Some Grog For My Fuchsia

September 12, 2012

Some Grog For My Fuchsia

I found this on Sprout,  American Nurseryman’s newsletter.

Taken by Kristin Candler, this photo shows The Prospect Of Whitby, London’s oldest riverside Inn. It is, reportedly, where the Fuchsia was introduced to London when it was traded for a noggin of rum.

To sign up for Sprout go here.

pale fuschia

pale fuschia (Photo credit: kumquatgirl)

Urban Gardens posted about this very portable greenhouse on their site a few days ago and I thought it was so great I just had to post about it on my blog.

This amazing greenhouse was designed by Studio Besau-Marguerre in Hamburg in collaboration with Adrien Petrucci. It comes with a leather strap, which, aside from being fashionable, is also practical as you can move this small greenhouse inside or out as weather permits.

Cindy Meredith, owner of The Herb Cottage, has a list on her web site of plants for a Butterfly Garden.

The above plant, Discliptera subpelta, also known as Uruguyan Firecracker Plant and King’s Mantle, puts out red flowers from summer to fall.

Another species in the genus Dicliptera is resupinata. It has waxy green leaves and small lavender flowers.

For more information about these and other herbs and interesting plants in general go to Cindy’s web site, The Herb Cottage or take some time to read her blog.

Many people who live in hot, dry climates have a tough time growing things in the garden. They think it’s because they don’t have a green thumb. They think it’s because they neglect their pants or that there is some gardening secret that eludes them.

This is usually not the case. Most of the time they are planting the wrong plants.

Plant Select® is administered cooperatively by The Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado State University along with horticulturists and nurseries to identify plants that are adapted to the particular climate of the Intermountain and Rocky Mountain Range.

The web site provides a wealth of information from insightful articles about plants to a searchable plant database, examples of actual gardens and downloadable garden designs for you to use in your own garden.

There is an abundance of information on the site even for the gardener who is not  in the Intermountain or Rocky Mountain region. You can sort through the database for plants using all kinds of criteria.

And don’t think this site is only useful to those living in dry, hot areas. We are all trying to use less water to irrigate our landscapes which makes this site particularly useful as it focuses mainly on plants that can survive on little water.

It truly is a worthwhile resource.

Clematis integrifolia Photo Courtesy of Plant Select

Plant Select® is a great organization located in Fort Collins, Colorado that works in cooperation with the Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado State University, horticulturists and nurseries throughout the Rocky Mountain region and beyond to seek out the best plants for landscapes and gardens for the Intermountain region and the high plains.

Most people think of Clematis as vines that grow to 20 feet or more and climb over everything. But there is a group of Clematis that only grow to between 2-4 feet. Clematis integrifolia Mongolian Bells is in this group.

A man named Harlan Hamernik, the founder of Bluebird Nursery in Nebraska, found the seed for this amazing Clematis on a trip to Inner Mongolia back in the 1990’s. In an article about the plant written by Panayoti Kelaidis of the Denver Botanical Gardens, Panayoti describes the plant as a “…compact, almost ground-covering race of Clematis integrifolia [that] blooms from spring to fall, with nodding, leathery four-parted flowers in blue, lavender, pink and pure white. It appears to have greater drought tolerance than typical clematis.”

I myself planted this in a landscape I installed in Idaho and it did quite well. Once established it needed little care and looked very pleasing creeping through a bed of perennials. Because of its long bloom season it is a good plant to add to a perennial bed of plants with shorter bloom seasons as the Mongolian Bells will carry the bed through times when not much else is flowering.

Hoover’s Soular Food

March 29, 2012

Greens and Root Vegetables in a Corner Of Hoover's Garden

In Austin, TX there is a tradition of food trucks. To me they kind of look like a cross between a trailer home, a submarine, and the take out window at a fast food joint. But a lot of brick and mortar restaurants get their start as food trucks and you can get a lot of good food at the trucks.

The general path is to start with a truck and move on to a restaurant. One man, however, went kind of backwards. He had a restaurant and then started a food truck. That man is Hoover Alexander.

After several years of running Hoover’s Cooking, a Tex-Mex restaurant, Hoover began to feel disconnected from the passion he had previously had for cooking. He felt as though he was getting away from his roots; from the way his family had taught him to cook according to the seasons using every part of the animal, fish or vegetable you were cooking with.

In an effort to get himself back on track he planted a garden. It was this garden that led to the idea of opening a food truck serving veggie-centric, locally sourced food.

I recently ate there and the food was terrific. For those of you who live in Austin I highly recommend a trip.

Hoover’s Soular Food is located at:

1110 East. 12th St.

Austin, TX

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) in Farming...

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) in Farmington, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many plants that, in my opinion, are over looked in the plant trade; plants that would make wonderful additions to the garden that are extremely difficult to find. There has been more than one occasion when I wanted to use a specific plant in a design but simply couldn’t source it.

Asclepias is one of those plants. I don’t think it helps that it’s common name is Butterfly Weed. Who would willingly put something in their garden with the word weed in the name. But this is a great plant and there are a few species that make good additions to the garden.

An emerging flower head

An emerging flower head (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the top and to the right is A. tuberosa with its bright blooms that practically shout at you when they flower in spring. The blooms are most often orange but I have seen bright red and yellow as well. I am also a big fan of the foliage which I find has a very symmetrical look that compliments the blooms. It is native to Texas as well as many other North American areas.

Asclepias

Asclepias (Photo credit: Gravitywave)

A. verticilatta (shown to the left) with its creamy white and pink flowers blooms almost all summer and is native to much of North America including Texas, Mexico and Florida.

A. incarnata‘s flowers (shown below) are a pretty rose-pink and, occasionally, off white color. As a bonus they give off a vanilla scent and attract butterflies. Not quite as drought tolerant as A. tuberosa and A. veticilatta it still does pretty well in a dry environment.

Monarch Butterfly feeding on Swamp Milkweed fl...

Monarch Butterfly and Asclepias incarnata

Now, I ask you, what could be sweeter than sitting in your garden with the scent of vanilla wafting through the air watching the Monarchs flit around your Butterfly Weed?

All three of these plants like full sun and are heat and drought tolerant making them perfect for areas like Austin and Central Texas. They also need little maintenance, another plus for every gardener.

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