June 2023!

And just like that, it’s already June. And what a dry start! We haven’t had rain in weeks and I’ve already had to start watering all the plants in containers and the newly planted things in the ground. I don’t recall it ever being this hot and dry so early in the season. The soil is already bone dry in several parts of the yard. Ominous.

Let’s switch focus to the good things in the garden. The plant itself isn’t much to look at, but Calyptridium umbellatum rewards those of us who take a closer look. It’s a common plant from  the mountains of Oregon and California that’s been growing happily in my rock garden for the last year or so.

Plant and flowers of Calytptridium monospermum in the rock garden
Calyptridium monospermum with flowers radiating out from the center
Closeup of whitish-green Calyptridium monospermum sepals
Clusters of intricate , rippled greenish-white sepals on May 17, 2023 - IMHO this is the best stage
Pink petals of the flowers beginning to emerge from the rippled, greenish-white sepals of Calyptridium monospermum
The pinkening begins: Flowers beginning to emerge on May 22, 2023
Pink flowers emerging from between green rippled sepals of Calytpridium monospermum
May 30, 2023
Pink flowers of Calyptridium monospermum
June 3, 2023, Note the tiny little purple anthers sticking out!

Other beautiful things in the garden include this golden green moss that I wasn’t able to identify. Found growing on one of the concrete blocks in the yard.

Although not scented, this is my second favorite peony, Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae from Windcliff Plants. An ethereal,  pristine white. Ephemeral too. Flowers lasted less than a week, but the leaves are still lovely.

Nearby, the unrolling tongues of a hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium). I would be very grumpy if there was an actual hart in our garden. This one is better.

I was pleased to see that both of my Oplopanax horridus plants from cuttings had made it through the winter. Here is one of them. I took the cuttings from some branches that broke off in the February 2021 ice storm (here). So, although I can’t get the seeds to germinate, at least now I know that I can get more from cuttings!

The original plant, purchased ten years ago from Dancing Oaks Nursery. Such a stunning native plant!

The Oplopanax must have been hungry, underneath I found a skeletonized leaf of some poor, unfortunate victim.

Last picture, my unexpected success propagating Begonia bowerae from leaf cuttings. I picked a few leaves off, dusted them with rooting hormone and pressed them into potting soil. Presto! Baby begonias! My original plant is slowly reverting to an ugly all-purplish-brown leaf with no distinct markings, so I am glad to see that the babies have the markings that I want.

Made some progress in the garden today. Installed two fence posts and two fence panels (yay!) and working on a new project that should make it into a future blog post. Hope you are all being happily productive too!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Jane / MulchMaid

    That very cool Calyptridium umbellatum reminds me of a few Eriogonum species, such as umbellatum. Like a ripply lollipop on a stick!

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      I like Eriogonums a lot too! They are both beautiful natives with unique floral structure. Hoping to learn how to propagate more.

  2. hb

    What wonderful, out-of-the-ordinary plants. Every one of them is fascinating. Reading about them–the Oplopanax leaves defend themselves with “noxious and irritating spines”–whoa! Beautiful foliage, though. The Begonia is lovely. It must be overwintered indoors in your climate?

    Sorry to hear your weather is not great. Enjoy working on your new projects!

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      I am very happy with my Oplopanax. Haven’t found the spines that irritating upon casually brushing by, especially in comparison to the non-native blackberry vines that are rampant around these parts.

      Yes, the begonia is a houseplant. I’ve got a small collection at work that I rotate in and out of my office so that it feels more inviting to be there.

  3. Anna K

    Oh, I love the green stage of the Calyptridium umbellatum, but then I was always a sucker for green flowers. Your begonia propagation is intriguing – I might have to try that…

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      It was surprising to have been so successful at propagating the begonia. I had tried a few times without rooting hormone and the leaves rotted quickly, but this batch worked fine. And, I heard this method only works on certain types of begonias, like rex begonias and rhizomatous ones.

  4. danger garden

    I have that same moss growing in several places around the garden and love the pattern it makes! Beautiful peony and the Calyptridium monospermum is so cool!

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      It’s a pretty moss. My first time noticing it because it is in an out-of-the-way part of the garden.

  5. Kris P

    I somehow missed this post. I love the new-to-me Calyptridium monospermum. And I’m of the belief that every peony must be celebrated. I have a Majorcan peony that blooms every few years – unfortunately, there’s no sign this is going to be one of them despite the bountiful rain we had.

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      Peonies are pretty great. I’ve been surprised at how drought tolerant they are. Tough, durable plants.

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