Sunday, July 1, 2007

Stipa tenuissima

Stipa tenuissima known in English as "angel hair", "Mexican feather grass", "Mexican needle grass", "ponytails", or "silky thread grass", and in French as cheveux d'ange, is a perennial native to parts of the southwestern United States and Mexico. Not surprisingly, it is not hardy in Toronto.

These beautiful clumps of Mexican feather grass dancing in the breeze were growing at Toronto Botanical Garden.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red': flowers

Penstemon digitalis, known in English as smooth penstemon, foxglove penstemon, or foxglove beardtongue and in French as penstémon digitalis is a perennial native to eastern North America. Like foxglove, smooth penstemon bears tall spires of nodding flowers. This photo does not do justice to the striking cultivar Husker Red, which has dark red stems contrasting beautifully with the white blossoms. This gorgeous specimen was photographed at Toronto Botanical Garden.

Aquilegia canadensis: flowers and seed pods

Aquilegia canadensis (known in English as wild columbine, red columbine, or Canada columbine and in French as ancolie du Canada or gants de Notre-Dame is a short-lived herbaceous perennial native to southeastern Canada and northeastern United States. Like most columbines, its flowers have five long spurs. This is my favourite wildflower, in part because it is one of the few red flowers found in the Canadian wilderness.

I photographed this pretty clump of wild columbine at Toronto Botanical Garden in late June. Columbine blooms in the spring so I was pleasantly surprised to see there were still some blooms left, as well as the brown seedpods.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Heuchera 'Bressingham Hybrid': flowers

[Photo: Heuchera 'Bressingham Hybrid' flowers.] Heuchera, known in English as "coral bells", "alum root", or by the genus name, and in French as heuchère, is a genus of perennials native to North America. They are grown for their delicate spires of bell shaped flowers, or increasingly for their foliage; many interesting new cultivars are available. I love the dainty red flowers on this cultivar.

Viola 'Sorbet Coconut Duet': flowers

[Photo: viola 'Sorbet Coconut Duet']Viola hybrids are small annuals grown for their flowers, which are like small pansies. Like pansies, violas are available in a wide range of colours: purple, yellow, blue, mauve, pink, rusty red, orange, and white.

Although violas self-sow, the offspring will often have different-coloured flowers.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Matthiola incana 'Midget Lavender'

[Photo: Matthiola incana 'Midget Lavender'Matthiola incana, known in English as "stock", "common stock", or "hoary stock" and in French as matthiole, giroflée quarantaine, giroflée des jardins, giroflée rouge, quarantaine, or violier, is a tender biennial (grown as an annual in Toronto gardens) native to Eurasia, with spikes of delicously fragrant flowers in a variety of colours. The 'Midget' series of cultivars are about 30 cm tall.

Antirrhinum majus 'Montego White'

Antirrhinum majus, known in English as "snapdragon" and in French as gueule de loup or muflier, is a tender perennial (grown as an annual in Toronto gardens) native to the Mediterranean. Snapdragons have spikes of showy flowers in a wide variety of colorus; each flower looks a bit like a dragon's (or wolf's) head, with "jaws" that can be made to open by gently squeezing the sides of the flower. The 'Montego' series are dwarf cultivars, only 25-30 cm tall.

Verbena 'Romance Pink'

[Photo: Verbena 'Romance Pink'.]Verbena, known in English as "vervain" and in French as verveine, is a genus of about 250 herbaceous and semi-woody flowering plants mostly native to the Americas, though there are some European species. Verbena hybrids, like this one, are widely available annuals bearing flat-topped clusters of small flowers in a wide variety of colours: pink, purple, red, white, peach, and bicolours. They are said to attract butterflies, though I haven't witnessed this myself. [Photo: Verbena 'Romance Pink'.]
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