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The 2016 Garden....

While the yr isn't over, enough has passed to give a good "clue" on the big items;>....
Fails:
Perfume Jasmine(Jasmine off). Did well last yr and got no frost damage but has slowly died back this yr to a 6" stub
English Lavender. Tried the methods found online to grow them in the Deep South but is pretty much dead. However, the Spanish Lavender is doing GREAT!
Hellebores. I'll pull them this Fall
Japanese Imperial Morning Glories. Think I planted them too late this yr 'cause normally they do great(though a common MG isn't blooming that much either so it may not be that...)
Abutilons. Not worth the space for the poor blossom production.
Torch Ginger(Etingleria?). Grow great but after 5 yrs of no blooms....
Dragonfruit. After 10 yrs without fruit and few blossoms I'm DONE with them!

Meh's(those that lived but didn't impress):
Salivia cocinna. Both White and Pink cultivars grow well and bloom but the display not worth the space taken.
4 O'clocks.
Pink Perfecktion Brugmansia.Deformed dbl blossoms

Winners:
Pentas. Both antique and modern hybrids.
Watsonia. good 1st yr. Hopefully, will do as well as the one's I had over at Hummingbird,esp since this cult is nicer!
Cypress Vine
Antique White Hibiscus
Dbl White Brugmansia
Spanish Lavender
Rosemary
Turmeric

Later in the yr I'll have the full report;>!
Cheers,
Pat

Kill It With Fire!

Recently I noticed something really strange happened to one of my coneflowers: an emerging flower, instead of turning pink/purple, remained a bright green - and then started sprouting little "satellite" flowers around the main one.  Weirdest thing I've ever seen in my garden.


The fact that it only occurred on one stalk out of over a hundred, and the "healthy" green color of the petals almost lead me to believe it was some kind of mutation heralding a new species rather than a disease, but I am not so conceited to think that my yard would be host to an emerging species, so I gave my older brother a ring and texted him the photo, thinking someone else has seen these bizarre symptoms before.  Sure enough, ten minutes later he informed me it was unquestionably a case of the dreaded "Aster Yellows", caused
by a bacteria-like organism called a phytoplasma, that is spread by a gnat-like insect called a leaf hopper as they feed on the plant.

http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/aster-yellows/

There is no cure for this, and it definitely spreads.  So, thoroughly freaked out that the rest of my otherwise thriving population would be tainted, I cut the offending stalk down to the ground and took it right to the trash can - no composting this time! (Sadly, due to proximity to neighboring plants fire was not an option).

So, this is a cautionary tale, I suppose.  Good thing I didn't try my usual approach of "let's see how this plays out"!  File this under "live and learn".

Tags:

Alpine Strawberry: Update.

And update to say a big thank you to everyone who advised me on my non-turning-red alpine strawberries (Fragaria vesca), and who advised me there are white varieties which either remain white or at best get a very mild pink. You were all 100% spot on with that. I've had several small harvests of white berries, and they have all been absolutely magical in flavour. I cannot even describe it, it is utterly unique. Unique but delicious. Thank you all, and I'm glad I was able to stop letting this wonderful crop go to waste waiting for it to "ripen" in vain.

I would say that if anyone has a spare bit of ground for a few pots or troughs of these berries, go for it. The harvests may not be large, certainly in rainy southern Scotland they are not, but they are well worth it; either for eating on their own or as part of a salad or dessert.

How did I get mushrooms?

There are tiny mushrooms growing in the pot I grown kale in.

I just used standard potting soil along with some coffee grounds and leaves so I don't know how this has happened.

There are no mushrooms growing in any other plants.

Can someone please tell me what's going on here?

Tags:

Silly question, but...

Alpine strawberries (Fragaria vesca) how do you actually manage to harvest these things? I have plenty of white ones, but they never seem to turn red. Well, not that I have seen. They seem to go straight from white to overripe blackened mush without passing through the actual ripe for harvest stage. How do I manage to make that happen? Has anyone had successful experiences of growing these?

Location: Scottish Southern Uplands.

The Summer Garden....

It's kinda odd. This is the least Culinary garden I've had since I moved to Florida. No Veg, just Herbs and Ornamentals. Sure, there are 3 fruit trees but;>....
The Galangal's still not doing great here. Back In FWB it was in the ground so when I repot next Spring I'll try adding sand into the potting mix. The Turmeric is doing GREAT! Last yr all I was able to salvage after the Freeze(the worst in over a decade)was half a tuber. This yr it's done very well. Probably enough not only to cook with but to share.
The Chaya and Longevity Spinach LOVE our weather, so much so that I had to get rid of the latter since it had become invasive. While the Chaya grows well, it's a shrub and easier to control than a rampant groundcover that roots whenever a stem touches soil. Also, everyone likes it. I was the only one that would eat the LS and only in salads.
My attempt to grow Lavender here is so-so. I found and article online on growing it in the Deep South and am trying it(containerized, well-draining and limed). The Spanish is doing well but has only bloomed once this yr. The English hasn't DIED. There's supposed to be a cultivar that does well in Heat and Humidity, 'Phenomenon' but is expensive. Maybe next yr. The Wal-Mart Rosemary's doing ok but compared to the ones I grew in FWB, it's sad. 'Course, those were seedlings from a nursery that was going out of business and had survived almost a yr of neglect;>.
Of the Ornamentals, this is the last yr for most of the Hellebores. No bloom this Winter-Spring, they're OUT. I'm going to have to thin the Persecarias. They're crowding out everything in the Shade areas .I'm also going to have to move the Bamboo Muly Grass. It's just too frikk'n BIG. I'll pot it up this Fall and put it in front of the carport. It's a gorgeous plant and much softer looking than the clumping Bamboos but very rare. Luckily I got it from another plant geek;>.
Almost all of my Fall/Winter planting seeds have arrived and will start Stratifying some of them next week. From old regional gardening books I've learned that a lot of Biennials do well here started in late Summer indoors, then planted outside when the weather moderates. They get a couple months before the Frost comes. They then act as adult plants in the Spring....
Cheers,
Pat

IS There A New Shape/Form of Poison Ivy?

First, let me say I'm sorry I have no photo of the plant in question, and what's worse no way at the present time to upload one if I did have it. The lack of a photographic image makes it much more difficult to answer my question.
[ETA: I have tried a-Googling for images and/or information on this plant, but so far no success.]
I've read that what with climate change and so on, poison ivy is becomimg more prevalent and, worse, more potent.

Now, I am familiar with the three leaflets, sometimes glossy and sometimes not, and the whole "leaves of three, leave it be" business, and I'm more than willing to leave it be because I'm violently allergic to the plant and nearly landed myself in the hospital with a case of it a few years back.

But lately, something else is showing up in my shrubs and in one planted
container, and climbing on my neighbor's garage wall (which is adjacent to my back yard/garden.) It is a vine, and the leaves look the way I imagine the three-leafed leaflets of poison ivy would look if they fused into one, three-lobed leaf with the points of the lobes all pointing in the same direction (down.)
I'm categorically and adamantly opposed to touching a leaf or any other part of this plant to my bare skin to find out if I'm sensitive to it, and yes, I do realize that there are other plants which can produce contact dermatitis.

HAS poison ivy morphed into a new or different form?
That same neighbor is in that lucky, small percent of the population who doesn't react to the urushiol oil, so he doesn't bother to remove the rather luxuriant growth of poison ivy behind his garage---but that stuff is the standard three-separate-leaflets, serrated-looking edges, glossy-leafed plant so many of us have come to know and dread, which means I'm removing poison ivy plants every spring since the birds eat the berries of his poison ivy "thicket" and then distribute the berries.

Anyway, I'm asking: is there some relatively new or newer form of poison ivy?
Thanks in advance!

Additional ETA: Thanks to beesandbrews, who may very well have hit it!

Plant ID

Got a lot of volunteer alyssums, snapdragons, cleomes and violas this year. I kind of let the garden go, letting a few unidentified plants take off. Was wondering if someone could tell me what they are. First, here's a picture of the busy garden:

Read more...Collapse )

We had some crazy storms in the Chicago area last night, but we needed the rain. Hope everybody has a good day!

ETA: The plant with white flowers is flower-of-an-hour. It's a native plant to Illinois so I'll keep it.

Black Currants

My Black Currant bush is loaded up with berries right now.
Any ideas on what to make with them?
If nothing else, I'm thinking of making jelly with them.

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