Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Plant Picks

The plants in this section will be featured for their success rate, beauty, hardiness, fragrance and pest resistance. Make sure to check in from time to time and see what exciting plants and information awaits you!

Amsonia hubrichtii
Blue Star
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Native Range: South-central U.S.
Height: 2 to 3 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: April - May
Bloom Color: Powdery blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Average
Maintenance: Low

The bluestar, sometimes called Arkansas bluestar or Arkansas amsonia, was discovered in 1940 growing wild in the Ouachita Mountains in central Arkansas by Leslie Hubricht, the plant's namesake. The bluestar is very similar in appearance to the Missouri native Amsonia ciliata, except that the leaves of A. hubrichtii are narrow, thread-like and very soft to the touch.

Amsonia is an erect, clump-forming plant with feathery green summer foliage and bright, golden fall color. Powdery blue star-like flowers appear from late spring to early summer. It may look a little haggard when young, but will soon grow into a dense mass. Too much shade may make this plant become leggy and flop.

Amsonia will thrive in most gardens with little care. It is easy to grow in sun to partial shade and average, well-drained soil. Plus it is deer resistant!

Cutting back the stems to about 6 inches after flowering will help keep the stems upright and result in a nice dense mound of foliage.

Best used in borders, rock gardens, native plant gardens or open woodlands. Most effective when planted in masses.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A 'Pre'Historic Maneuver

The Brooklyn Botanical Garden has relocated a 120 ton Ginkgo biloba tree to start construction on their new Visitor's Center. The new building will be located on the Washiongton Avenue entrance and takes up the space that was formerly the Herb Garden, which is being redesigned along Flatbush Avenue.

The following pictures show the undertaking in process. The massive tree was balled and burlapped, strengthened with steel pipes and prepared to be 'dragged' approxiamately 75 feet to its new home.

Photos courtesy of Dodo Loechle

Thursday, November 13, 2008

HSNY 15th Annual Fall Luncheon

The Horticultural Society of New York held its 15th Annual Fall Luncheon at The Metropolitan Club with guest speaker Carolyne Roehm. Carolyne worked as a designer for Oscar de la Renta before launching her own fashion house, Carolyne Roehm Inc. Since then, Carolyne has written eight books on subjects ranging from floral design, table tops, food, gardening, interiors, gift wrapping and party planning. This fall she will release her ninth book, A Passion for Blue and White.

CeCe Black, Carolyne Roehm, and Chris Giftos
CeCe Black, Carolyne Roehm, and Chris Giftos

Mrs. Charles A. Dana, Jr. was presented the HSNY award of excellence in honor of her outstanding contributions to horticulture and conservation. Norma Dana is the co-founder of then Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, an Honorary Trustee of The Wildlife Conservation Society and a member of the New Canaan Nature Center Advisory Board.

Norma is a long-time supporter of the HSNY.

Norma Dana accepting HSNY award of excellence
Norma Dana accepting HSNY award of excellence

Green Team speaker Jeffrey Barrow
Green Team speaker Jeffrey Barrow

Shelia Stephenson and Suzette de Marigny Smith
Shelia Stephenson and Suzette de Marigny Smith

Betty Scholtz, Tony Smith, and Faity Tuttle

Chris Giftos and Dominique Buaron

Wendy Keys and HSNY Chairman of the Board Bobbie Margolis

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Montauk daisies

I have a large group of Long Island Daisies. The stems are very leggy and thick and the daisies are now about 4 feet tall and falling over. There are no leaves on the lower part of the stems. Can I trim these back and have them survive? The leaves are about 3 feet off the ground. How far back can I cut them and at what time of year?
They never bloom until October or November. They have been this way since they were given to me about 6 years ago.

Your Montauk daisies or Nipponanthemum nipponicums, will respond well to a hard pruning. Their habit is to grow very leggy and without that pruning they will flop over. Leave them up over the winter and in early spring trim them back to 6 inches high.
Don’t be afraid to prune them, they will be fine!

You can also contain their growth during the season by pinching back new buds or growth. This will make them bushy instead of leggy.

Another good thing to do is to divide your ‘daisies’ about every 3 years (also in early spring) or they will become massive.

Nipponanthemum normally bloom around October and will continue until a frost occurs

I hope this helps you!

Hibiscus care and maintenance

My 3 year old hibiscus tree only got two flowers this year and they bloomed in October. All summer I had it outside in CT and it had beautiful green leaves but no flowers.

Last year it flowered a lot in August. I brought it in for the winter and kept it near a northern window where it lost its leaves but grew them back before the spring.

I now have it in the same window but am not sure what to do with it so that it will bloom in the summer next year.

I appreciate any advice. Diane

Hibiscus lutea braided

Some tips on care for your hibiscus…

Hibiscus are tropical plants that must have at least a couple of hours of direct sunlight everyday, and more importantly warmth. A bright south or west facing window is the best. In the winter be careful your plant does not get a draft, this can cause it to drop its leaves.

This plant likes water but does not like to be wet. A tip that may help you is to water the plant with slightly warm water in the winter.

It is also a good practice to prune your hibiscus around August to October. Prune 2 or 3 nodes (the point where leaves and buds arise from) down the branches, this will encourage fuller growth and more budding.

Lastly, it is a good idea to feed your hibiscus during the growing season. Growing in a container, a plant will quickly use up its resources. This will help new growth and bud formation. A standard fertilizer containing nitrogen(N), phosphorus(P) and potassium(K) will be fine. Nitrogen helps a plant develop healthy, green foliage, while potassium will encourage good root development and improved flowering and potassium helps a plant build up storage for a dormant period.

I hope this helps, keep us updated.