Interesting Plant: Fritillaria imperialis Rubra Maxima

Interesting Plant: Fritillaria imperialis Rubra Maxima

By Poco a poco (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I love this frittillaria. It is so striking in both shape and color. I could imagine one of my triangular beds in the front garden filled with a mass of these, waving in the breeze.

From White Flower Farm web site…

“Burnt orange-red flowers with delicate veining. A guaranteed conversation starter. Heirloom, 1665. 20-24cm bulbs. 1 per sq. ft.

These large bulbs are a delight in practically any setting, and their unusual profile draws the eye like a magnet. Give them full sun and a rich, well-drained soil that stays dry in summer. The bulbs have a faint skunky odor, which has the salutary effect of repelling pests, including voles.”

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Garden Inventory: Ash Tree (Fraxinus)

Garden Inventory is a series where I begin an inventory of all the plants and trees in my garden. Along with some of my own pictures, I will link to various sources of information about each plant and tree so we can learn a little more together.

I would also like to highlight your special plants and tress. Pass along your favorite plants in the comments and I will use them for future Garden Inventory posts. — Douglas


Garden Inventory: Ash (Fraxinus)

“Fraxinus (pron.: /ˈfræksɨnəs/)[2] is a genus of flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45-65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The tree’s common English name, ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, while the generic name originated in Latin. Both words also meant “spear” in their respective languages.[3] The leaves are opposite (rarely in whorls of three), and mostly pinnately compound, simple in a few species. The seeds, popularly known as keys or helicopter seeds, are a type of fruit known as a samara. Rowans or Mountain Ashes are unrelated to true ashes and belong to the Genus Sorbus though the leaves and buds are superficially similar.” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraxinus

I never knew there were so many different types of Ash trees, so I have no idea what particular variety this one is. Now that I know it is a Fraxinus, I will have to go through some “keying” and try to figure out its particulars. Ash trees grow all over Europe and most of the United States and Canada, with different varieties being prominent in different areas.

In the photos below, I have highlighted the bark, the general growing habit, trunk shape and size and, due to lucky timing, both the leaves and the flowers of the tree, which is just now coming back into leaf after a short period of deciduous dormancy. Maybe someone more knowledge about trees than myself can help me identify it.

The tree has a few issues. It is multi-trunked, which I don’t think is normal for an Ash. It probably means it was damaged sometime in its youth. When taking photos I noticed that this large crotch is collecting a good amount of rain water and a huge colony of ants. I hope it isn’t causing rot, but I will need to contact my tree experts online and see what I might do to prevent any damage in the future.

I love how I always learn a it about my plants when doing these inventory posts. I had no idea that Ash was related to olives and lilacs. One of the few facts I knew about Ash was that it was the traditional wood for baseball bats here in the US Major Leagues.

 Emerald Ash Borer has been attacking Ash trees throughout the East Coast of the US and will probably spread across the continent eventually. There are a variety of treatments available.  Find out more about Emerald Ash Borer via Wikipedia.

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Photos of Ash (Fraxinus) of unknown variety with closeups of leaves flowers, growing habit, trunk and bark

More information on Ash (Fraxinux):

Previously on Garden Inventory:

Video: In the garden…Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage, California

“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.

I am out in the Palm Springs area on a project, any my sister took me to see the new Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage,CA. This was formerly the estate of publisher and former ambassador Walter and Leonore Annenberg.

The grounds now feature this new visitor center and beautiful gardens which act as the gateway to the tour of their home, a showpiece of modern architecture and host to American Presidents, foreign dignitaries and celebrities. The Center and Gardens are free to visit, while the tour of the home is $35 and available by appointment only.

sunnylands

Watch all the past “In the garden…” videos in this YouTube playlist.


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Photos: Sunnylands Center & Gardens, Rancho Mirage, CA

I am out in the Palm Springs area on a project, any my sister took me to see the new Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage,CA. This was formerly the estate of publisher and former ambassador Walter and Leonore Annenberg.

The grounds now feature this new visitor center and beautiful gardens which act as the gateway to the tour of their home, a showpiece of modern architecture and host to American Presidents, foreign dignitaries and celebrities. The Center and Gardens are free to visit, while the tour of the home is $35 and available by appointment only.

Sunnylands Center & Gardens, Rancho Mirage, CA - 05

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See the entire collection of photos from the Sunnylands Center & Gardens, Rancho Mirage, CA

Garden Alphabet: Magnolia x soulangeana (Saucer Magnolia/Tulip Tree)

Magnolia x soulangeana aka Tulip Tree or Saucer Magnolia is very popular here in the San Fernando Valley. I find myself passing these small trees almost everywhere I drive these days. Perhaps I am noticing them more, too, as this is the time of year when they call seem to bloom together. It is a one-a-year show, though, with the trees returning to leafy green for the majority of the year. Still, their dramatic flowering does make quite a statement each spring and makes the small tree very worth it.

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Magnolia × soulangeana (saucer magnolia) is a hybrid plant in the genus Magnolia and family Magnoliaceae. It is a deciduous tree with large, early-blooming flowers in various shades of white, pink, and purple. It is one of the most commonly used magnolias in horticulture, being widely planted in the British Isles, especially in the south of England; and in the United States, especially the east and west coasts.[2]– Wikipedia.org

More information on the Saucer Magnolia:

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Previously in Garden Alphabet:

 

Garden History: Wisteria blooms in Davis Garden (Locust Valley, New York), 1930

Garden History draws on “The Commons” a collection of historical photos from institutions from around the world. According to Flickr:

The Commons was launched on January 16 2008, when Flickr released our pilot project in partnership with The Library of Congress. Both Flickr and the Library were overwhelmed by the positive response to the project! Thank you!

The program has two main objectives:

  1. To increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and
  2. To provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge. (Then watch what happens when they do!)

Oh, if only my wisteria would bloom like this lovely specimen from 1930. I love how nicely it is maintained and pruned, too. Mine tends to twist and turn and ramble and flop.

We removed some tress along the south property line of the grade, so my wisteria should get a bit more sun this year. We’ll see what happens in coming years. It has only really bloomed once or twice in the 16 years we have lived here, though. That said, it is looks nice draped over our pergola.

Davis Garden [slide]

Davis Garden [slide]

Creator: Davis, John W., Mrs
       North Country Garden Club

Type: Projected media

Date: 1930

Topic: Spring
     Garden houses
     Espaliers
     Wisteria
     Columns
     Arches
     Walkways, flagstone
     Walls, brick
     Barrels
     Flowering trees

Local number: NY096001

Physical description: 1 slide: glass lantern, col.; 3 x 5 in

Place: Davis Garden (Locust Valley, New York)

Persistent URL:http://siris-archives.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?&profile=all&source=~!siarchives&uri=full=3100001~!183348~!0#focus

Repository:Archives of American Gardens

View more collections from the Smithsonian Institution.


Previously in Garden History:

Video: In the garden…February 13, 2013 – Potatoes, onions, wisteria and lemon

“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.

Visiting friends today, I found myself sitting beside her beautiful backyard Koi Pond with my iPhone. Of course, I had to take some footage to share with you. After a few minutes watching you realize why they are so prized. The fish lull you into a state of calm and meditation as you watch them swim in random patterns — their bright colors sparking in the sunshine.

Watch all the past “In the garden…” videos in this YouTube playlist.


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Garden Vocabulary: Petal

Garden Vocabulary Logo

This Garden Vocabulary series seeks to introduce and explain to you — and in many cases, myself — words and terms associated with gardening. Please let me know if  there are any terms you would like me to explore. You can leave your ideas in the comments section and we can learn together!

Petal

Petals are modified leaves that surround the reproductive parts of flowers. They are often brightly colored or unusually shaped to attract pollinators. Together, all of the petals of a flower are called a corolla. Petals are usually accompanied by another set of special leaves called sepals lying just beneath the corolla. When the petals and sepals of a flower look similar they are called tepals. Examples of plants in which the term tepal is appropriate include genera such as Aloe and Tulipa. Conversely, genera such as Rosa and Phaseolus have well-distinguished sepals and petals.

Read the entire article on Wikipedia, Petalhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petal

You would think that petals would be easily identified and understood, but plants are infinitely variable and sometimes what we see as petals are actually, botanically other structures. One that jumps to mind is the colorful “flowers” of bougainvillea with their striking red, pink or purple coloring. On this plant the large colorful structures are not the flower petals themselves but actually “bracts” surrounding the smaller and less impressive flower of the plant.

Petals are almost always designed to attract appropriate pollinators to the flowers and research has shown that bees and other insects actually see different colorations that the human eye — attracting them even more. While we find beauty in flower petals, they are important, productive structures to the plants themselves. The beauty is all in service of the main goal of propagation and continuation of the species.

Zinnia flower with multiple petals taken in family garden in Mascalucia, Sicily, Italy

More information on petals:

Previously on Garden Vocabulary:

Video: Container Garden Update 015 – Pot Placement

Keeping tree roots out of the containers and where the containers are situated in my garden.

ctg-015-thumb

Can’t see the video above? Watch “Container Vegetable Garden Update 015” on YouTube

Watch the “Container Vegetable Garden” Playlist for all related videos

More info on growing strawberries:

   

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Music: “Whiskey on the MIssissippi” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)  – Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Interesting Plant: Clematis “Fascination”

Mentioned during #gardenchat (1/14/2013)

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Interesting Plant: Clematis “Fascination”

Clematis fascination

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More information on Clematis “Fascination”:

   

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: