Monday, March 24, 2014

Born Out of Frustration

Last night we were forecast to have a heavy frost (and heavy frost it was indeed) so I tucked away a few potted plants inside the greenhouse that could potentially be damaged by late frosts. One of those plants is this Podophyllum delavayi...

Podophyllum delavayi
Which made me think of the beautiful Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'...

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'
Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'
Which in turn made me remember of an interesting remark a knowledgeable plantsman once made, saying that apparently 'Spotty Dotty' was born out of frustration...

Frustration with Podophyllum delavayi!

Podophyllum delavayi
Podophyllum delavayi
Although hardy, P. delavayi sprouts so early in the year that it is prone to being damaged by late frosts, never to show up again until early next year just to be zapped by frosts again. The cycle continues year in and year out. I have personally observed this in our garden. Every time I see it sprouting out from the ground very early in the year I hope that no frosts will come our way so I can enjoy its presence in the garden for months to come. As expected, that is yet to happen. This year when they start to sprout (the one in the pot always comes up much earlier than ones on the ground) I'll throw some fleece on them when frosts are forecast, hopefully that will be enough to save them from going mush and break that trend.

The only way I can reliably enjoy it in leaf is to have one in a pot that I can shift under cover in the spring when frosts are forecast.

Podophyllum delavayi blooms
Interestingly enough, one would think that if a plant gets zapped every year that it never gets a chance to leaf out that it would go backward each time until the plant eventually disappears. That doesn't seem to be the case in our garden. Each year I see more and more trying to sprout. It seems determined at least.

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty' sprouting in the spring
Anyway, back to Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty', it is a hybrid between P. delavayi and P. difforme, with the exotic looks of the former and the tendency to sprout much later in the spring from the latter, making it less prone to being damaged by frosts. A winning combo!

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty' blooms
Sometimes frustration can spawn beautiful things!

Mark :-)

23 comments :

  1. I´ve got one Spotty Dotty, It is very small but I hope It grows and looks as beautifull as yours some day. Interesting the information about Podophyllum delavayi, I hope this year you´ll be able to enjoy the leaves in the ground!

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    1. It seems quick to size up Lisa, it might surprise you this year :)

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  2. Maybe the plant evolved to be so attractive in order to compel its caretakers to jump through hoops in order to protect it.

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    1. True Kris! It's a cute story but I do wonder how true that really is, hmmm...

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  3. The gorgeous foliage is worth the extra effort and it's always possible that a late freeze will not appear and you can enjoy both.

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    1. Hopefully the other nights will be the last one this year Shirley! :)

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  4. An interesting story that I'd not heard before. My Podophyllum delavayis come up at the same time as my Spotty Dotties. Pot placement maybe? P. delavayi has been trouble free for me while a couple of P. Spotty Dotties have developed a rust of some sort that deforms their leaves. I love the podophyllums and yours are gorgeous!

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    1. Your clumps of Podophyllum are to lust for Peter, they've done incredibly well for you, it's the skill of the gardener ;)

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  5. Beautiful Podophyllums! Reading of the early emergence of delavayi in your garden made me wonder how it did in the Pacific Northwest, which Peter answered in his comment. It rarely frosts after February and stays so cool that I think it prevents many such plants from emerging too early. The balance is we can have trouble growing things that need warm temperatures to wake up in spring.

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    1. Temperature wise it can be a bit of roller coaster in the spring here Evan. You get early warm spells then suddenly gets cold again which can play tricks on plants. Hoping that the frost we had the other night will be the last one :)

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  6. They are neat looking plants but I would hate that happening each year. You sure have patience to have your exotic gardens. It's a lot of work, but of course very beneficial when it ends up looking so lovely each year.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. It's good fun Cher, worth the effort :)

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  7. Love the name and adore its foliage. You are clearly saints to make such an effort - and thank goodness for that. A truly beautiful plant.

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    1. Thanks Sarah and Spotty Dotty would look great in your garden!

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  8. Amazing how similar some of those Asian podophyllums are to begonias. I love them!

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    1. They look so exotic John, with markings that reminded us of begonias too!

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  9. I had to look this plant up and was surprised to see it listed as an herbaceous woodlander! As it allegedly likes moist warm soil, I'd say it's coming up right on cue given the weather we've had so far this year. Definitely fleece and cloches are called for here to protect this very stunning plant - I'm sure both plants will thrive under your watchful eye Mark!

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    1. Thanks Caro! I wouldn't be surprised if this plant will be more visible is large public gardens all over the country, associating well with other staple woodlanders :)

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  10. Hmmm...I experience frustration frequently, but it has yet to produce anything so noteworthy. This was a fun little bit of history.

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    1. Sometimes relaxation and relief after bouts of frustration are more than enough reward Ricki :)

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  11. I've just had an email from a TV company looking for Britain's best private gardens for a series headed by Alan Titchmarsh. I think you guys should seriously consider it. The application form is here http://www.itv.com/beontv/shows/britains-best-gardens

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    1. Very flattered Helen, thank you and will consider it :)

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  12. Those are so beautiful! Now if I only had more shade and would remember to water normal plants! I will just have to enjoy them through you!

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