Archive for December 2016

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Amethyst’

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Hydrangea quercifolia is a multi-stemmed suckering shrub that can reach heights of 6 to 8 feet. Native to the Southeastern United States, it was first described by colonial Pennsylvania native botanist John Bartram, who remains the botanical authority on the species. According to sources, the genus name comes from the Greek roots hydro- meaning “water” and –aggeion meaning “vessel.” The specific epithet comes from the Latin for oak Quercus, and folia meaning leaf due to the deep lobed shape and pointed vein tips. The Royal Botanical Garden Plant Finder reference accounts for nearly 20 different cultivars available for H.

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Plants of the Week: December 19

crocus-speciosus-science-center-1-jwcPeople are often in awe at the sight of fall-blooming bulbs. Is this the handiwork of climate change they ask? Many spring-blooming bulbs have fall-blooming relatives. Crocus and Galanthus are two genera that come to mind. A planting of Crocus speciosus was recently added to a bed of Sporobolus heterolepis near the Science Center. Considered the easiest to naturalize, most floriferous, and least expensive of the fall crocus, C. speciosus bears elegant, goblet-shaped violet-blue to lilac blooms. Flowers appear in September to January depending on climate. Bulbs are shipped in the autumn and need to be planted immediately upon arrival. …

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Plants of the Week: December 5

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Acer rufinerve

The Maphouse is a small peculiar building tucked into the wooded edge of the Parrish West Circle between the Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC) and the Scott Outdoor Amphitheater. Planted around it is an assortment of oddities, each with its own story. One tree in particular caught my attention with its green bark dappled with large brown lenticels and silver vertical striations. This tree, Acer rufinerve, is a Japanese native maple in the family Sapindaceae, not entirely dissimilar to our native Acer pennsylvanicum. The bark has high concentrations of photosynthetic material giving it a consistent green …

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