One more post and then we’ll move on to 2017’s pictures.
These are other plants in Primulaceae. And following them, some other good plants that grow well here.
Douglasia montana (Androsace montana) may be the most photographed plant in the garden. Raised from seed and now several years old.
More Androsaces: a couple of A. carnea; a plant I am calling A. halleri because that’s what the seed was called, blooming for the first time; a little A. villosa seedling, also with its first flowers; and A. sarmentosa ‘Chumbyi.’ The latter sends out runners like a strawberry and over time can form a large mat or, as mine does, cover a mound and then move into adjacent areas.
Dodecatheon meadia. Dodecatheons are Primulas, but I still call mine Dodecatheons. The pink ones behind are self-sown and also D. meadia or hybrids. The near-white one doesn’t set much seed compared to the pink ones.
Cyclamen purpurascens, the one Cyclamen that is definitely hardy here. Cyclamen hederifolium can survive, but its growing season doesn’t line up with ours. There are reports of Cyclamen coum growing in Alberta gardens, but not yet in mine. I left some more out this winter and I’ll be surprised if they aren’t all dead. It’s amazing to have one hardy Cyclamen, and purpurascens is a great plant: evergreen leaves and long-lasting flowers that are also sweetly fragrant.
One more from Primulaceae, Soldanella alpina. I bought this in 2010 and it flowered for the first time — just one flower — in 2016. Very exciting. The next year, its container flooded (ice blocking the drain). All the plants had to be lifted and replanted, and none of them flowered the way they might have. I have two more Soldanella, as old or almost. They always grow a lot of leaves but have never bloomed. This one bloomed after I moved it out of one of the alpine gardens and into a container of mainly peat. Might do the same with the other two and see what happens.
Moving now out of Primulaceae and into the realm of lesser plants. These are a few I’ve had for years that take a good picture.
Veronica whitleyi is a mat-forming speedwell that will grow in any half-sunny spot. It can be evergreen (under good snow cover), and where the foliage is winter-killed it greens up quickly in spring. The blue flowers and green foliage together remind me strongly of marbles in a Chinese checkers set we had when I was a child. The other marbles were black, white, yellow, and red. Deep, heavy, rich colours. Toys were beautiful then.
The Gentiana verna is a much slower spreader. A shy-flowering white form beside the blue one is even slower. I’m happy they come back in the spring. If they survive but don’t thrive, the fault is mine for not taking better care of them.
The tag that came with the Gentiana acaulis is long gone. Was it a named cultivar? It’s a very easy plant and has produced many seedlings and cuttings.
The viola is a great self-sower. It was originally V. labradorica, with dark leaves. But the seedlings don’t have red in the leaves, so maybe they are a cross with a wild violet. Anyway, it’s a great little plant, spreading itself around.
The Saxifraga is from seed labelled S. canis-dalmatica, and it has spots like a Dalmatian canine, so maybe that’s what it is. I don’t know Saxifragas. I know there are a lot of them and they hybridize. Whatever this might be, it’s a really nice, hardy plant. Evergreen foliage is valuable in a garden where the snow might not melt until mid-April. After the snow is finally gone, you don’t want to wait another month for some green to appear.
The first wildflower in the garden is Ribes triste. The sad red currant? Perhaps it appears to be weeping. It is better known as the swamp red currant, but will grow all right in ordinary garden conditions. It makes a nice, low shrub.
I grew a single Clematis integrifolia from seed and now have several additional plants, self-sown, each a little different. The flowers are blue to purple, and the petals (actually sepals) may twist when the flowers open. The length of the sepals and the degree of twist vary from plant to plant. The stems are upright until bloom time, and then they fall over unless supported.
One fall I planted a bag of mixed species tulips. The next spring, four or five different species came up, red, pink, white, and yellow. Only one has persisted and increased, and even self-sown. I think it must be Tulipa tarda.
I have several Fritillaria meleagris, some from bulbs and some from seed. There is a white one, along with several dark reds. Not many Fritillarias can grow here, at least not out in the open garden, and it’s lucky the one that can is spectacular.
The daffodill is Narcisuss ‘Jetfire.’ I have tried several cultivars and ‘Jetfire’ is one of the few that has become permanent. ‘Tête-à-Tête’ is another. Most impressive is the beautful white-flowered ‘Thalia,’ which has grown into large clumps (an ugly word for a beautiful thing.)