Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Dipteronia is an unassuming plant whose claim to fame used to be that it was the "other" genus in the Aceraceae. Since the maples have been subsumed into the Sapindaceae (a family with well over 100 genera) I guess it's 15 minutes are over.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010
Posted by ChrisU at 7:02 PM
When we began to look closely at the hedge above the GCA (Garden Club of America) Circle we discovered that there was too much damage to solve the problem with a superficial pruning. The gap in the bottom picture shows how deeply we needed to go to remove split branches. The good news is....well, look what you can see when the hedge is lowered 2--3 fee! Soooo, we took a roughly 5+' high by 6' wide hedge and made it about 3' high and 2' wide. It looks horrible now but hey, its a Chinese Holly. It'll recover in no time. And so long as we can keep it more or less in bounds, walkers will have a nice view down the Central Valley.
Sometimes you get carried away in these proects; after looking at the hedge through new enlightened eyes, we decided to remove a couple of plants from the north end to permanently create a view of the area above the circle. It turned out to be a good mornings work.
Posted by ChrisU at 6:55 PM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
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Adonis amurensis...boy there are a lot of yellow ranunculaceae with radially symmetical flowers that bloom before everything else
Plants in the ranunculaceae, buttercup family, are pretty generally unpalatable to deer so that's a plus. Since 1992, the Adonis pictured, in the Asian Collections, has gone from, as I recall, three small plants to a few large clumps, a handful of small plants, and, dozens of seedlings. It seems to me that most of the seedlings are last year's. We had abundant moisture all last season so it was a good year for germination. Pheasant's Eye is easily grown in decent soil in the dappled shade of an open woodland. The foliage does go dormant with the advent of warm weather, but if sited carefully, this can almost be a god thing.
Posted by ChrisU at 5:05 PM
On tour at the US Botanic Garden...In the middle picture: Pat, Amanda, Chris Carley, and Clive Atyeo
Merritt Huntington. Apparently Merritt had an extensive collection of orchid theme ties that began with a gift from Clive's wife. I liked the ties because they reminded me of my own closet; my ties actually trend towards the conservative, but I have a lot of shirts made from similar print fabrics!
Posted by ChrisU at 2:23 AM
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Dendrobium 'Merlin', Epidendrum ciliare, xBrassolaeliocattleya 'Ojai': I went the the USBG Orchid Show again
One of our guides was Clive Atyeo, who tends the orchids for the Botanic Garden and has done so going on 20 years. Before that he worked for 27 years for Merritt Huntington at Kensington Orchids eventually becoming head grower. While it was great to be able to tap his encyclopedic cultural knowledge, his stories were the best.
The middle orchid, the Epidendrum, is a huge plant; and was a donation. While repotting it, Clive discovered his own label in the pot; it was a plant that he had previously owned. Merritt allowed him to sell his own plants at Kensington Orchids and apparently 20-odd years ago he sold this plant that then grew and grew and was eventually donated to the USBG. Wow. There were other good anecdotes and he'll be doing a repotting workshop at Brookside Gardens in Glenmont later this month.
Posted by ChrisU at 6:19 PM
Monday, March 8, 2010
Pelargonium hirtum from the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden....this is a plant you can't help but love
I have always loved desert plants. Or admired them. Actually I think the latter led to the former. There's something wonderful about a plant that can sit, without water, for months and months of scorching heat, revivify magically within hours or days of rain, and top the whole cycle off with beautiful flowers. If you add an interesting seed, like this one with its silken pappus and curious torsion you just have a wonderful plant. Even the achenes are arrayed interestingly. Wow.
My personal love affair with succulents eventually led me to caudiciforms, those xerophytes that store water in an enlarged organ derived from stem tissue and located at or near soil level. There are caudiciform members of many planat families, it's one of the obvious ways to store water. The genus Pelargonium, with its swollen stems has obviously headed down this road. Our grandparents, or maybe great grandparents overwintered common garden Geraniums by hanging them upside down in a cool location for the winter. There was enough storage capacity in those succulent stems to carry the plants through the winter. The desert species, like P. hirtum, just spend dry periods defoliated and looking dead. Rains bring refoliation, flowering, and in the case of this particular species, abundant seed production.
Posted by ChrisU at 5:23 PM
It wa take your mother to work day in the Asian Collections today. Amanda's mother, Kathy, volunteered for a day and found out how hard her daughter works
One of the things about Amanda is that she works tirelessly, ceaselessly, relentlessly almost. It's difficult to keep her in lists; she starts at the top and works through item after item. I keep looking nervously over my shoulder. I know she made a list for today. for the two of them to work from. It included such things as cutting back Epimediums and Caryopteris, raking storm debris from beds and trails, and any number of things I didn't even know about. I also know they finished it shortly after lunch. I never had any doubts.
Posted by ChrisU at 5:18 PM
Shortia galacifolia....it's a good sign if a plant flushes out new growth in the spring after being transplanted the preceeding year
Posted by ChrisU at 5:01 PM