Noted: The Bountiful Buttonbush via Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens

The Bountiful Buttonbush via  Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens

Buttonbush, (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Buttonbush, (Cephalanthus occidentalis), is a native shrub that gets high marks for its usefulness to wildlife. It’s also a personal favorite because, well, it’s just plain so amusing! And what could be better than a plant that’s useful and entertaining at the same time?

Just look at that crazy flower! How many different connections does it bring to your mind? Here are some of its other common names: honeyballs, spanish pincushion, globeflowers, little snowball – and that’s before we even get into sputnik space and beyond.

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Interesting Plant: Caladium bicolor ‘White Queen’

Caladium bicolor ‘White Queen’

Wow! This nearly whit caladium just knocks you back when you see it. I can easily imagine this as a focal point among a shady, green garden. It would attract everyone’s eye, I am sure. 

Caladium white queen 

Discovered via Tumblr User, Rita Thomas

 A tuberous-rooted perennial most often grown as an annual or a houseplant, ‘White Queen’ has large frosted-looking white leaves that have green margins and bright red veins that “bleed”. A great plant for full shade, it can also be grown in sun if provided with consistently moist soil. Greenish-white flower spathes appear in spring and are followed by white berries, but the foliage is the main show. Its arrow-shaped leaves light up a dark spot and work well as bedding or in containers. It can also be grown as a houseplant and tubers can be overwintered indoors.

Noteworthy Characteristics: Large white leaves with green margins and prominent red veining. Contact with the plant may cause skin irritation and stomach upset if ingested.

Care: In the garden, grow in moist but well-drained soil that is rich in humus and slightly acidic, in partial to full shade. If soil hasn’t warmed up yet, start tubers indoors. Lift for winter. As a houseplant, grow in a soilless mix in bright filtered light and high humidity.

Propagation: Divide in spring and dust cut tubers with fungicide.
Problems: Tuber rot, Southern blight, leaf spot, root-knot nematodes. Aphids and spider mites can bother plants indoors. — Fine Gardening

More information on Caladium: 
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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

“Drawing is seeing in your garden” from A Gardener’s Notebook

Drawing is seeing

“Drawing is seeing in your garden.

An ancient artist once said that you never really see anything unless you draw or paint it. The attention required in developing a representation of something requires us to regard it as never before. We alternately jump from the concrete to the abstract as we draw petal and leaf, root and branch. These mental leaps can lead us to a deeper understanding of whatever we are drawing.”

From A Gardener’s Notebook by Douglas E. Welch

Buy or Download a sample of From A Gardener’s Notebook via

From A Gardener’s Notebook by Douglas E. Welch

Previously from A Gardener’s Notebook:

Noted: A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers via Mashable

A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers via Mashable

Flower photos

Summer’s here and flowers are blooming everywhere — it’s time to go outside, grab your camera and capture the beauty surrounding us. For those who aren’t experienced photographers, it’s just as important to understand how time of day, lighting and depth of field affect your photographs as is finding the right kind of equipment.

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Subscribed 50: Gardenista

Originally published as part of the Subscribed series on Careers in New Media


Sourcebook for cultivated living


I only recently subscribed to Gardenista, after seeing some of their articles in other blogs and sites. I have especially loved their “Garden Visit” series which takes you lovely photographic tours of gardens all over the world — most of which I have never heard of before.

The site also posts writing on food, garden DIY projects, design and more.

Subscribe to Gardenista

What are some of your favorite Subscriptions? Share them here in the comments!

Previously highlighted on Subscribed:

Subscribed is a Careers in New Media series  highlighting the Podcasts, YouTube Channels and Blogs that I follow on a daily basis. Check out this entry, and past entries, for some great New Media Content — Douglas

Garden Alphabet: Aspen


I took this photo years ago high atop Snow Bowl in the San Francisco Peaks just north of Flagstaff. A friend of ours, who lives in Sedona, took us to one of his favorite places admits the forest to just sit, talk and have lunch. I loved the screening effect of the trees — nothing but ferns and white tree trunks as far as you could see. I have to go elsewhere to see Aspens as they don’t grow here in the heat of Southern California, but I have seen then near Park City, Utah and, I believe somewhere in Northern California.


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Aspen is a common name for certain tree species; some, but not all, are classified by botanists in the section Populus, of the poplar genus.[1]

These species are called aspens:

The aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains. They are all medium-sized deciduous trees reaching 15–30 m (49–98 ft) tall.

All of the aspens typically grow in large clonal colonies, derived from a single seedling, and spread by means of root suckers; new stems in the colony may appear at up to 30–40 m (98–131 ft) from the parent tree. Each individual tree can live for 40–150 years above ground, but the root system of the colony is long-lived. In some cases, this is for thousands of years, sending up new trunks as the older trunks die off above ground. For this reason, it is considered to be an indicator of ancient woodlands. One such colony in Utah, given the nickname of “Pando”, is estimated to be 80,000 years old,[2] making it possibly the oldest living colony of aspens. Some aspen colonies become very large with time, spreading about 1 m (3.3 ft) per year, eventually covering many hectares. They are able to survive forest fires, because the roots are below the heat of the fire, with new sprouts growing after the fire burns out.

Aspens do not thrive in the shade, and it is difficult for seedlings to grow in an already mature aspen stand. Fire indirectly benefits aspen trees, since it allows the saplings to flourish in open sunlight in the burned landscape. Lately, aspens have an increased popularity in forestry, mostly because of their fast growth rate and ability to regenerate from sprouts, making the reforestation after harvesting much cheaper, since no planting or sowing is required.

In contrast with many trees, aspen bark is base-rich,[clarification needed] meaning aspens are important hosts for bryophytes[3] and act as food plants for the larvae of butterfly (Lepidoptera) species—see List of Lepidoptera that feed on poplars.

Young aspen bark is an important seasonal forage for the European hare and other animals in early spring. Aspen is also a tree of choice of the European beaver. — Wikipedia

More information on Helianthus (sunflower):

* A portion of each sales directly supports A Gardener’s Notebook
** These books and others may be available in your local library. Check it out!
Previously in Garden Alphabet:

Noted: The enigma of (Fredrick Law) Olmsted via Garden Rant

The enigma of (Fredrick Law) Olmsted via Garden Rant


Home tomorrow night? You can catch the newest documentary on Frederick Law Olmsted on PBS. Entitled Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America, this is a basic overview of the seminal landscape architect’s career, starting with Central Park and ending with his final projects in Massachusetts and North Carolina.

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Noted: Make Your Own Tranquil Garden Fountain via Houzz

Make Your Own Tranquil Garden Fountain

Contemporary Landscape by Walnut Creek Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Huettl Landscape Architecture

Versailles. The White House. The Taj Mahal. Each has an outdoor space with one thing in common: a water feature.

The sound of running water instantly brings a sense of relaxation to any setting. And while most of us don’t have palatial spaces (or unlimited budgets) to work with, you can achieve the same effect with a simple DIY project. mediterranean landscape by Exteriors By Chad Robert Exteriors By Chad RobertSaveEmail A DIY water feature brings a spa-like tranquility to an outdoor space.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts. 

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Garden Decor: Copper Fence Cap Pyramid from Two Thirty-Five Design

Copper Fence Cap Pyramid from Two Thirty-Five Design

This immediately caught my eye, although now I don’t remember which site I first discovered it on. The author shows it being used as an indoors design element, but I think it would be great in any contemporary garden. It would weather nicely, giving you that lovely verdigris copper color as it aged. I, too, love using piece from the home store to create interesting garden decor (and home decor) pieces and have a few additional ideas for how to use these fence components.

Copper pyramid

More copper garden decor from
* a portion of each Amazon sales goes directly to support A Gardener’s Notebook
** some of these books may be available at your local library. Check it out!
Previously in Garden Decor:

Video: In the garden…June 17, 2014: Soaker hose repairs, failed water timers and container update

Agn artwork

Finally back in the garden after some busy weeks. Soaker hoses need repair and a check in on the containers.

** Watch the video “Repairing a damaged soaker hose” mentioned in this video.

Itg 20140617

Check out what was happening in the garden a year ago: “In the garden…June 22, 2013”

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.