Archive for March, 2008
Saturday, March 22nd, 2008
GREATER YELLOW RATTLE
Don’t try out the seed in a border that has been dug over, because it will not develop there. The reason is that this annual plant parasitizes the roots of grasses. Try scattering some seed on a poor piece of grassland – not the lawn – in the natural garden. If the seed germinates, the plants will self-seed and return again year after year. You will then be able to collect some seed and pass it on to friends. You will find out why the species is called ‘rattle’ as you harvest them. The seeds make a clearly rattling sound when the dried fruits are touched.
Friday, March 21st, 2008
Whereas the normal globe amaranth, Gomphrena globosa, sometimes grows to a height of 20 in, and is popular for cutting and drying purposes, Gomphrena dispersa has a trailing habit. From a single point, the cylindrical shoots spread in every direction and eventually cover a square meter 103/4 sq ft of ground. From June, the cultivar Gomprena dispersa ‘Pink Pinheads’ bears V2-in wide flower heads in which the bracts provide the color. If you want to dry the flowers, they should be picked as soon as they are almost fully developed.
Thursday, March 20th, 2008
The Japanese are responsible for reviving interest in ornamental cabbages. At one time, they were used in single-colored flower-beds, but they went out of fashion. In Japan, however new cultivars have been developed, with green, pinkish red, deep red, or white leaves, which may or may not be curly. The colors are often combined, with the center having a distinctly different color from that of the encircling leaves.
Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
In areas with a mild climate like south-west England, Salvia patens is cultivated as a perennial (if protected in winter). In The Netherlands, however, we are obliged to treat this Mexican species differently. Its radical tubers may be dug up in the autumn and stored frost-free in peat dust in the same way as dahlia tubers. We may take cuttings in late summer and keep them in frost-free conditions, but it is also possible to cultivate the plants as annuals. In that case, they should be sown very early in spring. For most plant lovers, a third method is the most convenient one – buying new plants every spring. They are cultivated by professional nurserymen and sold mainly by patio plant specialists.
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
The dense foliage of the summer cypress closely resembles that of bamboo: it is long, grasslike, and has a striking shade of pale green. In the course of the summer, the plant assumes a low, columnar shape and grows to about 24 in in height. This kind of green plant with a distinctive shape may provide a restful break in a border. It is also possible to plant the summer cypresses in a row to provide a low-growing, annual hedge. The plants produce small flowers, but these are totally inconspicuous.