Author Archives: Ken Wilson

WHAT DO STRAWBERRIES AND PEAS HAVE IN COMMON?

Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson

These two common garden varieties of plants seem to be strange equals. Yet we must look back to 1830 when a man was born in Rutland a small town in Tinwell England. He started off his professional life as a solicitor or in America he would be known as a (Lawyer). His interests turned towards horticulture or plant husbandry as it was called then. He started corresponding with Charles Darwin as his fascination with how more precisely plants passed on certain traits to their offspring. By 1858 at the age of 28, he was breeding Peas at a place called St. Mary’s Hill in Stamford. As his creations increased so did his corresponded to Charles Darwin about his outcomes. Darwin made several notations about his thoughts and commented about them several times in his (Darwin’s Notes)

In his breeding process, he used the scientific process and accurately noted all parent’s attributes and how they followed through to their progeny. He first perceived a concept that later has been recognized as hybrid vigor. He watched closely the susceptibility of first-generation and second-generation plants to disease and their resistance to their American counterparts added to their lineage. He bred and back bred to gain the best traits of the American varieties into common English varieties.

He did this without the knowledge of Mendel who in Germany was secluded in a monastery and whose works would later be published. His motivation was to improve varieties, not how genetics worked as did Mendel.

He moved his operation to Bedfordhigh Street in 1872 and began breeding strawberries of which he produced several new varieties including the Royal Sovereign strawberry. He also developed the Superb and Lawton’s Fortune apples.

This gentleman and his sons and grandsons produced many varieties of peas that they sold through there store. Along with strawberries, currants and apples. His death was in 1893 but his works live on in one variety of heirloom peas.

His name was Thomas Laxton (1830-1893), the pea is the “Laxton Pea”, the strawberry “Royal Sovereign.”

Thomas Laxton is considered the greatest pea breeder ever, and this century-old variety is his masterpiece. Try it and see why.

© KEN WILSON
WWW.gardeningwhisperer.com

2019

This entry was posted in Horticulture HistoryOld and True VarietiesVegetables and tagged Charles DarwinMendelpeasStrawberries on November 8, 2019, by Ken WilsonEdit

SPRING

SPRING

Spring is around the corner, if you do not consider it so then look at your maples either red’s or silvers the bids are ever so puffed up. A couple of warm days and the will be in bloom, Sunrise Tree copy smallwhich is enormous as the pollinators will have new source of food.

Just look at this picture and see the buds on this tree and the magnificent sunrise.

Hope all are having a nice spring!!!

Hosta “Curley Fries”

Hosta Curley Fries

The Hosta of the year for 2016 is Hosta Curley Fries.  In 2008 breeder Bob Solberg introduced this magnificent Hosta.  Its curly chartreuse leaves form a diminutive mound of about 6” high and 16’ high giving it an unmistakable appearance.  It was from a seedling of Hosta Pineapple Upsidedown Cake. The best color comes from growing it in an area that has morning sun with afternoon shade. This is the most distinctive hosta to be introduced in some time with its highly ruffled narrow leaves that emerge yellow and then fade to near white. In midsummer, deep purple scapes emerge on top of the plant with lavender flowers.

Its size and color make it a great plant to grow in a container by its self or with others to make a great color contrast.  In the garden it has great diversity as well; it can be grown in lines or in clumps to insert its stupendous color to an otherwise dull spot in your garden.

This Hosta Curley Fries has all that it takes to be a winner, Hosta of the Year 2016. It is one of the many Hostas that have been introduced by Bob Solberg.  Congratulations to you Bob, and I will add more of your Hostas to my blog.

©Ken Wilson Gardening Whisperer 2016

Book Review “The Allergy Fighting Garden” by Thomas Leo Ogren

Book Review “The Allergy-Fighting Garden”

by Thomas Leo Ogren

The Allergy-Fighting Garden Reviewed by Kenneth Wilson “The Gardening Whisperer”.

This review is prepared to be on www.Gadeneningwhisperer.com.   This book was written by Thomas Leo Ogren, 2015 and edited by Lisa Regul of Ten Speed Press.

Thomas has a Masters Degree in Agricultural Science with an emphasis on plant flowering systems and their relationships to allergy. He is the creator of (OPALS) or the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale.  He has been a teacher, business owner, landscaper, has been on TV. He has written many books and articles about plants and allergies. His whole career has been given to helping those with allergies.

I have learned a lot in my many years in horticulture and thought I had figured out a lot of answers until I read Tom Ogren’s book about Allergies.  In the beginning, he lays out the dilemma about allergies he noticed that his wife’s asthma attacks happened when her allergies were at their worst and pollen was everywhere.  He then isolated the plants that were producing the major pollen problems and then started to design a yard without the male pollen spores and used female plants that would attract and hold the pollen so it did not blow about causing problems. He has written several books and has been seen on television on several programs. He established the (OPALS) scale or the (Ogren, Pollen, Allergy Scale), which rates from one (1) to ten (10) the severity of a plant to be an irritant that would cause allergies to humans. He uses several variables to determine this number.

He describes how pollen and allergy have been on the increase in the United States and how the practices of horticulturists have increased the number of pollen grains flying around. His explanation is that the drive to produce more male plants so as to reduce female plants so there is less trash to pick up under female trees. The increase of male trees which has added more pollen and fewer female trees to grab hold of the pollen has added immensely the amount of air-born pollen.  His explanation of how a plant is pollinated is excellent and he lists some of the major plants that are wind-pollinated.  He gives advice on establishing a plant screen to help reduce the amount of flying pollen.

At the end of the book, Tom has included in this book are one thousand plus plant and their (OPALS) number.  It contains all types of plants, trees, shrubs, grasses, annuals, and perennials this is very helpful in designing your allergy-free garden.  Unfortunately, there are many plants in the United States and this list is only a start.

It is an excellent book and must be read to think about what other horticulture practices are doing to unbalance the environment. These practices may also affect the pollination balance with native plants thus affecting bee problems.

Get yourself a copy of “T
he Allergy-Fighting Garden” by Thomas Leo Ogren and enlighten yourself.

©Ken Wilson Gardening Whisperer 2016