Friday, December 14, 2012

Ilex purpurea

This is a beautiful underused holly. Fairly compact with a good shape and clean foliage, it holds its berries, nicely arranged, on purplish stalks. This plant is growing on the flood plain of the Anacostia River below the Asian Collections. We don't have data on it's source but it has been here a good many years.

Tony led a "pest walk" through the growing area this morning

We saw a good variety of pests; some of them were living on beautiful plants.

Morning sun through the Asian Collections...December 14

You hadt've been there.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The light was great today....

if I was a better photographer I could prove it!

Eugenia and Mina cme by today; we walked the collection

Mina is going back to Bulgaria tomorrow. She will have her hip replacement. She urges me to do the same. All things in good time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

x Sycoparrotia semidecidua and Nandina 'Lowboy'

These are not the commonest plants in the world. They look pretty good together though. 'Lowboy' is a wonderful  obscure selection of Nandina domestica; I'm not sure why it isn't more popular. It is smaller than the species and has great winter color. There are berries in there though the cultivar itself is listed as sterile. I'm not sure whether this means that somehow seed has been moved here from a fertile planting (of the species) and we just neglected to notice seedlings, or whether this cultivar does occasionally set fruit. I'm leaning towards the latter option but I'm not certain.

I am certain the x Sycoparrotia semidecidua is a cool plant. It grew on me. The first 10 years or so that I knew these plants, I had no use for them. They do have issues; they are unprunable. You can remove branches to allow passage underneath, but it's impossible to reduce the overall size of the plant without destroying that lovely structure. So whatever's in its way has got to yield! And it's semi-deciduous which means it's.....I don't want to say hideous, but I have to, for large parts of the winter. Still, look at it now! It's surely worth the space if you have it. Plus it's in the Hamamelidaceae, which is one of my favorite families.

Interesting "green" technological discovery

I read e-science news and a few other similar blogs because, well, because advances happen so quickly, discoveries are so exciting, and I'm fascinated/obsessed with nanotechnology. Discoveries in nanotechnology are happening so fast and over such a broad scope it's hard to believe that the popular news media completely ignores it. It's almost an antidote to what we read about in the newspapers.  I'm not saying that we're on the brink of a revolution like the one that occurred after the development of the transistor, but... This article on a "natural" alternative to cobalt for use in the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries, is an example! Even if it isn't about nanotechnology.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I alway say, "better ruffled petals than ruffled feelings"

From the top: Camellia x Winter's Joy'; Camellia x 'Winter's Fancy'; Camellia x 'Pink Anemone'; Camellia x 'Winter's Fire';

The early flowering fall camellias in the collection are mostly white and pale pink. Now that we're into the season there are some vibrant pinks opening. There are no temperatures predicted for the next two weeks cold enough to hurt these flowers so the collection ought to be spectacular at least through Christmas. It really is impressive this year.