Here are a whole lot of pictures from our visit to the University of Alberta’s Devonian Botanic Garden last Sunday. It was raining, heavily at times, and when we weren’t taking shelter under trees we were stopping to take pictures, so didn’t get around to all the gardens. We looked mainly at the Primula Dell and the Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden [link to map]. (Click pictures to enlarge, and click again to enlarge further.)
Primula polyneura (probably) in the tufa garden between the parking lot and the gift shop
Canada goslings in the field near the Calla Water
The display garden en route to the Primula Dell
Lady’s-slippers (Cypripedium calceolus) among the statues and shrubs of the same display garden
Entering the Primula Dell
At the other entrance, the great big leaves and flowering spires of Astilboides tabularis (right)
Earlier, in pouring rain (see next photo), we stood under the tree background-left. (In sunlight beyond, a colony of naturalized pulsatillas grows outside the garden proper.)
Rain. The past few years, the DBG has suffered from the lack of moisture. This year, after a deeply snowy winter and with three months’ worth of rain in June, the gardens could hardly be more green.
We were late for most of the primulas, but these chionanthas in the shade are still flowering.
Primula chionantha ssp sinopurpurea
The DBG’s floral emblem, the Himalayan blue poppy, Meconopsis betonicifolia (spelled from memory). We saw only one, but that is one more than in previous, very dry summers.
Clematis hirsutissima, a highly ornamental, upright, non-climbing species
Bergenia is a common garden perennial around here. This is how it should be grown, en masse.
Primula rusbyi, bowed by the hard rain
Another P sieboldii. I did not make note of the variety names. Sieboldiis in Japan, like auriculas in Europe, are raised for competitions, and many named forms are the result.
Between rain showers, a bee visits a mud-spattered Primula cortusoides. My first P cortusoides came from DBG seed. It is an easy species to grow.
Primula kisoana, an obvious close relation of P polyneura (back at the top)
Gentiana acaulis, reputedly a difficult plant to get to flower, flourishes here.
A large-flowered variety of Anemone sylvestris
Primula veris, the cowslip, is by far the most prolific primula in the Dell, having self-seeded itself wherever other primulas have died away (of drought or cold) and left their signs behind. The result is that P veris appears under at least a dozen names, as well as its own.
Self-seeded Primula veris posing as Primula wilsonii
Primula algida is currently offered in the DBG’s seed catalogue. What grows from the seed, though, is Primula veris. This photo shows why. (The same is true of the P integrifolia in the 2010 catalogue, and of several variously named packets of seed I have ordered from the DBG over the years. I now have more than enough cowslips.)
The sign says Primula elatior ssp pallasii, and the sign may be right. P elatior, the oxlip, looks similar to P veris, but this plant, earlier flowering, looks different enough from all the suspected P veris in the garden.
Swelling seed pods of (probable) Primula elatior ssp pallasii
This P auricula could be a parent or relative of my first two auriculas, grown from DBG seed in the late 1990s.
A show auricula growing in the open garden is an unexpected sight. Most home-gardeners would grow these plants in pots or troughs and keep them out of the rain to protect the farina on the flowers. This ‘Arundel Stripe’ is thriving. We are too late for the flowers, but the foliage and seed pods look great. The many named P auricula, P marginata, and P allionii hybrids growing – and thriving – in the Primula Dell and in the Alpine Garden certainly disprove the accepted notion that these prized hybrids are less hardy than the species plants. (Click to enlarge the picture. The focus is unusually clear.)
This young photographer is getting up close to a red hybrid polyanthus primrose (Primula x polyantha).
Here is Primula denticulata. Seed pods, a little blurry, can be seen on the one in front.
Primula possonii? No. Looks like another auricula.
We may have been too late to see many of the primulas in flower, but it was the perfect time to admire the beauty of the auricula seed pods.
I predict this year’s seed packets will have more seeds than usual.
I have been calling them ‘pods,’ but look at them, ‘berries’ is surely the proper word.
Eye candy. Come back for Part Two, the Alpine Garden.