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By Australis on Jan 16, 2018 10:07 PM, concerning plant: Orchid (Epicatanthe Butterfly Kisses 'Mendenhall')

This is a hybrid of Orchid (Cattlianthe Trick or Treat) and Orchid (Epidendrum magnoliae).

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By ILPARW on Jan 16, 2018 9:15 PM, concerning plant: Alabama Snow Wreath (Neviusia alabamensis)

I was just looking through the book of The Living Landscape by Rick Darke & Doug Tallamy, concerning native plant - naturalistic landscapes, and there are two wonderful photos of this shrub in white bloom on page 195 and it looks good. It reminds me of the Vanhoutte Spirea or Bridalwreath. Mr. Darke uses it on this property as part of the shrub border, a deer-proofing screening shrub, and as a woody plant cut flower. It was first discovered in Alabama in 1857. It has been further found not just in two areas of northern Alabama but also in spots in Mississippi, Arkansas, southern Tennessee, and Georgia. It has simple, double-toothed leaves that turn greenish-yellow to yellow in autumn. It bears erect clusters of flowers without petals, but with numerous, showy, feathery, white stamens in late April into May. It grows about 1 to 1.5 feet/year. It has a fibrous root mass that makes it easy to transplant, and it can be divided like a perennial. Next time I visit Morton Arboretum in northeast Illinois, I'll have to look for their specimens. I took photos of a shrub in a pot at a native plant sale in northern Delaware by the Delaware Native Plant Society.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 7:10 PM, concerning plant: Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

The Eastern Redcedar Juniper is a common species growing in upland locations on hills, slopes, and fields in a large native range from southern Maine down to just over the north Florida border into east Texas up to western Nebraska, to eastern South Dakota & southern Minnesota to southern Wisconsin & Michigan into the southern tip of Ontario. The sort of prickly foliage is made of younger awl-like needles and older, soft scale-like needles bluish or grayish or bright green. It reproduces by tiny yellowish male cones on all male trees and by tiny red-purple female cones on all female plants borne in spring. The female plants bear gray or blue berry-like cones that are loved by birds and small mammals. It grows about 1 foot/year and lives about 300 years. It has shallow, fibrous roots and yet develops a taproot, but can be transplanted in spring or fall. This American species often is infected with the Cedar Rust fungus that originally came over from east Asia, but does not damage the juniper, only developing a rounded brown gall housing the spores. (The similar Chinese Juniper does not show any galls or at least any big ones.) After being released during wet weather in spring, the spores infect various members of the huge Rose Family as Apples, Crabapples, Serviceberry, Hawthorns, Pears, and Floweringquince, where the foliage of the deciduous plants become spotted with yellow and brown spots in late summer and fall. Otherwise, this is a good quality, reliable coniferous tree. There are a number of compact and dwarf cultivars that have been taken from this species.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 4:51 PM, concerning plant: Ground Juniper (Juniperus communis var. depressa)

This variety of (depressa) is the North American form of the Common Juniper species that grows wild in different areas all over the Northern Hemisphere. In North America it is native over most of Alaska and Canada, areas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Rocky Mountains, areas of the Dakotas, northern Minnesota, central & southern Wisconsin, most of Michigan, northwest Indiana, northern Ohio, areas of Pennsylvania & New York, much of New England, and some areas down the Appalachians. It is usually a low, wide-spreading shrub, but can be a groundcover. The sharp, prickly awl-like needles are whorled in 3's, are gray-green to blue-green with white stripes down the middle of the needles, and foliage gets a purplish to brown cast in winter. The female plants bear blue to gray berry-like cones from late summer into winter that are loved by birds and mammals. This straight species variety is not used in landscaping or sold at conventional nurseries. A few native plant nurseries may sell this for naturalistic landscapes. There are a number of different cultivars from the Common Juniper that were once occasionally sold in the US, but I don't know of any that are really good plants. A bunch of other junipers make better ornamental choices.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 3:03 PM, concerning plant: Blue Rug Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Wiltonii')

The 'Blue Rug' or 'Wilton' Creeping Juniper is a very popular groundcover sold at many conventional nurseries and garden centers. It is very short of about 4 to 6 inches high and intensely blue foliage that is soft from the leaves being the feathery scale-like type rather than the sharp awl-type of leaves that junipers can also have. It gets some purple-bronze color in the winter, but not as much as most other cultivars. It is usually a female clone that bear some silvery-blue berry-like cones in late summer into winter. It came from cuttings taken from plants on Vinalhaven Island off the Maine coast in 1914 and introduced into the trade by South Wilton Nurseries in Wilton, Connecticut.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 2:50 PM, concerning plant: Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Plumosa')

This is the Andorra Creeping Juniper that was introduced by Andorra Nurseries in Philadelphia, PA into the trade in 1907 and is gray-green in color during the warm season. It used to be very popular in the 1950's through the 1970's, but it has mostly been replaced by the Youngstown Compact Andorra Creeping Juniper that is a little shorter of about 18 inches high and that does not get hit hard by the Phomopsis Juniper Blight that can damage the original Andorra Juniper a lot. It is a male clone that does turn purple-bronze during the cold part of the year.

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By ILPARW on Jan 15, 2018 2:36 PM, concerning plant: Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Bar Harbor')

'Bar Harbor' is a commonly used cultivar of the Creeping Juniper that is about 12 inches high at the most. It was selected from cuttings from wild plants on Mount Desert Island, Maine, where it grows in crevices on the rocky coast and is often in reach of the salty ocean spray. There probably are several different clones around, most of which are male (staminate) and do not bear the bluish berry-like cones that are eaten by birds, though there are reports of some female clones. The warm season foliage is bluish-green while during the cold season it turns a purplish-bronze as does the straight species. It is a good cultivar that grows well in most any well-drained soil with full or partial sun exposure.

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By ILPARW on Jan 14, 2018 2:18 PM, concerning plant: Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

The Black Tupelo or Black Gum is a beautiful, high quality tree that grows in the wild in wet bottomlands to upland forest edges from southern Maine down to central Florida into east Texas to southern Missouri & Illinois, in all Indiana up into southern Michigan into the tip of very south Ontario. It is slow to medium in rate, growing from only 4 inches/year to about 1.25 foot/year; in nurseries and landscaping usually about 1 foot/year. It lives about 150-200 years. Its dark, shiny simple leaves are about 2 to 5 inches long and with smooth margins, and leaves turn a good to excellent autumn color from bright yellow in some shade to orange to bright red in more sun. The fruit is a fleshy bluish to purple berry in clusters of 1 to 3 on long stems, loved by birds and small mammals. It develops a taproot and is difficult to transplant, but nurseries can do it in early spring B&B or with containers. This species is sold by some large, diverse nurseries and native plant nurseries. I see it infrequently in the average yard, even in the Mid-Atlantic, unless it was there before the house was built, but I see it in various spots in the wild near the woods in Pennsylvania and Delaware, and occasionally planted at estates, parks, office parks, and in other professional landscapes.

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By ILPARW on Jan 14, 2018 1:01 PM, concerning plant: Pond Cypress (Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium 'Prairie Sentinal')

This cultivar is a more narrow, conical form of the species. In landscapes I would say that about 60 feet high x 15 feet wide is the most expected size. It is offered online at several different online nurseries.

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By ILPARW on Jan 14, 2018 12:33 PM, concerning plant: Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

The Common Baldcypress grows wild in swamps, bottomlands, and along watercourses in a native range from southern Delaware & Maryland down the coastal plain into all of Florida over to southcentral Texas then up the Mississippi floodplain into southern Illinois and the southwest tip of Indiana. It grows about 1.5 to 2 feet/year for the first 50 years, and it is very long lived up to 1,200 years. The feathery, soft compound, linear, fine-textured, 2 ranked in a flat plane leaves that spiral around twigs turn a good brown-orange autumn color in autumn of this deciduous conifer. It bears rounded brown cones in fall. It has a shallow, fibrous root system and the submerged roots develop knees to intake air, and it is easy to transplant. This moisture-loving tree is sensitive to drought, and it can grow with a soil pH up to close to 7.0, after that it will develop iron chlorosis, as some did at the University of Illinois years ago where the pH was above 7 some points. It does fine when planted in average, upland, moist soils. It is occasionally planted in parks, office and industrial parks, around shopping centers, on estates, and larger public properties in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest of the US, as well as the South. Many larger, diverse nurseries and some native plant nurseries sell some. (The similar Dawn Redwood from China is less often planted and has larger, coarser leaves that are arranged opposite on the twigs.)

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By ILPARW on Jan 13, 2018 1:17 PM, concerning plant: Sweet Fern (Comptonia peregrina)

The Sweetfern is found in the wild, growing in full sun to deep shade in acid, well-drained soils in woods, barrens, dunes, on cliffs, and in open fields from Nova Scotia and southeast Canada, southern Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the Delmarva peninsula, down the Appalachians into northern Georgia, spots in northern Ohio, spots in northwest Indiana and northeast Illinois, northern Michigan, central and northern Wisconsin, and northeast Minnesota. I've seen a good number wild in the southern Poconos of Pennsylvania despite the fact that deer and rabbits can browse on the plant. This is usually about a 3-feet high shrub with fern-like leaves that are aromatic when crushed and can be used in landscapes. It does not like clay soils, especially if heavy clay soils, though a good quality, well-drained clay soil seems all right. I planted one in my backyard, but the many rabbits ate it down to the ground in winter. it has a thin, stringy, long creeping shallow, lateral root system that freely suckers and fixes nitrogen, but it is difficult to transplant and slow to establish. Some native plant nurseries sell this in pots and a few large, diverse conventional nurseries may sell some. I think it is a very interesting plant!

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By ILPARW on Jan 13, 2018 12:37 PM, concerning plant: Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

The Bottlebrush Buckeye was found in the 1800's to have a small native range in about half of Alabama with edges into Georgia and northwest Florida, growing in wet mesic to dry mesic lowlands or uplands in or around woods. Its large palmate leaves have 5 to 7 leaflets that turn a good yellow to yellow-orange autumn color. The large, erect, candle-like, white flower spikes are about 6 to 12 inches long and have a slightly perfumed scent. It has handsome stout smooth gray to gray brown twigs and branches that are like the Pagoda Dogwood in an arrangement of a wishbone and roller coaster pattern, looking good in winter. It is slow growing of about 1 foot/year. It has a fibrous but deep descending root system, so it is difficult to transplant. It is an expensive plant that is not well-known by the general public so I infrequently see it at arboretums, estates, parks, and professional landscapes, and furthermore, it needs lots of room to fully spread out which is 12 to 20 feet. It is sold at larger, diverse nurseries and native plant nurseries. It is an excellent, high quality, clean, neat shrub.

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By ILPARW on Jan 13, 2018 11:58 AM, concerning plant: Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

The Red Buckeye grows in the wild in wet mesic to dry mesic sites at swamp margins, streamsides, low rich woods, or upland sites in or near woods in a range from coastal North & South Carolina into the north half of Florida, the southern half of Georgia, almost all of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas, east & south central Texas, southeast Missouri and southern Illinois. It has palmate leaves with 5 leaflets that only turn yellow-green in autumn. It grows about 1 foot/year. It has a fibrous, but deep descending root system, so it is difficult to transplant. It is sold by large, diverse nurseries in the South, the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast, and the Midwest and by native plant nurseries. Red Buckeye is a neat, clean, interesting, and beautiful large shrub to small tree. I first saw a small tree form at Cantigny War Museum & Gardens in Wheaton, IL in the early 1980's. It is sort of expensive to buy and not well-known by the general public, so I see it at some estates or professional landscapes.

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By ILPARW on Jan 12, 2018 8:01 PM, concerning plant: Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)

Highbush Blueberry is not only a great commercial fruit crop plant, but it is a beautiful shrub in nature or in landscapes. It has beautiful dark, glossy leaves that turn a good red autumn color. The white urn-shaped flowers in late May or June are pretty. It is a clean, neat shrub. Its native range is from Nova Scotia and southern Maine down into northern Florida to east Texas to northern Illinois & Indiana & Ohio, most of Michigan, and north of Lakes Erie & Ontario and up the St Lawrence River into Quebec in bogs, swamps, bottomlands, near water, pine barrens, and around upland woods. It loves sandy acid soils the best; silt or good quality clay soils also work, but it dislikes heavy clay soils. In landscapes it does not grow as big as in the wild; growing more around 5 or 6 feet high usually, although some of that could be cultivars smaller size. It needs some shelter from strong, dry winds. It does sometimes fail in landscapes somehow, as what can happen to Rhododendrons or Mountainlaurels. It is slow growing of almost one foot/year. It has a fibrous, shallow root system and is easy to transplant. There are over 40 cultivars of this species grown for fruit production.

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By ILPARW on Jan 12, 2018 12:26 PM, concerning plant: Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

The American Sweetgum has a native range from New Jersey & the Delmarva Peninsula down into central Florida to east Texas to southern Illinois & Indiana & Ohio into West Virginia in bottomlands and swamps and along watercourses. It has those glossy 5-lobed star-like leaves, 5 to 7 inches wide, that turn a good orange to red to red-purple autumn color. The brown bark is furrowed and the twigs are thickly corky winged. The tree does bear lots of the round, woody, horned brown ball-like fruits that fall all around the tree. It grows about 1 to 2 feet/year and lives about 150 to 300 years. I see lots of this species growing wild in bottomlands around most of Delaware. It has been commonly planted in the South and Mid-Atlantic as a shade and street tree, including central Illinois and infrequently in the Chicago area, where it has been just cold hardy enough to do alright. It is somewhat difficult to transplant, but nurseries dig it up in early spring as B&B. Its best range for pH is 6.0 to 6.5, but it does tolerate pH up to 7.0 at the most. It is windfirm, but it is messy from all the fruit.

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By ILPARW on Jan 12, 2018 11:46 AM, concerning plant: Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

The wild, mother species of Common Honeylocust is usually full of nasty thorns on the trunk, branches, and larger twigs. There are some wild thornless trees out in nature also. Cultivars have been taken from the thornless variety, but some cultivars have come from buds high up on the more common thorned trees. The tree grows in upland sites from central Pennsylvania to all of Louisiana and eastern Texas up to eastern Nebraska and Iowa to spots in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois through far southern Michigan back to Pennsylvania. It is fast growing of about 2 to 2.5 feet/year and lives about 150 to 200 years. The species is in between being monoecious and dioecious where one tree will have mostly one gender of flower and a little of the other. Therefore, some trees produce a lot of the brown, woody, curving pea-like pods to about 12 inches long with big brown seeds inside with thick seed coats, and other trees few or not-so-many pods. It is easy to transplant despite that when older it can develop a taproot or deep lateral roots. The thornless and mostly podless cultivars are now being the most commonly planted shade & street tree, now that Green Ash has met disaster with the Emerald Ash Borer. The cultivars make neat, clean, windfirm trees. One can easily mow the fallen leaves into the lawn or they make a good mulch for planting beds for the winter.

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By ILPARW on Jan 12, 2018 11:26 AM, concerning plant: Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos Imperial®)

The Imperial cultivar is sometimes still grown by nurseries as Hinsdale nursery in northeast Illinois. It is somewhat shorter and smaller than the other common cultivars and gets a more rounded form. It also makes a clean, neat plant that is windfirm and fast growing of about 2 feet/year. The photo I added above is an educated guess that it is this cultivar.

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By ILPARW on Jan 12, 2018 11:16 AM, concerning plant: Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos Skyline®)

The Skyline cultivar seems to be the most commonly grown one in the Eastern and Midwestern US. It is noted as being pyramidal in youth and then more rounded with age and wide-spreading. I am making an educated guess with the two tree photos I put on this page, as there is not much difference between the several different cultivars of Thornless Honeylocust of Skyline, Skymaster, Imperial, and Moraine. Skymaster seems to now be the second most used. These cultivars all make a good quality shade tree with light shade, good yellow fall color, and a neat, clean habit. It is possible for older trees to produce some pods. It is easy to mow the fallen leaves into the lawn. Now that the Green Ash has been removed from the market for some time due to the Emerald Ash Borer, the Thornless Honeylocust will now be the most commonly planted large shade and street trees as it is fast growing of about 2 feet/year, easy to transplant, and adaptable to many soils, even heavy clay ones from construction damage.

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By teresasab1 on Jan 12, 2018 8:47 AM, concerning plant: Sempervivum

Is Sardonyx also known as Sempervivum? In other words, what is Sardonyx? Is it just a variety of Sempervivum?
Thank you!

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By Marilyn on Jan 11, 2018 11:50 PM, concerning plant: Jame Sage (Salvia 'Elk White Ice')

Salvia 'Elk White Ice' was a new introduction a few years ago by Flowers By The Sea. FBTS grows, sells and specializes in salvias and are located in Elk, CA.

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