Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Plant Picks

Alliums All Season Long

Allium schubertii, Tumbleweed onion; Photo: Courtesy of Dutch Gardens

Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall.

Alliums are often overlooked as one of the best bulbs for constant color throughout the seasons. Part of the problem is their common name: ornamental onion, which conjures up images of supermarket onions in shades of lime green or red. Alliums actually come in oval, spherical, or globular flower shapes, blooming in magnificent colors atop tall stems.

Because good perennial-garden designs are often made up of contrasting shapes, alliums’ rounded blooms make them great components for interesting garden combinations (not to mention that deer generally avoid them—to escape onion breath). Pair them with spikes or other large-leaved perennials to hide any decaying foliage.

Allium spp. and cvs.

Hardiness: Alliums can be grown in Zones 3 to 9, depending upon the species and cultivar.

Alliums aren’t too picky: In most cases, alliums grow in average garden soil and need full sun and good drainage. The drainage is critical because so many of the bulbs are huge and will rot with too much moisture.

Aside from that, they are easy to grow and come back year after year with almost no maintenance. Occasionally, they need dividing after a few years, when you start to notice a decrease in flower production (usually this pertains to those with small bulbs). One of the best things about alliums is that most animals, especially deer, find the taste unappealing and won’t nibble on the leaves.

Plant them in fall: Alliums go in while leaves are falling. Average planting depth should be about three times the diameter of the bulb. I have planted alliums late in fall right up to Thanksgiving. Just be sure the ground hasn’t frozen yet so that the bulbs have time to take root.

Spring blooming...

Allium moly ‘Jeannine’, ‘Jeannine’ golden onion; Photo: David Cavagnaro

Allium karataviense, Turkestan onion; Photo: Bill Johnson

Summer blooming...

Allium cristophii, Stars of Persia; Photo: Michelle Gervais

Allium caeruleum, Blue globe onion; Photo: Steve Aitken

Fall blooming...

Drumstick allium, Allium sphaerocephalon, Drumstick allium; Photo: Michelle Gervais

Allium ‘Hair’, ‘Hair’ allium; Photo: Bill Johnson

Allium thunbergii ‘Ozawa’, ‘Ozawa’ Japanese onion; Photo: Jennifer Brown

from Fine Gardening 127, pp. 40-45

To view this article visit: http://tiny.cc/xdq35

Monday, September 20, 2010

Opening Reception of The 13th Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibition

On Tuesday, the week of September 12-18 was officially proclaimed Botanical Art Week in New York City by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On Wednesday evening, the official proclamation was on view at the opening reception for The 13th Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibition. In addition to our show, botanical art exhibitions opened at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (on Tuesday) and the New York Botanical Garden (on Thursday).

At The Hort, we had a packed house for the reception with many of the 39 artists in attendance, some coming from as far as Japan and Australia. Each year this exhibition is presented in partnership with the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA). This year’s show was selected from a field of over 200 submissions, by jurors Francesca Anderson, Carol E. Hamilton, Dick Rauh and Jessica Tcherepnine. The forty-one works are by artists from the US, Australia, Canada, France, Japan and the United Kingdom. The paintings reflect the international nature of the exhibition, featuring a variety of exotic plants from around the world, including Floss Silk Tree, Red Angel's Trumpet, Orchid Tree and New Zealand's "Woolyhead".

Karen Kluglein, who has two paintings featured in the exhibition, won the Best in Show award for her white-on-white painting of a Franklinia flower. Martha Kemp won the ASBA Award for her drawing of walnuts on vellum. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Award for Drawings and Prints went to Andrea Wilson for her copperplate etching of Oconee Bells. Other award-winners include Carol Woodin’s Slipper Orchid (NY Central Award); Noriko Fujii’s Parrot Tulip (Ursus Award); and John Pastorizo-Pinol’s Sea Urchin Hakea Pods (Talas Award). Kathy Folino and Heeyoung Kim received Honorable Mentions for their Lichens and Cardinal Flower (respectively).

The exhibition will be on view at The Hort through November 24. In conjunction with the show, we will be offering three botanical art classes in the gallery. Come see the art and learn how to paint your own! For more information, please visit hsny.org