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By sallyg on Dec 12, 2018 6:25 AM, concerning plant: Forsythia

Certainly one of the most well known and widely planted shrubs in the US Mid Atlantic suburbs, Forsythia is a welcome sight for a week in spring. For the rest of the year, I find it not especially attractive, more so because it is often used along property lines or in foundation beds, where it outgrows its space and is subject to acts of pruning desperation. It is a rangy sprawling thing that could possibly stand to be cut down to a foot every spring after bloom and let regrow, as you would a butterfly bush (but that is cut late winter). If you must have a forsythia, give it about 12 feet of clear width all around. I'll admit I am basing all this on decades of experience with decades old cultivars planted in the 1960s and 1970s. Maybe some new ones are better behaved, but I doubt it.

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By sallyg on Dec 12, 2018 12:45 AM, concerning plant: Japanese Kerria (Kerria japonica)

I've had my single-flowered Kerria for about ten years. I admired a mature one, and was gifted a yanked-up clump to take home. Branches are thin, green and smooth, mostly in an upright spray, a lot of stems from the ground rather than having a lot of side branching. Mine does put out suckers. It is growing nicely in shade under trees, guessing it might sucker more aggressively with no root competition. It is 4-5 feet tall and wide, blooms dependably.

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By sallyg on Dec 12, 2018 12:36 AM, concerning plant: Leatherleaf Mahonia (Berberis bealei)

Grows very well in my zone 7 Maryland garden as an annual, may self sow a bit ( I have found maybe 3 seedlings in 10-12 years that is has been loaded with berries.) Blooms in February and honeybees will visit during a winter warm spell. The sweet lemony fragrance is delightful. Slow growing for me, with a nice structure that can be managed by pruning a few longer branches now and then to encourage new denser growth. Very prickly leaves, not one to have where people will walk in bare feet.

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By sallyg on Dec 12, 2018 12:21 AM, concerning plant: Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

Bottlebrush buckeye grows well in my zone 7 garden in sandy loam soil. It is a large-scale specimen, needing to spread its branches to show off the big compound leaves and long bloom spikes. It has made several low branches that can be rooted by weighting with a brick. As for the 'showy' fruit, the developing nuts are novel, rather than 'pretty,' the ripe nuts, while not edible for humans, are pretty.

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By sallyg on Dec 12, 2018 12:11 AM, concerning plant: Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)

Tropical milkweed grows very well in my zone 7 Maryland garden as an annual, may self sow a bit. Easy to root from fall cuttings and can be kept inside over winter that way, and will grow quickly once planted back out. Monarch caterpillars do love it. Can get aphids some years, watch for aphids if you bring in seedlings or cuttings over winter..

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By ILPARW on Dec 11, 2018 12:57 PM, concerning plant: Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa 'Pink Panda')

Way back in the spring of 2003 I bought a few pots of this 'Pink Panda' Strawberry from a K-Mart. I planted them into my front yard peninsula bed that was full sun in its beginning. They did well and made a nice delicate groundcover. However, as the trees grew large and have shaded that bed, they have declined. Some are still there, but not nearly as much with too much shade and competition from other perennials. It blooms well in May and then some sporatic flowering until fall. I have never seen much fruit from this cultivar. This cultivar was developed in England to be an ornamental groundcover from a perennial that was a cross between the Marsh Cinquefoil (Potentilla palustris) x the Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) and then back-crossed again with the strawberry.

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By Marilyn on Dec 10, 2018 8:35 PM, concerning plant: Salvia (Salvia sonomensis 'Pine Canyon')

A Suncrest Nurseries introduction.

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By Marilyn on Dec 10, 2018 8:18 PM, concerning plant: Salvia 'Valentina'

Salvia 'Valentina', a S. darcyi x S. microphylla hybrid, was introduced by Suncrest Nurseries in CA.

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By ILPARW on Dec 9, 2018 8:31 PM, concerning plant: Purple Wintercreeper Euonymus (Euonymus fortunei var. radicans 'Coloratus')

This Purple Wintercreeper is normally planted to be a groundcover, but it can become as a vine and climb up trees, shrubs, walls, fences, and other structures. I remember it as both a groundcover and a vine on the walls of the library at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL in the 1970's and 1980's, but it became infested with the white hard-shelled Euonymus Scale insect and the arboretum at least took away the huge amount of climbing vine on the building; they may have gotten rid of the whole plant mass. When I worked around a hospital in the 1990's, there was a large patch at the east entrance with some trees and shrubs in the planting area. I would prune away some vine from the woody plants every so often and on the brick building walls and along the cement curb in front of the area. I also would run an elevated lawnmower over the groundcover to keep it from getting too high and keep it neater. The lawnmower cutting helped the bacterial Crown Gall disease increase so that there were lots of brown, woody galls on many stems. The mass of the plant "felt" dirty to me. This cultivar of several clones, that were introduced from Japan in 1914 to the US, usually gets a red-purple fall and winter colour on both sides of the leaves and usually does not fruit. This groundcover is work to keep it from growing out of bounds. It has been commonly planted in the Chicago, IL area and other areas of the upper Midwest. I have seen it only a little in the Mid-Atlantic.

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By ILPARW on Dec 9, 2018 8:00 PM, concerning plant: Bigleaf Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei 'Vegetus')

This broadleaf evergreen from East Asia usually grows with a bushy base of 1 to 4 feet high and then sends up stems to become a climbing vine above. I grew up at my parent's brick house that had one Bigleaf Wintercreeper planted in a narrow space about 2 feet wide between the brick house wall and a cement walkway that went around the house. There was a second plant also in the narrow strip of soil between the brick wall and the cement sidewalk behind the house. Both plants were a bushy base about 3 to 4 feet high and then becoming a vine above that. They blended well with the Japanese Pachysandra growing in the rest of the soil strips between the house and the cement walkway that went around about half of the house. I used to have some fun by pulling off some of the succulent leaves and throwing them on my dad's grill and watch the leaves sizzle and pop. This cultivar is somewhat common in the Chicago, Illinois region, sold by many conventional nurseries there and I've seen some in central Illinois. I have not really seen it elsewhere; none in southeast Pennsylvania. It is a heavy fruiting form and it does have larger, leathery leaves to about 2 inches long. I once had to save the front plant from the white hard- shelled Euonymus Scale insect that can kill off this cultivar and others of the Fortune Wintercreeper Euonymus. I did this by cutting below the infestation and the plant grew back; otherwise, one must use dormant oil sprays. As I have come into greater passion for American native plants than Eurasian ones, I don't like this plant as much as I used to. In conventional landscaping it is occasionally good as a broadleaf evergreen. I do like 'Vegetus' better than any of the other Wintercreepers. I don't know of this Bigleaf cultivar escaping cultivation in northern or central Illinois to become an invasive plant.

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By Polymerous on Dec 8, 2018 8:33 PM, concerning plant: Pacific Coast Iris (Iris 'Premonition of Spring')

I first got this iris as a bareroot plant in November of 2017. I potted it up into a 1 gallon pot and kept it moist into spring of 2018.

In spring of 2018 (amazed that it was still alive, in part because it was getting too warm and sunny on the patio where it had been growing), I put the potted iris underneath a deciduous oak (where I already had a couple of in-ground PCIs growing). It stayed in that pot all summer and fall, with only whatever stray irrigation it might have gotten from the 2x/week sprinklers, plus a rare hit of water from a watering can. (It got some late afternoon sun in that location.)

I went out there today to look at that area (my garden helper had dug a hole there that he wasn't supposed to), and was stunned to find the plant in bloom. A PCI blooming in December?!! And it's still in its one gallon pot (which supposedly is a no-no - no PCIs in pots more than a year).

Color-wise (not to mention a nearby I. confusa), that spot is not an ideal location for this iris. But otherwise yes (another rule broken - no afternoon sun).

What an iris - it is certainly a keeper (if it survives my putting it into the ground somewhere).

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By lauribob on Dec 8, 2018 4:09 PM, concerning plant: Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo 'Green Tiger')

This is an attractive and tasty squash with a little bit of a nutty flavor. The plants are open and fairly compact, which makes it easier to keep track of the fruit. The fruit is smaller than most zucchini, and takes much longer to get away from you. I haven't had nearly as many giant zukes from this plant. They keep putting out as long as I keep picking.

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By ILPARW on Dec 8, 2018 12:34 PM, concerning plant: Tilia

Tilia is the Latin name for Linden, Lime, or Basswood trees. There are about 40 species of these deciduous, medium to large-sized trees, native to the temperate regions of Eurasia and North America. There used to be what were considered 4 species in eastern North America, but now are 4 varieties of the one American Basswood (Tilia americana), including the Carolina variety in the deep southern US, the Florida variety in the deep southern US and the mountains of northern Mexico, and the White variety in the eastern US. The regular common variety is also in southeast Canada besides the midwestern and eastern US. Europe has a good number of excellent species that are more refined than the American species, having smaller leaves. I believe that I've seen the Mongolian and the Japanese species planted at an arboretum in northern Illinois, looking good. Lindens are distinctive for their simple, alternate, broadly ovate, heart-shaped leaves with coarsely toothed margins and unequal leaf bases. The small clusters of small, creamy, fragrant, cup-shaped flowers pollinated by insects, especially bees, in late spring develop into hard, little, nutlike, brown berries that hang on slender stalks that are attached to a narrow, leafy bract. The root system is fibrous so that they are easy to transplant. The wood is pale, lightweight, and strong. In the USA, the American, the Littleleaf, and the Silver Lindens and their cultivars are used a lot in landscaping for street and shade trees. In Europe several European species are also used a lot for street and shade trees.

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By ILPARW on Dec 7, 2018 7:46 PM, concerning plant: Carya

Carya, the generic scientific name for Hickory, comes from the old Greek word of "karya" that means "walnut" in that language. Hickories are deciduous, medium to large sized trees in the Walnut Family. They are most valued as having tough, strong wood and edible nuts. Some 20 species are native to the eastern and central USA and a little of southeast Canada; one is native to the mountain uplands Mexico, with three others having found their way there probably by bird migrations; and several species are of eastern Asia. I've never seen Asian species or found good literature about them, and they all might not be common in their homeland. Hickories have compound, pinnate leaves that turn golden in the fall. The staminate (male) flowers appear in slender catkins at the base of the new season's growth. The pistillate (female) flowers appear in small clusters on the twigs. The nut seed is enclosed in a leathery husk that divides into four segments. The Pecan Hickory (Carya illinoensis or pecan) is an important nut crop. Most species are slow to slow-medium growing of 6 inches to 12 inches/year, but a few grow faster, as the Pecan. They are high quality beautiful trees that are not usually sold from nurseries to plant in landscapes, but are left in yards after development. One can buy some hickory trees as saplings from native plant nurseries in the US or Canada for natural landscapes. They are hosts to hundreds of beneficial insects, especially caterpillars, and the nuts are high value for wildlife. Several species of the American Hickories ( Shagbark, Bitternut, Pignut, and Mockernut) are common forest trees, growing with oaks, beech, and other climax forest tree species.

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By BlueOddish on Dec 7, 2018 12:30 PM, concerning plant: Pricklypear (Opuntia engelmannii 'Hairy Roger')

I personally think that this plant is almost certainly a cultivar of Opuntia engelmannii var. linguiformis.

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By Australis on Dec 7, 2018 3:36 AM, concerning plant: Orchid (Cymbidium Butter Brickle 'New Horizon')

This is a known tetraploid (4N). The hybridiser, Andy Easton, noted that it produced 7 spikes of approx. 13 flowers each in a gallon pot.

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By Marilyn on Dec 5, 2018 9:29 PM, concerning plant: Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii 'Smokin' Lavender')

One of Suncrest Nurseries introductions. They are located near Watsonville, CA and are a wholesale nursery.

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By ILPARW on Dec 5, 2018 4:42 PM, concerning plant: Elm (Ulmus)

There are about 30 species of Elms across the temperate region of the Northern Hemishere. They grow to be medium to large sized trees with furrowed gray-brown to brown bark. The alternate, usually deciduous leaves are one-sided at the base with prominent , parallel, lateral veins and regularly toothed margins, and leaves get a good orange-yellow fall colour to a poor yellowish-green fall colour, depending on the species and weather conditions. The small, dry, disc-like fruits are made of a central seed surrounded by a round wing. The American or White Elm is one of the largest and is noted as having the best vase-shaped habit. There are several European Elms that are noted as being good quality trees also. Asian Elms have smaller leaves and are more twiggy than the others, but some are good quality trees. Generally, elms are adaptable to many soils: dry to draining wet, slightly acid to neutral to well-alkaline; and are medium to fast growing. A deadly fungus called Dutch Elm Disease that began in East Asia, where Asian elms are resistant, (Ophiostoma ulmi) devastated the elm population of both North America and Europe, spread by the European Elm Bark Beetle. Fortunately, about one in several hundred elms survived the disease having resistance in themselves and there has been work in restoring the species with resistant cultivars and natural selections.

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By Australis on Dec 2, 2018 8:17 PM, concerning plant: Orchid (Cymbidium Mae West 'Geyserland')

The breeder of this clone, Andy Easton, provided the full parentage details on his forum, although he did not state the order of the cross for either this clone or the parents (hence it is listed as per the RHS registration):

Cym. Mighty Sunset = Orchid (Cymbidium Wyalong 'Sunset') X Orchid (Cymbidium Mighty Mouse 'Minnie')
Cym. Karen = Orchid (Cymbidium Red Beauty 'Prinse's Albertina') X Orchid (Cymbidium Coraki 'Margaret')

He notes that the Cym. Mighty Sunset produced was a sparingly fertile triploid (instead of being the diploid one would expect from its parentage). The Cym. Karen used was a tetraploid; he got three good tetraploids from the cross - 'Geyserland', 'Tikitere' and 'Jerry'.

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By Australis on Dec 2, 2018 8:17 PM, concerning plant: Orchid (Cymbidium Mae West 'Tikitere)

The breeder of this clone, Andy Easton, provided the full parentage details on his forum, although he did not state the order of the cross for either this clone or the parents (hence it is listed as per the RHS registration):

Cym. Mighty Sunset = Orchid (Cymbidium Wyalong 'Sunset') X Orchid (Cymbidium Mighty Mouse 'Minnie')
Cym. Karen = Orchid (Cymbidium Red Beauty 'Prinse's Albertina') X Orchid (Cymbidium Coraki 'Margaret')

He notes that the Cym. Mighty Sunset produced was a sparingly fertile triploid (instead of being the diploid one would expect from its parentage). The Cym. Karen used was a tetraploid; he got three good tetraploids from the cross - 'Geyserland', 'Tikitere' and 'Jerry'.

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