Category Archives: Old and True Varieties

The dialogue will be about old and true plants that are excellant but not used as often.

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

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

Liriope “Monkey Grass”

GROUND COVER (LIROPE – Monkey Grass)

Some of the best ground covers are natives of Asia about thirty (30) varieties of a genus called Liriope. Now there are two types of liriope, one the other Muscari.  These two species have many interchangeable common names lilyturf, monkey grass, variegated lilyturf, and blue lilyturf.  When looking for any of these one must remember the difference between the two, Muscari types are clumping and spicata types are spreading. The majorities in the market are Muscari types, they come in green or variegated with either white or yellow leaves. The flowers can be purple, blue or white. Continue reading

Red Maple “The Native”

Red Maple

Red Maple “The Native”

The native Red Maple is very diverse and has many cultivars because of this multiplicity in its gene which allows it to ranges from Canada through the southern states. From east and west, it runs from the plans to the coast. The diversities of this plant can be seen as it grows from the low swamps to the rocky outcrops of Missouri.
Because of the range of habitat of this tree, it can grow in the moist area of the yard as well as dryer sites. While growing in dryer areas however the roots tend to come to the surface and can give rise to some problems as the tree matures.
Red maples bloom early in the spring before the leaves sometimes present themselves, as early as February, in Missouri. This early bloom gives the bees a source of pollen and nectar early in the season so when they become active there is a food source for them. The samara seeds are called helicopters they are produced in late spring. The tree can have both male and female flowers on the tree or both. This attribute is tremendous as it gives rise to some seedless cultivars.
The fall color can be yellow-red to dark red this is another characteristic that been selected out in many cultivars this gives rise to so great fall color show. The Red Maple will mature in seventy-five to eighty years an can live up to one hundred years.
The growth of this tree is faster than sugar maples slower than silver maples. It is listed as a soft maple due to growth rate but it was used furniture in the early pioneer days.
Native Red Maples are used to making a very sweet maple sugar. It can grow to a height of fifty-plus feet. However, its width can vary if the tree is fifty feet tall the width can be from ten to fifty feet wide.
As a native, it is great to plant in certain areas but around urban communities, it is better to plant one of the fifty-plus cultivars for great fall color. In the late 1800s Acer rubrum was crossed with Acer saccharinum giving rise to what is called the Freemanii maples which are half silver and half red maple, today there are about a dozen in cultivation in the United States.

As for the cultivars selected from mutations and or selections of Acer rubrum, there are about forty plus varieties. Any of these are an excellent selection for urban use depending on location. I will add later on the many red maple varieties.

©Ken Wilson Gardening Whisperer 2015

This entry was posted in Old and True VarietiesUncategorized and tagged MaplesNativenative plants. on January 22, 2015, by Ken WilsonEdit