Friday, March 5, 2010
Posted by ChrisU at 3:56 PM
Aroids, aroids, aroids....Colocasia, Alocasia, Xanthasoma, et. al. .....we stored them all winter now they're coming to life
Aroids of various taxa have become very popular over the last few years. Their spectacular forms, wonderfully large leaves, and variously textured leaf surfaces make them striking accents for the open garden or container. It hasn't been so long since Elephant Ears, Colocasia esculenta, and the common bedding Caladium, Caladium bicolor were about the extent of it. Now there are dozens of selections of a range of genera. Plant Delights Nursery is one of countless on-line nurseries that offer a ridiculously wide selection; PDN has selected and introduced their own cultivars while offering a wide selection of established and new varieties. Here in Washington the tropical aroids work particularly well because of our hot humid summers. A few, notably Colocasia e. are root hardy to some degree, but generally it's better to dig and store the rhizomes.
Brad has hundreds and stores them in various places depending on their needs. Many just spend the winter in open baskets in a coolish dark basement. He's engaged in reviving them now and they're all over in various stages of revivification. I was a bit surprised to see one horizontal in a greenhouse window, but hey, they're tough and it'll no doubt be planted by tomorrow!
Posted by ChrisU at 3:49 PM
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Dragon Agro Products is the vendor that serious plant addicts can't miss in Philadelphia (Perla with fan)
Their web site, Dragon Agro Products, is both a source of the choice and peculiar, and an interesting read. For crying out loud, they list seeds of Welwitschia mirabilis, an exotic primitive gymnosperm endemic to one region of the Namib Desert. Only growing two strap leaves that coil curiously, it is really the Holy Grail of rare plants. I remember, I think from the 1970's seeing an advertisement for small seedling plants for $5,000.00 each in, of all places, The Wall Street Journal???
Posted by ChrisU at 4:33 PM
Meehan's Miniatures, in Rohersville Maryland, a retail nursery specializing in Bonsai starter material and whatever rare, choice, and unusual plant material they're currently infatuated with. This is one of the vendors that I make a point of checking out because they are sure to have something for the fanatical plant geek (me). I was happy they had a minute to talk yesterday in Philadelphia; I expect I'll see them at the Arboretum this spring for the Potomac Bonsai Festival Mayday weekend.
Posted by ChrisU at 3:59 PM
Someone will no doubt disagree with me about this but so far all I've heard are raves. Every year I consider breaking my 20? year streak of attending the show. It's always crowded, it's 2 hours away, and spring is almost here anyway.....this wouldn't have been a good year to skip. "Islands in the Sun" 15 years ago was my previous favorite show but this year's has displaced it. Somethings different.
There is more creativity, originality, imagination in the individual exhibits. More of them are interactive; in one you borrow flashlights before walking through an unlit bamboo grove filled with cool things. The next exhibit has surreal arrangements of color in blindingly well lit cargo containers. And so on. I have never seen any evidence, in past shows, that consideration was given to the juxtaposition of exhibits. I like it. It make the individual exhibits part of a coherent and unified whole.
There are always some exciting and original exhibits and there are always some "standard flower show exhibits": some grass, a path, a water feature, some trees, azaleas, fothergillas, miscellaneous shrubs, pastel flowers, maybe a bridge. Beautiful, serene, pleasant enough in the context of our winters but less than thrilling. Even these seem to have been spiced up, given focal points of brighter colors. I hesitate to suggest activities, but if you could get to this show, you might want to go for it. It's open through Sunday the 7th and inexplicably, attendance was down, so moving around is easier!
Posted by ChrisU at 3:12 AM
The masks are only an element of a wonderful exhibit; one of three or four that I consider to be among the top exhibts I've seen in my 20-odd shows. I show them because I did a better job photographing them then I did with the larger parts of the exhibit!
Click on one or two of them to see the details of construction. The subtle shading in the Lion Mask is very cool.
Posted by ChrisU at 2:46 AM
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Helleborus thibetanus is the earliest Hellebore; it's been flowering since the beginning of February
Asiatica. It seeds so readily, I expect that if it isn't there now it'll appear quickly at Plant Delights, Lazy S'S, and other cutting edge places. There's a good site, Hellebores.org that has a scientific but interesting treatment of it.This plant is located under the Davida in the Asian Collections.
Posted by ChrisU at 5:25 AM
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Posted by ChrisU at 3:43 PM
Posted by ChrisU at 3:35 PM
Posted by ChrisU at 3:22 PM
Monday, March 1, 2010
Foxes are one of the only things that I see better now than I did 30 years ago. There may be recluses, but it seems like Foxes in general are a lot less wary of people than they used to be. I worked for a well-driller in the late 1970's and often found myself arriving on new homesites early in the morning before anyone else arrived. I'd park the truck, and temperature allowing, sit in the cab and watch what was going on. If the house was in an isolated wooded area, and they often were, it wasn't unusual to see a fox walk into the clearing. As soon as they detected my resence they dematerialized and that was that. I wouldn't see that fox again, though we often spent a week or more at a site.
Not that long ago I gardened on a large estate in the District of Columbia and the foxes there behaved quite differently. They regularly denned in the same place and the mother fox, vixen?, routinely dragged her kits out into the driveway showing them off like a proud mother cat. I like to talk and visit various people in regard to their gardens so we talk. Their stories parallel my own observations. Foxes just seem like they're becoming domesticated. Genenerationally speaking, 30 years isn't too long in human terms but it's a lot longer for Foxes. I know I would welcome foxes into my garden for vole control even if they weren't beautiful.
Posted by ChrisU at 3:51 PM
Posted by ChrisU at 3:48 PM