Friday, May 4, 2012
From the left: Nancy, me, Eugenia, Julie, Betty (in back), and Mina
Yesterday we divided daylilies and Iris japonica and spread them out over large bare areas. We removed a persistently unhappy patch of Sarcococca, helped mulch a large bed across from the parking lot, and deadheaded all the peonies that had completed their bloom. Plus we pulled a good number of weeds and did the odd bit of minor pruning.
Posted by ChrisU at 5:57 AM
Thursday, May 3, 2012
I love xeric plants, grey plants, plants with winter rosettes, and penstemons...it's like this plant was designed for me. Native to dryish sites in the tallgrass prairie, from Texas to Montana east to Ohio, though it doesn't occur with any frequency east of the Mississippi River. I know this only from research; the literature, and Scott, also tell me that it's a short-lived perennial almost to the point of being a biennial. I look at all those flowers and have to think that it must reseed pretty dependably.
Scott, Kevin, and GrayC collected seeds in the spring of 2010 from 2009 flowers. They found it in Lawrence, South Dakota on a "Previously logged ponderosa pine woodland, open meadow, slope with southern exposure."This plant is growing in the Introductory Gardens growing area. Brad amended the soil to add drainage. Poor dry soil is what the doctor ordered for this one. I'm going to have to give it a shot. I've got the poor dry soil in the sun for it. I notice Prairie Nursery has it available.
Scott Aker, our Gardens Unit Leader, who was part of this collecting trip, grew up botanizing in the north part of the North American prairie. He speaks about this plant on his blog.
Posted by ChrisU at 3:26 PM
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Brad donated two of his hardy Musa's to the Asian Collections and came out to consult on their siting. We put one in the Central Valley, and the other in China Valley in bed C-5.
This means we've added yet another selection of hardy banana to the collection. This one is Musa itinerans var. xishuangbannaensis 'Mekong Giant'. The plants were a gift from Angela Treadwell Palmer, the president of Plants Nouveau, a uniquely fascinating company that finds, introduces, promotes...cool new plants. Angie was a supervisory horticulturist here for a while and still has a soft spot in her heart for the Arboretum or for Brad or something. Anyway I'm psyched about these bananas. They're already almost 5 feet tall so I'm thinking with the addition of compost and water we ought to be able to get them upwards of 15 feet this year and who knows after that.
Posted by ChrisU at 3:21 PM
Posted by ChrisU at 3:01 PM
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
The plant was a donation, in 1967, by the "Garden Club of Twenty". I searched superficially for this Maryland club and determined that it both does exist at present, and was around as early as 1921. My progress slowed considerably and I'll do more research later.
Posted by ChrisU at 3:23 PM
Monday, April 30, 2012
a proliferation of Evening Primroses. Two years ago it was Bidens. They're always yellow, that's all I know. OH wait they're not. Two years ago I remember Teucrium canadensis in the Fern Valley Prairie. This year it's buttercups. There are buttercups every year, but this particular portion of the National Grove of State Trees has not looked like this in my memory, and I see similar drifts all around the greater Washington area.
The world of living things is so complex I don't pretend to have any idea why these population explosions happen. In Plant Pathology, decades ago in college, we had to explain, on tests, where a particular disease came from. Often the answer was, "the inoculum is ubiquitous." Which implied that the disease occurred because circumstances became favorable for its development. I imagine it's the same with these plants; the seeds were there, or small plants, and circumstances arranged themselves in such a way that massive number of the plants matured. I wonder if this number of plants exists every year and only rarely develop to maturity. Or did this start more than a year ago with an extreme germination event? Or both?
Posted by ChrisU at 2:50 PM