Clive is blooming! Again!
The flower started to open about 7:00 pm on Saturday, June 20th with the spathe unfurling to reveal a beautiful maroon colour inside. After watching the bud grow taller and swell expectantly for over a month, the opening was a bit of a surprise because it happened so fast. Looking at the live webcam at first didn’t seem like it could be happening. But it was true. Clive, one of the largest Titan Arums at the Floral Showhouse was blooming again. Arriving at the Floral Showhouse would first reveal an olfactory assault – more confirmation that Clive was indeed blooming. And second, there was visual proof!
Titan Arum Clive as the spathe is unfurling on opening night.
Clive in full bloom on Sunday, June 21, 2015
It was 2012 when Clive bloomed last. The final height at blooming today was recorded at 84 inches (2.13 m). And yes, the Corpse Flower name really does apply to this flower. As Clive opened, the putrid smell of decaying flesh got more intense – especially when climbing a ladder to get a top down photo!
Wayne Hoeschle, Titan Arum curator cross pollinating Clive on opening night.
The female flowers can be seen through a cut out window of the Titan Arum bloom at Niagara Parks. Male pollen from McMaster’s Titan Arum that bloomed June 3, 2015 was used to cross pollinate the flower this morning in the hopes the Clive will produce seed.
The plant, Amorphophallus titanum, called the Titan Arum or Corpse Plant, is one of six dormant corms donated to Niagara Parks by Louis Ricciardiello of Gilford, New Hampshire, in December 2011. Titan Arum specimen #1, nicknamed “Morph,” bloomed for the first time at Niagara Parks on May 4th, 2012. At blooming the flower was an incredible height of 244 cm (96 inches). After the Titan Arums bloom, they go dormant for months, and then send up a huge leaf that measures 6 m (20 feet) tall. That leaf soaks up the sun for a year or more and, with the copious amounts of water and fertilizer, puts nutrients back into the underground corm to hopefully return it to blooming size. A blooming size corm weighs an impressive 80 kg (175 lbs) and is about 70 cm (27 inches) in diameter.
For the latest news on the Titan Arum bloom visit the Niagara Parks Facebook Page or the Niagara Parks Blog.
Take a look at the Titan Arum live webcam on the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse website for the latest flower view.
The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh
Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) provides nectar and food for many pollinators, moths, butterflies and aphids in the sustainable landscape.
Creating and looking at landscapes in a sustainable way is coming to the forefront much the same way that organic foods, farmers’ markets and eating locally sourced foods have gained traction with the general public over the last ten years. Albeit, the idea of sustainable landscapes has a long way to go before it is has any degree of acceptance like the previously mentioned buzzwords in the minds of today’s consumers. Chiefly to be accepted, the idea of sustainable landscapes needs to have a common definition and a broad enough scope that it can be applied to many different types of gardens on a wide range of scales from home garden to municipal parks. Sustainable landscapes, if they are thought of in a “do no harm, repair previous harm” way, can be created by most (if not all) gardeners. This expansion of the definition in a broader and more encompassing way makes sustainable landscaping approachable for many more gardeners (who hopefully will become staunch supporters of the idea).
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has stepped up and created a definition of sustainable landscaping that is broad and encompassing, and makes sense. On their website they say, “Sustainable landscapes are responsive to the environment, re-generative, and can actively contribute to the development of healthy communities. Sustainable landscapes sequester carbon, clean the air and water, increase energy efficiency, restore habitats, and create value through significant economic, social and, environmental benefits.” Nothing in this ASLA definition of sustainable landscapes precludes even the smallest garden.
With that definition, many gardeners can now champion the idea that sustainable landscapes are regenerative, restore healthy communities, and create value. But how do we evaluate sustainable landscapes, certify that it is being done, and reward those who are doing it? This is where the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) comes in. This program was developed by the United States Botanic Garden, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the ASLA. The SITES definition of a sustainable site includes the following: “Like green buildings, sustainable sites use less energy, water and natural resources; generate less waste; and minimize the impact on land compared to conventional design, construction and maintenance techniques. Yet unlike buildings, sustainable sites can give back by cleaning air and water, sequestering carbon, reducing pollution, restoring habitat and biodiversity – all while providing significant social and economic benefits to the immediate site and surrounding region.”
Certified Sustainable Landscapes
As of December, 2014, 34 landscape projects have been SITES certified with a rating of one to four stars, based on their sustainable features and practices. A four-star rating was granted to Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL), in Pittsburgh, PA.
A 4,000 square foot lagoon holds stormwater and uses plants to filter the runoff at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh
Marsh plants provide a habitat for wildlife and act as filters for the stormwater runoff at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes
The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh is the first four star (top rated) SITES certified project.
Chamaecrista fasciculata (Partridge Pea), planted in masses at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, is an annual legume native to eastern United States. It is a good cover to prevent erosion, produces nectar for bees and adds nitrogen to the soil.
The Center for Sustainable Landscapes is the first and so far the only project to receive the program’s highest level – a four-star SITES certification for the building and landscape that surrounds it. The 3-acre site was formerly a paved, city public works maintenance yard with low concentrations of hazardous waste in the soil. Challenges on the site included brownfield damaged soils, a steep bluff with erosion issues, and previous dumping areas for construction waste and urban fill. The site now manages sanitary waste, has a LEED Platinum certified green building, has reintroduced 150 native plant species, and has net-zero energy and water use. A 4,000 square foot storm water lagoon, surrounded by a boardwalk, is the focal point of the landscape design and can accommodate up to 3.3 inches of rain in twenty-four hours. Rain gardens, a green roof, and compost tea use have been incorporated in the landscape.
Looking down from the rooftop garden at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh at the stormwater lagoon and terraced landscape.
Challenges that were overcome at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes site included brownfield damaged soils, a steep bluff with erosion issues, and previous dumping areas for construction waste and urban fill.
The achievements at this site, open for public visitation at the Phipps Conservatory, are impressive. They are generating all of their own energy, treating and reusing all water captured on site, just use rainwater for irrigation, have installed permeable paving, have a wetland water treatment system, have Net Zero Energy Building Certification, LEED Platinum Certification, WELL Platinum Pilot Certification (a protocol for measuring human wellness in a building).
The green roof gardens conserve energy, slow rainwater and attract wildlife. Planting beds on the roof of the building have 8″ of soil depth to allow for optimum plant growth.
The roof of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes houses an energy recovery unit (background) and garden. The green roof retains 85% of the annual rainfall.
Phipps Conservatory and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes are open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm daily (later hours on Fridays). The Conservatory is surrounded by Schenley Park and near the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Museums and the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Phipps Conservatory, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (412) 622-6914 (phone).
Gardening for the Birds
Nothing helps relieve that “cabin fever” feeling during a long winter better than gazing out the window and watching birds play tag at the feeder or feeding on savory seeds plucked straight from your shrubs. Making your property more bird-friendly can attract and keep birds longer and create a pleasing landscape for you to enjoy too. For birds to make their winter residence in your garden, they need to have the basics: food, shelter and water. Shelter is easily managed with a few evergreen or conifers to provide protection from winter winds, ice and snow. Providing food and water is decidedly more challenging for birds when temperatures drop below freezing and the snow starts to pile up. Designing a garden to be bird-friendly during the winter months is no more difficult than designing an attractive year-round garden that contains persistent berries and seeds.
A bird-friendly garden
Continue reading … Bird-Friendly Winter Gardens
Update on May 28th.
Morph is blooming! The flower started to open about 9:00 pm on May 27th with the spathe unfurling to reveal a beautiful maroon colour inside. By the next morning, the full glory of the spathe could be seen.
The Titan Arum in full bloom at 8:00 am on May 28th, 2014 at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse.
The final height at blooming was recorded at 96 inches (2.4 m). And yes, the Corpse Flower name really does apply to this flower. As Morph opened, the putrid smell of decaying flesh got more intense – especially when climbing a ladder to get a top down photo!
The female flowers can be seen through a cut out window of the Titan Arum bloom at Niagara Parks. Male pollen from Ohio State’s Titan Arum was used to cross pollinate the flower this morning in the hopes the
Continue reading … Titan Arum, the World’s Tallest Flower Blooming at Niagara Parks
The Hydrangea Show at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse
In May the floral show is all pinks, blues, purple and white in the Floral Showhouse during the Hydrangea Show.
The Hydrangea Show at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse features hydrangeas (naturally), delphiniums, foxgloves and fuchsia. A beautiful combination of calming pinks, blues and white blooms.
The Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse is just south of the Falls on the Niagara Parkway, in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada. More details are at the Niagara Parks website.
Easter and Spring are centre stage in the Floral Showhouse at Niagara Parks!
More than just plants, birds and turtles … chicks (and bunnies) too!
The Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse is just south of the Falls on the Niagara Parkway, in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada. More details are at the Niagara Parks website.
The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm: A Cultivator’s Guide to Small-Scale Organic Herb Production By Peg Schafer
The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm is the first cultivation guide of its kind and presents information for growers interested in producing high-quality efficacious herb in all climates, with the historical connectedness of ancient practitioners. It is becoming increasingly important that we transition to local and domestic medicinal cultivation and author Peg Schafer, a longtime grower and teacher has put together this manual of valuable information about the propagation, cultivation and harvesting of 79 Chinese medicinal herbs. Peg Schafer is recognized as one of the pioneers and leaders in the field of the cultivation of Asian herbs. Now eating your medicine is more accessible than ever.
Cultivating “Wild-Quality” Herbs
It’s an intern day at the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm, and Peg Schafer is sitting down just long enough to
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The Launch of a New Garden Hardiness Zone Map
Are more gardeners developing a fixation for hardiness zones and comparing notes across the back garden fence? The recent launch of an updated plant hardiness zone map probably is causing more people to ponder the fine print on the plant label looking for the height, spread and hardiness zone details. Why the fixation with hardiness zones? Plant hardiness zones are valuable pieces of information that can save gardeners from lots of grief.
Not infallible, hardiness zones are far from 100% accurate though. There are restrictions in the types of data that are being used to create hardiness zones and most often these are just average minimum temperature weather records. It should be noted that plant hardiness involves so many more factors. Whether a plant survives the winter may be because it is growing in a microclimate right in your garden.
Continue reading … Break Out of Your Hardiness Zone
Monet’s Passion: Ideas, Inspiration & Insights from the Painter’s Garden By Elizabeth Murray
Monet designed this gracefully arched wooden bridge—a prominent feature of the water garden—to span a narrow part of his pond. The 18-foot structure was inspired by one of his Japanese woodblock prints. In 1911, following the devastation of major storms and flooding, he repaired and enlarged his water garden, adding the iron arbor. He planted the white Chinese wisteria on the lower handrails and the long lavender Japanese wisteria on the arbor; when in bloom, they create a canopy of lace. The reflections of the bridge are magnificent in the pond below.
Excerpt from Chapter One The Garden Monet Created “This is where Claude Monet lives, in this never-ending feast for the eyes. It is just the environment one would have imagined for this extraordinary poet of tender light
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The View from Great Dixter; Christopher Lloyd’s Garden Legacy Fergus Garrett, long faithful Great Dixter gardener, writes in the Preface: This book is centered around one incredible man and his way of life. Christopher Lloyd was born and lived most of his life at Great Dixter. He was an extraordinary character, a kind, generous, intelligent man who loved people but at the same time didn’t suffer fools gladly. His garden has remained a place of pilgrimage for adventurous gardeners throughout the world and his spirit and style lives on here and in his writing. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest garden writers and gardeners of all time and his influence is immense. His words in print remain his legacy and his influence is immense. His words in print remain his legacy and his influence burns bright in all of us he breathed life into. He changed our lives and
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The Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture Celebrates 75 Years
Celebrating 75 years in 2011, the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture Lecture Hall and Administration Building
There have been a lot of weeds pulled, roses deadheaded, vegetables harvested and grass mown during seventy-five years of training horticulture students. But every so often, it’s time to take off the secateurs, put on walking shoes, and take a stroll to really delight in the beauty of a very special garden. The garden – the home of the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture.
Hundreds of plants skillfully arranged in containers greet visitors at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture during the summer to celebrate their 75th anniversary in 2011.
This school, unique in Canada sits on 100-acres (40 hectares) along the Niagara Parkway in Niagara Falls, Ontario and has been the living, teaching campus for more than
Continue reading … 75 Years of Horticultural Excellence in Niagara Falls
Succulent Container Gardens By Debra Lee Baldwin With their colorful leaves, sculptural shapes, and simple care, succulents are beautiful yet forgiving plants for pots. If grown in containers, these dry-climate jewels — which include but are not limited to cacti — can be brought indoors in winter and so can thrive anywhere in the world.
In this inspiring compendium, the popular author of Designing with Succulents provides everything beginners and experienced gardeners need to know to create stunning container displays of exceptionally waterwise plants. The extensive palette includes delicate sedums, frilly echeverias, cascading senecios, edgy agaves, and fat-trunked beaucarneas, to name just a few. Easy-to-follow, expert tips explain soil mixes, overwintering, propagation, and more.
Define your individual style as you effectively combine patterns, colors, textures, and forms. Discover how top designers interpret the dramatic options, in ideas ranging from exquisite plant-and-pot combinations to extraordinary topiaries and bonsai. Expand
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The Conscientious Gardener: Cultivating a Garden Ethic By Sarah Hayden Reichard
“I believe that a garden ethic reflects the conscientiousness of those who care for land by nurturing gardens,” author Sarah Hayden Reichard writes in the Introduction to this book. She continues, “Gardeners revel in the beauty of a flower, the wonders of pollination turning that flower into a lovely or delicious fruit, the snap of a fresh pea pod picked from the vine and eaten on the spot. They are connected to their plot by a love of the living. But the garden ethic also arises from an increasing awareness that, over time, practices and products have crept into our craft that decrease its long-term sustainability. As we have moved from an agrarian society to one based in urban and suburban landscapes, we have lost contact with habits common to our ancestors—such as using naturally decomposing materials rather than
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Texas Peach Handbook By Jim Kamas and Larry Stein An up-to-date guide for commercial and residential Texas peach growers . . . With an estimated one million trees producing almost fifty million pounds of fruit per year, Texas is a leading producer of peaches, and several popular seasonal festivals highlight the widespread enjoyment of and interest in this delicious, versatile fruit. In addition, a recent rise of interest in edible gardens and home fruit production has led more people to think about planting a peach tree in the yard — or paying closer attention to the one they already have. Jim Kamas and Larry Stein, drawing from their many years of experience and the best current research, provide authoritative advice for those who want to improve peach production, whether in a large commercial orchard or on a single tree in the back yard. With discussions ranging from site selection to
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Heirloom Bulbs for Today By Chris Wiesinger and Cherie Foster Colburn For those tired of high-maintenance and short-lived plants, Chris Wiesinger, “The Bulb Hunter” shares his knowledge of versatile, sustainable, and low-maintenance bulbs. Heirloom Bulbs for Today introduces the best of the bulb world, addressing common questions and explaining the characteristics, history and ways to use each bulb, whether in the landscape or the home. Chris teams with landscape designer and award winning author Cherie Foster Colburn (Our Shadow Garden) to offer an innovative look at old-fashioned flower bulbs. While most garden guides simply tell the culture of the plant, Heirloom Bulbs for Today also tells the culture of the people who grew the plant, unearthing each bulb’s past and those who loved it.
Gorgeous botanical illustrations and vivid photographs by South African artists Loela Barry and Johan Kritzinger add rich flavor to featured bulbs found flowering with abandon
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Heirloom Gardening in the South: Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens By William C. Welch & Greg Grant
A new edition of the classic work, The Southern Heirloom Garden adds 300 more pages of valuable information about heirloom plants belong in Southern gardens. Tough and adapted, tried and true, pretty and useful, these living antiques – passed through countless generations – represent the foundation of traditional gardens as we know them today.
Heirloom Gardening in the South is a comprehensive resource that also offers a captivating, personal encounter with two dedicated and passionate gardeners whose love of heritage gardening infuses the work from beginning to end. Anyone who wants to know how to find and grow time-honored and pass-along plants or wants to create and nurture a traditional garden is sure to find this a must-have addition to their home gardening library.
A book excerpt: A Garden in the Wilderness,
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Slow Gardening: A No-Stress Philosophy for all Senses and Seasons By Felder Rushing
Thanks to the resurgence of home and community gardening, more and more people are discovering the pleasure of biting into a sun-ripened tomato picked right off the vine, the earthy smell of freshly turned soil, and the cheerful harbingers of spring such as daffodils, irises, and pansies. But they are also discovering that gardening can be a heck of a lot of work. So what happens when keeping up with the weeds turns into a full-time job? What do you do when gardening becomes stressful? Slow Gardening to the rescue! Inspired by Slow Food, an international movement that promotes local food systems and biological and cultural diversity, the slow-gardening approach can help us all appreciate and enjoy our gardens more, year in and year out.
Doing something slowly means savoring what you do. However, in just
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HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden
After arriving at the Exhibition Hall, the main entrance to the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden leads visitors to the Lotus Pond.
Just off Highway 36 southeast of Bangkok, on the way from Chon Buri to Rayong is a quiet sanctuary of botanical treasures. The HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden is wedge-shaped property with 20,000 herbal plants grouped into 20 sections by their use. Many of the plants represented on the 24 acres are those used in traditional Thai herbal knowledge. The gardens are designed using an array of meandering walks that gracefully unfold section after section in a pleasing voyage of discovery.
The main entrance to the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden.
One of many interesting plants in the herb garden, Pagoda Flower (Clerodendrum paniculatum var. paniculata)
This garden was the first herb-themed
Continue reading … HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden in Rayong
The Texas Tomato Lover’s Handbook By William D. Adams A garden-grown tomato sliced and laid across a grilled hamburger … Sweet, plump cherry tomatoes in a crisp, green salad … Sauce made from fresh tomatoes, ladled over a steaming bowl of pasta … Spicy tomato salsa … Savory tomato soup … Mmm, can’t you just taste those luscious tomatoes?
Is there any single vegetable as mouth-watering as the tomato? And yet, as thousands of people tired of mushy, half-green, and tasteless tomatoes bought from supermarkets have discovered, much more is involved in growing your own than simply putting a plant or two in the ground and expecting to harvest juicy, red tomatoes a few weeks later – especially in Texas!
Bill Adams, former Harris County Extension Agent draws on more than thirty years’ experience to provide a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Growing good tomatoes requires
Continue reading … The Texas Tomato Lover’s Handbook
Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden entrance, in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, Thailand
In a beautiful location nestled in the foothills of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Mae Rim in Chiang Mai province, in the northeast part of Thailand, Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden is a relative youngster among botanic gardens, having been established in 1993, but the 1,000 hectares has been planned well and shows good diversity even in its teenage years. Thais are proud of this garden, the first one in the country of international standard.
Loading the tram at the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden entrance
The tram ride from the front gate to the greenhouse complex was a delight (it also saved us an hour uphill walk) as we snaked up the hillside past ornamental gardens, paved walking trails and native woodlands.
The greenhouse complex at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden
The glasshouse complex has 12 houses,
Continue reading … Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden in Chiang Mai