Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Red Hot in June

Along with the "Jurassic Garden" dinosaurs, several stunning "red hot" flowers grab the attention of Powell Gardens' visitors this week...

Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica) is a Grow Native! ( Missouri native wildflower that always grabs attention in the Perennial Garden while in bloom. The flowers are hummingbird magnets while its name refers to the pink roots that the Native Americans utilized medicinally.

Autumn Sunset (TM) Encore Azalea sports its fiery post-spring encore of bloom already. We have the 10 hardy cultivars of Encore Azaleas on trial and display flanking the Hypsibema (Missouri's state dinosaur). The location is between the Rock & Waterfall and Perennial Garden beneath the lacey baldcypress trees. Visit to learn more about these repeat flowering azaleas and the 10 cultivars that have proven zone 6 hardy. You can come see them in person at the gardens!

Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia 'Alcazar') blaze like orange torches in the Perennial Garden's New Millennium border. Both hummingbirds and orioles like to nectar from these flowers though in their native South Africa they are pollinated by sunbirds. Yes, one of only a few hardy plants from Africa we display at Powell Gardens.

The vibrant rose-red flowers of Ghost Weigela (TM) (Weigela florida 'Carlton') show brightly near the Visitor Center trolley stop. This shrub starts out green, then produces these bright flowers and as you can see the new foliage after flowering becomes ghostly, iridescent buttercream -- becoming even more pronounced as the summer progresses.

This beautiful clump of Blush Knockout Roses set in the tapestry of shrubs besides the Fountain Garden has a red hot "sport" of it's original origin: regular Knockout Rose! Other shrubs in this garden tapestry are Magic Carpet Spirea in front of the rose, Concorde Barberries with Concord grape-colored foliage in the back, a shaggy Sungold Chamaecyparis left and feathery Vintage Gold Chamaecyparis right. Budding lavender at the bottom of the image completes the tapestry of foliage textures and colors that make this planting design showy in all seasons.

The red, fuzzy berries of native Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) have also colored up and create a perfect compliment to the shrub's green foliage. This shrub is native along the Nature Trail but planted around the grounds as well; only the female shrubs produce these berries which make a sassy tea rich in vitamin C.

The dinosaurs are "red hot" popular and I had to include this picture of the Allosaurus and her babies because they almost startled me in the morning light. Consider purchasing a ticket to Dinos in the Dark: Meet a Paleontologist on Friday evening June 17th -- call extension 209 to reserve your after hours visit when the life-like dinosaurs almost come to life.

The turkey sized Citipati also came alive in this morning's light. Don't forget to take a close look at the smaller dinosaurs and their relatives located throughout the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

The current hot weather is supposed to moderate this weekend; but still consider a refreshing taste of the many berries at the Heartland Harvest Tasting Stations, a cool splash in the Fountain Garden and the misty breeze of a walk past the Island Garden's water features. The first waterlilies are beginning to bloom their as well. These, plus the red hot flowers and dinosaurs on display are certainly worth the trip!

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