them photos of the one you see above, 'Corsage'.
One of the images you see above is a  scan done this morning of a Kodachrome slide made in 1979, the other is a digital photo taken this morning.
No lily from back in those days still survives in my garden. Few lilies from back in those days survive in commerce. When lily stocks became infected with virus back in those days, we assumed that was the end for them - forever. Then we learned about the possibilities of meristem culture, and that stocks could be cleaned up to some extent. But by then much seems to have been lost, and one after another, favorite lilies became commercially extinct. When I lost my home-grown stocks of 'Corsage', I never expected to see it again.
But it's back! I have not heard the background story yet, but there it was in the late winter catalogs of 2017. And now it's blooming again in my garden, nearly forty years after that Kodachrome slide was taken.