European native perennials

Iris foetidissima in fruit

Fruity Pebbles

I was lucky enough to catch the winter fruit show on our clump of Iris foetidissima last weekend. This little-known, evergreen, woodland iris from southern Europe, suffers because of its specific epithet “foetidissima”, which means stinking. That’s probably a bit much coming from someone with hundreds of amorphophallus clones. The name reportedly was given because

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First Flowers of Flat Iris

Late December marks our first flowering of Iris planifolia. This odd native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa has a similar distribution to the better-known Iris unguicularis, but this Iris belongs to the group, known as Juno or bulbous iris. These deciduous iris are extremely sensitive to summer moisture, which is why this resides in

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The Mourning Widow’s Skirt

The skirt of leaves of the European Geranium phaeum (mourning widow) are always a favorite in the early spring garden. We truly love this clump-forming hardy geranium, that behaves superbly in the woodland garden. In the wild, the amount of black pattern on the foliage varies, but Geranium phaeum ‘Samobor’, is an exceptional clone, originally

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Stay Kiss

We’ve grown quite a few stachys (pronounced stay-kiss) through the years, but have been most impressed this spring with our newest acquisition, Stachys cretica. This fascinating dryland perennial has a wide natural range from France to Iran, where it thrives in rocky, dry, Mediterranean-like conditions. Our plants are seed-grown from Greek Plantsman, Eleftherios Dariotis, who

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Who is Molopospermum?

Chances are pretty good that few US gardeners have grown molopospermum. We’ve long been fascinated with members of the Apiaceae family (think carrots, celery, Queen Anne’s lace, etc.). Not only are most members culinary/medicinal, but they are also great host and food plants for insects. Several of the Apiaceae family members are great for garden

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Asparagus kissin’ cousin

Ok…raise your hand if you’ve grown Aphyllanthes monspeliensis? This odd, monotypic (only member of the genus) is actually a member of the Asparagus family. Hailing from France south into Northern Africa, Aphyllanthes can be found growing in hot, dry, sandy soils, where it produces an amazing spring show of blue flowers on a 1′ tall

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