Friday, April 6, 2012

The Ikebana International Exhibition staged by the Washington DC Chapter at the USNA Bonsai & Penjing Museum

I look forward to this show every year! As usual it'll run for three weeks from the 6th to the 22nd. I think the arrangements are changed three times. On opening day I happened on one of the arrangers changing flowers already!

This year the show was to have been themed around cherries to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees. Our spring was so early that there was no material left! After a non-winter and a spring where things were up to three weeks premature, this weekend, Easter, feels just like a typical Easter weekend. We are going to need some rain soon though.

 I've posted previous exhibitions. 2011     2010        

A stitch in time saves nine, an ounce of prevention....

Of course a gardener's least favorite aphorism is, "here today, gone tomorrow". Unless we're talking about cherry petals on the ground.

Sometimes you can do small easy things in the garden to make things flow more smoothly and prevent remedial work down the line.

We, the volunteers and I, planted these Pinus koraiensis last year. At Carole's suggestion, I caged them against deer damage. This morning I walked through and quickly shortened the side shoots at the apex of the plant. The pictures are in reverse chronological order: the bottom picture shows how the plant looked when I got to it, the top picture is the same plant after I half-candled it. We want these trees to grow upright with a nice straight single trunk. By reducing the size of all the candles at the tip of the plant except the central one, I ensured apical dominance. I didn't want to completely remove the side shoots because as they grow needles they'll contribute to the growth and strength of the trunk, but I don't want any of them developing into alternate leaders.

Often a little attention to a young plant will pay off down the road. We want all of our plants to develop into   living examples of the "Platonic Ideal" of their given taxon. In a perfect work all we'd have to do is plant and this world there are innumerable variables that will conspire to keep our plant from being perfect: a small bit of damage to a seedling might affect the symmetry of its growth; damage to one side of the root system, or inconsistency in the soil, or more light from one side, or damage from a falling branch, crowding in the nursery. And on and on. In the face of this, all we can do is be aware of what we're shooting for, know how the plant grows, pay attention, and, as required, do corrective manipulations.l.

X (by Vona Groarke): a wonderful little poem on Poetry Daily today

A less controversial use of  "cross-hairs" imagery than we are used to from angry red rhetoricians!

I can remember being introduced to graphs in school many years ago. Being able to represent changes in "real" things on paper in an orderly system appealed to me. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Angela isn't worried by 50 rampaging children...

even if they are trained in Tae Kwon Do, as the signage on their busses suggested. And even though the volunteers, including Angela, and I had just spent the entire day working on the perennial beds below the path. We knew that despite their high energy levels they were under control. Seriously, they were; I was very impressed. Still, I didn't volunteer the location of Korean Hill...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Iris japonica in China Valley

We have several large drifts of this species iris visible from the path. Carole tells me that it has been around for many years and this is the first time it has bloomed!?! Possibly the buds aren't cold hardy here and survived because this winter was so warm. Or maybe it's just my green thumb?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I walked down to the Fern Valley Pond after work today

from the top: Phacelia bipinnatifida; Orontium aquaticum; Rhododendron periclymenoides; Packera (Senicio) aurea

For the most part the azaleas/rhododendrons haven't quite opened but there's still plenty of color. I check the spelling on most things (because I'm getting older) and noticed, when I googled golden-club (Orontium) many references to it as an invasive. Wow. I have many fond memories of canoeing through acres of brilliant yellow golden clubs rising from the tannin black waters of Okefenokee Swamp. Well, wait a minute, I guess it did cover acres of water sometimes almost completely. But still, can anything so wonderful be invasive in its native range???

I drove past one of the cherry fields today and noticed Stefan, David, and Sue Greely discussing the parentage of a particlar plant

The tall pink flowering one in the middle beyond the viburnums and in front of the foliage. No aspersions were cast and consequently no gauntlets thrown down. It came from seed collected from Prunus sargentii collected in the 1950's. The flowers are double and it would be exciting to think that it's a double form of P. sargentii. The only problem is there was another cherry growing in close proximity so it's possible, Stefan thinks likely, that it is in fact a hybrid. The only way to find out for sure would be to do some DNA testing. It sounded like that was going to happen. Maybe Stefan is wrong. It would be great to have a double sargentii to work with. Stefan is, unfortunately, rarely wrong.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Primula sieboldii 'Lacy Lady', a nice picotee

This is growing beside the stone stairway in the middle of China Valley. It appreciates the extra water that flows by when the stairs are doubling as a dry stream bed. We have a number of cultivars of this species of relatively recent acquisition. In spite of my feverish dividing a few years back, some of the clumps are getting enough size to be impressive. Though they don't appreciate the heat and drought of our summers, they just go dormant and seem to always come back larger the next year.

78482-H Geranium albanum

This is a wonderful geranium that's evergreen here in Washington. One of the coolest things about it is the color of the stamens; they're blue, or at least a purplely blue. To truly appreciate them you must either be very short or have very good vision.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Viola pedata, Bird's foot violet (for the shape of the leaves)

I really like this plant. I had a group of them for years that were a bit more bi-colored than this one is but eventually they succumbed to something. Probably too much moisture at the wrong time of year. This violet likes dry conditions. I've seen it growing happily on decomposing rock, and on the stony edges of unpaved roads. Tough conditions. I planted this in the sandy soil of the new steps in the back garden.

I bought the plant last year from one of the vendors at the Lahr Native Plant Symposium. I stopped by the sale yesterday to look and visit. There were a lot of new vendors and the plants were wonderful but I didn't buy anything. Or take any pictures. I guess I'm just getting old!