Archive for July 2013

A Woody Wish List

Guest Author: Barbara Smit

Inspired by the motto fall is for planting, I have been pondering my woody plant wish list. The release of the 2013 Plant Sale Handbook has made my daydreaming so much richer, with so many details on culture, habit, and description right at my fingertips. I am intrigued!

The perky pink blooms of Camellia 'Winter's Charm'. photo credit: D. Mattis

I won’t rhapsodize about the seven hardy camellia cultivars on the list. The fact that they are glossy, evergreen, glorious in bloom, and previously perilous to plant in our region should be enough.

Bell-shaped blooms of

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Plants of the Week: July 22

Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian sage, is easy to remember since its genus is named after a diplomat with a very Russian-sounding last name. However, Russian sage is not in the same genus as Salvia, which are often called “sage.” This herbaceous perennial hosts silvery-gray square stems and finely-textured aromatic leaves that smell of sage when crushed. Its lavender flower spires gracefully cascade over the Wister Center staircase and will be on display for up to 3 months. I walk by this plant at least twenty times a day brushing the flower spires and foliage releasing its intense fragrance. Perovskia

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Alangium chinense

Were the catbirds intoxicated? A small flock, about a dozen or so, noisily teetered among the Alangium chinense branches. Like neophyte gymnasts on a balancing beam, the gray birds, often with one leg off, verged on plummeting out of the tree, falling like the muted yellow leaves in the September breeze. Why were the birds behaving so?

Gray catbird flitting about the Scott Entrance Garden. photo credit: J. Coceano

Gray catbirds, Dumetella carolinensis, are a species of North American songbird related to mockingbirds and thrashers. I admit a personal fondness for catbirds. Several of the highly vocal birds have …

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