Sunday Phlog: Under the Tulip tree

Continuing the Tree celebration, images of the Carolinian forest giant – Liriodendron tulipifera and a few other trees.

Liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera– Tulip tree, Tulip Poplar or Whitewood, with its unmistakable four-lobed leaves, it is our tallest native deciduous tree. Superb, from the pyramidal shape when young and the glossy bright green leaves, to the tulip-shaped flowers and golden fall colouration. A glorious tree in old age.

Under the Tulip tree in The Arboretum, Guelph

Click to open the gallery and see a few more celebrated trees:


Tree celebration: Ginkgo biloba

Well, if you didn’t know, on the 26th September we celebrate National Tree Day. If we really need a special day for celebrating the trees, I would say:  be aware of the trees around you, plant one, educate yourself and others about them, and more importantly, respect the trees and be thankful for their resilience. Myself, I’ll celebrate by presenting a few trees in the coming weeks. Ginkgo biloba comes first because it is the only surviving member of the genus Ginkgo, a true living fossil from the Paleozoic period, when dinosaurs were probably sitting under its shade. Also it is a tree that could have many pages written about its symbolism, medicinal and ornamental properties.

Ginkgo biloba ‘Tubiformis’

As for its ornamental properties, I don’t know if there is a need to mention the leathery, fan shaped leaves with a golden yellow colouration in the fall, the pyramidal shape, its resilience to a wide range of conditions, including pollution resistance. Its cultivation was first related to the medicinal properties of the leaves and seeds, which have been employed for many centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. Gingko leaf extract is commonly prescribed today to improve cognitive function in people with symptoms of age related mental decline, as well as for problems of the circulatory system.

Fall colour

The first record of Ginkgo being cultivated in Asia dates back to the Song dynasty in China (11th century), and it was first mentioned in Chinese herbals in the 1200s. From China, where it was grown around the temples, was introduced to Japan, where it was discovered by the botanist Engelbert Kaempfer. The genus name, Ginkgo, is believed to derive from the Japanese word gingkyo, which is thought to be a corruption of the Chinese yin-hsing, meaning “silver apricot” (alluding to the fruit resemblance to an apricot). In Europe it arrived in the early 1700s, first in Holland then in England and in France, and it was named by Carl Linnaeus, of course, with its scientific name:  Gingko biloba.

Ginkgo is a dioecious species (has female and male flowers on different individuals) with an interesting reproduction and ‘fructification’, making the link between the ferns and the today’s conifers. For ornamental purposes only the male trees are desirable today, the ‘fruits’ produced by the female trees being considered messy and with a bad odour, although is not that bad as the saying goes. To read more and see lots of pictures and videos, please visit this amazing website – The Ginkgo Pages  it is dedicated entirely to Ginkgo, including a presentation of Gingko trees that survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb – very impressive!


Sunday Phlog: Never enough Gentians

Flowering faithfully from spring through summer and late fall, the Gentians are my most beloved flowers. Although I am usually associating them with a mountainous environment, there are plenty of species/varieties growing happily in ordinary garden conditions. This gallery contains Gentiana species and varieties from our travels and from Lost Horizons Nursery (where a few are available to purchase) and it will be updated gradually.


And if you are crazy like me about Gentianaceae please visit The Gentian Research Network.

The Amber Queen and the Bronze Maiden

I got the affirmative answer to my question: To divide or not to divide from the Amber Queen, who reigns over the woodland fairy wings.

Epimedium 'Amber Queen'

Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’

Everyone loves her, as she is the most beautiful, compassionate and righteous of all queens. Because she is always dressed in the outmost elegant, royal colour of amber, a warm mixture of yellow, orange and red, she was named The Amber Queen.

Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ – foliage in early spring

 From all the maidens she has, the Bronze Maiden, in a purple, pink and green garment it is especially her favourite, for she is delicate, modest and with a very pleasant nature.

Epimedium grandiflorum f. violaceum ‘Bronze Maiden’ cultivated at Lost Horizons

After a while the outfit gets changed for a more ‘green’ look.

Epimedium  grandiflorum f. violaceum ‘Bronze Maiden’

The rest of the story can be written by anyone depending on his/her shady garden.