May 16, 2019 Plant Tags, Growing Zones, Luigi Fenaroli, Charles Theodore Mohr, University of Winnipeg, Sara Teasdale, May, Wild at Home, Hilton Carter, Fall Blooms, the Kentucky State Flower, and Goldenrod
Do you know what to look for on a plant tag?
The first significant thing I look at is the growing zone. Often the plant tag will give a range for the growing region like 5-9 or 3-7. This is why knowing your growing zone is key. If you don't know, you just need to ask someone at the garden center -they should know what growing zone you are in.
Now, as an experienced gardener, let me tell you what happens to me a few times every summer.
I see a plant at my garden center. I fall in love with it. I look at the tag, and whaddya know - it's not for my zone.
So, I put it back. If it's not for my zone, it will not be able to handle the winter temperatures here.
I really don't like it when garden centers pass these plants off to unsuspecting gardeners.
We've all done this - bought a plant that won't survive over winter because we forgot to check the tag.
Sometimes, when I do catch a plant that is being sold that is not for my zone, I channel my inner gingerbread man - "ha ha ha- you can't catch me!"
So know your zone... and check those plant tags for growing zones.
#OTD It's the birthday of Luigi Fenaroli born today in 1899.
Fenaroli Is known for his book Flora of the Alps and Other Mountains, as well as his work on chestnut varieties.
#OTD On this day in 1901, The botanist Charles Theodore Mohr wrote a letter expressing his relief at completing his major work – a book called Plant Life of Alabama.
"With the completion of this life work, a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel free to take on other tasks. As long as there is work, I will go to Tuscaloosa to the Herbarium which I helped start 20 years ago. Completing my work on the herbarium is my botanical goal for the remainder of my life."
Mohr wrote those words two months before his death.
At the time his book was published, he was seventy-seven years old.
Mohr spent decades gathering the information and plant specimens for his work. He was a trained pharmacist and one of Alabama's first botanists.
Born in Germany and educated in Stuttgart, Mohr traveled the world before settling in Alabama. He collected in Surinam, emigrated to the United States in 1848, took part in the California gold rush, lived briefly Mexico, Indiana, and Kentucky.
In 1857 he started Chas. Mohr & Son Pharmacists and Chemists in Mobile, Alabama. His personal herbarium specimens were donated to the University of Alabama Herbarium (15,000 specimens) and the United States National Herbarium (18,000 specimens). There are many plants named in Mohr's honor.
#OTD If you're in Winnipeg today between 11:30 and 12:30, you should head down to the University of Winnipeg and grab yourself some free seedlings as part of the 4th annual biology department plant giveaway.
The fruiting and flowering plants have been cared for and grown by students in the biology department.
Some of the plants you can expect to find at the giveaway:
Here's a poem called May from the lyrical poet, Sara Teasdale
"The wind is tossing the lilacs,
The new leaves laugh in the sun,
And the petals fall on the orchard wall,
But for me, the spring is done.
Beneath the apple blossoms
I go a wintry way,
For love that smiled in April
Is false to me in May."
Today's book recommendation: Wild at Home: How to style and care for beautiful plants by Hilton Carter
Make your home a healthier and more beautiful place to be with Hilton Carter’s inspirational ideas.
"Hilton Carter's love for plants is infectious... His lush and exuberant displays are inspiring reminders that plants can be so much more than neat little containers on a window sill."
Carter is a plant stylist.
Take a tour through Hilton’s own apartment and other lush spaces, filled with a huge array of thriving plants, and learn all you need to know to create your own urban jungle. As the owner of over 200 plants, Hilton feels strongly about the role of plants in one’s home—not just for the beauty they add, but for health benefits as well: ‘having plants in your home not only adds life but changes the airflow throughout.
It’s also a key design element when styling your place.
"For me, it wasn’t about just having greenery, but having the right variety of greenery. I like to see the different textures of foliage all grouped together. You take a fiddle leaf fig and sandwich it between a birds of paradise and a monstera and…. yes!’
You will be armed with the know-how you need to care for your plants, where to place them, how to propagate, how to find the right pot, and much more, and most importantly, how to arrange them so that they look their best. Combine sizes and leaf shapes to stunning effect, grow your own succulents from leaf cuttings, create your own air plant display, and more.
Currently, Hilton has over 300 plants in his home and studio, creating what many would call an urban jungle.
Today's Garden Chore: Plant some fall bloomers in the back of your border.
Think Asters, sedums, sunflowers, zinnias, and so forth. Fall bloomers can be tall and leggy.
They often benefit from growing up through a cage or being staked. If you place them at the back of the garden, the shorter plants in the front can help support it and hide the late-bloomer, and it's supported until it is ready to shine.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
#OTD It's the anniversary of The Floral Emblem selection for the state of Kentucky; they selected the Goldenrod in 1926.
It had been the Bluegrass, but Kentucky gardening clubs felt it wasn't representative of the whole state.
Alabama and Nebraska also picked the native goldenrod to be the State Flower.
Goldenrod has a lot of haters; many people confuse it for ragweed. I hate even to say that - because I think that makes people think they must look similar. That's just not true. Yet, once you see them individually - you could never confuse them. Ragweed’s flowers are green and not eye-catching, while goldenrods are golden and very pretty.
I saw an infographic a few years ago that said, "Goldenrod Warning: if I'm here, so is ragweed. Stay indoors! Achoo!" This would be the same as saying, The Black-eyed-Susans are blooming. So is ragweed. The Joe Pye Weed is blooming. So is ragweed. So are all the late summer bloomers - echinacea, Helenium, oriental lily, asters, balloon flowers, sedums, tickseed, autumn crocus, Japanese anemones, blue mist shrub, hydrangeas. The list goes on and on.
The genus name Solidago is taken from the Latin "in solidum ago vulnera" and meaning to "I make wounds whole." Native Americans and Herbalists recognize the curative power of goldenrod.
It's an early autumn bloomer goldenrod is an important food source for honey bees, and it is a fantastic cut flower.
Botanical painter Anne Ophelia Todd Dowden who painted the goldenrod with minute detail said,
"Abundant it may be, but repugnant it is not."
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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