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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Far Reaches Farm Part One: Podophyllum Paradise

 
Far Reaches Farm, the last nursery stop on this Bonney Lassie and  Outlaw  Kitsap Peninsula spring Saturday, is plant geek paradise!  In addition to all the wonderful plants that live there,  proprietors Kelly Dodson and Sue Milliken, are equally wonderful, knowledgeable, helpful and in Kelly's case, quite colorful.  One never knows what Kelly's attire will include.  Crazy hats are a favorite as are kilts and other alternatives to dull colored pants.  I love visiting this place and just realized that this is the first time since I've been blogging that I've visited.  We saw Kelly and Sue at the Heronswood sale earlier in the day and confirmed that the nursery would be open.   
 
In looking at my pictures after we got back, I realized that there were far too many  of  Far Reaches for one post and since I'm crazy about Podophyllums  and sorely missed seeing them in the Heronswood garden, I decided to post about the fabulous specimens at Far Reaches.  These are all  Chinese cousins of our Eastern U.S. native Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum about which you can read more here.
 
Podophyllum versipelle?  Podophyllum pleianthum?  (Mine has more rounded leaves) Confused?  This post from Botanically Inclined may help add to your confusion.  Probably Podophyllum mairiei, a plant listed in Far Reaches' catalog. 
 
 The bold and strikingly patterned leaves of Podophyllum delavayi always make me squeal like a young child unwrapping a particularly special gift.  It's not pretty and since I have these in several parts of my garden, the neighbors sometimes think that I'm keeping livestock when they hear me going from one plant to the next.

I can't stop taking pictures of this magnificent foliage.

The leaves are really quite large.  Here's a hand for comparison.  Well, the hand is not as close to the leaf as it should be for comparison because the other hand is holding a camera.

Fortunately there are places to sit down  in the garden.  After such excitement, one needs a break.


Podophyllum 'Red Panda' is a hybrid of P. delavayi and P. pleianthum which was introduced by Northwest Gardens.

 
 
 P. delavayi hybrid somewhat  resembling 'Spotty Dotty' or maybe 'Kaleidoscope'

And here growing happily outside is a bevy of potted beauties that look like they should be for sale.   Sometimes one needs to inquire about really special plants. Maybe these are part of a hybridization program or the result of a new seed collection. 

Sinopodophyllum (Podophyllum) hexandrum var. chinense.  Here's a description from the Far Reaches Site: "Second generation plants from our collection from a grassy bank above a stream in Tibetan Yunnan where it was growing in moist rich topsoil at around 10000'. This is a choice herbaceous member of the Barberry Family with rich darkly mottled new growth and broad sharply lobed palmate leaves up to a foot across with a crystalline pink chalice of a flower giving way to large red fruits in fall. Gorgeous moist shade plant to 3' tall although we've seen this same collection at a friend's garden pushing 4' tall. We didn't recognize our own plant and they do that to everything - we kinda hate them. Hardy to Zone 5 and best of all - it's easy."

Kelly's plant descriptions on tags and on the website are a great source of entertainment.  Folks have been known to laugh aloud at the nursery reading them.   O.K. It's just me,  everyone else is more refined.   This one with the pink and white markings on the leaf (don't know if that lasts or not but ain't it purty?) was spotted by Alison at the Far Reaches Table at the Heronswood sale.   Fortunately there were two of them so Alison didn't have to mysteriously disappear on the peninsula.

Because one can never see enough of this fabulous group of plants, here is a photograph taken by Ian  Young, published on the wonderful Scottish Rock Garden Club site, and used with the photographer's permission.  These are labeled Podophyllum difformis. 




Dan Heims has written an interesting article in Pacific Horticulture about these fascinating plants which can be viewed here  If you are interested in finding nurseries that carry these plants, be sure to click on the Podophyllum resource guide link at the end of the article. If you are trying to find a source for Podophyllum difformis (difforme,)  I'll keep you in my prayers.  P.d.'Starfish' and 'Kaleidoscope' used to be more readily available but I think that they were fairly demanding and fell out of favor in the industry. 

28 comments:

  1. A fantastic post Peter, thoroughly helpful with the information you've written plus all the link as I LOVE this group of plants. Can't have enough of them and could easily get into collecting them!!

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    1. Glad you liked the post an the Podophyllums. You should collect them, lots of them!

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  2. They're all so beautiful--thank you for highlighting so many!

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    1. The pleasure was mine! They're such interesting plants!

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  3. Beautiful plants!!! I particularly love the Podophyllum 'Red Panda. It's quite luscious!

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    1. 'Red Panda' is one that I haven't found yet but since it was introduced by a nursery in Oregon, It should be available in these parts.

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  4. Thanks for the great link to the Pacific Horticulture article by Dan Heims, full of excellent information. I fell in love with these plants from the moment I saw my first one, which wasn't until we moved here. I missed seeing that corner of potted beauties. BTW, did you know that Far Reaches are now selling starts of their pink Cardiocrinum? Debbie Teashon of Rainyside Gardener bought one at the Heronswood sale.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the link; the article was worth sharing. I saw my first P. delavayi and P.defformis at Hinkley's Heronswood. It's a magic moment when one first sees one of these! I saw the pink Cardiocrinums at Far Reaches but am happy enough with my white ones. The pink ones are are also available from Far Reaches through their website or maybe we should plan another trip. Cardiocrinum giganteum var. yunnanense ex 'Big & Pink'

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  5. Damn I think I need a Red Panda now.

    I first discovered podophyllum at Greer Gardens in Eugene (we took a field trip one spring). Because I couldn't remember the name and for that matter couldn't really read the tag I kept referring to them as the pedophile plants. Not a great label for a beautiful plant.

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    1. I thought I saw a bronzy red colored one in one of your posts and thought that it was Red Panda.

      What a difference a little vowel movement makes.

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  6. I'm always amazed at all the different varieties. I remember first seeing one at a Seattle Arboretum sale long ago - it was the US native May apple. Now there are all the Asian varieties. We really need to get over to the Kitsap Peninsula to do some nursery hopping. I've got a good list now with your last series of posts.

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    1. Elanden Gardens is on the way as is Savage Plants and Dragonfly Farms is very special and shouldn't be missed. There are others that I hope to explore over there but it's impossible to really linger and enjoy each one in one day. Two or three would be perfect!

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  7. Peter, interesting post! I have not heard about Podophyllum and you told much information.
    Have a nice day!

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    1. It is a lovely group of plants! Happy gardening, Nadezda!

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  8. I have to admit, I didn't think I liked Podophyllum for years, since the only ones I saw were the ones that look like plastic...then I saw the spotted and mottled ones...ooh-la-la!

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    1. The nice thing about the ones that look like plastic is that if the plant fails, you can simply cut new leaves from green shopping bags, reinforce them with wire and glue them to the ends of sticks. Voila, happy podophyllum. Or you could simply buy some big plastic pond lily foliage and do the same. Who says gardening is hard?

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  9. Kelly & Sue come down here yearly to do a seminar at Joy Creek. They were featuring their beloved Crocosmias last time, so I wasn't exposed to these fabulous Podos. I did get a taste of their humor, their enthusiasm, and Kelly's wardrobe choices.






































































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  10. That's an unusual looking plant, neither seen nor heard of it before. The different colours on the leaves remind me of rainbows, love the shot where the shadows fall on the leaves.

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    1. I think that they'd be happy in your garden. They do like some summer water.

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  11. Whoa! That P. delavayi is amazing! Also like Red Panda, though it sounds like a revolutionary opera from
    Maoist days. Had no idea there were such cool Asian cousins to mayapple.

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    1. Oh silly, you're thinking of the opera "Nixon in China." Although Podophyllum does enjoy maoist but freely draining soil.
      Now the theme to The Patty Duke Show is playing in my head - But they're cousins, identical cousins all the way. One pair of matching bookends, different in every way.
      Guess I'm dating myself.

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    1. We're very lucky to have them available and to be able to grow them in our climate.

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  13. I can't let myself think about how badly I want just a teensy bit of your Podophyllum delavayi. I bought the green leaved Podophyllum pleianthum at Dancing Oaks but the little guy is well, little. It's going to be awhile before it dwarfs my hand. Such cool plants. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! You may be surprised at how quickly your P. pleianthum grows in just a few years if it's happy where it is! I'm going to try to divide one of my favorite P. delavayis this late winter/early spring. We'll see if I have any success.

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  14. I just found your blog and this post on one of my blossoming obsessions. I have been growing Podophyllum form seed with great success the past couple of years. And I'm trialing them for hardiness here in Vermont with not such great success, especially the P. versipelle & difforme, but I am ever hopeful.

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    1. Way cool! Sue from Far reaches is from Vermont where she had a nursery. I was born in Montpellier, my mother's ancestral farm (since the 1700's) is in Middlesex. We lived in Marshfield for quite a few years until we moved to Alaska. Still have relatives back there. Where in Vt. are you.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.