Friday, April 23, 2010
I tried t tell GrayC how much I liked it; she, of course, explained all the problems and issues and about the weeds and I realized why the garden was so wonderful. It's not good to be a perfectionist, but it is good to have them in charge of things you care about. I guess....except it seems selfish and unfair to them. I mean, I want emotional balance in my family and friends, but as far as the Redskins and Capitols are concerned I want those players single-minded and driven. I don't want them to have balance in their lives. I want losing to be like death. Except I don't really. When I begin to feel like that I always picture my sons in place of the players and relent.
Posted by ChrisU at 8:47 PM
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Posted by ChrisU at 6:33 PM
We collected the Shortia seed in the summer of 2008; it germinated quickly, grew slowly, and a few have now been planted out in Fern Valley
I'll keep close watch on the plants. I'm almost sorry to be going away tomorrow and have to miss a whole week, but maybe the "uncle effect" will happen and it'll be easier to see changes. That is the deepening coloration and the explosive growth that I'm sure will occur. Hey, we saw weedy colonies in the wild and I feel good about this site.
Posted by ChrisU at 6:29 PM
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Posted by ChrisU at 3:54 PM
Look at all the volunteers getting ready for this weekend's 19th Annual FONA Garden Fair and Plant Sale
ONA SPRING FAIR
Cyclamen coum and native Trilliums (they're almost all native), and native Cypripediums (they aren't), two kinds. It only took me 5 minutes to find these plants and take these pictures so there's lots more and this doesn't even include the specialty vendors. It makes me wish I had more room in the gardens.
Posted by ChrisU at 3:40 PM
The Azaleas seem to have responded to the last twelvemonth of weather much as the Magnolias and Cherries did; they're having a great spring. I'm only sorry it took me this long to get into the Collection.
Posted by ChrisU at 3:21 PM
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Single white cupped flowers come early but don't last long. This is about the least impressive Peony that I can call to mind. It's surely the least impressive we have in the Asian Collections. I like it though, with it's furry maroon petioles and its curved glossy red stigmas (ae?). The fruits in the fall are fantastic red follicles enclosing blue-black fertile seeds and red sterile seeds. I guess I like flashy fruit!
Posted by ChrisU at 3:50 PM
Monday, April 19, 2010
Fred Hooks delivered a truckful of uncommon and choice Japanese Maple cultivars along with some Stewartias and Native Azaleas from Don Shadow
I don't quite understand the dynamics of the partnership, but Fred has been doing this "All Things Acer" deal with Don Shadow. Both are remarkable plantsmen and both are quite generous. Many of their special offering are destined for the FONA Plant Sale this weekend. These are plants truly to be coveted. Some of the Maples haven't even made it inot the catalogue yet.
Posted by ChrisU at 6:44 PM
Posted by ChrisU at 4:28 PM
Unlikely survivors: these are not Zone 7 plants, they're not pretty, and they've got no business being alive, but here they are
Hardiness is not a simple issue defined by low temperatures. There are factors and factors involved; soil type, soil moisture, slope, the sequences of warm and cold and wet and dry.... and on and on. Some years plants on the "edge" sail through only to succumb to what might appear to be similar conditions the next year. It's not unusual for many borderline plants to last a few years or 10 or more, but eventually be killed by some peculiar combination of meteorological phenomena. Bearing all that in mind I have to think that this Vernicia is good in our zone. Last winter wasn't extremely cold but it was a legitimate Zone 7 winter which is uncommon enough here of late. We had a couple of days under 10 F, we had 40+ inches of snow, and something more than the top two inches of soil were frozen for weeks. This plant looked as good coming out of winter, actually better, than it did going in and it hasn't missed a beat. We've already got 6 leaves on a plant that, as I recall, had only 18 total last year.(Yes, I did count. Not every plant, but this one)
Rosa clinophylla, on the other hand may well be taking advantage of a winter without any extreme temperature swings; I wouldn't be surprised not to see it next spring, but who knows? It could outlast me. Nobody rates this above a 9a. It's a swamp rose ?!?! from tropical Asia: India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. And it looked miserable all summer. It's supposed to like heat and humidity. Go figure.
This last one is the real shocker. It's Brazilian Plume, Jacobinia sp., a 9b plant for sure. I somehow got confused about what it was and put it in the ground thinking it was a Shrimp Plant, Justicia Brandegeeana, which is more likely candidate for survival in Zone 7, being itself, only a Zone 8. I planted it in the courtyard of the Beltsville Library where it is a little protected and hoped for the best. Well, the leaves kept getting bigger and bigger and I realized it wasn't a Shrimp Plant and then it flowered, that distinctive pink mop of florets and I figured, whatdayouknow? I fed it and watered it thoughout the summer and figured people would be impressed with the flowers because, well, they're impressive. And it was well received but I had no hopes whatsoever of seeing it this spring, but there it is. It looks vigorous, as though it's ready to put up multiple shoots and become a very showy plant. I'm psyched.
Posted by ChrisU at 4:12 PM
Posted by ChrisU at 3:16 PM
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I had weekend watering duty today; that's always a good excuse to poke around in the greenhouses looking for cool stuff
And all those tropicals remind me that this weekend I'm going to Florida to see what ravages the "coldest winter in the history of Central Florida" has wrought. I expect that it'll be a lot like last winter. The low temperatures weren't much different, it just stayed cooler longer this year. I watch the NOAA weather data for Wildwood and Leesburg Florida and while there was considerable rain a month ago, not so much lately. No rain and a cold winter suggest that the garden will be an ugly mess, but the world being the ironically contrary place that it is I'm sure the garden will be lovely for the first time in 4 springs. And I'm only half kidding.
This is another driving trip so that many of those inexpensive Florida tropicals can come north for summer bedding out. Karen and the Boys supply many Gingers, Brugmansias, Palms, etc to their customers that come north on this return trip. I like this season because I'm reasonably comfortable planting now since the regular rains of summer are just about due to begin.
Posted by ChrisU at 11:32 AM