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By ILPARW on Aug 8, 2018 10:15 AM, concerning plant: Tatarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)

This has been a commonly planted large shrub used as a screen and hedge in the Midwestern US since the 1950's. I think it is also common in New England. My parents' neighbour to the north has had a screen of this species since the 1950's and it is still there. It is native to central Asia and southern Russia. As a professional horticulturist, I don't find this to be a lovely plant. It is densely twiggy in a messy way and develops an unkempt habit. The bluish-green leaves look great in spring but get mildew in late summer. The pink flowers, sometimes white, are nice for about 10 days in May. The red berries in late summer don't look very pretty and are eaten by some birds, but are not that great for the diet of American birds. The stringy brown bark and twigs are not pretty. The Russian Aphid makes lots of deformed growth (witches brooming) at the ends of the branches. It is fast growing and very fibrous rooted. It escapes cultivation by the berries and becomes an invasive Asian plant in eastern North America, creating a messy undergrowth. It is not as invasive and nasty as its big sister, the Amur Honeysuckle, which is larger with more pointed, dark green leaves and with white flowers. I agree with my old woody plant teacher, Dr Michael Dirr, and consider it a "terrible weed that should be avoided."

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By ILPARW on Aug 7, 2018 4:06 PM, concerning plant: Caucasian Elm (Zelkova carpinifolia)

Back in the summer of 1981 I saw a large, beautiful specimen in Bern, Switzerland in a park. Otherwise, I've never seen one in the USA. It is a member of the Elm Family that is long-lived and a medium to large sized tree. It grows in a vase-shaped habit with a head of ovoid or oblong form with upright branches, and has a relatively short trunk with mostly smooth beech-like bark with some exfoliating areas with some tan, brown, and orange-brown areas. Its dark foliage gets a good yellow to orange fall colour. It needs moist, well-drained, rich soil. The name of "Zelkova" comes from the Caucasian language for the tree of "tselkwa" and the species name of "carpinifolia means foliage like a hornbeam tree (Carpinus). It is native to the Caucasus and the area around the Caspian Sea. It is endangered in its native land, though it is popular in many botanical parks across the world in that they grow at least one or some of the trees in each site.

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By ILPARW on Aug 7, 2018 3:36 PM, concerning plant: Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

This species is not only native to Japan, but also to northern China, Korea, and Taiwan. It is a member of the Elm Family and is definitely elm-like and vase-shaped in habit. I have never seen the mother species. However, there are lots of the most common cultivar of 'Green Village' planted around the Philadelphia region and some in the Chicago region of the USA. The second most common cultivar is 'Green Vase' that grows bigger, taller, and more upright than the former.

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By ILPARW on Aug 7, 2018 3:26 PM, concerning plant: Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata 'Village Green')

The 'Village Green' cultivar of the Japanese Zelkova is a very common medium-sized shade or street tree in the Philadelphia region that is mostly planted in parks, in parkways along streets, in sidewalk wells, on school & college and business park campuses, and at public buildings. It has a definite vase-shape for a long time, but usually will eventually become sort of wide and rounded in habit. It grows about 1.5 to 2 feet/year, even up to 3 feet/year when very young . Easy to transplant from its fibrous root system. Its elm-like leaves develop a good bright orange to rusty red fall colour. It has handsome bark, mostly grey and smooth but with some exfoliating areas and some green & orange & tan colour also. This cultivar was selected by Princeton Nurseries because its growth is a little faster and more vigorous than the mother species, it develops a good straight trunk, it bears good fall colour, and is among the cold hardiest of the species. The small green flowers and drupes (berry-like fruit) are inconspicuous. I have seen some die back on trees from stressful summers, and this member of the Elm Family does get picked on a little by a few elm diseases, though not Dutch Elm Disease. It is a good quality tree.

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By ILPARW on Aug 7, 2018 2:24 PM, concerning plant: Hardy Rubber Tree (Eucommia ulmoides)

I remember a basically good specimen of Hardy Rubber-tree about 30 feet high and wide that had been planted to the side of the two story, grey Ornamental Horticulture Building that once existed at the University of Illinois in Urbana, IL in the 1970's. That building was erased, along with the identical Fruit & Vegetable Horticulture Building, in the early 1990's. Now there is a Plant Science Building to the southeast of that old location of the two identical buildings next to Turner Hall. This species from central China has dark, shiny elm-like or cherry-like leaves that develop no autumn colour. It has grey-brown ridged and furrowed bark. It is urban tolerant and adaptable to many soils that are not too wet or dry. It is a rare tree in the USA. I only viewed it as an interesting botanical exotic and not a lovely tree to grow. It has a tropical appearance. There are reports of it suffering from some dieback and decline from some disease in the Midwest. Goodmark Nurseries and Spring Grove Nurseries in the Chicago, Illinois area are offering some for sale. Otherwise, I have not seen any other. I believe that Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois has a few.

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By valleylynn on Aug 6, 2018 10:06 PM, concerning plant: Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum 'Purple Passion')

Makes a very pretty little clump.

Here is Betty Bronow's description:
Linear leaves. Red purple tips and outer leaves. Deepens in winter. Cilia. Satin, Small.

This is Alpine Gardens description:
Green centers with mulberry. Very pointed and fringed outer leaves, Dark tips.

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By ScotTi on Aug 5, 2018 12:32 PM, concerning plant: Bromeliad (Quesnelia 'Tim Plowman')

Quesnelia 'Tim Plowman'
Cultivar of 'Marmorata'
Keep out of soggy wet soil or the leaf curls will straighten.

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By carlysuko on Aug 4, 2018 8:55 PM, concerning plant: Rose (Rosa 'Disneyland Rose')

I just bought this rose and it is beautiful. The colors are stunning, a blend of different shades of orange, pink, and some yellow. Like a vivid sunset. However, be careful as this rose is quite thorny!

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By shalyn on Aug 3, 2018 4:34 PM, concerning plant: Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum)

I know that this fern has a bit of world domination personality. Having said that,
let me tell you a story:
In 1964 my father, who was a plant hobbyist of some note here in So Calif., created a large intertwined heart form, planted this fern in the center, and trained it onto the form. He called it "My four sweethearts and I." In late Sept. of that year, when the LA International Fern Society had their yearly show, this creation took best of show over all the wonderful plants there. I still have this same plant. I would never plant this one in the ground for good reason, but controlled in a pot she is wonderful.

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By ILPARW on Aug 3, 2018 3:13 PM, concerning plant: Hedge Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus)

There has been and is now some confusion in the nursery trade with this Hedge Cotoneaster. It is the Hedge Cotoneaster (C. lucidus) from western China that is widely sold in the upper Midwest from conventional nurseries, but they label it as the Peking Cotoneaster (C. acutifolius) from northern China and Mongolia. There is very little difference in that the former species or variety has shiny leaves with less hair on the leaves and flowers than the latter. Anyway, the Hedge Cotoneaster is a handsome, clean, neat shrub with excellent autumn colour of mostly orange with spots of yellow, red, and purple. In May it bears lots of small nice white flower clusters that are pollinated by bees. The black drupes are dry and don't taste good. I don't know if they are really eaten by birds much. I have not seen this species escape cultivation in the Chicago area.
I once saved the life of three Hedge (Peking) Cotoneasters used as an informal screen from the bacterial disease of Fire Blight Disease that attacks a number of members of the Rose (Apple) Family. I pruned about one foot or more below the dying blackened stems and it stopped the disease that would have been fatal. Check the Plant Database page of Peking Cotoneaster (C. acutifoilus) for more photos.

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By ILPARW on Aug 3, 2018 2:55 PM, concerning plant: Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster acutifolius)

There is some confusion here. The real Peking Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster acutifolius) from Mongolia and northern China has duller foliage with more hair on the leaves and flowers. This shrub sold by many Midwestern nurseries is technically the Hedge Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus) that has the shiny, less hairy leaves and flowers, from western China. Otherwise, what's the difference?, hardly anything. I don't know of any conventional nurseries in the Chicago, IL region selling what is called Hedge Cotoneaster. They sell the "Peking Cotoneaster" that is really C. lucidus, or better yet should be Cotoneaster acutifolius lucidus. There is also another extremely similar species of Cotoneaster foveolatus, the Glossy Cotoneaster, from central China, that has larger, more pointed leaves to 3.5 inches long, but which I have never seen anywhere. They should all be slightly different varieties of the same species. Anyway, the Peking Cotoneaster is a good quality, handsome large shrub that makes a good informal screen or is easily sheared to become a hedge, high or low. It bears nice, small, white flower clusters in May that are pollinated by bees. The small black berries are dry and don't taste good. I don't know if the birds eat them, and I don't want these to escape cultivation. The autumn colour is always good of mostly orange with spots of yellow, red, and purple. Peking Cotoneaster is used a lot in the northern Plains and I've only seen it used in USDA Zones 4 & 5 even though it can grow farther south.

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By ILPARW on Aug 3, 2018 2:05 PM, concerning plant: Cranberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus)

This low shrub is more of a higher groundcover that has been used a good amount in the Chicago, IL region and the Upper Midwest. A good number are sold at many conventional nurseries in the Upper Midwest, mostly in USDA Zones 4 & 5. This species has stiff, arching branches that return to the ground and lots of larger, rounded, red fruit. Farther south the Bearberry and Rockspray Cotoneasters that have flatter, more horizontal branching are used much more. These low shrubs do have one disadvantage in that they easily catch any debris and trash blowing around streets and parking lots.

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By Scoggins1 on Aug 3, 2018 1:32 PM, concerning plant: Tall Bearded Iris (Iris 'Mother Earth')

Won Queen of Show in S. C. Iris Society Show in 2015

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By ILPARW on Aug 3, 2018 11:14 AM, concerning plant: Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliant')

This 'Brilliant' Red Chokeberry is the same as the official cultivar of Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima.' Check the official scientific cultivar name of 'Brilliantissima'.

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By ILPARW on Aug 3, 2018 10:58 AM, concerning plant: Black Jetbead (Rhodotypos scandens)

The Black Jetbead is native to Japan and central China. It is a nice, pretty, clean shrub, though not flashy. It has bright green doubly toothed leaves to about 4 inches x 2 inches that resemble birch or elm leaves that only get a poor yellowish-green fall colour. Young twigs are green, shiny, and hairless that turn brown to become gray-streaked and reddish-brown. The white flowers are about 2 inches wide with 4 petals, which is unusual for a member of the Rose Family. The shiny black berries are in clusters of 3 or 4 and are present from autumn into spring. Easy to transplant with fibrous roots. It is not a common plant in the Midwest to the Atlantic Coast in the US. Some large, diverse, conventional nurseries offer some, and it is landscape architects or designers that know of this species and might occasionally use it. I saw a very few in the Chicago , IL, area and I've seen it in two locations in southeast PA. One Pennsylvanian location, in West Chester, was near a 18th century house of poor condition that had a number of less known ornamental woody plants around its large property that in 2018 has been totally erased and is being developed into a site for several large houses. Some escaped shrubs in the nearby open woods were also erased along with the woods. The other PA location near Media had a number of jetbeads planted in the back landscape by a lady who was a horticultural enthusiast. I see it as a nice plant but I am concerned about any more east Asian plants escaping cultivation into the woodland edges, though I don't think this species was really invasive.

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By ILPARW on Aug 3, 2018 10:19 AM, concerning plant: Flowering Almond (Prunus triloba 'Multiplex')

This Double Flowering Almond has never been a common ornamental shrub in The Midwest to the Atlantic Coast in the US. A few nurseries that I worked at in the Chicago, IL, area in the 1980's & 1990's would sell a few potted plants, maybe bringing in 10 or 20 plants to the nursery yard. One might still find a few plants in a few landscapes in a few towns; I have not seen one for years. It was commonly listed in older nursery catalogs and magazines, and a few may still offer this. This 'Multiplex" is the double flowering cultivar of the Flowering Almond (Prunus triloba) that was offered, and it is sterile like most double flowering plants and does not bear fruit.. The regular species of Prunus triloba (Flowering Almond) does have single flowers and can bear 1/2 inch wide rounded red fruits, but is not grown in the US, unless some arboretum has a few. It is not a really great landscape plant. Its big feature is the mass of pink double flowers in April, and I am not sure if anything in the US pollinates it. It does have good-looking cherry-like bark to see in winter.

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By ILPARW on Aug 1, 2018 10:00 AM, concerning plant: Common Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

The European Hornbeam is native to most of Europe and parts of Asia Minor. It is not common in the USA, but one can find a few specimens in and around some towns at estates, well-to-do neighbourhoods, city parks, office parks, and college campuses. I don't know of it having escaped cultivation in the US. It is a handsome, high quality smaller tree like its sister the American Hornbeam. Its leaves are darker and of thicker texture than the American species and its smooth, gray bark is also darker. Like most European woody plants, its autumn colour is not as excellent as the American species, (or Asian species also), being greenish-yellow to a good yellow. It grows about 1 to 1.5 feet/year and lives about 100 to 150 years. It is a good quality, handsome smaller tree where a few are sold by some larger, diverse, conventional nurseries. usually only planted by landscape architects and designers that know of it. The European species is more adaptable to more landscapes than the American species. The Columnar European Hornbeam (C. betulus 'Fastigiata' is being planted a fair amount onto city parkways. I prefer the American species as it is native in the US and it has prettier, more muscular bark and fall colour.

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By ILPARW on Aug 1, 2018 9:12 AM, concerning plant: European Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

The Common or European Beech is native to most of Europe. It is a beautiful, high quality tree that is expensive to buy at nurseries, being sort of slow growing of about 1 foot/year and the need to be transplanted carefully. It is not common in the US, but one can find some specimens planted at estates, well-to-do neighbourhoods, and town parks. Some larger, diverse, conventional nurseries sell some. its leaves are more rounded and smaller (to 4 inches long x 2.5 inches wide) than the American Beech and its smooth gray bark is darker than the American's. The European species is more adaptable to more landscapes than the American, having a larger range of tolerating heavier and less acid soils, though not as tolerant of the strong heat of the South. There is quite a number of different cultivars of this species that have variegated leaves, purple leaves, tricolor leaves, cut-leaf leaves, weeping forms, contorted forms, and combinations of all that. Unfortunately, there is a beech bark disease from Europe that can kill beech trees from a wooly aphid that punctures bark so that a coral spot fungus can invade and kill areas of bark, even girdling the whole trunk. I saw one large European Beech die that way in 2016 in West Chester, PA in a condominium landscape. I would say not to give up on beech trees.

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By ILPARW on Jul 31, 2018 8:30 PM, concerning plant: Nanking Bush Cherry (Prunus tomentosa)

This large shrub from east Asia used to be offered at some diverse, larger conventional nurseries in the Midwest. It was never really common, just occasional. I found some planted on the west side of Aurora, Illinois, west of Chicago, in a well-to-do neighbourhood. It looks nice, but I have never been thrilled with it. It grows in a rounded form to about 10 feet high and to 15 feet wide. It has very hairy twigs and leaves. It bears some red berries that are edible for humans that mature in June-July. It only shows a poor yellow-green autumn colour.

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By ILPARW on Jul 31, 2018 8:06 PM, concerning plant: Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

The Common Horsechestnut is native to southeastern Europe. I saw it planted a lot in Germany, Austria, and France in 1981, as it is common all over Europe. It is occasionally planted in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the upper South, and the Midwest of the US. One can find a few at estates, well-to-do neighborhoods, and parks. Some large, diverse, conventional nurseries sell some. It is a handsome, good quality tree, though it is messy with its fallen capsules and seed, fallen twigs, and lot of leaves that often fall in late summer due to damage from the Buckeye Leaf Blotch Disease. The fungus does not kill trees, but discolours the foliage to drop early, being the most damaging during springs with cool, wet weather. It grows larger than the similar Ohio or Yellow Buckeye trees of eastern North America, usually about 40 to 50 feet high, bears larger palmately compound leaves with 7 leaflets, larger flower clusters of mostly white flowers, and larger, spiny capsules with larger buckeyes inside.

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