The above image shows a teeny tiny flower on a teeny tiny Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia fimbriata. This is a plant that was seen in a post by Nan Ondra of Hayefield. Nan is also a member of the Gardening Gone Wild group blog in addition to being a wildly popular author and all around nice person. It was included in one of her fine Three Neat Plants series. It was admired in a comment and she kindly offered seeds. Click here to read that post. The side view shows how the nickname fits. This is a deciduous dwarf groundcover that can spread to two feet while remaining only six inches off the ground. A spiral plant stake is holding ours up off the ground for better viewing, although we still have to kneel down and pay homage to even see the flowers. In bud they suggest a wooden shoe with a shoe tree insert. Research gladdened our heart saying this would be hardy in zones 7 to 9. We are a firm 7 and plan to leave this little fellow in the ground. Seeds will be collected as a back up however. Next up is Clematis stans. This came to us last year as a seedling from Christopher at Outside Clyde. I believe it came to him as seeds from Chuck B. at My Back 40(feet) in San Francisco. The first year in the ground it grew nice large leaves and multiple stems. This year it grew taller and is loaded with buds. Clematis International has this to say about it:
“Gardeners who grew up on Christopher Lloyd’s Clematis may recall with a chuckle his characterization of Clematis stans as bearing flowers “of a spitefully non-contributory off-white skimmed-milk colouring.” It is not known how many sufferers from clematis lust over the years cheerfully decided that this was one plant they need not bother to try, and left it to the hopelessly addicted. But to re-open the question, we offer a no less pungent line from a famous non-contributor to botany, Ira Gershwin: “It ain’t necessarily so.” Clematis stans is a variable species, and though its flowers differ over a narrow range they are not all alike. In different forms they may vary in shape from slender to chunky, and in colour from white (through skimmed-milk) to a soft lavender-blue.”
It looks like we got lucky for the flowers are indeed that soft lavender blue. More blue than lavender to these eyes. The Clematis site mentioned that there can be fragrance on C. Stans, but giving it the sniff test just now at mid afternoon none was detected. Sometimes scent is only released in morning or evening or dead of night, depending on who it is trying to attract, so it may yet emit something pleasing. It was also learned that it might need staking. Ours lives at the feet of a standard trained Hydrangea paniculata that is supported by a stout metal fence post, planted there just in case a post was needed for additional Clemmie support.
The first flower opened July 6. Early the next morning I went out with the camera to get an image with the kinder morning light. Look at what was found! The theory goes that a large bumble tried to climb inside for some shuteye and blew out the petal. No need to fret, there are ample buds in waiting on the handsome stalks. The leaves are attractive and of good size and substance, helping the ongoing battle against the little leaf syndrome at the Fairegarden. The title plant, Hibiscus x ‘Kopper King’ was not really from a friend, it was purchased at our favorite local nursery Mouse Creek. But it was highly recommended by good friend Gail of Clay And Limestone, as in, “You must get this plant!” So I did after a group of pots was noticed with these gigantic blooms in the nursery greenhouse as I perused aimlessly on the last trip there. Note that there are several more buds too. The leaves are not what could be called copper, red, or hardly anything but green. Maybe in the bright summer sun the leaves will darken some. Even if they don’t, the size and shape definitely help alleviate our little leaf syndrome. Good grief. Trying to give perspective to the immensity of the bloom with my hand, it can be seen that (1) the hand is not even with the flower because I am standing too far away for my arm to reach the flower because I don’t want to tread on some other plants at the feet of this giant (2) Who knows the size of my hand anyway so that was not a good choice and (3) I had just been cleaning out a cooler with soap and bleach and no gloves, bad blogger on many levels I know, so the skin looks like an alligator and the fingertips look like prunes. Anyway, this is a really big bloom, easily ten to twelve inches in diameter on a five foot tall plant. It has been staked to protect the innocent. It is hardy to zones 4 – 9. Hibiscus have never been grown in the Fairegarden in any locale. The lack of hardiness in some of the more attractive cultivars and the general coarseness of the plant, not to mention the extremely late showing in spring of any life all led one to dismiss them as unworthy. Why this one and why now? Who knows, but when friends offer seeds, seedlings or advice about what to grow, it is taken with gratitude and the best effort to make everyone comfortable and happy.
My name is Frances and I am a lifelong gardener, having lived in various parts of the USA over many years. I am now gardening in USDA Zone 7a east Tennessee. From 2000 to 2014 I was gardening on a slope in a small town in Tennessee. I have been blogging about my gardens since December of 2007. Thank you for visiting!
The slope in spring
The slope in fall
The slope in winter
Visit The Hop Ice Cream Cafe When In Asheville, NC
640 Merrimon Ave.
or The Hop West
721 Haywood Rd.
Asheville, North Carolina
Older Posts Of Interest:
The story of the day a throng of cedar waxwings descended upon the garden, shown in the header image. (2009)
An awkward title that explains about making those very tall asters, mums and others shorter by cutting them down by half in May. Now is the time! (2011)
A book inspires the growing of lilies from seed. (2009)
How ten lily bulbs became hundreds. (2010)
A rant about the mistaken thoughts of non-gardeners. (2009)
There was something hidden in the forest and we were lucky enough to be able to see it. (2011)
Dreams turn into reality, in a way. The Green Man/Leaf Man faces live well in my garden now. (2011)
A yard without a lawn. (2010)
A history of all of the faire gardens and a couple of choice tidbits about me. (2009)
Very difficult to only pick your six favorite plants, some of us bent the rules a bit. (2009)
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