Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Project: The Heuchera Tome

In my last post I mentioned that I have some projects I'd be working on. One of those projects is a reference site for Heuchera, Tiarella, xHeucherella, and a few other saxifragaceae members titled The Heuchera Tome. This certainly isn't a unique concept; there are other "Heuchera encyclopedia" sites out there if you look. So why am I doing this? For a number of reasons.
Heuchera 'Georgia Peach'
1. I'm becoming an avid collector of Heuchera and am starting my own hybridizing program. That means I'm doing research off and on and taking pictures. I like to share what I find and this is a good way to do it. If you've been paying attention to this blog, you know I'm also a huge collector of Hostas. The Hosta Library is a massive pictorial reference site for that genus, and I want this to be similar.
Heuchera 'Spellbound'
2. Not all of the sites out there are easily browsed. Some don't have a good index, some don't have adequate information about growing them, some are nursery catalogs, some only use marketing pictures, etc. I want this site to be easy to search, easy to browse by variety, easy to browse by newest added, and I don't want people to have to look at sales pages to do that. Yes, I run a nursery and this site is attributed to Botanophilia LLC at the bottom and I may add an active link to our offerings in the future; but each listing won't be a pitch to sell you plants. (Nothing wrong with nurseries that are great Heuchera references! But sometimes they're tough to wade through). I also want pics to be representative of actual plants. I will probably include marketing pictures, but I also want to include pics from garden situations of collectors. Right now they're just my pics, but I will probably add a contribute link at some point.
Heuchera 'Caramel'
3. To educate. Despite their popularity and a number of sites promoting them, these plants are still misunderstood by so many gardeners. I want to help educate people about them and spread awareness about them as garden plants. Tiarella especially seem to STILL be flying under the radar here in the USA.
Heuchera 'Midnight Rose'
There are other reasons as well, but those are the big ones. The site is still in its early stages and I have many more varieties to add. But I've gotten a start and wanted to start sharing the site with all of you. Please check it out, I'm always happy to hear feedback about what could make it better. For the time being it's hosted here on blogger. I may move it in the future if needed and will almost certainly get a custom domain once it's big enough.
Heuchera americana 'Green Spice'

Saturday, September 17, 2016

News and Happenings

I've been an awful blogger this year. I haven't posted since February, mainly because life has been crazy busy! Sadly a lot of the craziness the last few months could have been good post topics, but there just wasn't time to even take pictures for posting later.

So what's been going on? Spring was crazy as it always is; that's the reality of working in horticulture so nothing new there. But immediately after spring we got some news. My wife was getting a new job. 200 miles away. 200 miles NORTH, to Rhinelander, WI. It will be a grand adventure living in Z4a instead of Z5b and having a 25 day shorter growing season. You will hear about it.

I spent the early part of summer removing the gardens and seeding grass. This may sound familiar, as I did this same thing 4 years ago in 2012 to try and sell the house only to refinance and put the gardens back in during late 2013. My plant collections have all been dug and potted and will be over-wintered with our sale stock on the farm. Interestingly I think most of my plants will survive just fine in their new location. But maybe I'm just being optimistic.

We also had to finish up a few home renovation projects. In late winter we started doing some projects that included new flooring and some bathroom updates. Those were done just in time for my wife to start her job in late July. I finished up my nursery day job on September 2nd but because of the plants being here and the house not being sold yet, I'm still living here part time. September is time for getting the growing house reorganized and get the plants cleaned up, weeded, and inventoried before cutting them back in October and getting the house ready for winter. I have lots to keep me busy before I officially move!

So what does this move mean for me and for the future of Botanophilia? In spring we will (hopefully) have a new property and the business side of things will move along with the plants. I have the opportunity to work only for myself and concentrate on growing the nursery and getting some more great new/unusual plants added to the catalog! Hopefully we'll be able to have some open retail days in the future as well. I'll be able to travel to more events for vending and/or speaking. And attend more garden related gatherings. It also means I will have more time for writing and other projects. I'm excited to do all the things!

Sadly my admission that I've been a bad blogger has become a common phrase here. Hopefully that will change. I'll certainly have plenty to write about once we have a new property and start installing gardens. This winter I may still be an infrequent blogger. I do have a few projects planned to share with you though, so stay tuned!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Pasque Flowers - Pulsatilla

I like pasque flowers, I always have, but it seems largely ignored here for some reason. Pulsatilla is closely related to Anemone and there are about 33 species in the genus. They typically like well-drained (but not necessarily dry) soils in partial to full sun and they are primarily spring bloomers. Flowers come in a range of colors including white, yellow, pink, red, lavender, purple, blue, and near black. Foliage of most species is finely cut and ferny. Flower buds and foliage both emerge with silky hairs in spring. Seed heads are very silky and ornamental in their own right. Plants are usually small, growing under 12" tall and only 15" or so wide.

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Papageno'

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Papageno'

Most commonly used here in the US is Pulsatilla vulgaris which has many color forms and is quite easy to grow in average soils. I currently grow 'Papageno' which is a double flowered form that comes in mixed colors, my specimen happens to be purple. I used to also have an nice single red form, 'Rote Glocke'.

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Papageno'

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Papageno'

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Papageno'

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Rote Glocke'

Probably the second most common species here is Pulsatilla patens (still often sold as Anemone patens) which is native to the US. I typically encounter this as a white form in the trade around here, but it is often lavender and can be found in pink or even yellow forms.

A friend from Europe was kind enough to send me seeds of Pulsatilla alpina var. apiifolia and various Pulsatilla albana forms in 2013. The P. alpina did not do very well, despite having a large amount of seed which germinated well; I believe the seedlings remained too wet. I have one very small specimen in the garden yet, if it survives this winter. The P. albana forms all germinated in 2014 and bloomed in 2015. Pictures don't capture the colors well, some are much more yellow, I will shoot more pics this year in hopes of better color.

Pulsatilla albana

Pulsatilla albana

Pulsatilla albana

Pulsatilla albana

Pulsatilla albana

If you come across Pulsatilla in the garden center, don't pass it up. Even if it's not blooming, young plants grow well and are great in early spring planted in masses. They are fairly small plants that don't take up much room, so plant a bunch of them.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I'm sorry Summer, but it's over between us.  I'm with Autumn now.

Happy fall everyone; Garden Visits 2015 coming soon.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Daylily Season

Last week I headed out to Solaris Farms in Reedsville, WI to view peak daylily season.  The true lilies were in peak bloom as well.  Here're a ton of pics of daylilies for your viewing pleasure.  I've labeled what I could, I did take a bunch of seedling pics and a few that I didn't write the name down and those are unlabeled.  After the lilies I've included some older pics from my gardens as well.  Enjoy!

'Accidental Tourist'

'Addis Ababa'

'Angel's Braid'
'Artificially Enhanced'

'Bad Girls'

'Barn Fire'

'Big Sky'

'Big Sky'

'Blue Ambition'

'Blue Cheese Please'


'Catastrophic Events'

'Catching Lawn Darts'


'Falling Skies'

'Ferengi Gold'

'Flaming Wildfire'

'Foolish Dragon'

'Forty Fourth Parallel'

'Forty Fourth Parallel'

'Gun Steel'

'Gypsy Caravan'

'Heavenly Flight'

'Heavenly Stardust'

'Heavenly Sundog'

'Hold That Tiger'

'House of Misrepresentatives'

'House of Misrepresentatives'

'Imperial Conquest'

'Key West'

'Last Butterfly'

'Lawfully Illegal'

'Lemon Fringed Pastel'

'Mystery Being Written'

'Mystery Meat'

'National Secret'

'Naval Assualt'

Solaris Seedling NB-D1148

'Orange Chucklehead'

'Out of Plumb'

'Paul Voth'

'Planet Claire'

'Point of Divergence'

'Power of Love'

'Quiet Earth'


'Senatorial Seduction'

'Seven Deadly Sins'

'Ships and Giggles'

'Sidewalk Chalk'

'Something in my Teeth'

'Son of Fliver'

'Son of Fliver'

'Spirit Zone'

'Stack the Deck'

'Stenciled Impressions'

'Sunset Proposal'

'Tim Kornder'

'Utopia or Oblivion'

Seedling Field

OT Lily 'American West'

Asiatic LIly 'Bright Eyes'

Oriental Lily 'Gluhwein'

OT Lily 'Holland Beauty'

Asiatic Lily 'Last Dance'

Asiatic Lily 'Pearl Stacey'

Asiatic Lily 'Purple Eye'

Asiatic Lily 'Purple Life'

Asiatic Lily 'Sun Valley'

Trumpet Lily

OT Lily
'Fujita Scale' is one of the more interesting daylilies I've come across.  Its color can be quite different day to day, ranging from dark purple-black to brown-purple or even gray.  It's a Nate Bremer hybrid from Solaris Farms and if you're into purple daylilies like I am, you need this one.  

'Fujita Scale'

'Fujita Scale'
'Fujita Scale'

'Fujita Scale'

'Fujita Scale'

'Golden Zebra'

'Johnny Cash'

'Lyrical Presence'

'Paper Butterfly'

'Regency Heights'

'Ruby Spider'

'Siloam Show Girl'

'Spacecoast Gator Eye'

'Let Loose'
I dabble in hybridizing a little bit as well.  The most interesting plant I've come up with is this seedling from 'Golden Zebra' x 'Peppermint Ice'. 'Peppermint Ice' was the first broken-color daylily on the market and makes some interesting seedlings.  This one looks nicely air-brushed and will be used in hybridizing in the future.  Like 'Fujita Scale', blooms can be different from day to day.
'Golden Zebra' x 'Peppermint Ice'
'Golden Zebra' x 'Peppermint Ice'

'Golden Zebra' x 'Peppermint Ice'