Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Unusual Plants from the Garden of Dr. Darrel Apps

Sometimes when I see something so fantastical, so extraordinary that it is completely beyond my comprehension, I imagine what people might have thought when first seeing a rhinoceros or a coelacanth. This feeling doesn't happen often for me in gardens, but every so often, yeah, it does.

I had just spent and hour looking over the daylilies in the breeding program of Dr. Darrel Apps when he calls on the phone and tells me I simply must come over and take a look at his clivia. It has five blooming stalks. This one is an orange one. Darrel has a yellow clivia and an orange clivia of enormous proportions.

I accused Marilyn and Darrel of spoofing me with fake flowers and had to rub several of the stems and blooms between my fingers just to be sure.

Equally amazing was this trumpet vine. I believe this is the first bloom I have seen, although Darrel said it had bloomed last year. I stopped talking in mid-sentence to check out this one. Dr. Apps told me it is truly hardy to zone 6 and growing here doesn't do it justice, but he couldn't help himself and had to bring it from NJ when he moved home to WI.

He told me there is a selected cultivar name 'Morning Sun'. I can only imagine what this vine would look like covered in these blooms that look nothing like the campsis radicans grown almost invasively here. Other than the leaf structure and color, they seem to have nothing in common.

Darrel can never say too many good things about the calamagrostis Karl Foerster. He tells me their are, in his opinion, just about five really good grasses for the upper tier of the United States. This is one. He also really likes the panicum 'Dewey Blues'. 'Elijah Blue' the blue fescue is another he feels is good. He hasn't mentioned the others, but my choices would be the carex 'Ice Dance' and the miscanthus purpurea - purple flame grass. I also like the panicum 'Heavy Metal' because of its uniform seed heads. He grows northern sea oats in his yard for winter flower arrangemens, so a good bet he prefers that one over my preference for the miscanthus.

A couple daylilies from Dr. Apps' breeding program. I asked him their name. He would be miffed that I've forgotten, but they are too pretty to exclude.

Dr. Apps, daylily hybridizer and promoter, has often told me that gardeners that only grow daylilies are "boring", that they limit themselves and are missing out on the really vast experience of gardening.

Dr. Apps is not one of those people.

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