Monday, May 10, 2010

Field Trip: Chicago Botanic Gardens 4/28/10, Part 3

In late April, the CBG comes alive with beautiful spring flowers. I saw tulips, daffodils, and blooming crabapples aplenty. Hostas and ferns were unfurling in the shade. But for the final installment documenting this particular visit to the gardens, I thought I'd show some of the more unusual plants I saw there.

Primula veris 'Sunset Shades,' also known as Cowslip Primrose. I find the tubular flowers and subtle colors an interesting contrast to the vivid colors and open flower shape of the primroses sold everywhere in the early spring.

Fritillaria imperialis. I don't suppose these are all that unusual, as I've seen the bulbs for sale in local garden centers. I've yet to see them in anyone's garden, though. I love them, and I'd love to try them myself.

Until this visit to the gardens, I'd never seen anything from the genus Echium before, at least not that I'd noticed. And believe me, I think I would have noticed plants that look like these:

Echium candicans. These were only a couple of feet tall.

Echium pininana. These, on the other hand, were about seven feet tall.

Echium wildpretii. These were somewhere in between the previous two in height.

Another view of Echium wildpretii

To me, the three look something that would grow in a garden on an alien world. (Actually, they are native to the islands of Madeira, La Palma and Tenerife, respectively.)

And of course, no visit to the CBG is complete without a visit to the ducks. The plants in the water garden hadn't really gotten started yet, so the ducks weren't hanging out in their usual spot. But I managed to spy one in the pond while admiring a crabapple:

A male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). His mate was with him, but I didn't get a shot of her.

A closer view

Note the shadow of the bridge, and of your blogger.


mr_subjunctive said...

I saw Fritillaria on someone else's blog recently too. They seem nice enough; I wonder why they're not more widely grown. There must be a reason.

Ivynettle said...

Apparently, they stink. I've never noticed it myself (but then I've only ever seen them in botanical gardens myself), but that's what I think I've read.

Ficurinia said...

It's great to see the 'Sunset Shades' in bloom! I have some I grew from seed last year and they made it through the winter so I can include them in the garden finally.

Karen715 said...

@Mr.Subjunctive: I've heard that they are kind of temperamental, in that they have a brief window for planting (the bulbs don't store well) and rot easily if not planted correctly.

@Ivynettle: I've heard that the bulbs themselves stink, but not necessarily the plants. I got fairly close (they were in a raised bed) and took a lot of pictures, and didn't notice any odor.

@Ficurinia: Good look with the Primulas. I really liked those a lot, more than any others I've seen.

CactusMcHarris said...

It is true, then, that a visit to the CBG is all it's quacked up to be?

Thanks for sharing, Karen!

I've never grown Fritillaria (I think it's too cold here?), but I can say that my Muscari bloomed this year.

Karen715 said...

@CactusMcHarris: Welcome!

I love Muscari; if you plant enough, you can have a nice river of blue running through your garden.

I think Fritillaria imperialis is hardy to USDA zone 4.