Sunday, September 25, 2016

Apples, Apples, Apples

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Gala apples, considered one of the most popular varieties.








One of many joys of autumn… apples. With the cooler temperatures come the days of family activities and childhood trips to local orchards to ride the hay wagons, watch the cider mill crush freshly picked apples, and sample the cold clear cider. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?

Nothing can cause more divergent views and bitter arguments than the question, “Which apple has the best flavor?” Sweet, tangy, crunchy, crispy are characteristics of apples. Your favorite apple is a personal choice based on complex flavonoids and each individuals complex and personal taste buds. 

Let's start with McIntosh. One of the best table, eating, or lunch box apples. The McIntosh apple has a green skin with red blush. It grows best in colder climates and grew historically first, in northern Canadian. It is crisp and juicy with white flesh and a tart flavor. Look for the new crop in late September. 


McIntosh apples, one of many heirloom varieties
If apples had children, the "McIntosh Family" of decendents would include Jersey black, Macoun, Newtown Pippin, Spartan, CortlandEmpire, Jonamac, Jersey Mac, Lobo, Melba, Summered, Empire, and Tydeman's red.



Heirlooms

Most people are familiar with some of the older, well known apples. I like the story of the Esopus Spitzenburg' or  'Aesopus Spitzenburgh.' heirloom apple grown at Monticello. Jefferson would write home to his family while in England or Paris and become disappointed when his daughter's letters in response, didn’t seem to share the enthusiasm he had for his gardens and orchards. He wanted more details.

Here are a few, of many apples, considered heirlooms.

Orange Pippin                       Ashmead Kernal             Roxbury russet


Grimes Golden                                      King David heirloom apple


Some orchards specialize in maintaining a large and diverse selection of heirloom apples.



Exciting and New

Kanzi
Tsugaru
SweeTango






















Favorite apples to use for baking are Hubbardston Nonesuch, Cortland, Bramley's seedling, Duchess of Oldenburg, Gravenstein, Greening's Rhode Island, Holstein, Paulared, Red Astrakan, Twenty ounce, Wolfe River, and Baldwin.


Storage

Apples won't ripen further after being picked. Some apples will convert their starches into sugar after being picked. This is known as "curing", and is best achieved by leaving fruit in the refrigerator. 


Locally Grown

Several states have apple associations that  welcome visitors and provide information about varieties grown in their state.


California Iowa New Hampshire Vermont
Colorado Kentucky New Jersey Virginia
Connecticut Maryland New York Washington
Georgia  Massachusetts North Carolina Wisconsin
Idaho Michigan Ohio USA National
Illinois Minnesota Oregon
Indiana New England Pennsylvania













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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Spider Lily | Lycoris Radiata

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The red spider lily appears after a good rain in the fall. I have placed hundreds of  these bulbs in four large pots placed along a crescent shaped bed that rounds out a corner of our lot. I also included two cannas planted toward the back of the pots.

The bulbs are frost tender (7b-8a) so I am happy they have survived two years in the pots. 





The Hummingbird plants, just left of this bed are set to rebloom. There will be a vivid show of red flowers this fall. The Turk's cap continue to bloom and produce red pods. Several white blooming, lovely scented, abelias continue to attract swallowtail butterfly. 

Hummingbird bush ready to rebloom
and Turk's cap setting beautiful red pods.
















Grassroots Horticulture
2006-2016
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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sailing into Fall


Snapshots
After returning from vacation with a chorus of weeds singing their praises I went into Christopher Cross mode. Christopher Cross is a very talented musician. He wrote a song titled, “Sailing.”

if the wind is right
You can sail away and find tranquility

And if the wind is right
you can sail away and find serenity


For hardiness zone 7b-8a



Don't tell anyone but on August 20 I took a hedge trimmer to the lantana taking it down to about 15" and rounding it up neatly. Within two weeks it was reblooming and now, three weeks later it looks fantastic and the pollinators have a robust flower to visit.
Two weeks after a mid-August trimming and good rain the lantana blooms are proliferating again. In front, J. Fisher greets visitors in this newly planted bed of Cora Vinca. 




We grow Asian jasmine on a slope. In the spring, all the jasmine is trimmed at the highest level setting on the lawn mower. This removes any browned foliage, provides for new growth, and keeps the groundcover tidy. Crape myrtle and an Encore Azalea (planted at my husbands request in a special acidic island of soil) add magenta splashes to this primarily foliage area. I like the mix of magenta with the "Margarita" sweet potato. Sweet potato foliage grows so well in the sweltering heat of the summer. I encourage it to grow up with a trellis placed in a large pot. 

With every gentle breeze, the three whispy muhly grasses hoist their golden colors in the ocean of jasmine. 

Sailing Scents, Hummingbirds, and Butterflies
Honey-scented blackfoot daisy loves heat, full sun, and reflective heat from surrounding rocks. Not pictured, but blooming and perfuming the landscape are five abelias receiving partial sun, planted under native shading oaks.


Red Turk's cap, penta, and blue mistflower are still enticing the hummingbirds and butterflies.


Beware the Hazards
Wear long pants and be courageous.
The yellow garden spider is an orb weaver spider, note the zig-zag stitching in the center of the web. I am curious, is the zig-zag weaving for camouflage of to reinforce the web to give it stretch? I use a zig-zag like that on my knit fabrics so the stitches don't break when the fabric is stretched. I don't care for spiders but their webs are mystifying. I wonder if engineering dynamics and principles of the web design have ever been applied to sails? Probably so.



Sailors Love Salsa
New this year in our garden is the tomatillo. There are several plants because they do not self-pollinate. Tomatillo, (Physalis philadelphica) plants like full sun. 

In this photograph is the yellow flower and two tomatillos. I don't believe the fruit inside the husk has fully developed yet. Funny, I removed or better put, weeded, several Chinese lanterns (Physalis alkekengi)  from my Mom's garden while vacationing. They look very similar.


Tomatillo are native to Central America and used in the cuisine, mostly as tangy salsa verde.












Grassroots Horticulture
2006-2016
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Friday, September 9, 2016

ARCHITECTURAL STYLE AND LANDSCAPE DESIGN

If you feel overwhelmed choosing plants and designing a garden for your own home, one place to start is to determine the architectural style of your home. From there, you can find landscape styles and plants used most often with that style. For example, Victorian homes might be found with a potager or cottage garden. Below is a listing of Architectural styles. In some instances I have linked to Pinterest, with a board full of ideas.
          ARCHITECTURAL    STYLES             


AMERICAN FOURSQUARE (mid-1890s to the late 1930s) 
ART DECO
ARTS AND CRAFTS/CRAFTSMAN
BEAUX ARTS (1880-1920) see NEOCLASSICAL
BUNGALOW/CRAFTSMAN
CAPE COD
CHICAGO SCHOOL ALSO KNOWN AS COMMERCIAL STYLE
URBAN ROW
Urban Row
ground covers, birds nest spruce 
Urban row
Containers with seasonal color
CLASSICAL REVIVAL
COLONIAL
COLONIAL PERIOD and NEW REPUBLIC (1620 -1820)
COLONIAL REVIVAL see also Georgian and Plantation
CONTEMPORARY/CONTEMPORARY FOLK
DUTCH COLONIAL
EARLY COMMERCIAL
EARLY REPUBLIC
Early to mid-ninteenth Century (1820-1860)
Early Victorian (1860-1900)
ECLECTIC (1900-1930)
EXOTIC REVIVAL
FEDERAL
FEDERAL/ADAM
FOLK VICTORIAN
FRENCH PROVINCIAL
MONET'S GARDEN
Giverny, France

GEORGIAN
GOTHIC
GOTHIC REVIVAL
GREEK REVIVAL
INTERNATIONAL STYLE
ITALIAN VILLA
ITALIANATE
LATE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURY REVIVALS
LATE 19TH AND EARLY 20TH CENTURY AMERICAN MOVEMENTS
LATE GOTHIC REVIVAL
LATE VICTORIAN
MID 19TH CENTURY REVIVAL
MISSION REVIVAL see MISSION/SPANISH REVIVAL
MISSION/SPANISH REVIVAL
MIXED (MORE THAN 2 STYLES FROM DIFFERENT PERIODS)
MODERN MOVEMENT
MODERNE (1930-1960) see also ART DECO
NEOCLASSICAL  see also BEAUX ARTS
NEOCOLONIAL
Neo-French
Neo-Mediteranian
Neo-Tudor

OCTAGON MODE

PRAIRIE SCHOOL
Frank Lloyd Wright Studio
Plants used: forsythia, Kentucky coffee tree, ginkgo
PUEBLO
QUEEN ANNE
RANCH
RENAISSANCE

ROMANESQUE
SECOND EMPIRE
SHINGLE STYLE
SKYSCRAPER


Sears Tower
Parks Designed by world class
Landscape Architects
SOUTHWEST
SPANISH COLONIAL REVIVAL See MISSION/SPANISH REVIVAL


STICK/EASTLAKE
TUDOR REVIVAL


VICTORIAN see LATE VICTORIAN or QUEEN ANNE













Grassroots Horticulture
2006-2016
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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Wild Indigo | Baptisia


Baptisias, also known as false or wild indigos, are a group of large, long-lived perennials. They provide an extended season of interest from flowers and foliage. 

Blue wild indigo (Baptisia australis) and yellow wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria) were used to produce a blue dye by Native Americans. The True indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) produces a better quality blue dye. 

In a large expanse of the Eastern United States, the Baptisias were known to repopulate burned areas. It was an important plant for honey production. The horseflyweed, Baptisia tinctoria, are the most attractive Baptisia to honeybees.
The botanical name Baptisia originates from the Greek word bapto, meaning, to dye or to dip.


As the summer moves on, the seeds of the Baptisia form in an upright pod and add an interesting form and color to the landscape. The pods form a vivid green color and mature into a dark blue shade as the warm August summer reminds us of the coming harvest season.


Landscape design in full sun, using wild indigo in a raised mound with other perennials or groundcover. I was pleased to see Miranda Brooks, using Baptisia in Anna Wintour's, wild butterfly garden.

Baptisia Care
Baptisia CULTIVARS and design


white Full Sun Baptisia ‘Esther’
Full Sun Baptisia alba
white Full Sun Baptisia alba
24"-48" white 3-9 Full sun to part shade Baptisia alba var. macrophylla
Full Sun Baptisia albescens
Full Sun Baptisia albescens
36" -  48" Full Sun Baptisia australis
Full Sun Baptisia australis
24-30" Full Sun Baptisia australis
36" -  48" 4-8 Full Sun Baptisia australis decadence ‘Carolina Moonlight’
yellow  4-8 Full Sun Baptisia australis decadence ‘Cherries Jubilee’
30" -  36" 4-8 Full Sun Baptisia australis decadence ‘Dutch chocolate’
4-8 Full Sun Baptisia australis decadence ‘Pink Truffles’
4-8 Full Sun Baptisia australis decadence ‘Purple Smoke’
24"-36" bright yellow 4-8 Full sun to part shade Baptisia australis decadence 'Lemon Meringue'
4-8 Full Sun Baptisia australis Midnight  ‘Prairieblues’
4-8 Full Sun Baptisia australis Solar Flare  ‘Prairieblues’
4-8 Full Sun Baptisia australis Starlite ‘Prairieblues’
36" 4-8 Full Sun Baptisia australis Twilite ‘Prairieblues’
Full Sun Baptisia australis var minor.
Full Sun Baptisia bicolor
Full Sun Baptisia bracteata
Full Sun Baptisia bracteata
Full Sun Baptisia bracteata
Full Sun Baptisia bracteata
Full Sun Baptisia bracteata
Full Sun Baptisia calycosa
Full Sun Baptisia calycosa
Full Sun Baptisia calycosa
Full Sun Baptisia cinerea
Full Sun Baptisia deamii
Full Sun Baptisia fragilis
Full Sun Baptisia fulva
Full Sun Baptisia Intercalata
Full Sun Baptisia intermedia
Full Sun Baptisia intermedia
Full Sun Baptisia intermedia
Full Sun Baptisia intermedia
Full Sun Baptisia lecontei
Full Sun Baptisia macilenta
Full Sun Baptisia megacarpa
Full Sun Baptisia microphylla
Full Sun Baptisia nuttalliana
Full Sun Baptisia perfoliata
Full Sun Baptisia pinetorum
Full Sun Baptisia serenae
Full Sun Baptisia simplicifolia
yellow Full Sun Baptisia sphaerocarpa 'Screamin' Yellow' 
Full Sun Baptisia stricta
Full Sun Baptisia sulphurea
yellow Full Sun Baptisia tinctoria