Container Garden Update 44: Opuntia, dietes and basil are growing

Container Garden Update 44: Opuntia, dietes and basil are growing 

 In this episode:

The opuntia cuttings are beginning to show signs of life. The dietes seeds are almost ready for transplanting into the garden and the basil keeps going strong.

Container Garden Update 44: Opuntia, dietes and basil are growing

 
 
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Garden Leaves: Fern – 9 in a series

Garden Leaves: Fern - 9 in a series
 
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They don’t sport showy flowers, but ferns can be a dramatic statement in your garden — and in nature — especially when massed together. Witness this field high on the flanks of Mount Etna where naturalized, native ferns, make up most of the understory plants.

Etna ferns

For me, ferns are important as they tolerate shade quite well and as long as I give them a little extra water here in dry Southern California, they naturalize and spread slowly but surely. 

There are such a wide variety of ferns, I am sure you can find something that you find attractive and compatible for your garden.

fern is a member of a group of about 10,560 known extant species[3] of vascular plants that reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. They differ frommosses by being vascular (i.e. having water-conducting vessels). They have branched stems and leaves, like other vascular plants. These are megaphylls, more complex than the simple microphylls of clubmosses. Most ferns have what are called fiddleheads that expand into fronds, which are each delicately divided.[4]

Leptosporangiate ferns (sometimes called true ferns) are by far the largest group, but ferns as defined here (ferns sensu lato) include horsetailswhisk fernsmarattioid ferns, and ophioglossoid ferns. This group may be referred to as monilophytes. The term pteridophyte traditionally refers to ferns plus a few other seedless vascular plants (see the classification section below), although some recent authors have used the term to refer strictly to the monilophytes.

Ferns first appear in the fossil record 360 million years ago in the late Devonian period[5] but many of the current families and species did not appear until roughly 145 million years ago in the early Cretaceous, after flowering plants came to dominate many environments. The fern Osmunda claytoniana is a paramount example of evolutionary stasis. Paleontological evidence indicates it has remained unchanged, even at the level of fossilized nuclei and chromosomes, for at least 180 million years.[6]

Ferns are not of major economic importance, but some are grown or gathered for food, as ornamental plants, for remediating contaminated soils, and have been the subject of research for their ability to remove some chemical pollutants from the air. Some are significant weeds. They also play a role in mythology, medicine, and art. — Wikipedia 

 

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Previously in Garden Leaves:

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Interesting Plant: California Pipevine/California Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia californica)

Starting a series within a series, I will be highlighting shade plants that grow well underneath trees, especially California Live Oak. I have a deep shade area beneath many trees here in my own garden and i am constantly looking for plants that can help green this area. — Douglas


A wild and weird exotic looking plant that would bring interest to any garden. A surefire conversation starter among your friends and visitors. Interested in butterflies. Dutchman’s Pipe is the sole food source for the California pipevine swallowtail butterfly.

California Pipevine/California Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia californica)

Aristolochia californica flower 2004-02-23.jpg

By No machine-readable author provided. Curtis Clark assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=716049

What are your thoughts on this Interesting Plant? Drop a note in the comments!

Aristolochia californica, the California pipevine or California Dutchman’s-pipe is a perennial woody vine of western North America.[1][2] 

The vine is endemic to northern California.[3] It is native to the Sacramento Valley, northern Sierra Nevada foothills, San Francisco Bay Area, Northern Inner California Coast Ranges, southeastern Klamath Mountains.[1]

The plant grows along riparian streambank areas, in chaparraloak woodland, and mixed evergreen forest habitats.[1][3][4] It is found below 700 metres (2,300 ft) in elevation.[3]

Aristolochia californica is a deciduous vine.[3] It grows from rhizomes, to a length usually around 5 feet (1.5 m), but can reach over 20 feet (6.1 m).[3] The twining trunk can become quite thick in circumference at maturity.

It sends out new green heart-shaped leaves after it blooms. The bloom period is January through April.[1]

The plant produces large green to pale brown curving pipe-shaped flowers, with purple veins and a yellow to red lining.[3] The U shaped flowers produce winged capsular green fruits.[3] — Wikipedia

More information on Aristolochia californica:

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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

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