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    Bill CleggIn January of this year, eight months before its release date, the buzz was already starting to build for Bill Clegg's Did You Ever Have a Family.... Continue »
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1 Home & Garden GARD- FLOWER GROWING

The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials

by

The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Few gardeners who have cultivated the edible rhubarb (Rheum xcultorum) can deny that they have admired the columns of white flowers unfurling in globular splendor in early summer. But homage to such things in the vegetable garden is generally bittersweet, often but a swan song of yet another spring gone by — the end to a season of freshly picked and eaten produce. As a young gardener, in fact, I was taught to never let the blossoming stems emerge from our rather antique hand-me-down clump of "pie plant" that we grew on the far side of the vegetable patch. Advice well taken but, fortunately, not always heeded.

I only recently began growing true Rheum palmatum, a species native to China and, in its typical white-flowered form, infrequently cultivated. Having brought this back from a collecting foray to England, I use the plant to good effect in my light woodland, where it produces gigantic, Gunnera-like foliage in matte green and erect flowering panicles of white rising to 6 ft. (1.8 m) or higher. Certainly the best-known of the ornamental rhubarbs is this species's red-flowering cultivar, R. palmatum 'Atrosanguineum'. With a flair for the dramatic, 'Atrosanguineum' awakens in early spring with ruby-red foliage, which conjures nothing short of pure, unadulterated anticipation for what is to come. As the jagged leaves unfurl to nearly 3 ft. (0.9 m) across, the reddish tints of the upper surfaces take on a patina of aged copper, while the undersurfaces retain an intensity of matte rose-red. I am held spellbound in the early days of May when the fresh, upwardly held leaves, backlit by sun, capture and illuminate a palette of arresting colors and textures. Yet the show has only just begun, as in early June a massive flowering stem heads skyward, carrying large, knobby buds sheathed with scarlet bracts. After the stems reach upward to 7 ft. (2.1 m), the buds unfurl to create an airy spectacle of crimson flowers with cerise overtones. If good seed set occurs, an additional season of interest continues with numerous glossy red, triangular fruit dangling from this treelike inflorescence, Several other selected cultivars of R. palmatum are available, including 'Red Herald' and 'Hadspen Crimson' (both by Eric Smith) and 'Red Select'. I should mention that the distinctive foliage shape and color is more a product of patience than of simply acquiring a good clone. Foliage on young plants is less lobed and less colorful than on mature specimens.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780881929171
Author:
Hinkley, Daniel J
Publisher:
Timber Press (OR)
Photographer:
Harrison, Lynne
Foreword by:
Lancaster, Roy
Foreword:
Lancaster, Roy
Author:
Hinkley, Daniel J.
Subject:
Flowers - Perennials
Subject:
General
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
GARDENING / Essays
Subject:
TRAVEL / Essays and Travelogues
Subject:
Essays & Travelogues
Subject:
Perennials
Subject:
Rare garden plants
Subject:
Gardening-Perennials
Subject:
Shrubs
Subject:
GARDENING / Essays & Narratives
Subject:
Travel : Essays & Travelogues
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20090531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
380
Dimensions:
10.36x7.28x.93 in. 2.46 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Home and Garden » Gardening » Flower Growing
Home and Garden » Gardening » Perennials
Home and Garden » Gardening » Sale Books
Home and Garden » Gardening » Writing
Travel » Travel Writing » General

The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 380 pages Timber Press (OR) - English 9780881929171 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The sophisticated gardener is forever in search of distinctive new plants not commonly found in gardens. For these enthusiasts, Dan Hinkley's Heronswood Nursery near Seattle has become a mail-order mecca in recent years, the arrival of its fat catalog an eagerly awaited event. This book describes and illustrates the most interesting perennials Hinkley has encountered in his many travels around the world hunting plants in the wild. All are grown at his nursery.
"Synopsis" by ,
World traveler Dan Hinkley offers a truly unique combination of experience and as he describes and illustrates the most interesting perennials he has encountered while hunting plants in the wild, all of which are grown at his nursery.
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