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 corresponded
with Charles Darwin as his fascination on how more precisely plants passed on
certain trait 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
In his breeding process he used 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 to the susceptibility of first-generation and second-generation
plants to dieses and their resistance their American counterparts added to
their linage. 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 the
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 alsodeveloped the Superb and Lawton’s
and his sons and grandsons produced many varieties of peas that they sold
through there store. Along with strawberries, currents and apples. His death
was in 1893 but his works live on in one varieties 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.
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 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 →
Some of the best ground covers are natives of Asia about thirty (30) varieties of a genera 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 lilieturf, and blue lilieturf. 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 →
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 out crops 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. Continue reading →