Sonchus palmensis from the Annie’s Annuals catalog.
At the Northwest Perennial Alliance’s Study Weekend in 2018, Jimi Blake’s slide of this plant reminded me of seeing this plant growing in the San Francisco Botanic Garden in Golden Gate Park. It was a standout and prompted me to immediately start looking for it. Annie’s Annuals carries it and I discovered that it was a zn 9b plant, cooling my ardor somewhat…still…..I returned a couple years later to the Botanic Garden, rekindled my interest and made a stop at Annie’s on our return trip to home, but it wasn’t available, so it went back to my wish list. Then Jimi’s presentation at the Seattle Study Weekend moved it up in the queue.
I am most familiar with the species of Sonchus that are weeds. I have pulled more than my share of Annual and Prickly Sow Thistle, Sonchus oleraceus and S. asper, but like many genera Sonchus contains several plants of horticultural merit. Most Sonchus are annual species, a few are perennial and fewer still are ‘woody’ species all of which occur on the Canary Islands alone, like Sonchus palmensis. Continue reading →
CeIn this installment of Jimi’s plants, I decided to look at a group of his favorites from the Aster family, one of the largest plant families, in terms of number of species, in the world and the most recently evolved…bear in mind that ‘recent’ in evolutionary terms can still be millions of years ago. All of us are familiar with the classic aster or sunflower form of inflorescence that occurs on many, but far from all, of these species. We’ve all grown many of these in our gardens and recognize many species as local and regional natives. As ‘common’ as many of us may view this family to be, it contains a great many species with both beautiful and unique characteristics for use in our gardens.
A note here (Mar. ’20) on one of Celmesia spp. neighbors, the Aciphylla spp. Since writing this post I’ve met a few gardeners who’ve grown a couple different species of Aciphylla, another mostly heat intolerant genus endemic to New Zealand. Some of these are found in sub-alpine areas alongside the Celmesias. These too do relatively well in the maritime environments of Victoria, BC down in to the Kitsap Peninsula area of Washington state. This enviable plant community from the Southern New Zealand mountains are largely intolerant of temps over 90ºF, but if a cooler micro-climate is available….I recently came across this blog posting on genus Aciphylla.