Archive | 14 August 2012

Miniature (& Small) Hostas


CAROLYN'S SHADE GARDENS

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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'Holy Mouse Ears'‘Holy Mouse Ears’: the miniature hostas in the mouse ears series are my favorites.

I am in stage four of my relationship with hostas.  I have noticed that many of my customers go through these stages too.  Stage one was when I was a new gardener.  I discovered hostas and loved them because they are easy to grow and to divide to make more.  I had the green one, the…

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2012 Containers


Wisconsin Gardenlife

I decided to try using Spider Plant rootings as filler for some of my containers. Turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself. The reddish green Coleus came from cuttings from Mom’s garden in Florida. The others were purchased on sale at Walmart. Other trailing Coleus not pictured came from Stoney Creek in Minocqua.

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A Brief History of Floral Design, or, How Angiosperms Ended Up in Our Vases


The Stay-at-home Scientist

Floral design is an art form like any other. It takes into account a full range of artistic principles, where compositions are thought of in terms of balance, proportion, harmony, and even rhythm. Color, texture, lines and space are all aspects one can contemplate when viewing or creating an arrangement, and like all art, personal taste and school of thought determine its success.

Instead of starting our journey into floral design with the Europeans or the Japanese, we will begin with an interesting, and perhaps unexpected, cast of characters – the ancient “fern allies”. To meet them, we have to go back in time, back to before flowering plants even existed, to the Carboniferous period.

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The ‘Pixie Grape’, a dwarf Pinot Meunier


The Stay-at-home Scientist

A new, and interesting, addition to my container grape collection this year was a small one, the newly marketed Pixie Grape. The Pixie, a dwarf version of the Pinot meunier, is a creation of Dr. Peter Cousins that is now being marketed in Canada by Sunrise Greenhouses.

Since it only made its debut in March at Canada Blooms, and the little plants were primed to fruit this year, I can’t say with any certainty how well this grape will do overtime or even what hardiness zone it is. However, while the standard grapes I grow, Flame (zone 4) and Interlaken (zone 5), do well in large containers, they still need space and ample trellising that Pixie doesn’t require. It’s clearly fast fruiting, and, in a six inch pot, has produced a plant .5ft x .5ft x 1.5ft in size with several full bunches of small grapes.

Despite…

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‘Clean Air Plants’ or Sansevieria trifasciata in bloom


The Stay-at-home Scientist

Sansevieria trifasciata, otherwise known as the ‘snake plant’ or ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’, is a common ornamental plant, for a few very good reasons. Like all easy houseplants, it thrives on neglect. Low light and infrequent, irregular, waterings serve this plant well, which is great for those who want the tropical look, without the bright light and humidity to support it.  Many people who have grown Sansevieria for years have never seen it flower because they are ‘too good’ to it.  A rough repotting (or conversely, letting it get too root bound) is often enough to trick Sansevieria trifasciata into flowering (because if it thinks it might die, making offspring is a good idea), although once flowered, new leaves will not grow from that particular rhizome.  While the care is easy and the flowers beautiful, one of its main draws for me originally was its reputation as an “air cleaner”.

Most…

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