Six on Saturday – June 30

Funny weather for the end of June. Cool, with rain, but not enough rain to forego watering. Here are my Six for today and do check out The Propagator’s blog for more Six on Saturday posts.

1. Lots of Little Clouds

If I seem to be posting photos of clouds rather often, it’s because the weather has been so changeable and the sky is a perfect representation of that. This week we’ve seen grey skies, but also these adorable puffy clouds:

Little Clouds

2. Tiger Lilies

The tiger lilies are blooming again: a combination of ‘Hiawatha’ (red) and ‘Sweet Surrender’ (white). ‘Hiawatha’ is a recent hybrid and I am curious about the name and how it came about. Research on this topic has opened up a Pandora’s Box of accusations of cultural appropriation and racial stereotyping. The accusations are not directed at the hybridizer (Richard Woods?), but at the creators of poems, works of fiction and films.

  •  The ‘real’ Hiawatha was a Native American semi-historical figure who was the co-founder of the Iroquois Confederacy;
  • Hiawatha is a fictional character in the epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha, which relates the fictional adventures of an Ojibwe warrior named Hiawatha and the tragedy of his love for Minnehaha, a Dakota woman.
  • Little Hiawatha (also called Hiawatha) is a 1937 animated cartoon produced by Walt Disney, inspired by Longfellow’s poem;
  • In J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play and subsequent novel, Peter Pan, Tiger Lily is referred to as an Indian princess who belongs to a tribe who resides in Neverland. The Peter Pan story was taken up again in a 1953 Disney movie and a more recent film with Rooney Mara in the role of Tiger Lily. Much was made of the casting of a caucasian actor in the role; however, doubts were raised as to as to whether Tiger Lily might not be indigenous. Perhaps she was kidnapped from some Anglo locale as a child, much like Peter, adopted by this Neverland tribe and raised as a princess.

So, was the hybridizer thinking of “Peter Pan” when the tiger lily/Hiawatha connection was made? Sorry, I can’t answer that question. My search has ended at an Internet dead end. It’s a beautiful flower, though; and a great companion to ‘Sweet Surrender’.

[Click on either photo to enlarge.]

3. Thalictrums

Several Thalictrums (common name, Meadow-Rue) are blooming or about to bloom. Thalictrum flavum has been blooming for weeks. It is about 1.5 metres high and sways with every passing breeze. Thalictrum rochebrunianum is next in line and I expect to see the lovely violet blooms any day now. A blurry Martagon Lily appears in the second photo. I wanted to highlight the leaves of Thalictrum flavum, which are blue green and delicate.

4. A Better Photo of the Martagon Lily

Martagon Lily

5. Veronica and Veronicastrum

The violet flowered plant pictured below is Veronica; the white flowered one is Veronicastrum virginicum. There are about 500 species of Veronica, and I don’t know which one this is. Common names include speedwell, bird’s eye, and gypsyweed.  Some common names of Veronicastrum are Culver’s root and Bowman’s root.

6. Romneya coulteri

A warning to readers about Romneya coulteri (Coulter’s Matilija poppy or California tree poppy). It is difficult to propagate; but once it is established, it may take over your entire garden. I became enamoured of this plant a number of years ago and have written posts about it: Coulter’s Matilija Poppy and Romneya Coulteri, or Matilija Poppies, again, both written in 2011 when I was struggling to grow the plant. Since our move to a new and better garden, I’ve managed to obtain and establish three plants. It’s a risky undertaking, but I still find the flowers irresistibly beautiful.