Friday, August 17, 2012

Hostas around the GCA Circle (mostly Hosta yingeri)

Except for the paler plant in the foreground of the bottom picture.

Hostas are stealing the show this week in the Asian Collections.   Hosta yingeri, named for Barry Yinger who curated the collection in the 80's, is a tall, late blooming hosta collected in Korea in 1985. It's planted various places in the collection, but these two groupings face each other across a grassy strip below the GCA Circle.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dianthus longicalyx

When I first met this plant 20-odd years ago, it was called Dianthus superbus. It kind of is superb. At least it's spectacular. There were multiple collections of it made in Korea in 1984. We have a problem with keeping them discrete: it's a short lived perennial, almost an annual and it moves about in the garden. It still wanders around in the beds adjoining the parking lot steps. I occasionally see it for sale as a plant. If you like it seeds are really the way to go.

Yellow necked caterpillar, Datana ministra

I love the "gregarious" caterpillars. They're like a school of fish; they move together. You can conduct them by moving your hand back and forth where they can see it. They shift in unison as though they were watching a tennis match. These were enthusiastically consuming one of our wild-collected Chinese oaks. Katie was showing Aurora (the Education Unit intern) around the collection and they discovered them. They brought this guy back to show me. I photographed it and Katie asked, "should I squash it?" I said, "sure but nobody ever wants to do that." Aurora volunteered, rather disturbingly, that she was happy to do it. I don't know about these young people. Anyway after dispatching this one, they got a ladder and went back to eliminate his siblings. My suggestion for disposing of them was a bucket of soapy water. I used to use that for the Gypsy moth caterpillars we trapped in Fern Valley. I passed them later and they were hard at their work though not happy about the caterpillars pooping on them.

The Sotdae look good early in the morning with their shafts aglow

That's not what I meant and you know it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lagerstroemia 'Cheyenne'

I spent enough time working in a retail nursery to know that red is the preferred color for Crapemyrtles.

Korean Hill grooming, Sotdae installation, and delicious Korean lunch

Young Choe, of kusamono fame,  organized a Korean/American volunteer project today. Volunteers came from Lynchburg Va., Long Island New York, Fredricksburg Va, among other places to weed, prune, and groom Korean Hill. They generated debris at a rate that almost exceeded Katie and my ability to drive it to the brickyard and dump it! Plus one volunteer, Mr. Yoon, brought four traditional Korean Sotdae which he generously donated to the collection. They are on display now, visible to anyone who drives or walks on Hickey Hill Road through the Asian Collections.

Many beds were groomed to perfection, the Sotdae were installed, and we finished with a wonderful Korean meal.

Young sent me these last two photographs. I'll attribute them when I find out who took them.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hovenia's time to harvest the swollen raches

I last photographed this just about a month ago. In the interim, the fruit has ripened and the raches have plumped up just like they were supposed to. The fruit themselves are dry; I could hear the seeds rattling around inside when I shifted the inflorescence to take the picture. I did try eating one of the "raisins" but it puckered me up. Maybe they aren't quite ready? I'll wait and watch them. Then I'll probably dry them and we'll give 'em a tasting. It is surely an odd looking anatomical construction.