Archive for May 2011

Plants of the Week: May 23

Actinidia kolomikta (2) JWC blog

Actinidia kolomikta can be seen framing an entrance into Mertz Hall.  The deciduous twining vine can reach 15 to 20 feet and more.   Several sources state that male plants create more vivid displays of random variegation of pink and white around the leaf apex. Being dioecious, both sexes are needed for the small kiwi-like berries to develop.  Leaves change to solid green as the season progresses.  Interestingly, the vine is especially attractive to cats.

Nectaroscordum siculum (1) JWC blog

Nectarscordum siculum ssp. bulgaricum, also known as Sicilian honey garlic, produces a large umble of numerous hanging, bell-shaped, greenish-white flowers tinged with pink and purple.  …

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Chionanthus – the Fringe Tree

Chionanthus virginicus in bloom.  Photo credit: J. Coceano

In the text, Growing and Propagating Showy Native Plants, Richard E. Bir ponders why fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus, has “been slow to become appreciated.”  John Bartram introduced it to England via Peter Collinson in 1736.  The Royal Horticultural Society awarded it with an award of merit 195 years later!   Both C. virginicus, and its Asian cousin, C. retusus, are spectacular large shrubs or small trees for the garden.

Many common names are associated with the native Chionanthus virginicus found growing from Florida to New Jersey and west to Texas.  Fringe tree, old man’s beard, and grancy …

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Tropical Sale Preview

Photo credit: D. Mattis

Tillandsia xerographica, Aechmea 'Patricia'

A vast selection of unusual, vibrant tropical plants will overflow from the Wister Center May 21-22 as the Arboretum hosts its first Unusual Annuals and Tropicals sale.  An array of bromeliads, elephant ears, succulents, ferns, vines, begonias, and cannas are just a few of the plants that will be available, providing a prime opportunity to add outstanding colors and textures to your home garden and summer containers.

One of the highlights of the sale is the selection of bromeliads, including Aechmea blanchetiana ‘Orangeade’, Aechmea lueddenmanniana ‘Mend’, and Aechmea penduliflora.  Aechmea blanchetiana grows in the …

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