Chelone lyonii, Pink turtle head – A lovely native species offering autumn blooms

The beautiful Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’ also goes by the common name of pink turtlehead. It blooms from July straight through to October, so it’s a terrific addition to any garden.

Chelone comes from the Greek word meaning tortoise because each blossom obviously resembles, without too much imagination, a turtle’s head.

A great perennial for late summer colour that doesn’t much like excessive heat, it will tolerate full sun if its feet are kept cool. The flowers are primarily pollinated by bees, but the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will often visit them as well. The foliage of this plant is known to be bitter so it’s avoided by Deer and other herbivores. In my own experience the deer have yet to touch the Chelone, so this species is something to cheer about by any rural gardener!

Lucky to have this plant in my garden due to a lovely share from another local gardener, in the six or so years since it’s established, the plant has multiplied from one single flowering stem into more than a dozen. With its strong stems, the clump doesn’t flop over after a rainstorm.

It’s worth noting that there’s a white flowering species called Chelone glabra that I’d like to get my hands on! A host plant for the endangered Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, and like their pink cousin they too will thrive in damp locations and shady glades.

It’s my hope to collect many seeds this year. I’ll be able to offer them online at my Etsy shop. The pollinators did their jobs well, seed heads are forming, and with a little luck the mild weather we’re currently experiencing means they’ll ripen before the first hard frost. Then I can get my hands on some! Culture/Info:

  • Foliage: Herbaceous smooth-textured.
  • Requires consistently moist soil.
  • Propagation Methods: By dividing the root-ball or from seed.
  • Direct sow outdoors in fall or early spring.
  • Stratify seeds if sowing indoors.
  • Seed Collecting: Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds.
  • Non-patented native perennial
  • Height: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Thanks for visiting. Happy Autumn! : )

Early spring… gardening à la carte

Once the snow starts melting here in the Haliburton Highlands, it’s like opening Pandora’s Box.

If you’ll forgive me for pointing out the obvious, there’s no stopping spring, but seriously who would want to?!

Life in central Ontario Canada, (zone 4a to a Canadian & zone 3 to an American), means patiently observing (not always), and enjoying (always), other gardeners online progressions of this season.

Living vicariously might be another way of stating this!

For those of you who do live in milder climes, we’re playing catch-up here, (weather-wise), as most living in the rest of this continent, except of course those located farther north, have been experiencing growth in their plots for some time.

One of my yearly rituals, (as that’s exactly what this has become. but I’m likely not alone in this), is to inspect the garden once most of the ground is reviving from its snowy grip. Not only do I see what’s popping up, but it really offers me insight into any damage that may have occurred, not only from the force of winter itself, but any neighboring creatures who co-habitat the property.

Mostly I’m speaking of Voles, but that’s a blog post (rant) for another day!

Sharing here is two-fold – Interested like minds see what happening in this neck of the woods, and it’s a visual compendium to look back upon from year to year. I note any changes that have taken place throughout the property, and this also prompts me with ideas, (sometimes outrageous/unrealistic ones) on what I’d like to continue with/change this coming year.

Many bulbs are shooting up and the daffs are not in flower yet, but crocuses are strutting their stuff, as are the blue scilla.

I was happy to see the forsythia in flower. It didn’t seem happy last year so it was relocated it to a sunnier space. It’s currently rewarding me by way of golden blooms.

A tree partially fell down last year and as you can see, the woodpeckers were all over it! Looks a bit like a totem pole hewn by a beak. Perhaps a flowering vine of some sort will be well suited to that spot! Methinks it has ‘trellis’ written all over it.

In any case, this is yesterday’s garden tromp à la Wall Flower Studio, the garden, not the shop! Pending publishing this post, I shall be out the door for another adventure.

Was a glorious spring day here, and I’m hoping it was for you, too!

How to grow, pollinate and harvest seeds from an amaryllis – It’s very easy to do!!

amaryllis-vittata-february-2015pistil-and-stigma-for-pollinating-the-amaryllis-karen-sloanPollinating and saving seeds from Amaryllis is very simple. All you need is a light touch.

Step 1: Collect some pollen, (gently), on your finger from the stamen. (see next photo)
Step 2: Dust it lightly on the stigma.
This should be done when the stigma (Pistil) is completely open.

Just a note: Some people use a paint brush to transfer the pollen, but this is not a requirement if you’re very gentle.

 

 

I don’t pollinate any flower with its own pollen. I’ll use the pollen from one flower to pollinate another .

seed-pod-developing-on-the-amaryllis-karen-sloan-wall-flower-studio
Unripe seed pod

This is a seed pod that develops not long after, from the pollinated flower that dies back.

Let it mature and turn brown. Then the seed head is ready to harvest.

amaryllis-seed-pod-opening-copyright-karen-sloan-wall-flower-studio
Seed pod is ready to harvest.

 

 

 

 

Many people ask me how to bring an Amaryllis  into bloom again…  Here’s my advice:

Don’t dig up your bulbs and stick them in the closet in the fall.  Don’t do it. It doesn’t happen that way in nature! Why anyone started promoting such fiction, I’ll never know.

Seriously, I can’t tell you how much this myth irritates me, and every year I see gardening articles perpetuating this falsehood, repeating it verbatim like parrots, likely by writers who haven’t actually accomplished what they’re proposing you to do..

Because of that, it’s no wonder so many people tell me they’ve given up growing these beauties and can’t get a bulb to re-flower the next year. Purely because something so simple has been made to seem so very complicated…. There’s my rant for today!

amaryllis-seeds-karen-sloan-wall-flower-studio
Freshly harvested, plump amaryllis seeds

In any case, bulbs have an internal clock that works very well, with or without our help.

As long as the flower stalks are allowed to die back naturally after flowering, and there has been sufficient water, light and food over the course of the year, (I only give them a bit of very diluted coffee or tea once a month), then you have the secret to getting them to flower again.

amaryllis-wfsMy amaryllis is 130 years old.

It was my originally my great-great grandmother’s plant, a true heirloom, and I cherish it!

It blooms every year, and sometimes twice. I can tell you, it has NEVER seen the inside of a closet!

Treat it as you would any houseplant, all year long, but ease up on the watering in November.

Don’t let your plant completely dry out, but water it once per month until a flower bud starts to emerge. Then water every 10 days or so. After the flowers finish, let the stalks die back naturally. This is very important as this is what provides the bulb with the energy to produce a flower next year… 

If you don’t like the look of the plant while it’s in this semi-dormant state, put it in a room where it’s not so visible. Leaves will die back too, and watering should be lessened again ‘til  mid March when the sun gets higher in the sky, and you’ll see an abundance of new foliage. Water more often, as the cycle has begun again.

Amaryllis vittatum - Wall Flower Studio 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall Flower Studio business logo square