Interesting Plant: Dahlia ‘Honka’

Interesting Plant: Dahlia ‘Honka’

This has to be the most un-Dahlia-like dahlia I have ever seen. This is a dahlia stripped to its most basic components. Certainly this is a plant for a specific place and purpose, but it did catch my eye when I saw it on Pinterest.

Dahlia honka

Discovered via Pinterest user Jill Anderson

Honka is a Star, Single Orchid, type Dahlia.  One of the most popular of its type, it has pale yellow petals and a deeper yellow disc that stand out against green foliage.  Attractive to bees and gardeners alike its merits have been recognised by the RHS Award of Garden Merit. – Pheasant Acre Plants
More information on Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisioides:

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

Video: In the garden…April 11, 2014: Finally back in the garden for some planting and cleanup

Agn artwork

Finally back in the garden after some busy weeks. I check out the geranium pot and potatoes, weed the onions and plant some more Parisian carrots along with some green onions in a now empty container.

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Check out what was happening in the garden a year ago: “In the garden…April 10, 2013 – Grass going to seed, acanthus and lots of projects to be done ”

Check out my collection of gardening essays, “From A Gardener’s Notebook” now available as a Kindle eBook. (You don’t need a Kindle to read it, though. Read it on your PC, Link:


Watch all past episodes of “In the garden…” in this YouTube Playlist

Music: “The One” by the Woodshedders (

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“In the garden…” is a series for A Gardener’s Notebook highlighting what is happening in my garden, my friend’s gardens and California gardens throughout the seasons. 

Garden Alphabet: Gerbera Daisy

Garden Alphabet: Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy are ubiquitous plants here in Southern California, although usually seen as potted plants given at parties and, in the case of these daisies, as flower for our friend’s memorial service. His wife brought them by afterwards and placed them in the garden as a reminder of him. I wasn’t sure they would even grow directly in the ground, but 3 of the 4 plants I put in have returned each season since. The splash of red is a welcome addition as the blooms and foliage of our paperwhites and snowflakes start to fade at this time of year.

Gebera daisy


Gerbera (/ˈɜrbərə/ or /ˈɡɜrbərə/L. is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It was named in honour of the German botanist and naturalist Traugott Gerber († 1743) who travelled extensively in Russia and was a friend of Carolus Linnaeus.[1]


It has approximately 30 species in the wild, extending to South AmericaAfrica and tropical Asia. The first scientific description of a Gerbera was made by J.D. Hooker in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine in 1889 when he described Gerbera jamesonii, a South African species also known as Transvaal daisy or Barberton Daisy. Gerbera is also commonly known as the African Daisy.


Gerbera species bear a large capitulum with striking, two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink or red colours. The capitulum, which has the appearance of a single flower, is actually composed of hundreds of individual flowers. The morphology of the flowers varies depending on their position in the capitulum. The flower heads can be as small as 7 cm (Gerbera mini ‘Harley’) in diameter or up to 12 cm (Gerbera ‘Golden Serena’).


Gerbera is very popular and widely used as a decorative garden plant or as cut flowers. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between Gerbera jamesonii and another South African species Gerbera viridifolia.[2] The cross is known as Gerbera hybrida. Thousands of cultivars exist. They vary greatly in shape and size. Colours include white, yellow, orange, red, and pink. The centre of the flower is sometimes black. Often the same flower can have petals of several different colours.


Gerbera is also important commercially. It is the fifth most used cut flower in the world (after rosecarnationchrysanthemum, and tulip). It is also used as a model organism in studyingflower formation. Gerbera contains naturally occurring coumarin derivatives. Gerbera is a tender perennial plant. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds, but resistant to deer.[3]Their soil should be kept moist but not soaked. – Wikipedia

More information on Gerbera:


Previously in Garden Alphabet:

Video: Beechgrove Garden starts 2014 season

Once of my favorite gardening shows, align with the BBC’s Gardeners World. Check it out for yourself in this YouTube video below. Beechgrove

From the Beechgrove web site… For most of the country, it’s waders rather than wellies that are essential kit to get gardening this spring. Beechgrove is back and Jim McColl, Carole Baxter, George Anderson and Chris Beardshaw are raring to go no matter what the weather. In the first programme, the team take a look at some soggy, boggy gardens across the country and assess what can be done. They also deal with their own new unintended paddling pond, in the Beechgrove Fruit House. On a snowy day in February, Carole visits Dunblane to find early inspiration from the Scottish Rock Garden Club’s Early Bulb Display. This is not a competitive display; this is to encourage SRGC members to share their plants and information with others. Members bring as many pots and pans of alpines as possible to clothe the benches and it turns out that more than 90% of the species and varieties are unique. Carole chats to members and visitors, and catches the flavour of this early springtime display. Also searching for early season colour, George finds all that and more when he visits Shepherd House garden in Inveresk. Recognised as one of the best small gardens in Scotland, Shepherd House is a very personal garden of about one acre, designed by its owners Charles and Ann Fraser. The garden in February is full of aconites and iris, and swathes of hellebores. Ann has placed mirrors under the traditionally shy hellebore blooms so that we can appreciate their beautiful faces. She has also turned into a snowdrop collector, or galanthophile, after being invited to paint some snowdrop varieties. She’s got the bug and she now has a stunning collection of snowdrops of over 70 varieties, all with very different characters.

Interesting Plant: Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisioides)

Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisioides)

Another possibility for mine and my neighbors Southern California gardens. I have seen this out in the Palm Springs area where my sister has lived for 20+ years and it does look very attractive as part of a xeriscape environment. I am not sure if I have enough sun here in my garden, but there might be a couple of areas where it would fit. According to the Wikipedia page it can grow up to 3 meter, which might the a little large for some gardens. I don’t think I have ever seen it grow this large in the gardens where i have seen it, though.


Discovered via

“Blunt-leaved Senna” (and spelling variants) redirects here. This name is also used for Senna obtusifolia, a large shrub common in warm humid regions.

Senna artemisioides is a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. It is commonly known as Silver Cassia or Feathery Cassia - although “cassia” generally refers to the largest-growingCassiinae. Some of its distinct subspecies also have common names of their own. This plant is endemic to Australia, where it is found in all mainland states and territories, except forVictoria.

This is a shrub that grows up to 3 metres in height. It has pinnate leaves with between 1 and 8 pairs of leaflets. It produces an abundance of yellow flowers in winter and spring which are about 1.5 cm in diameter, followed by 2 to 7 cm long flat green pods which age to dark brown.

The species adapts to a wide range of climatic conditions, although it is susceptible to frost, particularly when young. It prefers dry, well drained sites with full sun. As an ornamental plant, it is propagated readily from seed, which should first be soaked in boiling water.[1]

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.[2]


More information on Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisioides:

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

Photo: Lady Bank’s Rose via #instagram

Lady banks rose

Previously in my Instagram Photos…

See all my photos on Flickr

Photo: Clytostoma callistegioides via #instagram


Previously in my Instagram Photos…

See all my photos on Flickr

42 of My Favorite Garden Things for March 2014 — Shared Links from Douglas E. Welch

My Favorite Things

As always, let me know what types of interesting items you would like to see and I will keep an eye out for them especially. — Douglas

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Garden Alphabet: Wisteria

Garden Alphabet: Wistera

The epitome of Spring, the big, burly, grasping, sprawling and blowzy wisteria is a favorite in many gardens. You need a hefty trellis or pergola to host this (potential) monster of a plant. For that, you will be rewarded with an explosion of draping purple or white flowers that attract hummingbirds and bees and are an impressive indicator that Spring has finally arrived. Wisteria can be a bit fussy about blooming. It wants just enough light, water and nutrients. Too little (or too much) can turn it into a mass of green foliage but produce few flowers. Typically you want to prune Wisteria twice a year — once during its dormant period and again mid-season to keep its growth in control. For me, this means pulling its tenacious tendrils off of every surround plant and roof surface and tying it back onto the pergola where it belongs.

Garden Alphabet: Wisteria | A Gardener's Notebook #garden #photography


Wisteria (also spelled Wistaria or Wysteria) is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae, that includes ten species of woody climbing vines native to the Eastern United States and to ChinaKorea, and Japan. Some species are popular ornamental plants, especially in China and Japan. An aquatic flowering plant with the common name wisteria or ‘water wisteria’ is in fact Hygrophila difformis, in the family Acanthaceae.

The botanist Thomas Nuttall said he named the genus Wisteria in memory of Dr. Caspar Wistar (1761–1818).[1][2] Questioned about the spelling later, Nuttall said it was for “euphony,” but his biographer speculated that it may have something to do with Nuttall’s friend Charles Jones Wister, Sr., of Grumblethorpe, the grandson of the merchant John Wister.[3] (Some Philadelphia sources state that the plant is named after Wister.)[4] As the spelling is apparently deliberate, there is no justification for changing the genus name under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.[5] However, some spell the plant’s common name “wistaria”.[6][7]

Genetic analysis shows Callerya and Wisteria to be each other’s closest relatives and quite distinct from other members of the tribe Millettieae. Both have eight chromosomes.[8] – Wikipedia

More information on Wistera:


Previously in Garden Alphabet:

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Video: La ‘Bee’ In Rose

La bee in rose thumb


Photo posted via Instagram

Previously in my Instagram Photos…

See all my photos on Flickr