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By Australis on Oct 18, 2018 10:49 PM, concerning plant: Orchid (Cymbidium Dolly 'Featherhill')

This is a known tetraploid (4N) and a known alba carrier (I do not know the alba percentage, though). Additionally, Cym. floribundum's influence on the expression of the alba trait makes it difficult to calculate.

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By ILPARW on Oct 18, 2018 3:37 PM, concerning plant: Birch (Betula)

There are about 40 species of Birch in the temperate regions of North America and Eurasia. Most are small to medium-sized trees growing 20 to 80 feet high, but a few are shrubs as the Dwarf Artic Birch (Betula nana) that only gets 2 to 4 feet high as a low shrub. Most Birch species thrive in cool and colder climates.The Dwarf Artic Birch grows abundantly over the Artic Circle while the River Birch can take the heat of most of the South of the US down to central Florida. The simple, toothed leaves of Birch are alternate on the twigs and usually get good autumn color. The flowers are tassel-like catkins that bloom in spring. The seed strobiles or "cones" mature in early summer to fall, depending on the species. The root system is fibrous and they are easy to transplant, and they make good to high quality landscape plants. The bark of several species is smooth and white, the most well-known, but there are a good number that develop other bark colors of tan, cinnamon, gray, bronze, and brown that can peel or curl off the trunk or can become scaly or plated or a combination of such. A number of species develop hard, beautiful wood for furniture and others have wood great for paper or woodenware. The Paper Birch that is native over most of Alaska and Canada, plus the upper northern US, is also called the Canoe Birch because its bark was and is used for making canoes of Native Americans.

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By ILPARW on Oct 18, 2018 10:42 AM, concerning plant: Abies

There are about 40 species of Fir that grow in the temperate and subalpine areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Two species are native to eastern North America: the Balsam and Frasier Firs and seven to western North America. Fir needles are flat, soft, and are directly attached to the twig, leaving a suction-cup kind of scar when falling off. The seed cones are borne erect on the twigs and disintegrate when mature, releasing the seeds. A spike-like axis is left for a time as the remnant of the former cone. The buds are plump and blunt and usually are resinous. Like Spruces and Douglas-Firs, the trees grow in a pyramidal habit. The wood is not highly regarded as lumber. The trees make high quality landscape trees and the best Christmas trees, as the needles hold on longer than other conifers inside houses.

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By ILPARW on Oct 18, 2018 10:28 AM, concerning plant: Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

I put my comments about this tree in the Abies balsamea var. balsamea entry.

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By ILPARW on Oct 18, 2018 10:19 AM, concerning plant: White Fir (Abies concolor)

White or Concolor Fir is native to the Rocky Mountains in southeast Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and a little into far northern Mexico; and from southern Oregon down through the mountains of California almost to Mexico; growing in dry rocky slopes down to along rocky streams. It is occasionally sold by larger conventional nurseries in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and upper South of the US. It makes a good quality and reliable landscape evergreen tree. In landscapes it grows in youth about 1 foot/year and it lives over 300 years in nature. It has soft, flat, blue-green needles about 2 to 3 inches long. It bears olive-green to purple-brown erect cones that fall apart upon maturity, like other Fir. I've never seen the cones in the more eastern side of the US. It has a shallow, lateral, spreading root system that allows it to be easily transplanted. I prefer the soft beauty of this coniferous tree over that of the Blue Colorado Spruce; the latter being very painfully, prickly. In its western homeland it gets to be about 100 to 150 feet high with a 2 to 4 feet diameter trunk. In landscapes of the eastern side of the US, it gets about 30 to 60 feet high by about 15 feet wide.

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By EdibleLSGardener on Oct 18, 2018 8:33 AM, concerning plant: Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia 'Issai')

I got a new Issai kiwi from local nursery. All articles online say I should keep only one trunk for each plant, but I have 3 almost identical trunks from the root. Each has some smaller roots going to the soil. Should I separate it into 3 individual plants so each one will have a single trunk? If it is doable, what is the best time to do so?

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By sallyg on Oct 16, 2018 4:59 PM, concerning plant: Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta)

I bought a grocery store edo/eddo and grew it into a potted plant. That variety seems smaller in size/stature than some, it grew to about 3 feet tall. First winter, I guess I kept it growing in the basement. Second summer, it grew well but on pulling it, I found no tuber left, only two tiny new tubers offsetting from the two stems. I potted the tiny tubers to keep growing but discarded the tops.

This summer, I was given a bulb of 'giant' elephant ear. Also potted, it grew four+ feet tall stems and larger leaves then the edo.

It can be a challenge keeping these watered in a pot. I used large saucers underneath the pots to hold more water.

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By ILPARW on Oct 16, 2018 11:20 AM, concerning plant: Spruces (Picea)

There are about 30 to 40 species of this genus of conifers (Picea) in the Pine Family (Pinaceae). Spruces have rigid, from very prickly to soft and slightly prickly, evergreen needles that grow singly from persistent woody peg-like bases on the twigs. The pendant seed cones are made of papery to light woody scales, and the whole cone falls to the ground after releasing seed. The bark of spruces does not differ much among the species and is relatively thin and gray-brown to brown and scaly. The trees grow in a pyramidal habit from narrow to broad. These conifers are monoecious with both the pollinate (male) and seed (female) cones on the same tree, and usually the seed cones are towards the top of the tree. Spruces grow in the temperate parts of North America and Eurasia. Seven species are native to North America: the Black, Red, White, Engelman, Colorado, Sitka, and Brewer. Their habitat ranges from bogs, swamps, and along watercourses to up mountain slopes. Branch mutations have been propagated from various spruce species to create cultivars that are dwarf trees, bushes, or even groundcovers. They make good to high quality landscape plants.

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By ILPARW on Oct 15, 2018 2:39 PM, concerning plant: Pine (Pinus)

There are about 120 species of Pines that are native to most of the Northern Hemisphere, ranging from just south of the tundra down into the tropics. They are evergreen conifers of the Gymnosperms that usually are trees, but some are shrubs. There are two major groups of Pines: the Soft (White) Pines that bear soft needles in clusters of 5 and bear cylindrical female cones with papery cone scales, and the Hard (Black) Pines that bear hard to semi-soft needles in clusters of 2 or 3 and bear conical female cones with woody cone scales. One feature that separates Pines from other conifers is that they have a paper sheath that surrounds the base of the needles. Pines bear soft, yellow pollinate (male) cones that expand in the spring and release yellow pollen. The seed (female) cones are the brown papery or woody structures that bear the seed. Both male and female cones are on the same tree or shrub, so they are monoecious. The first fossils of Pine show up during the Cretaceous Era of over 63 million years ago during the time of the Dinosaurs. Many pines are used as a source of "softwood" lumber, and there are a number of pine plantations planted around the world, even in the tropics of the Southern Hemisphere with Caribbean and Monterey Pines. Pine trees make lovely landscape trees and a few shrubs. Pines like other evergreens drop some needles all year long, but especially so in autumn in the temperate regions to prepare for winter. Most pines prefer sandy, acid soils, often poor in nutrients, but can grow well in silt and/or clay soils that are acid, and a few also in slightly alkaline soils as the Black Pine of Europe. There are a few Pines, like Loblolly & Longleaf of the southern US, that can grow in draining or aeriated wet soils; though generally Pines like well-drained. A good number of Pines sent out a lot of seed after forest fires to colonize the newly open ground.

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By ILPARW on Oct 15, 2018 1:08 PM, concerning plant: Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Scotch or Scots Pine is a common species in its huge native range from Scotland and Norway to Spain to western Asia to northeast Siberia. Its needles are sort of twisted, about 1 to 4 inches long, in clusters of 2, and usually bluish-green, but regular bright green is possible, stiff and sort of prickly. It has pretty bark that is thin, papery, flaking, and orange when younger that develops into gray-brown scaly plates when older. It grows like most pines of about 1.5 feet/year and I think that it lives about 100 to 150 years. It is still commonly grown as a Christmas tree in the US; though Balsam & Frasier Firs are used more. It was commonly planted into landscapes in the Chicago, Illinois area until the 1980's, when Pinewood Nematode started to kill off many. There still are some around in that area. Some other problems of pine moths, pine bark beetles, pine needle cast diseases, etc. can give Scots Pine a hard time in eastern North America. It is still easy to find some growing in various parts of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeastern US. Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL is not recommending it anymore for landscapes because of some of the problems mentioned. It is a nice, pretty pine tree. It is similar to the Jack and Virginia Pines of eastern North America. In New England and some other northern regions of sandy, acid soils, it has escaped cultivation some.

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By ILPARW on Oct 15, 2018 12:10 PM, concerning plant: Flowering Crabapple (Malus 'Snowdrift')

This might be the most commonly planted cultivar of an Oriental Crabapple in the Midwest, and a lot in the eastern US also. It grows vigorously into a rounded form. It bears large, single, 1.25 inch wide flowers abundantly and annually; (some crabapples bear well only every other year). It has heavy-textured, dark, lustrous foliage. It bears 3/8 inch wide orange-red little crabapples that persist into winter.

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By bxncbx on Oct 15, 2018 11:40 AM, concerning plant: Twinspur (Diascia barberae)

I grew Diascia barberae this year. It bloomed well in the spring but went completely dormant the entire summer. We had a generally cool, wet summer, so I'm not surprised it didn't die despite being planted in full sun with a southwestern exposure under a pine tree. Just recently we had a shift to much cooler weather and I'm happy to say that the plant started blooming again today! These plants are sold as spring bloomers, but if you can keep it alive over the summer (perhaps in a pot) it should rebloom in the fall.

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By ILPARW on Oct 15, 2018 11:02 AM, concerning plant: Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

This Chinese Silver-grass or Eulalia is native to much of northeast Asia. It is sometimes referred to as being "Japanese" and it is also native there, but the scientific species name of "sinensis" refers to being from China. There is a large number of cultivars of this species offered at most any conventional garden center or nursery in much of the USA. I first discovered several cultivars in the early 1990's and planted some on the grounds of the hospital where I worked as a groundsman in Illinois. They were flashy ornamental grasses with large grass flowerheads that could be pinkinsh or silver in color and some had variegated or spotted leaf blades. The first cultivars were generally tall of about 5 to 7 feet high. Many newer cultivars are similar but shorter of 2 to 4 feet high. They looked good for some years, but after about 5 to 10 years often would get too big and fall over and the middle of the clump would die out. Two bad traits that could happen was that the leaf blades could be sharp and one could get some cuts handling them. The large cultivars produced a powerful, large, tough root system, so that when the middle of the clump dies out after 5 to 15 years sometime and/or when the clump gets too big and starts to fall over a lot, it is difficult to dig them up, divide, and reset them. I had to use a hacksaw to cut some into pieces to reset the plants. However, what is really bad about Chinese Silvergrass or Eulalia is that is highly invasive. I've been seeing more and more escaping cultivation and growing wild in fields and meadows in the Mid-Atlantic. There is a big meadow in Chesterbrook, PA, where I first saw invasion of Miscanthus from some plants planted at the end of a backyard next to the field about 2008. Since then, I've seen various other fields around also being invaded. The wild plants don't blend well with native or mixed European-American native meadow. I kill them out in nature when I volunteer to remove invasive plants in forest and land preserves.

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By sallyg on Oct 15, 2018 6:58 AM, concerning plant: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Black Cherry')

I grew two from seed. The plants were big, vigorous, had big clusters with up to 20+ fruits. Taste was in the 'Cherokee Purple' style, skin seemed about typical for cherry tomato. I liked the taste, as Cherokee Purple is my favorite. I had to learn how to judge when they were ripe. A lot of rain here all summer meant they started cracking, but I had picked a lot before that and have some frozen. I would grow it again.

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By Marilyn on Oct 15, 2018 12:41 AM, concerning plant: Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Canyon Melody')

Heuchera 'Canyon Melody' was introduced by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

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By Marilyn on Oct 15, 2018 12:17 AM, concerning plant: Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Canyon Chimes')

Heuchera 'Canyon Chimes' is an introduction by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

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By Marilyn on Oct 15, 2018 12:14 AM, concerning plant: Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Canyon Delight')

Heuchera 'Canyon Delight' was an introduction by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

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By Marilyn on Oct 15, 2018 12:13 AM, concerning plant: Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Canyon Duet')

Heuchera 'Canyon Duet' was introduced by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

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By Marilyn on Oct 14, 2018 11:57 PM, concerning plant: Salvia (Salvia cedrosensis 'Baja Blanca')

Salvia cedrosensis 'Baja Blanca' was introduced by by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

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By Australis on Oct 14, 2018 10:22 PM, concerning plant: Orchid (Cymbidium madidum 'New Horizon')

This is a known tetraploid (4N).

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