Category Archives: Plant Varieties

A dialogue about plants.

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

PLANTS FOR THE CURE

PLANTS FOR THE CURE

PLANTS FOR THE CURE
In the past years, there have been many gardens of pink to honor the lives of Breast Cancer victims however a few breeders and growers have stepped up to give gardeners some impressive plants for the foundation.

As we all know Breast Cancer has been a devastating disease in the past half-century. Every family that not been affected in some way by this disease. Breast cancer has been the most published form of cancer. It has been not talked about the problem facing American women.

Then in 1982, Susan G. Komen for the Cure was founded by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen.

In 2001 Sandy De Boer succumbed to Breast cancer, her fellow workers at Walters’s garden knew that her favorite hosta was June. When the next sport appeared it was named “Remember Me” and as it is sold a donation is given to the Susan G. Komen foundation. With this hosta, a great cause it was a beginning helped. Selling plants to help make a contribution to the cause to cure cancer was a new idea for the plant industry.

There have been several other plants that have come and gone in this process for plants donating money to the Susan G. Komen foundation. One a poinsettia, some geraniums, other one-shot plants that have not lasted.

In 2003 another employee of Walters Gardens, Inc Laurel Hall was diagnosed with the disease and due to the valuable research efforts of Susan G. Komen Laural has a clean bill of health. Hope’. Working with Terra Nova Nurseries, Walters Gardens added yet another plant Echinacea ‘Hope’ this plant was added in honor of breast cancer survivors. With this pink Echinacea ‘Hope,’ a cure can be found for Breast Cancer.

A breakthrough 2010 with Hydrangeas was made by Thomas G. Ranney at Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in North Carolina. This was the first pink Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ it is called ‘Invincible Spirit. It is a great find on the native plant Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ The blooms occur on both new and old wood and can be trimmed in the fall so it can bush out and bloom again next year. Desires two to three years to reach its full impact as the stems on the new plant are week and cannot carry the heavy blooms well, it also needs full sun and heavy fertilizer to make a happy compact plant. This plant has won several awards in its short time. It is also supported by Proven Winners. With the sale of each plant, one dollar is donated to Susan G. Komen foundation.

Every year some of the box stores produce a pink-flowered plant that is sold with the money going to the Susan G. Komen foundation. Most of these plants are annuals and do not add any longevity to the garden.
A bulb company was selling pink tulips with this same theme each company has a good thought behind the efforts but there needs to be a more centralized push. There needs to be more perennials and shrubs and trees that the gardener can enjoy for years and an effort that is not pushed just for sales. If you know any other plants please let me know and I will publish them.
©Ken Wilson Gardening Whisperer 2014

This entry was posted in Breeders / BreedingOld and True Varieties and tagged Echinacea ‘Hope”Hosta ‘Remember Me’Hydrangea ‘Invincible Spirit.Susan G Komen on January 16, 2015, by Ken WilsonEdit

Snow Drops

Snowdrops

Snow Drops

On a dull cloud covered rainy winter day I noticed that the Snowdrops ‘Galanthus nivalis’ that I planted 20 years ago were coming up and starting to bloom. This is in contrast to last year as they waited until it was February before they poked the little heads out of the ground to bloom and announcing that spring was coming.

Snowdrops are one of the first spring bulbs that flower followed by Grape Hyacinths and Crocus. In reality, there are twenty types of snowdrops only three are in commercial production.   The standard is ‘Galanthus nivalis’ but if you can find ‘G. nivalis Flore plena’ you will have a great show of white spring flowers. Their cold requirement is 15 -18 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees, this why they bloom early.  They can even bloom under the snow, however in extreme cold with no snow cover the blooms seem to give up the ghost.

Planting of Snowdrops is done in the fall, which is when they are harvested, then shipped to a location near you. Snowdrops are hard to find in the fall in most garden stores. They do not count for high dollars in the store but add great beauty in the early spring. The best effort to find a retail mail-order garden catalog that sells many types of fall bulbs. If you are looking for one let me know I have several.

Frequently Snow Drops like several other early winter spring flowers are left out of landscape design because their bloom time is before people are active in the yards. If you find a garden location as you travel in the winter going in and out of your house that is the best place because you will be able to enjoy their beauty. Planted around trees is another great location.  In some areas when planted in the grass as they have gone before lawn mowing has commenced. The bulbs are small and when planted they should be groups of five to six they will make larger clumps over the years and give that early hello that spring is coming.

©Ken Wilson & Gardening Whisperer 2015

Flowering Dogwoods

Preparing for Spring

Pink Dogwood Enhanced

One can gain knowledge of what spring-flowering dogwood trees will be like from looking at what is occurring in the fall. In the late summer tree Dogwoods or (Cornus florida) or (Cornus rubrum) types start their groundwork for a grand spring flower show. This requires both proper water and temperatures. Several years ago when we had hot temperatures in August and with little or no rain there were little or no spring dogwood blooms the next spring. Supplementary watering should have been given early to mid-August in order to offset the dry summer. This also will intensify the brilliant fall red colors of the dogwood leaves. As seen in this picture the buds are set for a spectacular show next spring.

Native dogwoods grow at the edge of the forest and in clearings. In urban settings placed into too much shade, the tree will be thin and blooms will be meager. Yet in the full sun they tend to struggle, this is also the situation is enhanced by poor soils. One solution is using more mulch around the tree roots as this holds moisture and keeps the roots cool like as on a native forest floor.

Flowering Tree Dogwoods come in a number of common types and varieties (Cornus florida) or (Cornus rubrum)

WHITE; (Cornus Florida), (Cornus Florida Appalachian Mist), (Cornus Florida Cherokee Princess), (Cornus Florida Cloud Nine), (Cornus Florida Cherokee Daybreak with variegated leaves), (Cornus Florida Holman Gold), (Cornus Florida Pendula), (Cornus Florida Prairie Splendor).

RED; (Cornus florida Cherokee Brave), (Cornus Florida Cherokee Chief), (Cornus Florida Cherokee Sunset with variegated leaves.

 PINK: (Cornus rubrum).

©Ken Wilson & Gardening Whisperer 2014