Intention – Podophyllum delavayi

My intention was to write a longer post detailing the germination/seedlings growing of a few Chinese Podophyllum species, but by the time the evening came the desire to do that has vanished.

As a proof of my good faith I will let you admire last year’s Podophyllum delavayi seedlings. Last year by this time they were like this:

Podophyllum delavayi seedling, March 24/2016

And today, when I ‘performed’ an emergency repotting, like this:

Podophyllum delavayi – one year old ‘seedlings’ sharing the same pot

Podophyllum delavayi one-year old – showing extensive root system

It was a good intention though…

Update on Corydalis nobilis

Very simple – this is happening when the Corydalis nobilis seeds are kept moist/warm followed by a cold period. Be careful what you wish for! :))

Friday’s Seeds – Tiger Iris

A few new Iris seeds from the rare side, so pictures are warranted. Despite its name, Iris tigridia (common name Tiger iris) is a completely harmless iris ;) hailing from the Altai region of Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. Not an easy one, but extremely beautiful dwarf iris with blue streaked petals.

Images in wild habitat: Iris tigridia

Iris tigridia seeds

Iris potaninii, similar in habit (and distribution), has light to deep yellow flowers. As well from dry, rocky mountain slopes.

Images in wild habitat: Iris potaninii

Iris potaninii seeds

They both belong to the group of arillate Irises; I will update this post later with soaked seeds images to better observe the arils.


Snowflakes by design: Mitella diphylla

Myriads of Mitella diphylla flowers are still falling from the sky. I noticed that not too many people are familiar with this dainty North American woodlander; what a pity…

It can be found in deciduous woodlands in part shaded areas, most often at the edges of the forest; easily noticeable despite its small flowers, it will flower somewhere at the beginning of May. A better timetable is to consider that it flowers at the same time with Trillium grandiflorum, Uvularia grandiflora and Coptis trifolia.

Mitella diphylla, Two-leaved bishop’s cap (Fam. Saxifragaceae) – Tall flowering stems carrying small, fringed, snowflakes shaped flowers above a pair of leaves. Fruits are dehiscent capsules with many small, black seeds.

Mitella is not an easy subject to capture on camera

What I like even more about it is that the basal leaves are evergreen; a most useful character in our climate with long flowerless periods. I cannot take a picture in the garden right now, but I have one from the previous garden showing it together with Cyclamen hederifolium and Hepatica in late November.

Mitella diphylla, Cyclamen and Hepatica foliage in November

Propagation: easy from seeds (sown in the fall) and mine has started to flower in the third year. After it gets established it can also be divided (it forms a rather tight clump so there is no worry about potential invasiveness).

Mitella diphylla seeds

The genus name Mitella comes from the Greek ‘mitra’= cap and the common name bishop’s cap or mitrewort refers to the cap-shaped fruit.

Friday’s Seed- Matthiola fragrans

Today I present the seeds of an interesting Matthiola: M. fragrans. It grows wild in steppe regions from Ukraine to E. Kazakhstan, sometimes on chalky sediments. The flowers are reddish-brown or yellowish, similar of another nice but rarely cultivated Matthiola, M. trojana.

Matthiola fragrans seeds (Fam. Brassicaceae)

The seedlings seem to do well, already developed the indumentum; it will be interesting to see how they’ll adapt later /if to garden conditions. I like the challenge.

Matthiola fragrans seedlings


Certainty: Helleborus germination

Among the few life’s certainties ;), at this time of year there is also the Helleborus germination.

I only started to grow them from seeds a few years ago after I found a few seeds left on a Helleborus purpurascens specimen from the Carpathian Mts.; pure luck. Some of those seeds were swapped for other Helleborus x hybridus, H. foetidus and H. niger (some already planted in the garden and ready to flower).

Newly sown this year: H. x hybridus – a red picotee form.

Helleborus x hybridus seedlings

Invariable, if sown by late July/August, they all start to germinate by late February-March (kept in a frost free garage and brought indoors). The hybrids are very fast growing and easy to manage; some species, like H. purpurascens, may be slower to develop.

Helleborus purpurascens newly emerged leaf

In any case, the variation of forms obtained from seeds is unattainable otherwise, and the first flowers can be expected in the third year.

Helleborus x hybridus 2 year-old plants last summer


Wildlife Wednesday – horror and surprise

It’s been a while since I joined the Wildlife meme hosted by Tina at her lovely blog: My gardener says. As the saying goes – winter happened…

Finally last week in a midst of a ‘heat wave’ :) I was able to open my cold frames. They host a variety of small pots mainly with young seedlings and sowings; all wrapped in blankets, plastic, plus outside tarps, and mostly under snow (which is a good thing). It was a joyous moment to see that most were well, even a few new seedlings!

Then, unexpectedly, a slug started to crawl on the green tarp; horror and surprise! I didn’t know the temperature inside the frames would allow them to be active at this time. More than this, the very dry last summer/fall made the slugs rare/almost nonexistent in the garden.

Limax maximus probably

I am sure all gardeners are familiar with these pesky, horrible ‘things’. This one, if I’m not mistaken, is a Limax maximus (still juvenile); as the name says it can get very large. It resembles the European black slug, or black arion  (Arion ater L.) but the latter hasn’t been reported from Ontario (yet). Probably everyone knows that slugs are hermaphroditic – they have both male and female reproductive organs; and some are self-fertilizing, so one slug can start a population!!!

I know that even the slugs have a positive role in the environment, but I cannot allow my fresh seedlings to be destroyed. So, I apologize that my first posting of the year for the Wildlife Wednesday coincides with the first killing of the year. I hope to have nicest wildlife pictures for the month of April.