fresh wreaths at birch
fresh wreaths at birch
October. A quote from Kevin Dalton.
Physalis alkekengi (Chinese Lantern)
This unusual plant is a member of the potato family, Solanaceae (which also includes tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants). “Physalis” is from the Greek “a bladder,” a reference to the inflated calyx (sepals of the flower). The flower pods, or lanterns, contain a berry where the seeds are located. Because it spreads by colony-forming rhizomes, it is considered invasive in many parts of the country. Here in Georgia (specifically Zone 7B) it is most commonly used as a fall annual for autumn planters because it combines beautifully with all the colors of fall. Use caution if setting Physalis out into the landscape in a planter, as its roots can easily escape and take hold in the yard.
To dry the lanterns for winter floral arrangements, simply cut the stems off at ground level when the lanterns reach their peak color and remove the leaves. Hang them right side up to dry in a dark, protected location with good air circulation.
Growing Physalis is similar to growing tomatoes, which may explain its sudden popularity in garden centers. Started from seed, the plants will grow in much the same way as tomatoes, with the fruit (lanterns) maturing mid to late summer, along with late-summer garden tomatoes.
This plant is best grown as an outdoor ornamental, because the immature fruits are considered poisonous to children and pets. For information about toxicity, refer to: Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.
To keep these plants in spectacular form through the Thanksgiving weekend, they are fed a diet of organic compost tea, from Authentic Haven Brand.
Autumn garden quotes: Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
It’s October, and if you’ve noticed something sweet in the air, it just might be this beautiful fall-blooming shrub: Osmanthus fragrans var. aurantiacus, the Tea Olive (or Sweet Olive).
The dense branches are massed with orange blossoms that have a citrus, peach-like fragrance, so place this near a deck or patio where it will be noticed. Tea Olives work well as a screen or hedge, and take to pruning well. With large dark green leaves, the Tea Olive will reach a height of 10-12 feet (and more) without pruning, depending on location. This particular variety is more cold hardy than the species, tolerating temperatures down to the single digits (Clemson Univ. Coop. Ext.). Tolerating a wide range of horticultural conditions, Tea Olives grow well in full sun to medium shade (with a slightly more open shape in shadier locations). Deer will not bother Tea Olives.
"Osmanthus" is from the Greek word osma, meaning “fragrant,” and anthos meaning flower. Tea Olives are natives of the Himalayas, China, and Japan. The flowers are used in Asian dishes, tea, and wine (Kew Royal Botanic Gardens).
Here in Georgia, the Sweet Olive was selected as a 2009 Georgia Gold Medal Plant selection. (The white blooming variety is the more common of the species, Osmanthus fragrans.)
Graphics by Natalia Cancer, a graduate of Fine Arts in Lodz, the project is an interpretation of the story “Giants” (“Wielkoludy”), at the Institute of Chemistry, University of Bialystok, Poland, 2010. Her works can be seen in Warsaw, Turku, and other cities in France, Austria and the U.S.
It’s the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, Charlie Brown!
Every autumn I start working on projects for my clients’ porches and fireplace mantles. It’s become a tradition … this selecting and staging of “Pumpkins on Porches.” Nature’s bounty holds no bounds. Using all the colors that autumn has to offer (chrysanthemums, euphorbia, ornamental peppers, and other fall foliage-lovelies), it’s even more fun to tuck in the little extras: hand-blown glass pumpkins for example, by the artist, Barbara Sanderson.
Planted now, these container gardens will last through Thanksgiving, blooming and booming through the changing of the seasons.
The garden according to Shaw. #gardenchat
Group of Cacti. The Illustrated Dictionary of Gardening, A Practical and Scientific Encyclopedia of Horticulture for Gardeners and Botanists (1884), Vol I, edited by George Nicholson. Assisted by Professor J. W. H. Trail and J. Garrett.