18 Sep

Beautiful Winter Flowering Shrub: Hamamelis, the Witch Hazel

The name of the lovely plant in pictures is Hamamelis. It is commonly known as Witch Hazel.

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel / Image by Steven Severinghaus

Hamamelis

Hamamelis / Image by Dietmut Teijgeman-Hansen

Hamamelis or Witch Hazel is a deciduous shrub that sometimes grows into a small tree. The plant is characterized by twiggy branches, fall colors, and unusual flowers.

Witch Hazel produces alternatively arranged leaves that change their colors from green to yellow, orange and red through spring, summer and winter. After the plant has shed all its leaves, flowers of spicy fragrance and multiple shades adorn its branches – a perfect shrub for winter gardens. The flowers of Witch Hazel are unique in their shape as they produce long crumpled and ribbon like petals along brown sepals. Flowers of Witch Hazel are usually yellow, pink, scarlet or orange.

Witch Hazel can be grown from cuttings however it is a bit difficult to root cuttings. Commercially it is propagated by grafting on Hamamelis virginiana. An established plant required slightly moist but well-drained soil in a partially shaded spot.

Popular cultivars include:

H. × intermedia ‘Diane’, H. × intermedia ‘Jelena’ and H. × intermedia ‘Pallida’.

17 Sep

Lapageria rosea, the Chilean Bellflower

Lapageria rosea is an evergreen perennial vine known for its beautiful and unusual flowers. Commonly known as Chilean bellflower, Lapageria rosea can be grown as a beautiful climber in shady and slightly humid parts of the garden. This lovely vine is characterized by dark-green waxy leaves that grow alternatively along wiry stem.

Lapageria rosea, Chilean bellflower

Lapageria rosea / Image by Eric Hunt

Lapageria rosea is a slow-growing plant. When grown from seed, the plant can take 2 to 3 years to establish itself. Mature plants can grow long twinning stems that grow up to 10 meters. Lapageria rosea belongs to mountain range of the southern Chile where it enjoys rich soil and moderate winters. In cultivation, Lapageria rosea should be provided with a rich soil in a shady and slightly humid spot where it is protected from strong winds, frost and long spells of cold. Water generously when soil is dry.

Summer is the best time for Lapageria rosea, this is the time when it starts producing beautiful pendular flowers that keep appearing on the plan till autumn. The colors of flowers can range from pink to red and orange. A number of new cultivars provide a wider range of colors. These include: Collinge (white flared with red), Nube Blanca (pure white) and Sangre de Toro (intense red).

Chilean bellflower can be propagated from cuttings, layering and fresh seeds.

09 Sep

Garden Dispatch # 2

The Garden Dispatch is a weekly compilation of useful and interesting resources for gardeners and landscape designers.

3 Practical Tips for Fall Pruning

Fall is around the corner and it is time to prune your shrubs and trees for the next season. Though not all plants require regular or seasonal pruning, but it is advisable to prune your plants, whenever required, to keep them in desired size and shape. So here are 3 practical tips for fall pruning by Jim Lounsbery.

Special Merit Plant: Impatiens hawkeri

Commonly known as New Guinea impatience, Impatiens hawkeri is a lovely annual that grows up to 4 feet serves as a nice border plant. Also suitable for flower beds,  Impatiens hawkeri produces flowers of many hues ranging from pink, coral, orange, salmon, red, lilac, lavender and white. See more information on growing Impatiens hawkeri in your garden.

Impatiens hawkeri

Impatiens hawkeri / Image by Tom Potterfield

Free Smart Phone App: Garden Insects Guide

The Garden Insect Guide is a free smartphone app for gardeners. Available for iPhone/ iPad and Android phones, this free smartphone app serves as a quick reference when you are in the field – hunting for nasty bugs. You can use this smartphone app to identify good as well as bad bugs and get information about getting rid of bad bugs.

Garden Insects Guide

The application has three guided sections:

  • Identify common pests: This section helps you identify bugs by the kind of threat that they pose to your plants.
  • Spot insect friends: This section introduces friendly bugs that keep the bad bugs away.
  • Keep pests away: This section provides detailed information on getting rid of infesting bugs and preventing their attack in future.

How to Grow Roses

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. So true! You will hardly meet a gardener who is not a fan of roses. They are attractive, sweet, colorful and regal. If you are new to growing roses, this comprehensive guide on growing roses could be handy.

How to grow rose

Growing Vegetable in a Window Garden

Growing your own grub can be an existing and satisfactory experience. Fortunately, you do not have to have a large piece of land to grow your own vegetable (unless you are trying to grow pumpkins :D ). You can utilize small spaces such as windowsills to grow herbs and vegetables. Follow this link to find step-by-step guide on  utilizing your windowsill to grow your own vegetables.

Windowsill garden

 

28 Aug

Sedum repestre ‘Angelina’: Stonecrop

Sedum repestre ‘Angelina’, commonly known as Stonecrop, is a low-growing and mat-forming plant for garden borders and rock gardens. The plant grows up to 4 inches tall but spreads across 2 feet thus making a nice ground cover.

Sedum repestre ‘Angelina’ is characterized by golden-yellow foliage and star-shaped summer flowers. It is propagated by cuttings and divisions.

Sedum repestre ‘Angelina’ is not fussy about growing conditions and thrives well in a well-drained soil under full or partial sun. As a hardy and drought-tolerant plant, Sedum repestre ‘Angelina’ can be used to fill empty garden spaces in garden. When grown in containers, it grows as a nice accent plant with cascading habits.

27 Aug

9 Lovely Plants for Beautiful Indoor Foliage

Indoor plants are a great way to freshen up your house. They add softer and natural touch to your home interior. However, selecting the right indoor plants for your home interior is a bit difficult especially when you do not have a green thumb. This post lists some lovely indoor plants that produce beautiful foliage and can be grown in most indoor conditions.

Ficus lyrata / Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

The first plant in the list is Ficus lyrata or Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. I would highly recommend this plant if you are looking for a fresh, bold and a modern look to your home interior. With its prominent and lush green leaves, Ficus lyrata makes a nice foliage plant. Ficus lyrata likes a well-lit spot (preferably near a window) and slightly moist soil. It is not a demanding plant.

Ficus lyrata has a vigorous root systems therefore it should be repotted annually in a bigger pot size until the plant reaches the desired size. Larger plants should be provided with a fresh layer of top soil every year.

Sansevieria trifasciata / Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata or Snake Plant is known for its unusual and beautiful foliage. The plant produces succulent upright leaves with beautiful shades of green, white and sometimes yellow variegation.  Sansevieria trifasciata makes a nice indoor accent plant. It requires bright sunlight and moderate watering in a well-drained soil. The plant can be propagated easily from division.

Philodendron

Philodendrons are widely grown for their beautiful foliage. Easily grown indoors, most species of Philodendrons produce large and lush green foliage that creates a dramatic effect in a home interior. Most Philodendrons require moderate light and slightly moist soil.

Crassula

Though not common, Crassulas are nice foliage plants to grow indoors. They offer a large variety of color, size and texture. Most Crassulas form small clumps of rosette-forming plants. They are suitable for growing in an indoor dish garden. Like other succulent plants, Crassulas are hardy plants that love indirect light and slightly moist conditions in a well-drained soil.

Ficus elastica / Rubber Plant

Commonly known as  rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant, or Indian rubber bush, Ficus elastica is a popular houseplant. This hardy plant can be grown in almost any indoor condition. For best results, provide your Rubber Plant with bright light and water only when the soil is slightly dry.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia / Zanzibar Gem

Zamioculcas zamiifolia are not usually seen in indoor settings but this lovely plant makes an excellent indoor plant because of its attractive foliage. Commonly known as Zanzibar Gem, Zamioculcas zamiifolia is an easy plant to grow and maintain for indoor foliage. In fact, it can easily sustain a little neglect. For best foliage, provide your plant with bright light and ample water. Water only when the soil is dry.

Pachira aquatica / Malabar Chestnut

Pachira aquatica is another plant to try, if you are looking for something unusual. This lovely plant produces nice foliage and does not require regular repotting. Pachira aquatica loves ample sunlight and sufficient water. When growing it indoor, make sure that you keep the soil moist and remove dead leaves regularly.

Yucca elephantipes / Stick Yucca

Yucca elephantipes or Stick Yucca is one of my favorite plants to grow in indoor settings. This hardy plant produces striking foliage and does not require special attention. It is a slow growing plant and will grow happily in its pot for many years.

Aloe vera

It is rather unusual to see this plant growing indoors, but you cannot beat this plant for its ability to adapt to almost any indoor conditions. Aloe vera produces fresh and succulent leaves. This lovely plant grows nicely in compact corners, and requires only occasional watering and bright sunlight.