Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Black Dragon or Violacea Plena?

In his Book Wisterias, Peter Valder writes that ‘Black Dragon’ is an invalid name for an old Japanese cultivar introduced to the west with the name ‘Violacea Plena’ (f. violacea plena)  in the 1860’s. The name Black Dragon was probably adopted much later because one of the Japanese names for the plant is ‘Kokuryu’ meaning Black Dragon or ‘Yae Kokuryu’ (Double Black Dragon). The trouble is that this name is also used in Japan for another cultivar ‘Royal Purple’ ‘Hitoe Kokuryu’ (Single Black Dragon). I have purchased the plant under both names from multiple sources over the years, if there are any differences between ‘Violacea Plena’ & ‘Black Dragon’ then they are small at best.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Golden Oak.

One of our customers presented us with a couple of branches of this obsure Oak & asked us to graft some up for them. First attempt & it actually worked!! Next year if we try it again they will probably all die, that's how it usually goes :^)..

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wisteria 'Burford'

Reportedly introduced by Mears Ashby Nurseries, Northamptonshire UK. This cultivar takes a few years to begin flowering, ours didn’t flower until it was about 8 years old but it has made up for it ever since!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Burn Day!

There are 2 burn days a year at Plantmad one in the Spring & one in the Fall! As a closet pyromaniac who spent much of his childhood with singed eyebrows they are days that I always look forward too! This year I was planning on waiting until June so I could join in the Queens 60th Jubilee Beacon lighting celebrations but I figured my neighbors field of hay might not survive that celebration :^)... 


These East coast natives are hidden from view for at least half of the year. Emerging in the Spring & looking there best right now but the end of July the foliage will be burned up & gone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wisteria 'Southern Belle'

A Steve Hottovy of Beyond Green Nursery introduction. Flowers & growth habit are similar to the Dutch cultivar 'Prolific' & the New Zealand cultivar 'Caroline'. Flower racemes are short but cover the plant in abundance & emerge before any foliage begins to grow. Perhaps the most early flowering of all Wisterias, reliably flowers in it's second year & also has a very good second bloom on new wood in June & July.

Wisteria floribunda 'Royal Purple'

This is in my opinion the best purple flowering cultivar of all the Wisteria. Flowers actually are a deep purple colour. Even the new foliage is tinted bronze & somewhat glossy. It’s unclear if this plant originated in the USA or in Japan first. Often called ‘Hitoe Kokuryu’ (meaning single Black Dragon) in Japan but there seems to be no reference to it before the introduction of Royal Purple in the US.

Chiyoko in Fuki!

Chiyoko hiding out in the garden Fuki or Giant Butterbur! In Japan (& sometimes at our house) the young stems are eaten as a vegetable but once they get to this size you just have to be careful that they don't eat you!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Embothrium coccineum

The Chilean Firebush is flowering in the garden this weekend, it's putting on a stunning display!

Wisteria floribunda 'Macrobotrys'

Probably the first cultivar of Asian Wisteria to reach the West, in fact this cultivar may have been the form that was first introduced to the West & first named W. multijuga in the 1870’s. These super long racemed forms have been documented & written about in Japan for over 400 years & go by many names. Whether they are all different or not is up for debate. Countless cultivars of Wisteria have been named since often with sexier names but few if any can hold a candle to a Macrobotrys in flower. This plant is about 25 years old & has been growing in a half Whiskey Barrel for the last 5 years.

And from the inside it looks like this!