Six on Saturday: Roses for Momma

Actually, four of these ‘Six’ roses are ‘from’ rather than ‘for’ Momma. They came from my Mother’s rose garden. I never sent roses to my mother for Mothers’ Day, which is tomorrow, because she had more than I did. Besides, roses from a horticulturist would be rather mundane. Instead, I gave her rooted cuttings of all sorts of odds and ends, such as angels’ trumpet, pink jasmine, forsythia, flowering quince and a minute olive tree. Of course, only angels’ trumpet had yet to bloom. Red Souvine, ‘Roses for Momma’ composer, might have had something to say about that.

1. Double Delight is presently blooming quite abundantly at work. The yellow is normally more whitish. The pink is normally more reddish. We really have no idea what cultivar this is though.

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2. Amber Queen is also unidentifiable, and is also blooming remarkably well in the same small rose garden as Double Delight. I am impressed by how well they perform here, in a bit of shade.

3. Julia Childs resembles Amber Queen up close like this. It was a gift from Filoli. My mother volunteered there after retirement. Actually, a few items in my mother’s garden came from Filoli.

4. Apricot Candy might have been another gift from Filoli. The name is so appropriate for a garden in the Santa Clara Valley. I rather like the simplicity, although the flowers should be fluffier.

5. Heaven on Earth is one that I would not have selected. Yuck. Yet, my mother gave it a prominent situation, but never allowed me to add a most elegant John F. Kennedy rose to the garden!

6. Proud Land was one rose that I agreed on! There are three! They are the only remnants of the original roses that I planted within a few years of 1985. The flowers are typically more billowy.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Box Elder

Box elder is the ‘other’ maple.

No other maple is native to so much of North America as the common box elder, Acer negundo. Yet, because of innate structural deficiency and a general lack of pizazz, it is also one of the least popular. The smaller and more adaptable garden varieties are more often grown for their interestingly colorful foliage. ‘Flamingo’ starts out with pink, white and pale green foliage that turns richer green and white by summer. ‘Violaceum’ has smokey purplish new foliage that fades to rich green. ‘Auratum’ has yellowish foliage that fades to chartreuse green. Any stems that try to revert to a more natural shade of green should be removed before they dominate. Unlike other maples that have distinctively palmate leaves, box elder has compound leaves with three or more leaflets each.

Make Copies Of Favorite Plants

Honeysuckle can layer naturally, and will most certainly layer if a portion of stem is simply buried or weighed down under a rock.

Where they grow wild in riparian environments, box elders, willows and cottonwoods are not as clumsy as they seem to be. As the rivers and creeks that they live so close to erode the soil around them, they often become destabilized and fall. Yet, this is actually part of their plan. If their original roots remain somewhat intact, the limbs and trunks develop new roots where they touch the ground. Eventually, these rooted limbs and trunks develop into new and separate trees.

In home gardens, a similar technique known as ‘layering’ can be employed to propagate one or a few copies of many other plants. Many sprawling vines and ground covers, such as ivy, honeysuckle, blue rug juniper and trailing rosemary, are likely to develop roots where their stems touch the ground anyway. Rooted stems need only to be found, dug and separated as new plants. Shrubbier plants need a bit more help.

Azalea, rhododendron, camellia, holly and just about any plant that has low stems that can be bent downward into the soil can be propagated by layering. Redwood, elm and magnolia do not always have limbs that reach the ground, but any that do would be pleased to cooperate as well. In fact, there are only a few woody plants that do not develop roots by layering, such as some pines and most eucalypti.

A layered stem only needs to be partly buried to develop roots. The tip should protrude from the soil a few inches. A short stem may barely protrude above the soil. A layered stem of a plant that develops adventitious roots very efficiently can be as long as a few feet. A very flexible stem can easily be held down by the weight of the soil that it gets buried with. A more rigid stem may need to be held down with a rock.

Before getting buried, the stem should be cut about a third of the way through to promote development of roots. The cut should be made on the underside so that it stays open when bend downward and buried. A bit or rooting hormone powder applied to the open wound accelerates the process. It works almost like taking a cutting, but without completely separating the cutting from the parent plant right away.

Once buried, a layered stem should be watered regularly until it gets dug while dormant (or mostly dormant) the following winter. By that time, the rooted stem can be dug and pruned from the parent plant, and then planted where desired. Because it takes a few months for enough roots to develop, layering should be done in spring.

Pinnate Leaves

It is after 11:00 on Tuesday night and I am still working late to get my gardening column finished for tomorrow morning. I do not have time to find an article to recycle that conforms to the Horridculture meme for Wednesday. This must do.

Tony Tomeo

P80428K.JPGThat refers to the pattern of the veins in the leaves. Long before studying horticulture and botany at Cal Poly, my classmates and I learned a bit about horticulture within the contexts of studying ‘nature’. While in the sixth grade, we all went to camp for a week. One of the many projects we did during that time was collecting a few leaves to represent three different vein patterns, and mounting them under clear plastic on a cardboard plaque. The three different patters were, ‘pinnate’, ‘palmate’, and ‘parallel’. I do not remember if we all used the same leaves, but for my plaque, I got a blue gum eucalyptus leaf to represent pinnate veins. Palmate veins were represented by English ivy. Parallel veins were represented by English plantain.

These two blue gum trees are the same trees that provided the leaf with pinnate veins for my plaque. This is not…

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Black Locust

White black locust bloom seems oxymoronic.

The natural ranges of black locust, Robinia pseudoacacia, likely included only the Ozark Mountains, the Ouachita Mountains, and the Appalachian Mountains south of New York. Early American colonists planted it elsewhere before botanists documented its origins. It was notably used for firewood, durable lumber, erosion mitigation, and soil conditioning.

Modern cultivars are less useful for such applications, but are more appropriate for home gardens. Regardless of elegantly lofty form, delightfully finely textured foliage, and richly fragrant white bloom, the species is aggressively invasive and wickedly thorny. Cultivars can bloom pink or rosy pink, lack thorns, and develop more compact and shapely forms.

Bloom resembles that of wisteria, with many small flowers hanging in pendulous trusses. Deciduous foliage, which was absent through winter, appears in conjunction with bloom, but does not obscure it. Individual leaves are pinnately compound, with small leaflets on central rachises (stalks). Most modern cultivars will not get much more than forty feet tall, to make moderate shade.

Limb Failure Of Spontaneous Nature

Riparian trees notoriously shed limbs spontaneously.

Winter storms sometimes break limbs or topple trees. Such damage is no surprise during winter because that is when almost all windy weather happens here. Early storms during autumn might be more damaging because deciduous trees are less aerodynamic prior to defoliation. Nonetheless, falling trees and limb failure are typically associated with wind.

That is why spontaneous limb failure is such a surprise when it happens, typically during pleasantly mild or warm weather of spring or early summer. It is more likely without wind than with it. Humidity, although atypical here, is a contributing factor. Healthy trees within riparian situations or lawns are more susceptible than distressed trees in drier situations. 

Particular types of trees are more susceptible to spontaneous limb failure as well. Valley oak, coast live oak, sweetgum, carob, some pines and various eucalypti may shed limbs after an unusually rainy winter or an increase of irrigation. Riparian trees, such as willow, cottonwood, box elder and sycamore are notorious for shedding big limbs unexpectedly.

Spontaneous limb failure occurs if limbs are unable to support their own increasing foliar weight. Bloom can add significant weight too. Warmth promotes the vascular activity that increases foliar weight. Humidity and insufficient air circulation inhibit evapotranspiration (evaporation of foliar moisture), which typically compensates for increasing foliar weight.

As the terminology implies, spontaneous limb failure occurs suddenly, and often without warning. It is therefore potentially very dangerous. It is common among limbs that exhibit no prior structural deficiency. Even experienced and educated arborists who are familiar with vulnerable tree species can not identify and mitigate all potentially hazardous limbs. 

Arborists often suggest pruning to limit the weight of trees that are innately susceptible to spontaneous limb failure. However, limbs that are already sagging from their own weight are risky to engage. Most damage occurs in spring and early summer. Fruit trees that are too productive can succumb to the weight of fruit as it ripens through summer or autumn.

Steven Michael Ralls Memorial Tree Update

Felton League, which is my other blog about the Homeless Community of Felton in California, has been severely neglected since last summer, and will unfortunately continue to be neglected for quite a while until I am able to resume writing, which should coincide with the resumption of writing new articles for this blog here. This reblogged post from Felton League is the first new post I took the time to write for a very long time. It is shared here because it is somewhat relevant to horticulture.

Felton League

Steven Michael Ralls Memorial Tree – May 2, 2021

The Steven Michael Ralls Memorial Tree has done well since it was installed precisely a year ago, on the second of May of 2020, which was the third anniversary of the passing of Steven Michael Ralls.

Although it was installed after the primary rainy season, it enjoyed a few late rain showers prior to requiring supplemental irrigation through summer. It was occasionally given a bit of fertilizer to help it get established. Staking was not necessary.

The young tree may not seem to be much larger now than it was a year ago, but has undoubtedly dispersed roots sufficiently to survive without supplemental irrigation. It may receive a few more doses of fertilizer in conjunction with occasional supplemental irrigation, just to accelerate growth while it is still young and vulnerable, but should not get so much that it becomes reliant on…

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Foliage Is Not Always The Answer

This old article describes how horticulture can not fix everything.

Tony Tomeo

P80414KFoliar tapestries are impressive in the right situation. https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/foliar-tapestries/ They work as nicely on exterior walls as conventional tapestries or paintings might work on interior walls. However, they require much more maintenance!

Trendy green walls are overrated. Their only real advantage is that they are pretty. They are not a ‘real’ solution to anything. They may keep the interior of a small building a bit cooler, but no more than light colored paint or a shade structure would. They do not save water, and actually use more water than plants grown in the ground. All that water is likely to rot the walls behind, or the decking below. They do nothing for melting glaciers or saving the planet. In a few more years, when they are no longer trendy, they will be more junk in the landfills.

Most obtrusive exterior walls can be obscured or partly obscured with less demanding…

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Dingo

Since this article posted three years ago, I have been trying to grow copies of Schwedler maple from cutting, as well as grafting onto Norway maple seedlings. Supposedly, it is true to type from seed. I have known the tree since 1976, but have never seen a seedling grow from it. Nor would I trust such a seedling to be true to type.

Tony Tomeo

P80407KDogs and humans have been in a symbiotic relationship longer than history can document. Dogs naturally became more domesticated as humans did, and have been more or less selectively bred for a few thousand years.

Dingos are different. No one knows for certain how domesticated they were when they first came to Australia. They probably had been domesticated enough to come on boats with the first humans to migrate to Australia. After arriving in Australia, they became feral, although still symbiotically migrating with humans. They are now considered a native species of Australia.

Many species of plants have lived symbiotically with humans as well. As long as humans have been living with dogs, they have been domesticating and breeding plants. As plants were more extensively bred, they became more dependent on humans for their perpetuation. Some are so overly bred that they are sterile and unable to perpetuate without human…

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Six on Saturday: Weeds +

Working inside for most of the week has certain disadvantages, especially at this time of year. There is so much blooming that I do not go out to see. I did not get many pictures of camellias or flowering cherries while they bloomed, although some camellias continue to bloom sporadically. Some azaleas are also finished blooming. Rhododendrons are blooming nicely now, but I have not started getting pictures of them. Instead, I got pictures of a few weeds and their associates from just outside of where I work inside.

1. Broom! It is one of the most aggressively invasive exotic weeds of the Santa Cruz Mountains. No one knows if it is Scotch, Spanish or French. It is probably French, but we know it as Scotch.

2. Dandelion infests most lawns. It was probably imported for greens. I will not eat greens that grow in lawns where Rhody does what he goes outside to do. I should move some to the garden.

3. Periwinkle is a naturalized exotic species here, but is not so naturalized farther inland, or in urban areas where lacks space to migrate. I actually planted it where I lived while in high school.

4. Forget me not, as seen in the upper right corner of the previous picture, is naturalized in riparian situations, but is also too delightful to be perceived as a weed. How could anyone dislike it?

5. Pacific Coast iris is not actually a weed. It is not even exotic. This one is a hybrid of a few native species, and was planted intentionally. I would just prefer the ‘unimproved’ Iris douglasiana.

6. Rhody puts the ‘+’ in ‘Weeds +’, which is the title for this week. Perhaps this should have been the first of these six; but then no one would have bothered with the remaining five. Priorities.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/