Paronychia cephalotes’ secret

I am wondering why this interesting, cold hardy, beautiful and excellent rockery plant is absolutely ignored. Is there a secret?

Paronychia cephalotes (Fam. Caryophyllaceae) in wild habitat – Dolomite hills to the south of Öskü, Hungary – photo courtesy Stefan Lefnaer

Last year I easily germinated seeds and grew the seedlings into a fine clump by the end of the season (the seedlings pot was planted in the rockery as a whole in May). I am confident it will make it well over the winter, and maybe even produce a few flowers. Meanwhile, someone else already knows why is it such a ‘secret’ species please?

Paronychia cephalotes – end of August 2016 (a group of seedlings were planted together in May);name=Paronychia%20cephalotes

My petit inventory

Fall has officially arrived and I thought it would be wise to start doing what I call my ‘petit inventory’ :) Lots of seeds have been sown this year and many have germinated. As usual, some seedlings have perished, while others have grown well; a few have been planted in the ground, and some are even flowering! (see Iris dichotoma and Scabiosa caucasica).

An inventory always helps me remember what I’ve grown during the year and it adds to the experience. In most cases, the inventory entails only 2-3 plants, or worse, 1 – truly ‘petit’! I will show a few from the alpine section for now.

Few Caucasian species are my joy and pride: Potentilla divina, Astragalus levieri and Eremogone lichnidea.


Potentilla divina a bit difficult to grow, I hope to get it through the winter


Astragalus levieri – a high altitude species, easy to germinate but usually hard to establish; the young seedling was planted in the ground in May


Eremogone lichnidea – another new species, I left them as they were in the seeding pot (some alpines react well to this treatment)

As well other species, like Silene jailensis and Paronychia cephalotes, have exceeded my expectations. I also have good hope to finally see the alpine thistle – Carlina acaulis, established in the rockery (seen in the Silene background).


Silene jailensis (a Crimean collection) – seedling planted early outside


Paronychia cephalotes – another new one, the seedlings were looking so nice that I was afraid to prick them out and planted the whole seedlings pot in the ground.

As you notice, I have continued my experiment of planting asap very young seedlings in the ground, and it has proven again to be the better way to go, at least for me. They can have the roots going deep down fast and establish well throughout the season, while the ones left in pots are more difficult to manage water-wise, plus that the pots are not deep enough for their liking.

In the feature image: Artemisia umbelliformis (Alpine wormwood), another little alpine gem I’m happy to see doing well.

Next to come – the Chinese Podophyllum babies from the shady section!

Spring photo-shoot 2016

Lately we’ve been ‘polar-vortexed’ (that’s a new expression); another term that went around was ‘winter in the spring’…all not too happy words, at least for gardeners. But relief is in sight – temperatures in double digits are expected by the end of the week!

So, it is time for the annual spring photo-shoot. Soon, the more advanced youngsters from the germinatrix will go outside (they have become impatient and a bit pale from lack of sun). Just one image from the many I took yesterday.

Come close together – Say cheese!

Spring photo-shoot 2016

As always, a mix of everything; it’s called ‘butterflying’; seeds that I collected myself, gifted seeds, traded seeds…all welcome :)

From the very early germinated and already grown up Capnoides sempervirens, Iris dichotoma, A. pachypoda fo. rubrocarpa and Scabiosa caucasica ‘Fama Blue’, to young babies like Podophyllum delavayi and P. pleianthum.

Podophyllum delavayi and P. pleianthum seedlings

Podophyllum delavayi, P. pleianthum and hybrids young seedlings

Among the very new and exciting, Paronychia cephalotes and Silene jailensis, are looking well;  good hope for nice grown plants by the summer!

And so many more…(hover over the images for the species names)