Category Archives: Plant Varieties

A dialogue about plants.

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

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

DECORATION DAY

DECORATION DAY

This is my seventieth DECORATION DAY, (yes I know the name has changed) but it has always been a special day as it was the day my mother prepared flowers to decorate the graves of our ancestral history and the forgotten soldiers that had fought to make America free. From where we lived we had to trek in all four directions to visit the many cemeteries and graves this process took about a week to accomplish. I wish I could remember the stories mother told of each person that we stopped by and there location but time has eroded my mind. Continue reading

Roses

ROSES

Roses are the best know flower though out gardening and to some it is the queen of all flowers.  Roses have a past and I knew that there are several breeders in England and France however in an article by Harald Enders “A New Home FOR OLD GERMAN ROSES”

” http://media.wix.com/ugd/e6654e_42a58c08b17d606a6c8826823a2cbe7d.pdf “I found that many roses were bred in Germany and brought into commerce before 1900.  Through time and three wars many have been lost but Harald Enders is trying to find them and bring them back into production.  Many of these could be the genetics of our modern rose. On further investigation, I found that there are many rose gardens in Germany the best being Sangerhausen which began in 1896 it now has about 75,000 roses.

Continue reading

Hellebores

HELLEBORES

Or

“Lenten Rose”

At the first job I had as a grower in a small greenhouse in fall, eight (8) weeks till Christmas I was handed a box of plants to grow for Christmas, the label said it they a plant called Lenten Rose. There were little or no instructions just plant and keep cool until they bloom around Christmas. They were added to the other plants I was growing to compete with the Poinsettias that were everywhere in the greenhouse.

This was well before the first perennial boom of the seventies (70’s) and they did well as pot plants but I pinched the remainder of those not sold. If I had only known the value and worth of these plants, I would have put them into the perennial plant section I was growing for spring.

Hellebore is a great perennial, unlike other plants that show well in the summer, hellebore dies back and make great green leaves. In the late fall, new leaves start to grow and the awakening starts to begin. When the snow starts the mass of green leave make quite a show, and then as they are covered with snow they show some dieback.  As the snow melts they start to bloom making a great show of flowers. It is a shame that they are not sold more in garden centers as they are a great addition to the American Garden and can be used as cut flowers in the early spring

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A slow grower it will take two (2) to three (3) years to establish once they get started they make grand slight for shade area in your landscape. Be sure to place them so they are visible when you go in and out of your house in early spring. There are about seventy-five (75) varieties in cultivation on the commercial market. They come in singles and doubles. The color range is white, pink, red, black and blotched. Two new varieties from Walters Garden by hybridizer, Hans Hansen, will appear sometime in 2016 look for them. Until then there still many great varieties that can be found.

 

©Ken Wilson Gardening Whisperer 2015

Pictures are from Walters Gardens, Honeymoon series (singles), Wedding Party series (doubles)

This entry was posted in New Varieties and tagged HelleboresLenten RoseNew perennialNew Plants on March 11, 2015, by Ken WilsonEdit