Wood poppy, and more

Small clumps of wood poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum, below) are spread through the shaded side garden that adjoins the forest of shallow rooted swamp maples and tulip poplars. In many places, a hole could not be dug through the roots, but a cover of leaves that are shredded and spread creates a thin soil layer that supports the vigorous seedlings. I cannot recall where wood poppy was initially planted, but now it covers many spaces where another plant has not established. While the flower is short lived, the dissected foliage is attractive, particularly when the alternative in this difficult situation is bare soil and surface roots.

Several wood poppies have become dozens of small clumps in shaded areas not covered by other plants.
Several epimedium cultivars spread through this area of dry shade. Rubrum and the yellow flowered Sulphureum (below) are most common cultivars, and all have established nice clumps in dry shade.
Epimedium sulphureum
Epimedium rubrum
Cypress spurge (Euphorbia cyparrisias) is reputed as invasive, but seedlings of Espresso geranium have nearly eradicated it from the garden beside the koi pond. I’ve no question that in other environments it is a problem, but here it’s fighting for its diminishing place in the garden. Too bad, it’s nice in flower with attractive foliage, in particular in narrow, gravel filled areas between boulders.
This brunnera began as one of the variegated cultivars, but it reverted and the variegated parts faded and disappeared. Regardless, it’s an attractive perennial.
A few small divisions of Ostrich fern were harvested from a damp section of forest that borders the garden. It quickly spread, and divisions from the cultivated clump have been transplanted to part sun and deep shade areas. The fern grows most vigorously in damp, part sun, though in sunnier spots it is damaged in mid summer by Japanese beetles.
Burkwood viburnum is the larger of the two fragrant viburnums in the garden. At the forest’s edge it grows with open branching.
Carlesi viburnum is a more compact growing viburnum, and after years it now grows in deep shade, which it is obviously unhappy with, though it flowers as always.
Purity pieris is the last to flower in this garden. It keeps a compact form under three feet tall while a few others grow over six feet tall.
Eternal Fragrance daphne began flowering the second week of April. A year ago, with a very warm February it began flowering in mid March. Eternal Fragrance, Jim’s Pride, and Summer Ice will flower into mid November, or later.
Japanese Forest grass is slow getting started, but an established clump becomes quite vigorous. Here, it is sneaking out from under a small boulder, with the main clump on the other side of the rock.
Oceanlake is a small leafed rhododendron that is completely covered in flowers weeks earlier than other rhododendrons. I’m not a particular fan of rhododendrons that can be persnickety in clay soils, but rarely is my wife excited by a plant along our paths, and she loves the purple flowers.
Ogon winter hazel grows slowly, perhaps too slowly for me in a spot that is likely to be too damp for its best growth. While flowers are interesting, winter hazel flowers in early spring, so it is not appreciated as much as earlier flowers. Ogon has yellow foliage, which is okay, but not excpetional.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    That rhododendron is a new one for me. We grew a few of those with small rich blue flowers. Some had tiny leaves that resembled those of the dark blue ceanothus. I did not like the foliage much, but the blues were captivating. We also grew the ‘Augustinii’ types.

    1. Dave says:

      It’s been a long time since I’ve planted rhodos. There are a few huge Roseum elegans that I planted in the forest 20 years ago. I’ve witnessed poor success with small leafed types, and hope that won’t be the case here.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Those particular small leaved types do better here than in other regions, probably because of the drier air. However, the dense growers with the mid sized leaves (that are neither big nor small) tend to rot for us. I do not know why.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s