Previously in my Instagram Photos…
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: 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.
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 China, Korea, 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). 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. (Some Philadelphia sources state that the plant is named after Wister.) As the spelling is apparently deliberate, there is no justification for changing the genus name under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. However, some spell the plant’s common name “wistaria”.
More information on Wistera:
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Red Stick Dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’)
Who doesn’t love a splash of red in the garden, especially during those long Winter months. Much like the red cardinal on the white show, this dogwood would look dazzling on a sunny, snow-covered day in the garden.
Cornus alba (red-barked, white or Siberian dogwood) is a species of flowering plant in the family Cornaceae, native to Siberia, northern China and Korea. It is a large suckering shrub that can be grown as a small tree. As a popular ornamental used in landscaping its notable features include the red stems in fall (autumn) through late winter, the brightest winter bark of any cornus; and the variegated foliage in somecultivars, such as C. alba ‘elegantissima’, in which the discreet flat whitish flower clusters are almost lost in the variegated texture and dappled light. C. alba can grow to 3 m (10 ft) high, but variegated forms are less vigorous. For the brightest winter bark, young shoots are encouraged by cutting to the ground some older stems at the end of the winter, before leaves are open.
The plant is extremely hardy, to USDA Zone 3.
- ‘Aurea’ (yellow leaves)
- ‘Elegantissima’ (deep red stems and small white flowers)
- ‘Sibirica’ (2.5 m (8 ft 2 in), brilliant red stems, cream flowers)
- ‘Spaethii’ (variegated leaves with yellow margins)
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