Saturday, April 25, 2015

Plant Names Simplified...and More



























Lapageria rosea


I used to grow Lapageria rosea, and I was aware of the advice to keep the pots on the small size. The ten seedlings that I had grew well for four or five years and reached a height of about six feet. One fall I decided to put them in showy cedar boxes, which were only slightly larger than their one gallon plastic pots. Bad idea: they promptly went south and looked horrible the next spring. They wouldn't die, rather they just sat there with ugly leaves and no blossoms. By the following spring I grew weary and dumped the lot. Of course the photos (above) were from when they were in their prime, and as you can see, some flowered red and others white.

Mrs. Napoleon
The name Lapageria is derived from the maiden-name (Lapagerie), Napoleon's Empress Josephine, which is odd since it was introduced to cultivation by the Englishman William Lobb, and was growing at Kew in 1847.* Lobb collected it in southern Chile along the coastal mountains, and today it is Chile's national flower, known as the “Chilean bellflower.” To the native South Americans (Mapudungun tribe) it is also known as copihue, derived from kopiwe (co-pee-way). It fruits, which the Mapudungun refer to as kopiw, and that is from kopun which means “being upside down.” It is a vine in the Order Liliales, and I find it interesting that it always twines counter-clockwise, from right to left. Certainly there must be at least one contrarian which twines the other direction to impress the ladies. Now there are some colorful cultivars – except they are rarely offered – but I would surely acquire one again if I could.

*Lobb's trip to South America was financed by the Veitch Nursery firm, and they were understandably irked when he sent herbarium specimens and live plants to Hooker at Kew. He was also the plant collector who first sent Sequoiadendron giganteum (“Giant Redwood”) and Araucaria araucana (“Monkey Puzzle Tree”) to England, as well as discovering the rare Pinus torreyana (“Torrey Pine”). Poor Lobb was ill in his latter years, and died alone in a San Francisco hospital from “paralysis,” a euphemism for syphilis.




















Embothrium coccineum


Embothrium coccineum is another Chilean native and it is commonly known as the “Chilean fire bush,” but I must boringly report that the generic name is derived from Greek referring to the structure of its anthers. Wow, that's no fun! In any case, Embothrium is not hardy outdoors in Oregon – except that it is! – judging from Plant Mad Nursery's experience (east of Gresham, Oregon where winter temperatures are not shy to hover near zero degrees F.) Guy and his endearing wife Chiyoko have a good-sized outdoor specimen which is the location of the photos above. Previously I grew the tree in my “non-profit” Greenhouse 20 – the “fun house,” but it reached the top of the structure and I ultimately sold it to a beguiling blonde woman who operates a Seattle-area (USDA zone 8) retail nursery. She was ecstatic to acquire my specimen and I received a sizeable thrill to provide it – a reminder that capitalism can be a win-win situation. Alas, that was ten year ago, and while she is still on-board and buying my plants, somehow I have discontinued with Embothrium...much to my regret.

























Zea mays 'Tricolor'


I have never said my name Talon Buchholz to strangers – without first spelling the Buchholz out: “BUCHHOLZ; yes, two “h's”...no “t” at all – hey, just listen: BUCHHOLZ. That's right, two “h's.” Really I just wish that my name could have been Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays...the latter a fun name – say-hey – that reminds me of the corn plant, Zea mays. Zea is an old Greek name for a kind of corn, and also referred to a foliage fodder for livestock. The specific name mays is a bit more confusing, referring perhaps to the fifth month of the year, or to the early (prime) part of one's life or to a British name for the Hawthorne tree. The origin is probably from Latin maisu, and that from Maia – a Roman goddess derived from the Greek goddess of the same name. Anyway, I have grown corn both as food for my family and also as an ornamental. My cobbs of Z. m. 'Tricolor', the ornamental, didn't develop uniformly, but nonetheless I have enough seeds to supply the entire world until time immemorial. Corn is perhaps the most interesting plant in the world – at least to me – for it is a grain plant domesticated by the indigenous people of America. The Spanish named the corn maiz, and that after the Taino tribe's mahiz. Domestication is thought to have begun around 2500 BC and the crop spread through most of the Americas, and even today it is still the largest grain crop in the Americas. Native Americans were good food gardeners as well, and developed the Three Sisters system. The corn was planted on a mound that would provide support for beans, then squash provided groundcover to stop weeds and inhibit evaporation. I often suppose that Native Americans were more intelligent than we white illegal-aliens are today. Perhaps this evening I will consume Zea mays var. everta (popcorn) with my children.

Strelitzea reginae

Strelitzea juncea


Strelitzea reginae is native to South Africa, and it is commonly known as the “Bird of Paradise.” It was named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who was the wife (and Queen) – hence S. reginae – of England's King George III...errr I mean H.M. King George III. Bird-like flowers arise from boring grassy evergreen foliage, and they emerge from what is called the spathe. They consist of three vivid orange sepals and three blue petals, and most interestingly, the bird-looking spathe provides a perch for sunbirds, a group of nectar-suckers in the Family Nectariniidae which are similar to our American hummingbirds. My experience with Strelitzea reginae is slight, as I have only grown one as a houseplant when I was single...when I was looking for a way to impress girls. Then I was hard-working for a large wholesale nursery, and I filled the company-provided house with tender flora specimens. With my “bird” I remember that the erect spathe had emerged, but at the time I didn't know what that would lead to. Amazingly, I returned home one evening in the summer's afternoon and discovered S. reginae in full-flower. Naturally I called up my then most-hopeful girlfriend and invited her to celebrate with me...but she didn't get what I was talking about, and eventually dumped me anyway.

























Darlingtonia californica


Darlingtonia californica


Darlingtonia californica – from Southern Oregon and northern California, duh – was named for William Darlington (1782-1863), a Pennsylvanian physician, solider (war of 1812), bank president, railroad president, Congressman and oh, besides all of that – a botanist as well. The plant is commonly known as the “California pitcher plant” and was discovered by the botanist William Brackenridge in 1841, then first described by John Torrey in 1853. I don't know if the busy Darlington ever saw a herbarium specimen of Darlingtonia, but certainly he never ventured into Oregon-California to see the plant for himself. I have experienced it in a number of boggy locations, and as a carnivorous plant its unpleasant smell is the plant's strategy to attract insects. Californica is the sole member of the Darlingtonia genus and is in the Family Sarraceniaceae. Sarracenia and Darlingtonia are actually quite easy to grow – contrary to old reports – and the how-to is readily available on the internet.

Coffea arabica


The photo above is of Coffea arabica, taken a few years ago in the conservatory at the Ghent Botanical Garden in Belgium. Hey, excuse me for three minutes...ok, I'm back with a cup of coffee from my new Keurig machine. I am more inspired to write about coffee if I actually have a cup to drink. The word coffee is from Italian caffe, and that from Turkish kahveh, and that from Arabic qahwah. Perhaps all of that derivation is due to the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, one place where it is native. On the other hand, the first evidence of coffee drinking was in the middle of the 15th century in Yemen; then within a hundred years it had spread to the Middle East and most of Africa. Over the course of history leaders of the Muslim faith were wishy-washy about the stimulating effects of coffee, banning it one day, then allowing it the next. It entered Europe via Muslim trade with the Republic of Venice, and eventually the Pope (Clement VIII) got involved and decided that it was acceptable for Catholics to consume it. Divine guidance I'm sure.

Camassia leichtlinii 'Blue Danube'
Camassia leichtlinii 'Sacajawea'


























Meriwether Lewis
I have a patch of Camassia planted by the pond, and I'm lucky they are still around for they suffered a serious setback for a few years when an (ex) employee decided to water them with an herbicide. Because they “looked like weeds” when not in flower. But they prevailed and today they are beginning to bloom. Camassia is a perennial in the Asparagaceae Family, and the species quamash is native to Oregon and Washington. Native Americans would eat the bulbs, in fact it was a staple of their diet, then they would sit around the campfire and pass bad gas. In 1806 Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis and Clark expedition) wrote, “At a short distance, the colour resembles lakes of bright clear water.” The city of Camas in Washington state, along the Columbia River, was named for the plant, and it was the town where my grandmother lived for a great part of her life. The quamash species usually grows about two feet tall, while C. leichtlinii grows to three-to-four feet tall, but other than that I don't know one species from the other. As with many wildflowers, the keen outdoorsman will occasionally find a white flower in the population.

Paris polyphylla

Paris polyphylla var. yunnanense


Linnaeus
The genus Paris was named from Latin par, referring to the “regularity of the parts.” The capital of France was named after the Parisii, a Gallic people who settled on the Ile de la Cite, which is an island in the Seine. The flowering genus was first described by Linnaeus in 1753, and the Trillium-relative is in the Trilliaceae Family. Paris has a wide distribution in Europe, China, Japan and even Iceland, but no doubt it was Paris quadrifolia that Linnaeus had under observation. I have seen P. polyphylla in the wild at about 7,000' elevation in the Himalayan foothills, but I didn't have great success in growing it. The most impressive grower is Far Reaches Farm in northern Washington state, and their success is due to a shade garden heaped with processed horse manure. The photo above of var. yunnanense is from Far Reaches, and I suspect – but don't know – that they collected it in northwest Yunnan themselves.




















Inula ensifolia



























Inula royleana



Inula royleana
Helianthus annuus

Helianthus maximiliani

Inula is a herbaceous perennial – but sometimes an annual – in the daisy family, Asteraceae, and as with Paris, I have seen it in the Himalayan foothills. Interestingly, the name Inula was used by the Romans and is derived by the Helen of Troy myth – or fact – who was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and who was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. She was married to King Menelaus and reigned as the Queen of Laconia, but was then abducted by Paris, the Prince of Troy, and that of course brought about the Trojan War. The association with Helen is vague, but Inula is from Medieval Latin enula campana – from Greek helenion (see-Helen) – plus campanus, meaning “of  the field.” The Helianthus genus, or “sunflower,” is derived from the Greek Helios for “sun” and anthos for “flower.” A fun observation for kids is when they learn that sunflowers, during growth, tilt during the day to face the sun, but upon blooming they stop to do so. This activity is called heliotropism, and it is also fun for children to observe that mature sunflower blossoms usually face east.

Leycesteria formosa


I have a Leycesteria formosa in my backyard and for the most part it prospers, except that this woody shrub has been known to die back in the coldest of winter. I used to grow the cultivar 'Golden Lanterns' – with golden foliage – but it perished one winter, apparently being less hardy than the type. Leycesteria commemorates W. Leycester who was the Chief Justice in Bengal, while the specific name formosa is the old name for Taiwan, a name bestowed by the Portuguese for Formosa insula meaning “beautiful island.” The name of Taiwan originates from Tayuan or Tayoan meaning “foreigners” in the Siraya language, as the southwestern inhabitants of the island referred to Chinese settlers. Back to the plant, L. formosana is commonly known as the “Himalayan honeysuckle” or the “Himalayan pheasant berry.” I don't know for sure, but I suppose the “pheasant” connotation is due to the metallic purple-blue berries of the Leycesteria seed, the same color as the male Himalayan pheasant, Lophophorus impejanus. I have not seen Leycesteria formosana in the wild, but I did stumble upon the pheasant at 10,000' elevation in the region of Mt. Makalu (27,765 feet) in Nepal, and indeed, the pheasant is the national bird of Nepal. The bird, while truly beautiful, is said to be quite dumb, and two or three villagers can surround one, close in and grab their dinner. It doesn't matter if the pheasant is rare and endangered, for the locals themselves are also endangered, and any meal could be their last.

The origins of words – their etymology – has long fascinated me, especially in association with plants. I am a very late-comer to the internet, but for many years I collected plant-name books – I must have twenty at least – and I pull them off the shelf from time to time. It must weary some of you Flora Wonder Blog readers, but if you have gotten this far I guess you can tolerate my hobby. Today's blog was inspired by Plant Names Simplified by A.T. Johnson and H.A. Smith, not that this blog itself is necessarily inspiring. The little paperback was first published in England in 1931 but I have a later edition. I don't remember where I bought it – here or in England – but I notice that it is priced at £4.95p. The book provides endless fun, and one learns that Musa (the banana) is of uncertain origin...but possibly “in honor of Antonius Musa, a freed-man of Emperor Augustus, whose physician he became; the Arabic and Egyptian name is Mauz and this is considered by some to be the basis of the Latin Musa.” Great, and even though I probably forget 95% of what I read, I love it for at least a moment.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Companion Plants in the Rhododendron Garden, Part 2




A large Acer palmatum en route to the Rhododendron Species Garden

Winding path in the Rhododendron Species Garden


Last week I discussed plants at the Rhododendron Species Foundation, those that were not Rhododendrons. There is such a wealth of companion plants, that if all the Rhododendrons disappeared the garden would still be worth my time, even with the three and one-half hours it takes to drive there. Besides, there would then be room for more maples, ferns and other great plants.





















Acer circinatum 'Burgundy Jewel'


Speaking of maples, there are two wonderful cultivars – Acer macrophyllum 'Mocha Rose' and Acer circinatum 'Burgundy Jewel' – that I know they have because both were selfishly donated by me. Selfish, I say, because I like them in my garden and I know they will look good in theirs too, and also because both are from species native to Washington state. 'Burgundy Jewel' is a purple-leaf “vine maple,” and wisely they planted it in full sun, for in too much shade the leaves would be green. The original seedling was raised in Oregon at Drake's Crossing Nursery, and unbeknownst to them it was shipped when dormant with other young seedlings to Gordy Halgren of Peacedale Nursery. Wasn't Mr. Halgren pleasantly surprised? I was surprised and delighted too when he sent scions of the find to me.

























Acer macrophyllum 'Mocha Rose'



The original 'Mocha Rose' seedling

It took no special skill for Halgren to notice a purple-leaf individual in a group of otherwise green seedlings, nor did it when I pulled out what was to become 'Mocha Rose' from a group of green Acer macrophyllum. It was screaming at me, “Hey, you lucky man, Flora has bestowed a maple gift!” The original seedling, pictured above, grows at about one-fourth the rate of the species, but grafted plants will naturally grow a little faster. Even non-plant-people are aroused by the unusual spring foliage, and as I have related before, the original 'Mocha Rose' is planted near our loading dock and pot-bellied truck drivers have lumbered out of their rigs and walked over to inspect it.

























Acer forrestii...or?


The trunk of Acer forrestii was shining bright green. This Chinese species was introduced by the great plant-hunter George Forrest in 1906 from Yunnan province. However, the foliage photo (above) does not look like the tri-lobed leaves of Acer forrestii that one sees on the internet, but then that tree was young when I took the photo twenty five years ago at RBG Edinburgh. Certainly they would have correct identification on a fellow Scotsman's introduction? For research I went to De Beaulieu's An Illustrated Guide to Maples, but he doesn't acknowledge Acer forrestii. At one time the species was listed as Acer grosseri Pax var. forrestii, but De Beaulieu doesn't list the grosseri species either. My next visit to the Species Garden I will study their Acer forrestii in more detail, as I now wonder if their tree is correctly identified. Furthermore, some internet photos show a yellowish trunk with cream-white striations, not the bright green as in the photos above. In the meantime, I invite a knowledgeable Scotsman from Edinburgh to check and research their garden's tree – it was planted close to a walkway and a bench was nearby.

Arisaema sikokianum


Arisaema sikokianum is a woodland herbaceous perennial from the Japanese island of Shikoku.* The genus name is derived from Latin aris, and that from Greek arum and haema for “blood.” In April the flower – a sex organ called a spadix – emerges along with two three-to-five lobed leaves. As the photo above reveals, the smooth white spadix is hovered above by a dark red-purple hood – the pitcher – known as the spathe. Yes, it does look rather like a cobra. This aroid (Araceae) member is easy to grow as long as the soil is well-drained, and I find it best to plant in a location with afternoon shade. I have never used the common name – “Jack in the Pulpit” – and I am not sure how it got that name. However, Native Americans used the eastern USA species A. triphyllum diagnostically to determine if an ill person would live or die. The red seeds were dropped into still water, and if they floated the patient would recover; if they sank the ill would get worse or die. It's true that Arisaema contains a degree of poison, but if cooked or dried it also provides some medicinal value, as in a cure for ringworm, abscesses, snake bites and arthritis. In older times Arisaema was considered a contraceptive, where a single dose would prevent conception for a week, except that a double dose would cause permanent sterility. So, focus on the dose for your best family plan; but abstinence would work too.



*Shikoku is the smallest of Japan's “mainland” islands, located south of (the largest) Honshu – home of Tokyo, Kyoto and Mount Fuji – and east of the southern-most island of Kyushu. The characters of the name Shikoku mean shi for “four” and koku for “country.” My Japanese wife was puzzled when I asked her, “what is the meaning of Shikoku?” She replied that there are four prefectures – to us, counties – in Shikoku, but I countered with “C'mon, there must be a more primitive origin for the designation, for prefectures implies a modern political description? I will report in a future blog if Haruko can come up with more information.

Coelogyne mossiae


Coelogyne mossiae was in fragrant flower in the conservatory. The genus contains about 196 species, and they are native to tropical Asia and the Pacific Islands. I have read that the various species are used by breeders for hybridization, and also that Coelogyne will cross with allied genera such as Pleione, Pholidota and Dendrochilum. Sounds like endless fun for orchid growers. The species mossiae was named for Mrs. Moss – as the suffix iae indicates a female – who was an English orchid enthusiast in the 1800's. Mossiae is native to southern India where it is extremely sparse, and one orchid expert – certainly not me – claims that almost all mossiae photos are of hybrids.

























Lysichiton camtschatcensis


Flowering in a boggy area was Lysichiton camtschatcensis, commonly called the “Asian skunk cabbage” or the “white skunk cabbage.” It is native to Kamchatka – hence the specific name – and also to Japan* and Sakhalin. The western USA skunk cabbage, L. americanus, has a yellow flower that stinks to high heaven, and the distinctive odor attracts pollinating flies and beetles. Interestingly, L. camtschatcensis can vary to the degree of its malodor, with some plants stinking putridly, some sweetly and some with no smell at all. I would like to know more about this, but the one specimen I had in my garden died years ago, apparently from drying out. In Japan L. cam. is known as mizubasho, or “water banana” because it is similar in appearance to the “Japanese banana,” Musa basjoo. The Musa was originally thought to have originated from Japan's Ryuku islands – where it was first described – but now botanists know that it originated in southern China, with wild populations existing in Sichuan province. Back to the Lysichiton, I don't know if Asian bears care about the Kamchatka species, but western bears indulge in the americanus species for food, and also as a laxative after hibernating. Native Americans used it to cure burns, sores and swelling, but if eaten it can cause irritation to the tongue, throat and intestines, so don't add it to your spring salad. In the 1990's I saw the plant in Alaska and I was astonished that all parts were double the size of those from Oregon, due to Alaska's longer summer daylight.

*My wife has visited – and I wish to someday also – the Oze National Park which is Japan's largest highland marsh, and is an area loaded with thousands of L. camtschatcensis, as well as other precious plants and animals. Apparently the marsh was formed during the Ice Age about 10,000 years ago, and so plants that evolved in the Ice Age are still growing there now. Boardwalks wind through the area with hundreds of tourists per day, and Haruko reports that the fragrance of the Asian skunk cabbage was deliciously sweet. In summer, after the L. camtschatcensis, Hemerocallis dumortieri var. esculenta blooms yellow and attracts additional tourists, then in fall people return to enjoy the red leaves of the "mizubasho." The species name of the "day lily" honors Barthelemy Dumortier (1797-1878), a Belgium-born botanist who published a complete national flora, the Florula Belgica. He helped to establish the Brussels Botanic Garden which I was privileged to visit in 2011, and it's a wonderful place. Furthermore, some consider this great statesman and botanist to be the true discoverer of cell division.



















Persicaria bistorta 'Superba'


Persicaria is a genus with over fifty species commonly known as “knotweed” or “snakeweed.” It's not a plant you would want in a small garden because it can spread vigorously, but as a planting around a pond it can be nice. The Species Garden had Persicaria bistorta 'Superba' and with enough room it wasn't harming anything. The species is native to Europe and also to northern and western Asia, and bistorta refers to the twisted appearance of the root. The cultivar 'Superba' has larger flowers (pink) than the type and it received the RHS Award of Garden Merit. We have an Oregon weed, Polygonatum persicaria – some consider it Rumex crispus – which we call “dock,” and it is always growing near to nettles, Urtica dioica. My hiking partner Reuben, known to blog readers as my “grandfather,” has frequently commented that if you bump into a nettle patch, you can cure the itch by rubbing dock on it. He forgets that I've heard the story ten times before, so once I challenged him to prove it. He accepted, touching his right arm on a nettle while he rubbed dock with his left hand. It continued to sting anyway, and I popped off with jokes for the next hour until we went our separate ways.

Ypsilandra thibetica


I bought a pot of Ypsilandra thibetica from the sales area. It is a cute evergreen perennial in the Asparagaceae family, and it features pretty fragrant flowers. Ypsilandra thibetica is fairly new to cultivation although the genus was first described in 1888. That is another reason I like the Species Garden, because on every visit there I have seen something new. My clump begins to bloom in early March, so it's nice to have a formal end to winter.





















Saxifraga stolonifera 'Maroon Beauty'


Saxifraga stolonifera 'Maroon Beauty' was growing in the stumpery, and I don't remember seeing it before. It is known as the “Strawberry Saxifrage” as you can see from the photo. I look forward to seeing its pretty flowers later in the season, as they rise daintily above the leaves. I know where I can buy one and I will in a few weeks. The species name is due to its red-running stolons*, which are prostrate stems that produce new plants from its tips like a strawberry. The leaf veins of 'Maroon Beauty' on the upper surface are lined with white, adding further interest, but be sure to look under the leaf for it is pink. The species is an evergreen perennial from China, and it used to be known as Saxifraga sarmentosa. I have probably said it before, but the generic name saxifraga is from Latin saxum for “rock” or “stone” and frangere for “to break.”

*A stolon is from Latin stolo which means “shoot” or “scion.”

Magnolia sprengeri 'Claret Cup'

Magnolia sprengeri 'Claret Cup'


E.H. Wilson's first expedition to China was sponsored by the Veitch Nursery firm, and his  priority was to find and collect Davidia involucrata, and to “not waste time” on anything else. He found the Davidia, but he collected many other wonderful trees, one of them being Magnolia sprengeri. Wilson accidentally mixed up two varieties: one with white blossoms, now named var. elongata; and the other with pink-to-red blossoms, now called var. sprengeri. Actually he didn't “discover” Magnolia sprengeri – herbarium material had been collected previously by Silvestre, an Italian missionary – and then officially named and described by Renato Pampanini. Mr. P. honored Carl Ludwig Sprenger (1846-1917), a German botanist, but what is most interesting about Sprenger is that he was a brilliant botanist and an accomplished nurseryman. Those two careers are rarely combined. He spent his plant years in Naples, Italy, but the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius (April 4, 1906) buried his plants under volcanic ash, destroying many of his specimens. Hate when that happens, but his outlook improved when he was appointed supervisor of Kaiser Wilhelm's garden in Corfu. Then more bad luck when he was arrested in the middle of WWI by the Serbian army and died as a prisoner of war. Back to the Magnolia, and sorry for the wandering narrative, the Species Garden contained the cultivar 'Claret Cup in flower, a fragrant blossom pink-purple on the outside and white inside.

Alchemilla alpina

Alchemilla alpina


Again, the joy of this garden is to discover something that I know nothing about, then I go home to my F.P.C. – Flora Processing Center – to acquire more information. Such was the case with Alchemilla alpina, commonly known as the “Alpine Lady's Mantle.” It is a herbaceous perennial native to Europe, Iceland and southern Greenland, and I would like to have it in my garden. I think the palmate leaves are particularly handsome, but again, look underneath for they are very hairy. Then in June through October the lime-green flowers develop with four sepals but no petals. Besides that the flowers are hermaphrodite and the seeds develop without being fertilized.* Wow!

*The botanical term for this phenomena is apomixis, from Greek “away from” and “mixing.” Apomictically produced offspring are genetically identical to the parent. Each lineage of apomictic plants has the characteristics of a true species, and can be considered a microspecies.

Gaultheria miqueliana

Friedrich Miquel
The genus Gaultheria was named in 1735 by Linnaeus to honor Dr. Gaulthier, a Quebec physician. G. procumbens is an east-coast American native, while in the west we have G. shallon. G. miqueliana is native to Japan, and amazingly, also to Alaska. The specimen in the Species Garden looked as good as all get-out; and again, I would like to have it in my garden. Commonly known as “Miquel's spicy-wintergreen,” it was named to honor Friedrich Miquel (1811-1871), a professor of botany at Utrecht, The Netherlands. I visited the botanic garden in Utrecht fifteen years ago – one of the oldest in the world – and somewhere I have a photo of the old manor house, unfortunately in slide form, that is known as Miquel's House.







Steve Hootman
Atsuko Gibson


























I'm certain that the Flora Wonder Blog will return to this “Rhododendron” garden, at least by next year if not earlier. Besides, it's sort of a therapy for me so I don't go insane with my own company. Hats off to Steve Hootman, Director – if that is his official position – and to his knowledgeable assistant Atsuko Gibson, and to all of the employees and volunteers. Garden well done!