March 28, 2015

MY (SORT-OF) SECRET SOURCES FOR INTERESTING PLANTS FOR CONTAINERS AND MORE

IOCHROMA FUSCHIOIDES 'ROYAL QUEEN', A SPECTACULAR TROPICAL SHRUB FOR A SUMMER CONTAINER IS ONE EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU CAN ORDER ONLINE NOW, FOR POTTING UP IN MAY.


It's nearly April and we barely have anything in the garden that seems alive, there is still 1 - 2 feet of snow on the ground - I mean, even the witch hazel has yet to to bloom. Not a snowdrop to be seen, no crocus, not even an early blossom on the Cornus mas. To top this all off - it's been snowing for 8 hours now, but at least nothing is sticking. I might even go as far as to say that it looks pretty - maybe pretty, if this was November.

BEGONIAS OF ALL TYPE GROW QUICKLY AND CAN MAKE IMPRESSIVE SUMMER CONTAINERS. THESE CANE-TYPE OR ANGELWING BEGONIAS FROM LOGEE'S GREENHOUSES OR KARTUZ GREENHOUSES ARE BEST IF PLANTED 3 TO A LARGE POT - STAKE THEM AS THEY TOWER UP TO 4-5 FEET IN ONE SUMMER.

I think I am kind of ready for spring.  So why not spend some time ordering plants for summer containers, for the summer greenhouse and for the garden. Local garden centers seem to carry more and more big-brand selections, like Proven Winners and Monrovia Nurseries, which is great, since these are  fully tested varieties, often selected for their vigor and overall performance, but if one wants something different or more unique, it will take a little more effort.

Here are some of my go-to sources on-line for interesting container plants which often cannot be found locally, as well as some sources for rare bulbs, herbs, shrubs and trees and tender plants which one might bring into a cellar, greenhouse or a cold cellar for the winter if you live where it gets cold and snowy.

March 22, 2015

TEN GARDENING TIPS I WILL NEVER WRITE ABOUT

Perennial Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' does make a good pot plant in a cold greenhouse.  This one was a gift from the gal's at Blythewold Mansion two years ago. So little in the greenhouse looks good enough to photograph - I have no idea how I am going to rescue it for our garden party on May 1st.



Fair warning  - you may want to read this post first before you decide to vote this week for this blog as your most favorite gardening blog (it's in that pink circle ad up there on the right hand side column). I do hate asking folks to do things like that, but, after all, blogs are social media, and good ratings sometimes count.

Thanks in advance.

(One more thing - apparently there are lot of grammar and spelling errors in this post - which I apologize for in advance Trying to catch them all tonight.)

Really, I am not being negative, either.
I'm just being honest.

THE TRIVIALIZATION OF GARDENING
A nice rant.

Gardening advice - beginners crave for guidance, experts seek new inspiration, and everyone else in-between just wants to loose themselves in some gorgeous imagery and text that will transport them into some fantastical garden in their mind. I've been wondering lately if all of the abundance of information - Facebook groups, blogs, magazines, tweets and gardening product companies just might be over-informing us? I'm not sure yet about Pinterest, as I too am addicted to it, but as many of you know, it too can be over-used, or at the very least - misused.

 I beg to ask the question - what is gardening today? I imagine that the answers can be many, a way to grow food, agriculture perhaps, potted plants and house plants certainly, but another definition might be emerging - that of gardening as a craft. A DIY craft project, which isn't necessarily a bad thing at all, as what's wrong with creative expression? Plus, a child making a fairie garden might one day discover that he or she has suddenly fallen in love with gardening. So what then is my concern?

March 19, 2015

A RARE TUBEROUS NASTURTIUM FROM THE ANDES

TROPAEOLUM X TENUIROSTRE (A NAME USED BY KEW FOR THIS RARE RELATIVE OF THE NASTURTIUM, BUT THE NAME OF THIS SPECIES IS STILL UNDER REVIEW BY TAXONOMISTS)


I'm sharing this curious vine which grows from a tuber with you all again as it continues to impress me, yet it remains rare in most collections. It's a tuberous Tropaeolum, which isn't botanically a nasturtiums but the genus for the common garden nasturtium is Tropaeolum. You may be able to identify some similar characteristics in the blossom - particularly the spur. Native to the Andes, the taxonomy of this particular species is as of yet, un clear - yet it looks very similar to one which was also grown at Kew Gardens identified as Tropaeolum x tenuirostre, but that is still under review by botanists. It may simply be a cross between two tuberous species, T. tricolor (tricolorum) and T. brachyceras.

These tuberous nasturtiums are getting more attention today by enthnobotanists and science as the interest in finding more sustainable food crops grows. One tropaeolum is already under consideration as a greater food source (Tropaeolum tuberous) which is commonly grown by native populations in the high Andes (Bolivia, Ecuador. Chile and Peru) along with the other Andean tubers which include Oca (Oxalis tuberosum), potatoes (Solanum tuberosum, S. juzepczukii), Papalisa or Ullucu (Ullucus tuberosus) and of course, the afore mentioned  Tropaeolum tuberosum,  which is often called Isaño or Mashwa.

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