Adam’s Notes from the Garden
Clematis texensis
Conditions this spring have resulted in some of the most profuse blooming I have seen on certain species in the garden. One standout that draws everyone’s attention on our many group tours this past month has been the Hill Country native Clematis texensis. The only red-flowered species in a genus found world-wide, it is valued for breeding with the big gaudy-flowered cultivars but at its best in pure wild form, in my opinion. The first time I saw this in the wild, climbing up the scrubby vegetation against a limestone cliff face south of Kerrville, the nodding teardrop-shaped scarlet flowers just seemed too exotic for the region. Our specimen in the garden had taken the past two years off, climbing its designated trellis with its blue-green compound foliage yet making no attempt to flower. Our theory that it was getting too shaded out was shattered this season by its profuse flowering which has been ongoing for more than a month. 
Every species in our excellent assemblage of wild-collected Mexican “mock oranges” ( Philadelphus species) produced a memorable show over the past month as well. Like the Clematis, many of these made no attempt to flower the past few years, but this spring was the exception. John Fairey and Carl Schoenfeld collected twice as many species of Philadelphus from northeastern Mexico than there are species known to science from that region. Some are woody vines, some are weeping shrubs, some dwarf with tiny leaves, others quite imposing. All have flowers with pleasing fragrance, nestled among the showy white bracts that usually get interpreted as petals. 
Another Mexican species of  Philadelphus
Iris brevicaulis
The irises also have added splashes of color in various areas of the garden in greater profusion than the last few years. I’ve never been very fond of the big flamboyant flowers of the horticultural selections, and as pointed out above in reference to the Clematis, I prefer the wild forms of the species like the Iris brevicaulis growing under the Mexican bald cypresses next to the office. Still, some of the “Spuria irises” (with Iris spuria parentage) have grown on me based on the display they provided. 
Though it flowered last year, another plant that bloomed even more vigorously this year was until the past month a complete mystery among John’s wild Mexican collections. Fortunately with the help of great connections to knowledgeable folks through Facebook, we now have an identification on this interesting plant, which is featured as this month’s “Plant of the Month” below. 
Parodia herteri
Yucca rostrata flowering in the south dry garden
We have been pleased with the response to our initial offerings in our evolving nursery, and beyond the sales being integral in supporting the garden, it is nice to see visitors excited to be able to take home a plant that they just become acquainted with on their garden tour. Our plant sale in Houston partnering with The Garden Conservancy’s Houston Open Day was also a great success, and we appreciate everyone who joined us for that event. 
At our second recent event in Houston, Treesearch Farms’ Heidi Sheesley shared highlights from her trip to China from a horticultural perspective. A great time was had by all at this well-attended evening at Canopy as we enjoyed the restaurant’s wonderful food and drinks. We greatly appreciate Moss Landscaping’s sponsorship, and with all your generous donations we can continue to offer quality events like this. We hope you can make it out to Peckerwood on the evening of June 16th for a very special opportunity to hear Wade Roitsch of Yucca Do Nursery fame speak on a past collecting trip to Argentina and Brazil. 
Magnolia ashei
June and July Dates to visit Peckerwood Garden!
June Peckerwood Garden Insiders Tour
June 2, 10 am
Visit this Saturday for a fascinating exploration of the shadiest sections of Peckerwood Garden. Learn about the wide variety of ferns growing here as you see areas not often visited and areas visited regularly. This tour is mostly in the shade.

One tour will be held at 10 am. Space is limited, register ahead.
Evening at Peckerwood Lecture
June 16, 5:00 pm Refreshments and Lecture

Wade Roitsch of Yucca Do Nursery will present Bromeliads Encountered in Argentina and Brazil. Join us and see pictures of his horticultural expeditions and unusual plant specimens. Learn about the bromeliad representatives of these countries.

There will be a pre-lecture tour at 3:30 (pre-registration required)
May Peckerwood Garden Insiders Tour
July 7, 10 am

Join us July 7th and tour this special collection located across the creek. The mix of dry garden and other collections is largely shaded and a pleasant place to explore in the summer. These collections surrounding the iconic Blue Wall are only available for tours quarterly so now is your opportunity to see the summer highlights.

One tour will be held at 10 am. Space is limited, register ahead.
Nursery Inventory Highlights
Our nursery continues to have increasing amounts of interesting offerings due to Craig Jackson’s efforts with propagating plants from the garden’s collections. Now that our spring flush on most woody plants is hardening off, we can start setting up cuttings of various rare trees and shrubs. Some will be quick to root and grow out to a salable size by late summer into fall, but others will be slower and may not be ready until next year. Here are just a few of the many interesting things currently available in our nursery, which is open by appointment or during our scheduled open days and other events. 
Pink new growth on Quercus sp. San Carlos.
San Carlos Mountains Red Oak ( Quercus sp. “San Carlos”)

Previously thought to be a form of Quercus sartorii, the identity of this oak species is inconclusive, and could very well be a new, undescribed species. We are sticking with the designation that Yucca Do Nursery offered it as in recent years, which refers to the San Carlos Mountains in northeastern Tamaulipas where John Fairey and Carl Schoenfeld collected it. The unique shape of the narrow, jaggedly toothed leaves that emerge a hot pink color make this a favorite oak among many enthusiasts. We have a few well-started seedlings available that were kindly donated by Wally Wilkins, propagated from acorns collected in the garden. 
Blue Rabbit’s Foot Fern ( Phlebodium pseudaureum )

The chalky blue fronds of this fern always garner attention in the woodland garden. There simply isn’t much else that can contribute this color in the shady garden. Though naturally growing as an epiphyte on trees or on rocks, John has been successful growing it terrestrially, but care is needed to ensure the thick rhizome remains on top of well-draining soil as it will rot if it is buried. The foliage will die back in our winters, but as long as the rhizome is kept dry and insulated by a covering of leaf mulch, it will replenish its robust foliage in spring. It also can be mounted like an orchid or grown in a hanging basket. 
Phlebodium pseudaureum
Anemone x 'Alice Staub'
Alice Staub Japanese Anemone ( Anemone x ‘Alice Staub’)

There are a number of different selections of Japanese anemones, a misnomer as their parentage is really native to China but became popular in Japan, where they are now naturalized. Most fail to prosper in Gulf Coast gardens, but this form that the late Alice Staub received from Lynn Lowery has stood the test of time in her Houston garden, growing vigorously and flowering reliably in fall. John has a lush patch of this just north of his house, where it even receives a few hours of direct sun. 
Plant of the month: Hemiphylacus hintoniorum 
By Adam Black
Here’s an obscure one that we finally have identified. The silvery-blue clumps of erect rubbery leaves could be interpreted as belonging to an agave or yucca, but the identity of this plant has continued to intrigue me. John has a planting in the north dry garden by the blue wall as well as another colony in the south dry garden just above the fountain pool. The tag indicated he had collected it in Mexico on the “road to Camarones,” so I had been light-heartedly referring to it as the “shrimp road lily.” I had assumed it must be some strange member of the Agavaceae family, bearing a combination of features otherwise found in Beschorneria, Manfreda and Polianthes. It flowered last year, with a 3-foot tall branched inflorescence lined with dangling tubular white flowers with a violet blush, but these only created more of a mystery rather than shed light on this plant’s identity. 
Hemiphylacus hintoniorum flowers.
Hemiphylacus hintoniorum inflorescences
The plants are currently flowering again, this time even more vigorously, and I decided to post some photos on Facebook to see if anyone else had any ideas. Various suggestions we had already exhausted flowed in, but then Aaron Floden, a botanical taxonomist at Missouri Botanical Garden, confidently chimed in with “ Hemiphylacus.” Since I had never heard of this genus, I looked it up and sure enough found a few photos in habitat of a plant that resembled ours spot-on, named Hemiphylacus hintoniorum

Researching further, the current genetic studies show the genus Hemiphylacus is a direct relative of Asparagus - yes, the edible vegetable. The two genera are the only ones recognized in Asparagaceae subfamily Asparagoideae. Though they look completely different, one similarity they both share are thick, fleshy nodular roots, as anyone who has grown “asparagus fern” ( Asparagus aethiopicus) likely knows. Hemiphylacus dies back to this mass of roots in winter, but erupts out of the ground in spring with a refreshed rosette of clean silvery blue.  
Last year we had a variegated offset appear from the clump by the blue wall that looked quite consistent and stable, but this year it returned from dormancy with only a few streaks, dashing our hopes of already having a cultivar of this plant that is currently rather unknown in cultivation. We produce a limited amount of offsets each year and hope to first back our plants up with other botanical gardens, but perhaps we will be successful in producing seeds with this current flowering and can offer offspring in the near future
Hemiphylacus hintoniorum
Thank you Volunteers!
by Bethany Jordan
If you plan to visit Peckerwood Garden at one of the summer Open Days, Peckerwood Insiders tours, or Monthly Evening lectures, you will have opportunity to see some of the great work our volunteers have been doing.

Our nursery is going strong as you see in the highlights and other comments. Thank you to Craig Jackson for his hard work and many days spent here working in the greenhouses. His work has made many things possible and we appreciate his dedication and skill. Thank him for his tireless work to get our nursery inventory available to you online.

Brenda Wilson and Harvey Newman have continued to maintain the areas around the office, house, and parking so that guests have places to walk and enjoy between tours. Recent work has also been done on the entry.

We also have a special thanks to Harvey Newman for his hard work and dedication to maintaining our beehives. We hope to have honey available soon for this season's work. He has put a great deal of time into this effort and we are pleased to have him with us.

Other volunteers also help us regularly including Nancy Royal helping in the office and Phyllis Pollard, who both helps with weeding and provides refreshments to each monthly lecture. We appreciate their consistent work and the work of other volunteers that come in from time to time.

Frank and Cherie Lee are here every week and at every open day helping with a variety of projects from re-potting plants in the nursery to rebuilding the nursery benches. their help on Open days has kept our nursery running smooth and provided a pleasant experience and knowledgeable help to our guests and customers. We appreciate all of our open day volunteers and the docents that lead tours on both Open Days and for private tours.

Every volunteer is important and we are always looking for more. We are seeking new docent trainees, general garden maintenance volunteers, and special project volunteers. Every Tuesday and Friday volunteers are here to work. We can accommodate other schedules as needed. Join us.