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Plant Profile: Rose America

Rose AmericaPointed, ovoid buds are carried singly or in clusters of four to five, and open up to flowers with heavy salmon pink petals that are pale on the reverse. The flowers have a Hybrid Tea form at first and become cup-shaped as they mature and fade to pink. The upright plants are moderately vigorous and have healthy, semi-glossy, mid-green leaves. They begin blooming relatively late in the season and continue through the summer in flushes with long periods between flowering. [click to continue…]

Grass RootsThe importance of activist in the political process is the focus of Emily Dufton’s book, Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall of Marijuana in America. The author looks at the history of the late 20th and early 21st century America through the perspective of changing attitudes towards marijuana to reveal its integral role the in shaping the social, political, and economic trends of the times. Using a large variety of sources, Dufton describes the causes and effects as well as the actions and reactions that have resulted in a constantly changing attitude towards marijuana. [click to continue…]

Also known as wood avens, colewort, and St. Benedict’s herb, this herbaceous perennial is a member of the rose family, Rosaceae, that also includes cherry, lady’s mantle, and Potentilla. It is native to shady and moist woodland edges and grasslands of Europe and the Middle East but was introduced into North America where it hybridizes with Geum canadense. The specific epithet, urbanum, refers to the fact that the plant tends follow human habitation and so is found growing in waste areas, parks, and gardens where people have changed the environment. [click to continue…]

ardisia-escallonioidesMarlberry is an evergreen small tree or large shrub native to southern Florida where it grows in pinelands, marl ridges, and hummocks. It is a member of the primrose family, Primulaceae, that also includes shooting star, hottonia, and loostrife. The elliptical leaves are dark green, semi-glossy, and three to eight inches long. The small fragrant flowers are white and appear in dense terminal panicles five inches long at interval throughout the year. The dark purple fruit is fleshy, less than ½ inch long, and is eaten by birds, although often not a first choice. Marlberry may be used in a mixed foundation planting, or as a specimen, screen, or hedge. It is tolerant of air borne salt and useful for dune and seaside plantings but does not tolerate salt water.
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epimedium-x-rubrum red barrenwort lvsAlso called bishop’s hat, red barrenwort an herbaceous rhizomaceous perennial and a member of the barberry family (Berberidaceae). It is a hybrid between E. alpinum and E. grandiflorum and is greatly valued as a groundcover especially under trees where it does well in shade and can compete with tree roots for water. Plants form clumps of compound medium green leaves with heart-shaped leaflets that are up to three inches long, pointed and toothed. They have a red tinge in the spring when they emerge before turning green in the summer, and then reddish in the fall. The flowers appear above the foliage on wiry stems in the spring and have red sepals and pale yellow petals. They are about one inch across and carried in loose racemes of fifteen to twenty. The flowers do not last well in the vase but the foliage is very valuable for flower arrangements especially when tinted red in the fall. It goes well with berries and other fall plant material. Although the foliage is beautiful in the spring it lasts only a few hours in the vase so should be allowed to remain on the plant. [click to continue…]

Native to northern China this dense shrub is deciduous in cold climates, semi-deciduous in colder ones. It grows 12-15’ tall and is a member of the olive family, Oleaceae, that also includes jasmine, lilac, and forsythia. The elliptical to oblong leaves are up to 2.5” long and are dull green above with hairs on the underside midribs. Small white flowers attractive to butterflies are carried in two inch long panicles in late spring to early summer and have an aroma that some people find unpleasant. The green oval fruits contain one seed and ripen to black in the fall, persisting into winter. Plants are tolerant of urban conditions, and many different soils except wet ones and transplant easily. They respond well to pruning and are useful in hedges, screens, and foundation plantings. Plants naturalize by self-seeding and may form thickets so are considered invasive from Maine to Michigan, south to Florida and Texas; Montana and Oregon, south to Utah and California. The genus name, Ligurstrum, is the Latin name for the plant. The specific epithet, amurense, refers to the Amur River that forms part of the border between China and Russia. [click to continue…]

Book Review: The Power Greens Cookbook

The Power GreensWhether you want to eat greens because you like them or you want the health benefits, Dana Jacobi’s book, The Power Greens Cookbook will expand your recipe choices. Focusing on fifteen greens from arugula to watercress, Jacobi gives practical information on why to eat them, how to select, store, and prepare them including 140 recipes. As a dietitian Jacobi hopes to entice people to eat more greens for the health benefits they provide and feels that ease of preparation as well as great taste and variety are the keys to success. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are included. [click to continue…]

beetGarden beets do double duty as vegetable, providing leafy greens as well as a root crop. The root may be red, pink, orange, golden yellow, white, or white and red striped in color and globular, cylindrical or flattened. The leaves are large and heart shaped. Beta vulgaris, however, includes more than just garden beets. Sugar beets, mangel beets (grown for forage) as well as spinach beets and swiss chard (grown solely for their leaves) are also included in this genus and species. This is important to gardeners wishing to collect seed because all of these different varieties freely cross. To make matters more difficult, flowers are wind pollinated so a distance of two to five miles between different kinds of Beta vulgaris is needed to ensure pure strains. Many garden beets are hybrids and will not breed true. Plants are biennial and produce leaves and a root the first year and flowers the second. They like full sun, moderately fertile soil, consistent moisture, and pH 6.2-7. Bonemeal in the soil promotes good root development. [click to continue…]

Plant Profile: Winged Elm (Ulmus alata)

Ulmus_alata2Winged elm is a small to medium sized deciduous tree native to the Southeast from Maryland to Kansas and south to Florida and Texas where it gros in open woods, floodplains, rocky slopes, and dry uplands. It is a member of the elm family, Ulmaceae that also includes Zelkova. The common name comes from the appearance of the branchlets that have a broad pair of corky wings about ½ inch wide. The dark green leaves are about 2.5 inches long, narrowly ovate, and have sharply doubly toothed margins and asymmetrical bases. The small insignificant flowers are brownish-green and appear in clusters from late winter to early spring before the leaves emerge. The reddish pappery fruit (samara)is winged , and contains a single seed. Winged elm is tolerant of urban conditions and can be used as a shade tree along sidewalks, in parking lots, and in highway median strips. It’s susceptibility, however, to disease limits its use.  The generic name Ulmus is the Latin name for the tree.  The specific epithet alata comes from the Latin word alatus meaning winged. [click to continue…]

Predatory mite Neoseiulus fallacisThere are thousands of predatory mites in North America and they belong to several different arachnid families. The most important family is Phytoseiidae and the mites belonging to this family are known as phytosiid mites. They are common in the landscape and garden primarily eating pest mites such as the spider mite. Some of the phytosiid mites are specialist predators eating only one type of pest mite, while others feed on more than one species of mite depending on the abundance of the food supply. Still others are generalist predators and consume a variety of mite species as well as insects like thrips, whitefly nymphs, scale crawlers, leafhoppers, fungus gnats, and psyllids. These mites can survive on pollen when their preferred food is no longer available. [click to continue…]