On a dreary November day, with the golden tamaracks providing the only colour in the landscape, the interior of the hoop house is only a couple of degrees warmer (still quite chilly) but colourful fall leaves still linger. The brightest colour comes from the leaves of Wild Geranium. I like the green and red carpet of Prairie Smoke. The lovely soft apricots of Bowman’s Root have mostly faded to brown but one plant is still glowing.
It is difficult to convey in a photo the great charm of Small-flowered Sundrops (Oenothera perennis). I was heartened recently when some discerning customers at the nursery made a bee-line to it.
Compared to the enormous luminous flowers of Ozark Sundrops (Oenothera macrocarpa), or the great flower masses of citrine yellow of Common Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa), the flowers of Small-flowered Sundrops are indeed small. However, in a wildflower setting, where its companions might be Hairy Beardtongue or Long-leaved Bluets, the Pointillism-like effect of small dots of brilliant yellow is exactly right.
Beaux Arbres’s stock of Small-flowered Sundrops is from locally-sourced seeds. The plant makes small mound as wide as it tall, studded with brilliant yellow flowers in early summer. The fall foliage is a vivid red. The plant is more tolerant of light shade than you might expect from an Oenothera, sometimes found in open glades in woods.
Another successful sale at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden! Thanks to all the FWG volunteers who put on this wonderful event and thanks to all our customers, some new, some familiar faces.
If you were not able to get to the FWG on Saturday morning, Beaux Arbres has an even greater selection of native plants available at the nursery. Please phone (819-647-2404) or message, to confirm we are open. We are open any time we are there.
Our next events are not until August: the Pontiac Garden and Gifts Tour on the 4th and 5th and our own Open Garden Day on Sunday, the 26th.
I now have time to do the long neglected task of actual GARDENING at Beaux Arbres, although propagation still continues. I will post about new and interesting species throughout the summer.
Michael is planning some basketry workshops at the farm this summer.
We have always tried to have some genuinely rare and/or unusual plants for the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale . This year we have some new and very special species.
We are keeping a close eye on our pots of seed-grown Eastern Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia). This species is not locally native; it occurs in Canada in Manitoba, with a wider distribution in the U.S.A. Beautiful and distinctive, Shooting Star is on the logo of the North American Rock Garden Society. Shooting Stars are spring ephemerals, which is to say, the entire plant disappears after flowering, to spend the summer as an underground tuber. The short period in growth means they are slow to develop. We have been growing ours for three years now and hope some will be up to salable size in time for Mothers’ Day..
New for 2018
Rattlesnake Master Eryngium yuccifolium – odd mace-like flowers.
Closed Gentian Gentiana clausa – a white-flowered garden form, 4-year old plants. You can expect them to flower well this September in a damp spot in your garden.
Ohio Goldenrod Solidago ohionensis – well-behaved, flat-topped goldenrod from moist, calcareous soils, adaptable to ordinary sunny gardens. Pictured above, growing wild along Lake Huron shoreline.
New Plants for Shade
Wild Geranium I have a few of this popular flower for light shade or woodland edge. Unfortunately, many of my small plants of this species have not recovered from the winter. I hope to have more available for the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Sale in June.
Dog Violet A nice little plant for damp shade. Grows from central crown and does not spread into lawns.
Kidney-leaved Violet Grows in shade in damp, shady sites.
White Bear Sedge Carex albursina – an evergreen forest-floor sedge with relatively broad, deep green leaves. Limited supply.
Twinflower Linnaea borealis var. americana – beautifully fragrant pink bells in pairs above a low, evergreen carpet in cool, moist, acidic organic soil. From cuttings.
Some popular and special species which we introduced in previous years will be back again: Dwarf Canadian Primrose Primula mistassinica, Broad-leaved Sedge Carex platyphylla, Blue-stemmed Goldenrod Solidago caesia (a lovely clumping goldenrod for light shade) and American Spikenard Aralia racemosa, among many others.
This is a hectic time for me, trying to get the stock ready for our first big sale of the spring, the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale, traditionally on Mothers’ Day, in Ottawa. This will be our fourth year as a vendor at this sale. We now have enough experience to predict that the Weather Gods will provide an especially foul brand of weather for the event. (Hey, prove us wrong!)
We had hoped our new hoop house will help us to bring well-grown plants, showing some colour in their buds, to this sale. Ours is not a heated greenhouse – we were not trying to get too far ahead of the season. The idea was to have the plants only a week or so ahead, without forcing them so much that you have to worry about hardening them off before you can plant them outside. In this exceptionally chilly spring, we seem to be just treading water. However, growth is so rapid this time of year that a few days of sunny warmth, or a few shivery nights, makes a great deal of difference to how the plants display themselves by Mothers Day.
To bring your Spring Wildflower Gardener’s Anticipation Frenzy to a fever pitch, you can download our Spring 2018 Species Availability List: Rare and Unusual Sale 2018.
The cute little thing in the picture is Common Bluets or Quaker Ladies.
The Beaux Arbres website has undergone some major additions this past couple of weeks. I have created description pages for many of the species we are propagating. This is a work in progress and will always be a work in progress, as I intend to keep adding new species to my gardening palette, and yours.
I hope that our on-line information on species will be helpful to, for example, folks at sales, who – well-versed in using their phones to find information – might want to see a photo of a plant in bloom or get some other information about one of our plants. Please visit our site and check the listings from the Plants menu — I would appreciate feedback. Thanks.
Getting excited about spring? Looking forward to all the wonderful seeds at Seedy Saturday?
Beaux Arbres will be bringing more than 70 species of seeds to two local Seedy Days. To really whet your appetite for wildflower seeds, we have now posted a PDF of our seeds for you to browse in advance. Download Beaux Arbres Seeds
This list reflects what we will be bringing to Ottawa Seedy Saturday on March 3rd. Some of our seed varieties are in very limited supply. We may run out of some varieties quickly.
We also have Gift Certificates available, which can be redeemed for plants at the spring sales in Ottawa or at our nursery. The Rare and Unusual Plant Sale at the Central Experimental Farm is on Mothers’ Day. Just sayin’.