Epiphyllum Surprise

These pictures remind me of how well these bloomed three years ago. The plants did not seem to be big enough to generate such big flowers.

Tony Tomeo

80808Epiphyllum oxypetalum was my very first epiphyllum. A friend’s mother gave me three long cuttings, which were cut in half to make six cuttings. They grew like weeds, and I was quite pleased with them. At the time, they were the only epiphyllum that I wanted. The wide nocturnal flowers are strikingly pure white and nicely fragrant, and stay open late into the morning if the weather is right. Since white is my favorite color, I craved no more.

Then I got bits of another epiphyllum from one of my clients. I do not know if it really is a species of epiphyllum, but it grows just like one, with the exception of the bloom. Rather than only a few huge nocturnal flowers, it blooms with many smaller pink flowers that remain open all day. It lacks fragrance. It is not as impressive as Epiphyllum oxypetalum, but it is…

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Trona

If I had purchased a cabin near here as I had considered prior to this recycled article, it either could have become worth considerably more than I would have paid for it (because such cabins are now a rare commodity), or it could have been destroyed.

Tony Tomeo

P90706KTrona is not as obscure as it seems. I would have needed to zoom in a bit more for it to appear on ‘Google Maps’, but it is there, just to the northwest of what seems to be a big crater of some sort in the middle, right where the map is labeled ‘Searles Valley’. You might have seen Trona before, from more flattering, or at least more realistic perspectives, in movies such as ‘Star Trek V’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ (2001), ‘Land of the Lost’ and ‘Holes’.

Earlier this morning, I posted an old brief article from March 21, 2018, Na2CO3•NaHCO3•2H2O. It was about some of what I find to be appealing, or at least compelling about Trona. Please excuse the euphemisms, such as ‘flattering’ for ‘realistic’, and ‘appealing’ for ‘compelling’. I happen to be rather fond of Trona, even though I have never been there before. I…

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Beech

Due to an inability to locate some of my old articles from nine years ago, I will recycle articles such as this, which already posted to this blog four years ago, through June and at least part of July.

Tony Tomeo

70628Compared to crape myrtle, sycamore (London plane) and many other more popular trees, the beech, Fagus sylvatica, is much less problematic, and really deserves more respect. Although it can eventually get almost as big as sycamore, it has remarkably complaisant roots. It is neatly deciduous, defoliating only in autumn, without noticeable floral mess. Disease and pests are rare.

Beech is probably unpopular with landscapers because new trees are a bit more demanding than other tree specie are. (Landscapers prefer easier trees.) Until they disperse their roots, they are more likely to desiccate if they do not get watered regularly enough, and more likely to rot if watered too much. They grow somewhat slowly, so need to be pruned more carefully for a high canopy.

Those of us who tend our own gardens do not mind the extra effort for such a distinctive tree. The handsome foliage can be rich…

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Good Roots Are Seldom Seen

Due to an inability to locate some of my old articles from nine years ago, I will recycle articles such as this, which already posted to this blog four years ago, through June and at least part of July.

Tony Tomeo

70628thumbWhen a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? Of course it does! There is just no one to hear it. Why should that be such a profound question? A falling tree makes a mess too. Anyone who does not see or hear it in action can witness it afterward. Sometimes, roots that were inadequate to support the fallen tree become exposed as well.

There is certainly nothing unnatural about trees falling in forests. Otherwise, forests would be too crowded for new trees or anything else to inhabit. The roots of fallen trees might have been adequate for many decades or centuries, but eventually succumbed to decay and the weight of the canopies they supported and sustained. Trees falling in home gardens are completely different.

Domestic trees (in home gardens) are likely to land on homes, cars, other…

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Horridculture – Tree Removal Permits

Recycling these old articles reminds of issues that I should forget.

Tony Tomeo

P90703There are mixed emotions about tree removal permits that so many municipalities need to issue in order for a ‘heritage’ tree to be cut down legally. Most of us want to believe that in America, we have certain rights to do what we want to on the properties that we own. Obviously, that makes the most sense. However, if it were that simple, many more prominent trees that are collective assets to the larger communities would be removed.
As an arborist who writes the reports needed to procure these permits, I see it both ways. There are many trees that are worth preserving for the Community, and there are probably many more that must be removed for the safety of those who live around them.
I sometimes hear of common homeowners who get fined for removing a tree without a permit, just because they were not aware that it was…

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Boom! Zap! Wow! Bam! Zing!

It certainly is gratifying to see guests returning.

Tony Tomeo

P90630P90630+P90630++P90630+++P90630++++Batman and Robin were here!
. . . well, not quite. It is decoration for summer camp. We never know what we will find in the landscapes that we maintain here. Those who work at camp arrive before guests, so that they can get ready, and of course, to decorate. Guests only started to arrive two weeks ago. It makes our work more interesting, as we try to work around the traffic and events, but it is SO gratifying to see so many guests enjoy the facilities that we maintain!
Those who work at camp enjoy being here too. It is obvious in all the work they put into preparation. It gets pretty wild and colorful, as I was reminded when I found what had been done in a grove of coast live oak just outside of one of the main auditoriums. Last year, I pruned and groomed the trees…

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Beehive

This almost conforms to the ‘Horridculture’ meme on Wednesday.

Tony Tomeo

P90629KKIncandescent light bulbs were the standard form of electric lighting for more than a century after their invention. It took a while for fluorescent and halogen lamps to become popular; and by the time they did, high intensity discharge (HID) lamps had already become available. Nowadays, light emitting diode (LED) lamps seem to be replacing all sorts of electric lighting.
For a brief time in the late 1980s, high intensity lamps that were being used for large scale applications and street lamps became a fad for exterior household lighting. They worked nicely for driveways, so many of us believed that they would work just as nicely for night lighting of home gardens and patios.
By that time, most of us had realized that the sickly yellowish glare of the sodium vapor type of high intensity lamps that were so common as street lamps was not at all appealing around the…

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Mandevilla

Due to an inability to locate some of my old articles from nine years ago, I will recycle articles such as this, which already posted to this blog four years ago, through June and at least part of July.

Tony Tomeo

70621Pink, red or white are the only choices. There happens to be a darker shade of red. Yellow throats are more conspicuous in white flowers. Otherwise, there is not much variation of color amongst the various mandevillas. The flowers are very similar in both color and form to those of related oleander, but are larger. Some are as wide as three inches. Small flowers can have pointed petals.

Mandevilla vines are surprisingly vigorous and sneaky. The lower portion of a mature plant may seem to be rather tame while it extends aggressively twining vines into trees above. Vines on small trellises can get congested on top. Pruning upper growth helps to even out growth and bloom. Exposed vines are likely to get killed back by frost in winter, but should regenerate efficiently.

The evergreen foliage is quite glossy. Some varieties have interestingly rippled leaves. Partial shade is best for rich…

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Catalog Shopping Has Certain Limits

Due to an inability to locate some of my old articles from nine years ago, I will recycle articles such as this, which already posted to this blog four years ago, through June and at least part of July.

Tony Tomeo

70621thumbThe temptation is unbearable. The catalog of Adelman Peony Gardens, either in print or at www.peonyparadise.com, shows how spectacular peony blossoms can be. There are one hundred and seventy-eight exquisite pictures of the cultivars available for mail order on online purchase. The only problem, and it is a big one, is that peonies are recommended for USDA Zones 2 through 8.

So maybe some of us in Zone 9 might conveniently neglect to read that part of the catalog. Maybe some of us believe that since peonies can not read that part of the catalog, they might not mind getting cheated out of the winter chill they need for good dormancy. Somehow, many of us are able to grow peonies where they have no business growing. Perhaps we should keep that a secret.

So many more plants are available online and by mail order than can be found in…

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Horridculture – Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Gads! I loathe fads!

Tony Tomeo

P90626The easier name is ‘dawn redwood’. I just used the big and fancy Latin name because that is how landscape designers with something to prove say it. If the big name does not impress clients, an explanation of how rare it is, and that it is one of only a few deciduous conifers, will likely do the job. Even back when it was still a fad, I got the impression that was its main function; to impress clients.
It is not even a particularly practical tree. If it gets too big for its situation, it is difficult to contain without disfiguring the canopy. Because the priorities for most were conformity to a fad and to dazzle a client, not much thought went into their appropriateness to their respective landscapes. Consequently, many went into landscapes that were not big enough for them.
Although deciduous, dawn redwood does not even get good…

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