Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Suckers


Most roses and citrus you buy or already are growing in your yard are grafted. Grafting into a different rootstock makes the plant hardier. But you have to watch for suckers. That is a part of the rootstock that grows from below the graft. It's usually right out of the ground or on the trunk low to the soil. If you know you plants well, you'll notice when something looks different. On a rose it is usually Dr. Huey rootstock which is a once (Spring) blooming magenta semi-double climber. You'll see spindly growth with smaller leaves that grow fast and usually get taller than your named/purchased/desirable rose. On a Citrus, it's thick branches with super wicked thorns. On both species it is important to remove those suckers either by cutting or breaking. If you do not, the rootstock may become so vigorous that the grafted part of the plant will die.

Get to know your plants. Happy Autumn!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What's Blooming


Just wanted to share what I'm taking for show & tell to tonights SoCal Horticulture meeting. In a cool retro container I got from the late Grace Seward are: Gomphrena "Fireworks" that has been blooming all summer, an Orange Gomphrena, Coral Vine Antigonon leptopus (that I posted about recently) and Hypoestes aristata.

My roses look kinda crappy because of so much heat. But these other flowering plants look great! I love always having something in bloom!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Orchid Surgery


Every so often I get a call to divide Cymbidium Orchids. I'm no orchid expert. But Cymbidiums are usually fairly easy. They do like to be crowded. But when they get so much dead growth and are climbing out of their pot, it's time to divide. You can make more plants to keep or give away.

I pull the plant out of the pot and rip it apart! This one was so big and root bound that I needed to use my shovel to slice the middle of the roots. Then I butterflied it, open,  ripped out the dead stuff and made one plant into three.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vinca

I've been noticing all the beautiful Vincas or Periwinkle growing around here lately. They like our summer heat.   

Research says that they are native to Europe, NW Africa and SW Asia.  The purple ones in the photo look a lot like Impatiens. But the leaf tells you it's a Vinca.  Vinca and Periwinkle are both common names for the Catharanthus plant which is usually a summer annual.  





I haven't planted them for myself nor at any job in about 18 years!  They used to get this fungus or something where about 25% of them would die pretty quickly.   I couldn't afford to replace so many plants at a job. So I just stopped planting them.  I stuck to Marigolds, Salvia, and Zinnias for summer color.  













But I've heard that there are some new varieties of Vinca that are resistant to that die off.  Some as you see in the photo still die. 




 Vincas used to come in just purple and white.  But I love that peachy color with the dark eye and that cherry red color with the white eye.  I think I'm going to try them next Spring.  How do you do with Vinca? 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Coral Vine

Vines sure can grow like crazy!  I guess that is what they are meant to do in their natural habitat or in the jungle!  This is Coral Vine or Antigonon leptopus.  Say An-TIG-O-non  Lep-TO-pus(easy as Latin names sound like they look).  It is native to Mexico and is listed as an invasive exotic species in Florida. I can imagine it taking over there.   I love the flowers.



Research says it is evergreen.  But I know it to look crappy in winter so it gets cut back hard.  I had one at our old rental house in Arcadia in a whiskey barrel and would let it climb up a Eucalyptus tree.  But the whole thing was too big to fit in our large(the largest) moving truck.  So, I left it with my neighbor.   Then I hunted nurseries here in Burbank(only 23 miles away) for 2 years unsuccessfully.  I finally mail ordered a tiny 4" pot of it.  I wasn't sure where to plant it, just knew that I needed it :-)  So I planted it on the birch teepee in the front yard on which I also have a climbing rose called Bouquet Parfait.



You can barely see the teepee.  There are 3 legs.  







 The first year it grew about 4 feet and still got cut back in winter. This year it is almost smothering the rose.  It grew so big that I tied a rope from the teepee to the house roof to give it somewhere to go.  It DID!  It has reached the roof about 15 feet away!  My Rick is not too happy about it reaching the roof.  I was worried a little. But I will dig it up and plant it elsewhere in a few months.  But I am enjoying it's flowers and crazy growth now :-)  




















Saturday, August 30, 2014

Night Blooming Jasmine

Night Blooming Jasmine is native to Asia and the West Indies.  It grows up to 13' tall, takes sun to part shade and is frost tender. Here in SoCal it might get frost burn in winter(if we have a frost) and look crappy but almost always recovers.  It is a fast grower.  Mine is 2 years old but I've been pruning it to make it bushy. 

























Hot August Nights are great for Night Blooming Jasmine which is not even actually a Jasmine but Cestrum nocturnum. But not so much for me.  It has been so hot that we have kept  the AC on until almost bedtime.  That means that I can't open the windows to enjoy the intense fragrance of the one Night Blooming Jasmine plant under our kitchen window.  And we live too close to the freeway to leave our windows open at night.  So I would be happy if the weather would cool down at about 6:00 or 7:00PM please.  Can you do something about that?  Thanks :-)





Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunflower Heads

Sunflower head by Aprille

This is one of my Sunflowers that was 10' tall! After the yellow petals drop, the head begins to turn downward. Research says you must wait to cut it to obtain the seeds until the back is brown. If you don't wait the seeds will not loosen easily. IT IS TAKING FOREVER! I'm waiting. I just hope the birds don't get them before I do.

Sunflower leaf by Aprille


I have seen finches eating the leaves. Weird, right? They sit on the tops of the leaves and just eat what's up towards the sun. Those leaves are like 10" across. So 3/4 of them turn downwards. Birds can have the leaves but not the seeds. Are you growing sunflowers?