Archive for February, 2007

Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’ | Carol Mackie Daphne

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Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’ | ‘Carol Mackie’ Daphne
CHARACTER
Evergreen and wow, what a fragrance when it blooms. Put it at your front door. Delicate creamed edged leaf. You should know going in that Daphne’s are finicky. They can be very healthy for 4 years then suddenly die for no apparent reason. On the other hand, they are also fairly hardy. ‘Carol Mackie’ can withstand -30 without injury. Makes a great focal point and well suited to the small garden. Worth the risk to experience their loveliness.
Leaf spot, crown rot, twig blight, aphids, but the thing that does tehm in is more likely a virus. They don’t like excess moisture. Dirr reccomends we “practice good husbandry”. Needs to be planted in site protected from winter burn. Transplant as container in early spring. Keep mulched. Prune annually after plant is established, post-flowering before mid-July.
NOTES
Used in rock gardens throughout Europe
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RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
‘Somerset’ 4′/6′ in 20 years
Daphne odora | Winter Daphne maybe a bit bigger and slightly longer lasting
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 4 – 7 | part sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. slow
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 3′/5′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Dense, mounding and rounded, ascending branches
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1/2″ to 1″ by 1/8th” obtuse and cunate
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Evergreen | dark green, some variegated
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | light pink and wonderfully frangrant
STEM | somewhat 4 sided, leaf scars
NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL well drained, moist, near nuetral
Native Europe, Spain, SW Russia

MO Botanic Garden / Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’

Rob’s Plants / Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’

Dave’s Garden / Daphne burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’

Stransvaesia dividiana | Red Vein Stranvaesia

image Stranvaesia dividiana

nice hanging cherrie cluster of berries (looks good against the snow, huh?)

Stransvaesia dividiana | Red Vein Stranvaesia
CHARACTER
Evergreen in milder climates just barely in Mid-Atlantic. It’s rather droopy looking in winter. The narrow spear shaped leaves have an interesting red vien down the middle on the back which looks nice against the greener part of the blade. Hanging clusters of bright red berries are attractive, but on the whole this is a subtle plant.

CARE
Watch for fireblight

NOTES
Dirr says he doubts the long term success of this plant in the US, but we’ll see. Stransvaesia can be seen at Green Springs and US Arboretum

RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
X Stansvinia ‘Redstart’
is a new clone that shows promise
‘Prostrata’ shorter and more spreading

image Stransvaesia dividiana IMG_4709.JPG
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 7 – 9 | prefers full sun
GROWTH RATE ….. medium
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 6′ to 8′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Loose, rounded; long archign branches branches
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ obovate, impressed veins, obtusely serrated, thin, light
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | dark green, leathery
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | small white in spring
BERRIES | beautiful bright red

NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL prefers moist, slightly acid, organic
Native China, does well in Ireland, England and Pacific Northwest US

Gallery of Winter Berries

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Ilex x koehneana | Koehne Holly

image Ilex x koehneana

Ilex x koehneana | Koehne Holly

STRENGTHS
Evergreen, consistant, pyramidal. A nice specimen seen at US Arboretum. Has the admirable quality of folliage growing all the way into the tree. Would be useful and reliable for larger landscapes but too large for average residential setting.
MY BAD ATTITUDE ABOUT HOLLIES
My bad attitude about hollies comes from the fact that many outgrow their homes and overwhelm and sometimes obliterate whatever is close by. Often planted as screens in tight spaces, when a much less burly plant would be better. Once overgrown, it is a project to remove them. They can be very nice when treated as small trees, given space and allowed to take on a more natural state. I like hollies pruned up as well to expose the branching.  Of large leaved hollies, my favorite is the native Ilex opaca. I do not have a bad attitude about small leaved hollies, on the contrary.  Ilex crenata or Ilex vomitoria are fabulous.

CARE
Occassionally gets winter burn, simply prune out. Difficult to grow in colder suburbs of DC. Needs protection.
NOTES
Males called Ajax, Females called Agena. Dioecious – needs male nearby for females to berry. id by darkest green and very large leaves, leaf growth all the way in. (I. aquifolium x I. latifolia)

RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
available at Merrifield
‘Jade’ is male, Ajax
‘Ruby’ is female, Agena
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 7 – 9 | full sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium to fast
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 20′ to 30′/15′, cultivars can be as small as 4′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. tall, pyramidal, branches horizontal
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 2″ to 3″ leaves curve down, folliage grows all the way in
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple,.5 alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Evergreen | lustrous very dark green, very consistant
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | small white in spring
BERRIES | long drupe of orange to red

NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in moist to dry

U of DE Botonic Gardens / Ilex x koehneana

Royal Horticultural Society / Ilex x koehneana

image Ilex x Koehneana

‘Agena’ above, ‘Ajax’ below

image Ilex x koehneana 'Ajax'

Ilex x ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ | ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ Hybrid Holly

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Ilex x ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ | ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ Hybrid Holly
STRENGTHS
Evergreen, vigorous grower and popular. ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ is too large for average residential setting, but useful and reliable for larger landscapes. Still, I prefer the less pricey and smaller more textured leaf look of alternative Ilex x attenuata ‘Fosteri’.
MY BAD ATTITUDE ABOUT HOLLIES
My bad attitude about hollies comes from the fact that many outgrow their homes and overwhelm and sometimes obliterate whatever is close by. Often planted as screens in tight spaces, when a much less burly plant would be better. Once overgrown, it is a project to remove them. They can be very nice when treated as small trees, given space and allowed to take on a more natural state. I like hollies pruned up as well to expose the branching. Also, the shinier the leaf, the more fake they look to me. Therefore I’m not a fan of Ilex cornuta. Of large leaved hollies, my favorite is the native Ilex opaca. I do not have a bad attitude about small leaved hollies, on the contrary. Ilex crenata or Ilex vomitoria are fabulous.
CARE
Occassionally gets winter burn, simply prune out.
NOTES
This plant is only a female. Can be pollinated by male I. cornuta. id by leaf curving down as if around a curler, chartruese bark, leaf growth all the way in. Leaves have prominant but few spikes. (I. cornuta x I. aquifolium).
RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
available at Merrifield
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 7 – 9 | full sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium to fast
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 15′ to 20′/8′ to 15′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. tall, always pyramidal, branches horizontal
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 2″-3″ lustrous dark green, 5 to 6 spikes, soft and flexible, long and more oval shaped than anything else (not as “cornuta” or crown shaped)
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Evergreen | lustrous dark green, very consistant
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | small white in spring
BERRIES | heavy fruiting
BARK | new growth is chartruese

NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in moist to dry

Monrovia / Ilex x Nellie R. Stevens
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Ilex x ‘Dr. Kassab’ | ‘Dr. Kassab’ Hybrid Holly

image Ilex x 'Dr. Kassab'
Ilex x ‘Dr. Kassab’ | ‘Dr. Kassab’ Hybrid Holly

STRENGTHS
Evergreen, consistant. A nice specimen seen at US Arboretum. Has the admirable quality of folliage growing all the way into the tree. Would be useful and reliable for larger landscapes but too large for average residential setting.
MY BAD ATTITUDE ABOUT HOLLIES
My bad attitude about hollies comes from the fact that many outgrow their homes and overwhelm and sometimes obliterate whatever is close by. Often planted as screens in tight spaces, when a much less burly plant would be better. Once overgrown, it is a project to remove them. They can be very nice when treated as small trees, given space and allowed to take on a more natural state. I like hollies pruned up as well to expose the branching.  Of large leaved hollies, my favorite is the native Ilex opaca. I do not have a bad attitude about small leaved hollies, on the contrary.  Ilex crenata or Ilex vomitoria are fabulous.

CARE
Occassionally gets winter burn, simply prune out.
NOTES
This plant is only a female. Dioecious – needs male nearby for females to berry. id by leaf curving down as if around a curler, chartruese bark, leaf growth all the way in. Prominant but few spikes. (I. cornuta x I. pernyi)

RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
available at Merrifield
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 7 – 9 | full sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium to fast
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 15′ to 20′/8′ to 15′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. tall, pyramidal, branches horizontal
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ leaves curve down, folliage grows all the way in
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Evergreen | lustrous dark green, very consistant
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | small white in spring
BERRIES | light fruiting
BARK | new growth is chartruese

NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in moist to dry

image Ilex x 'Dr. Kassab' curled leaf

Ilex x attenuata ‘Fosteri’ | Foster’s Hybrid Hollies

image Ilex x attenuata 'Sunny Foster'

‘Sunny Foster’ above

Ilex x attenuata ‘Fosteri’ | Foster’s Hybrid Hollies

STRENGTHS
Evergreen native to MD, conical force to be reconned with. Their leaves have very long spikes, are trim and narrow mirroring general plant shape. I would choose them over Ilex cornuta since they aren’t as shiny or fake looking. They have value as durable possibility for street tree or impenetrable, trouble free hedge. Foster’s Hollies sopecies often called Topel Holly.

MY BAD ATTITUDE ABOUT HOLLIES
My bad attitude about hollies comes from the fact that many outgrow their homes and overwhelm and sometimes obliterate whatever is close by. Often planted as screens in tight spaces, when a much less burly plant would be better. Once overgrown, it is a project to remove them. They can be very nice when treated as small trees, given space and allowed to take on a more natural state. I like hollies pruned up as well to expose the branching. Of large leaved hollies, my favorite is the native Ilex opaca. I do not have a bad attitude about small leaved hollies, on the contrary. Ilex crenata or Ilex vomitoria are fabulous.

CARE
Good attention to pruning is needed to keep a nursery produced plant dense and not spindly. Watch out for spittlebugs. Occassionally gets winter burn, simply prune out.
IMG_5965.JPG

NOTES
Dioecious – needs male nearby for females to berry. Usually pollinated by Ilex opaca. id by plant shape and “bird foot” shaped leaf. Young leaves have more spikes, older may have only one.

image Ilex x attenuata 'Foster #2'

RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
‘Foster #2’ available, the best one to use, almost columnar, trim and neat
‘Foster #3′ available but never use
‘Sunny Foster’ new folliage is yellow and fading to green, nice color I would consider
‘Savannah’ popular in the south, loosley pyramidal, light green foliage
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 6 – 9 | full sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium to fast
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 20′-30′/8′ to 15′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. tall, conical to columnar, fairly dense
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ varries greatly in serration.
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Evergreen | medium green, semi-glossy
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | small yellow to white in spring
BERRIES | heavy fruiting, arrives early stays late
IMG_5964.JPG

NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in moist to dry
Native MD to FL and west to TX
MOBOT / Ilex x attenuata ‘Fosteri’

VA Tech Dendrology / Ilex x attenuata

image Ilex x attenuata 'Foster #2'

Saintpaulia | African Violets

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African Violets – General Maintenance
By Kathleen Franklin (kfranklin@potomacnet.com)

The African violet (Saintpaulia) is an excellent flowering house plant, and these days there are more varieties than ever! Here’s a short primer on how to take care of them.

* Light – African violets need bright, indirect light – not direct sunlight – for about 8 – 12 hours per day, but they can manage with less, too. An east or north window is best. If the leaves are darker and/or thinner than leaves on plants getting more light, then the plant needs more light. Too little light also translates into fewer flowers. Too much light turns leaves pale or yellowish green, and growth slows down. African violets respond well to fluorescent light for 15-18 hours/day.
* Temperature – African violets prefer night temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees F, but will grow satisfactorily at 60 to 80 degrees F. They tolerate dry air, but thrive better in humid conditions. You can boost humidity by setting pots on top of trays of gravel and watering the gravel.
* Soil –You can find special soil mixes for African violets, or you can mix your own: equal parts potting soil, sphagnum, and perlite. Soil mixtures should have a pH of about 6.0 to 6.5 — slightly acidic — for best results.
* Water – Drainage is crucial. Plants in clay pots require more frequent watering than those in plastic pots since evaporation is greater. Decorative glazed pots without drainage holes are generally unsatisfactory. Water whenever the surface soil feels dry to the touch, but before it becomes hard or the plant wilts. African violets may be watered from the top or bottom. When watering from the top, apply sufficient water to surface soil to thoroughly saturate it and discard excess water which drains through the bottom of the pot. Watering from the bottom may be done by placing the pot in a container to which about 1” water is added. When the soil surface becomes moist, remove the pot and pour out of excess water. “Wick” watering may also be used. Finally, water temperature should be no cooler than room temperature. Tepid is best. Place the pot in a wide, deep saucer; saucers that are too snug are undesirable.
* Fertilizer – Fading leaf color and a slow-down in growth and flowering usually indicates that fertilizer is needed. I recommend Jack’s, a granular fertilizer specially formulated for African violets.

2007 – Kathleen Franklin, All Rights Reserved. Kathleen is a Montgomery county, MD -certified Master Gardener and a longtime employee of a local garden nursery. To ask a question or to schedule a garden consultation, contact kfranklin@potomacnet.com

Ilex vomitoria | Yaupon Holly

image Ilex vomitoria 'Yawkeyi'

above ‘Yawkeyi’ @ US Arborretum

Ilex vomitoria | Yaupon Holly

STRENGTHS
Evergreen and lovely with dainty small leaves with softly arching branches. Native to MD, multitude of uses in natural or formal gardens. I am a new and enthusuastic fan of this holly. Can be used as substitute for Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata, evergreen with black berries) because more adaptable and disease resistant. Tremendous number of cultivars available, use for informal screens and hedges, takes pruning well, looks wonderful in mass and foundations and even topiary and espaliers. The epithet “vomitoria” is indicative of the fact that eating the berries will make you sick. Native Americans made tea from berries, also containing high caffeine content that made them vomit in order to “cleans” impurities from body and soul. Ok.

CARE
No serious problems, prune selectively to keep natural informal shape.

NOTES
Dioecious – needs male nearby for females to berry. Dirr says “perhaps the most adaptable small leaved holly for southern gardens”.

RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
‘Yawkeyi’ heavy fruiting yellow berries 15′ tall

image Ilex vomitoria Yawkeyi reddish new stems image Ilex vomitoria 'Stokes Dwarf' new reddish growth
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 7 – 10 | sun to shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium to fast, responds well to high fertility
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 15′ to 20′/ narrower spread
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Loose, upright, rounded; can sucker and form thickets
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. .5″-1.5″/.25″ to .75″ oval,tapered at base, blunt at apex
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Evergreen | dark green, no blackish glands evident on underside
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
STEMS | new growth is purplish red
FLOWERS | small white in spring
BERRIES | translucent, bright red, orange or yellow
NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in really wet to very dry, tollerant of salt spray
Native MD, VA to FL and west to TX

image Ilex vomitoria 'Stokes Dwarf'

image Ilex vomitoria 'Stokes Dwarf'

Mahonia bealei | Leatherleaf Mahonia

image Mahonia bealei

Look closely and you’ll notice at bottom left the hidden ac unit.

Mahonia bealei | Leatherleaf Mahonia

STRENGTHS
A unique evergreen posessing pinatley compound leaves that look prehistoric and add great texture in the garden. Woodland naturalizing shrubs with branches that grow out in horizontal tiers. Although its leaves have an agressive appearance, learning a bit about it makes Mahonia shine in a new light. My favorites have a silvery chartruese tint. Fragrant lemon yellow flowers appear in late winter and burst into robin’s egg blue and then blue-black berries that dangle like grapes. Looks great in mass plantings and works well with grasses, coreopsis and ferns. Is often seen masking residential ac compressors, a stressful and rigorous job for any plant. Fantastic in deep shade in the deep South. It is a nice source of food for wildlife, too.

image Mahonia bealei

CARE
You don’t need to pull the volunteers that sprout in the spring. Most won’t last. Prune selectively on “THE 3 YEAR CYCLE”, prune 1/3 off of 1/3 of your plants each year. If you have 3 plants, each year prune 1/3rd of the branches off 1 of them. Keep moist with plenty of mulch.

NOTES
A relative of Barberries and Nandina (if you can believe it). It may not flower if it doesn’t get at least a couple hours of sun each day, though. Best position is one that gives 2-4 hours of morning sun. One of the only plants that can tolerate the heat of an ac unit nearby. Choose plants based on color, some are not as attractive as others. Not happy in cold.

RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
Mahonia aquifolia | Oregan Grapeholly available 3′ to 7′/ 5′, very similar to M. bealei but redder in color with shiney leaves, nice in combo
Mahonia japonica | Japanese Mahonia available, almost identical to M. bealei, Dir says differences are not manifest, especially since individual plants are many times hybrids anyway.

variegated forms available
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 7 – 9 | part sun to (prefers) full shade
GROWTH RATE ….. slow
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 6′ to 10′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Erect, rounded, horizontal branches, some stems shoot up tall
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 9 to 13 leaflets, rigid and leathery, ovate, each leaflet is 1″ to 4″ long, 1″ to 2″ wide, terminal is largest, prominant spines
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. alternate, pinately compound
LEAF COLOR ….. Evergreen | many shades, matte green, often bluish on top and pale green below
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | fragrant lemon yellow panicles in March-April
BERRIES | beautiful bright robin’s egg blue turning black
NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in moist, slightly acid
Native to China introduced in 1845
image Mahonia bealei

image Mohonia bealei blooms

Beautiful vination on leaves. I really like this Mahonia bealei.

Winterizing Container Grown Trees and Shrubs

Winterizing Container Grown Trees and Shrubs

THIS ARTICLE originally appeared in the Horticulture & Home Pest News, Sept 15, 1995 issue, p. 136.
Prepared by Sherry Rindels, Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Many homes have patios and decks complete with large pots containing shrubs or trees. These containers provide a feeling of permanence and beauty to the area. Unfortunately for those of us in Iowa, containerized plants often experience severe winter injury and often death if unprotected. In containers, the roots of the plants are exposed to below-freezing temperatures on all sides. As temperatures fluctuate, the soil thaws and refreezes causing the plant to heave out of the soil. This tears the roots and can expose the roots to drying winds. Branches can be broken directly by strong winds or by the container tipping over. Sudden temperature changes can also damage the container itself causing it to crack.

Small plants can easily be moved into a cool garage or basement. Temperatures should be in the upper 30′s or lower 40′s. Protecting large plants is a bigger challenge but it can be done. Covering the plant and the container thoroughly can help protect the plant. However, if the plant is too tender for our climate or if the winter is unusually harsh, these measures may not be adequate.

To aid in the success of the plant, select plants hardy for our area and make every effort to be sure the plant is going into the winter in a healthy state. Continue watering the plant through the fall. Do not fertilize after mid-summer. Woody plants should be encouraged to gradually cease growth and harden off in preparation for winter. After the first hard frost and the plant has lost most of its leaves, begin the process of winter protection. Gently tie together the branches so they won’t be damaged when you pack insulating material around them. Water the tree thoroughly and mulch the top of the soil with several inches of straw or leaves. Make a cylinder around the outside of the tub with chicken wire or other type of garden fencing. Make the cage tall enough to enclose the entire plant. Fasten the wire fencing to a stake with wire or staples to add support. Fill the cage with straw or leaves working carefully so no branches are broken in the process. Wrap the outside of the cage with burlap or shade cloth and secure it with twine. This prevents the stuffing material from blowing away. As a last step, cover the cage with plastic or roofing paper and tuck in the edges. Tie over the top to prevent it from blowing off. When spring arrives, unwrap the tree gradually. Remove the plastic or roofing paper cover first. Gently pull out the leaves or straw from around the branches and untie them. The stuffing can be used as a garden mulch around perennial flowers or in the vegetable garden. Leave the fencing and the outside wrap in place. Water if the soil is dry.

Once spring has truly arrived, remove the burlap or shade cloth wrap and the cage. Prune broken or damaged branches and remove any other unnecessary growth. Select a cloudy day to remove coverings so the tree can acclimate gradually. Store the fencing and burlap away for next year. Containerized trees and shrubs add a great deal to our landscapes. With proper winter protection, the same plant can provide beauty for many years.

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