}

December 10, 2010

Aloe arborescens

In bud today, is a large, if not massive tree aloe which I brought back from a trip to California about a dozen years ago. This plant is beginning to get big, but it is hardly a tree, yet. It's growing in a 14 clay pot and it really needs to be upgraded into a more impressive container this spring. My issue is that this plant forms buds every winter, but when we get frosty temps in the greenhouse in early December, it starts to droop, and then rots away, so I have never seen this giant Aloe in bloom, so this year, I brought the plant indoors to see if a sunny, cool window in the studio might help it survive the coldest greenhouse weeks of December and early January.

So far, so good - I'm especially lucky because Monday morning the greenhouse propane tank was empty, (which always seems to happen this around the first week of December because the gas company usually miscalculates the first delivery of the season), and the greenhouse frosted over with inside temperatures dropping near 26 degrees F.

There are many Aloe species, so get that image of the most common Aloe vera out of your head for just a moment. In warm climates, some Aloes can reach enormous sizes. Just google TREE ALOE and see what I mean.


December 4, 2010

More Early Winter Camellia

THREE CAMELLIA JAPONICA IN BOTTLE VASES

In the greenhouse, the Camellias continue to bloom, with the larger cultivars of Japanese varieties not blooming. There are three types of Camellias that I love, the single Japanese varieties, fragrant species in their wild form, and standard rose form. These three are all single.

A SINGLE WHITE CAMELLIA OPENING UP SHOWING IS GOLDEN YELLOW BOSS OF STAMENS, ONCE OPEN, IT WILL LOOK LIKE A FRIED EGG.

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December 1, 2010

December Grasses

Miscanthus sinensis plumes capture the December sunshine making a late afternoon show. Grasses are a most valuable asset in the late autumn garden, in that period just after the trees loose their foliage, and before the snow covers the ground. They are sheered back to the ground in late February.

Each Miscanthus species has a different seed plume, some remain vertical, whilst others twist and turn. Large grasses require larger format thinking. The most common error gardeners make is planting them too close together. I plant 2 gallon nursery grown grass plants like Miscanthus 6 feet apart, in clumps of 3 to 6. Yes, it requires space, but if you want an impressive specimen planting, you must think big and plant boldly. Grasses require confidence, a dedication of space and some homework before you plant.