Friday, September 26, 2008

Giant Brunnera leaf (Siberian Bugloss) and other miscellaneous fall photos

The Brunnera macrophylla was aptly named - macrophylla = large or big leaves. Some of the leaves are bigger than my hand. The B. 'Jack Frost' variegated leaves were never that big so I was surprised to see how large the plain green ones became. The leaves look like a much bigger version of the wild violets we have growing in our lawn - same dark green color and heart shaped leaves.

Actaea racemosa, formerly Cimicifuga racemosa - Black cohosh, Black bugbane, Black snakeroot or Fairy candle. Last year the plant put all it's growth into one stem. Consequently it grew very tall but produced one main flower spike and several smaller spikes off of the main flower stem. This year it put up several stems with the resultant increase in number of flower spikes but they are about a foot shorter than last year's spike. A very pretty plant with dark purple almost black stems.

Unknown Tricyrtis. We bought both the white and spotted plants as tiny seedlings many years ago. I really like the white variety but unfortunately it was planted under some trees and shrubs and has all but disappeared. A tiny seedling grew just far enough out of the heavy shade and just produced these flowers for the first time. The spotted ones were placed in a location with better light and is thriving, though some azaleas and rhododendrons will threaten it in a few years.

Rose 'Honey Perfume' with the morning dew lining the tips of the petals.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Growing the World's hottest pepper. Bhut Jolokia, update.

What a difference a month makes. Time and the right growing conditions created an explosion of growth. See the before and after photos below.

Before: August 18, 2008

After: September 20, 2008

So... what I have learned about Bhut Jolokia culture:
1. Plant seeds when the temperatures are consistently in the high 60's to low 70's.
2. Keep soil moist until the plant germinates.
3. As soon as the seeds germinate place the plant in partial shade - the seedlings don't like full sun, especially direct overhead sun.
4. When several of the true leaves are evident, place the plant where it will receive morning and late afternoon sun.
5. Someone mentioned that peppers are heavy feeders and I can vouch for that. I feed my plants daily with a dilute liquid fish fertilizer. I also planted the seeds in a commercial garden soil mix. I don't like potting soil because it dries out too readily.

Some of the mornings are pretty cool these days, high 50's are quite common. I've left the pepper plants outdoors and they seem unfazed by the coolness. I'll bring the plants indoors when the temperatures go below the mid fifties.

Before: August 18, 2008

After: September 20, 2008

The plant given to me by the owner of the nursery we frequent has grown quite a bit too but mostly sideways. I guess it is putting most of its energy in producing fruit.

The numerous pods (approx. 18 with more flowers and tiny pods appearing) are growing nicely. Each pepper is about 2 1/2 inches long and 1" wide. Two are just starting to turn the bright orange characteristic of the mature pepper pod.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fall Anemones

The fall anemones are starting to bloom. We bought about 11 different ones and two which haven't bloomed previously have set buds so I'm anxiously awaiting to see what the flowers look like. I'll post pictures as soon as they bloom. In the meantime here's what's blooming now.

There seems to be few blooms this year but the colored ones are much more vivid with saturated deep hues.

A. x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'

A. x hybrida 'Whirlwind'

Unknown anemone. It looks like A. Robustissima tomentosa but blooms a month later. The bumblebees sure love it!

Anemone hupensis

Anemone 'Prince Henry'

A. 'Victor Jones'?

A. x hybrida 'Party Dress'

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seven Sons Tree and other late season flowers

Seven Sons tree in bloom.

Heptacodium miconioides, syn. H. jasminoides Family: Caprifoliaceae.

From the Spring Meadow Nursery website: "Native to the Zhejiang Province of China, Heptacodium was first introduced to the west by the famous plant explorer E. H. Wilson. For some reason the plant remained obscure until 1980 when the plant was reintroduced from China and promoted to the nursery trade by the Arnold Arboretum. In a relatively short period of time the nursery community has embraced this plant and has now made it available to the public. While Heptacodium may still be hard to find in the Midwest, it has become all the rage in the East and enthusiasm for the plant is spreading west. I have seen stunning mature plants in Massachusetts, Ohio and Minnesota but only in botanical gardens. As for the trade, I have seen smaller plants in some of the more progressive nurseries, but it is still hard to find mature plants outside the East Coast. I am pleased to say that I found two progressive growers listing Heptacodium in the MNLA buyers guide: Huggett Sod Farm and Ray Weigand's Nursery. The availability of Heptacodium will follow demand as more people are fortunate enough to see this plant in its prime and discover this little know treasure."

From the Rare Find site: "First collected in 1907 by E.H. Wilson in Hupei Province, China and then forgotten, it was introduced to the U. S. by the Arnold Arboretum. H. miconioides is rare in China, with few if any now growing in the wild."

From the Garden Gal, The Southern Great Lakes Gardener site: "Each flower stalk blooms with seven flowers, hence the name, Seven Sons Tree or Seven Sons Flower."

From the Rainyside Gardeners site:
"Geographic Origin: China.
Plant Group: Shrub.
Hardiness: Sunset zones: 2b-6, 14-17. USDA zones: 5-8.
Mature size: Height: 20 feet (6 m). Width: 8-10 feet (2.5-3 m).
Flowering period: Late summer to late autumn.
Flowering attributes: Clusters of fragrant, creamy white flowers born in clusters of seven, followed by clusters of showy purple fruit with bright purple-red calyxes.
Leaf attributes: Four-inch long, ovate, deciduous, green leaves that turn purple-bronze in autumn.
Light: Full sun to light, dappled shade.
Soil: Fertile, well-drained soil.
Feeding: Side dress with compost and a complete organic fertilizer in the spring.
Propagation Methods: Sow seed as soon as ripe. | Softwood cuttings in spring.
Pruning Methods: In late winter or early spring prune out crossed branches or branches too tall, to maintain good shape."

If you'd like to try growing the Seven Sons tree, Park Seed Company has it for a very reasonable $12.95 + shipping. I have no affiliation with Park Seed.

Petasites japonicum/japonicus variegata, giganteum. Here's an interesting site on this plant.

And a discussion group with photos about this plant from the Dave's Garden Community Forums.

Corydalis 'Berry Exciting'.

Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima'.

Allium tuberosum, Garlic Chives


Rosa 'Honey Perfume'

Rosa 'Hot Cocoa'.

Spent late blooming flower of the Magnolia virginiana, aka sweet bay magnolia.

More Anemones.

One of the new colored Delphiniums.

Cornus controversa 'Variegata', Giant Dogwood. I bought this plant as a tiny foot tall tree. It has grown to 4 feet tall in a year. I fear I may have planted it in too crowded a location.

Unknown Anemones.

Hydrangea paniculata, Peegee?, Grandiflora?

Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima'.

Oriental lily 'Dizzy'.

Variegated Liriope.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Heucheras (coral bells) and kin

Our trees and shrubs have grown considerably and consequently we have lots of shade now. Our once barren yard is mostly shaded and many of the struggling, wan, sun loving plants need to be replaced. Luckily we found the wholesale nursery which has a good selection of shade loving plants. We bought many Brunnera, Dicentra, Ligularia, Tricyrtis, and now Huecheras. The picture above shows our recent haul. I hadn't looked at Huecheras for many years and didn't realize they had so many great varieties now with many different leaf colors.

It will be a busy weekend of planting but I hope we get some rain from Hanna. We haven't had a real rain for about 2 months - the earth is parched and bone dry.

H. 'Georgia Peach'

Heucherella 'Alabama Sunrise'

H. x villosa, 'Encore'

H. 'Crimson Curls'

H. 'Tiramisu'

H. 'Christa'

H. 'Ginger Ale'

H. 'Caramel'

H. 'Citronelle'

Tiarella, Allegheny Foam Flower, 'Wherryi'

Tiarella are related to Huechera. The look-a-like's are both in the Saxifrage family but the Tiarella blooms in spring and Huechera in summmer.

Interestingly Huechera and Tiarella are crossed, producing the hybrid Heucherella. The 'Alabama Sunrise' in the third photo from the top is an example of this cross breeding. It will be interesting to see whether it blooms in spring or summer.

Here's an interesting University of Arkansas website with lots of information about Huecherella and a great explanation of the x in hybrid notation. Here's an excerpt:

"The "x" is a universal symbol used to denote a plant hybrid. The placement of the symbol is important. If it’s placed between the two names of a plant, that tells us that the hybrid is a cross between two species within a genus, as was the case of Dragonwing begonia we discussed last week. These are called interspecific hybrids."

"But when the "x" comes before the plant name, that tells us we are dealing with an intergeneric hybrid - a cross between two different plant genera. Because the symbol seems to dangle in the stream of a sentence, non-plant people involved in editing copy do all sorts of things with the pesky "x", most often omitting it all together."

Now you know - I didn't.
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Location: Zone 6, New Jersey, United States

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