What better way to spend a Saturday with the family than at Georgia’s largest (and most beautiful) community garden, in Suwanee?!
Black-eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata) can be easily grown from seed. For a bright blast of summer color, use in hanging baskets or train on an obelisk. This climbing vine blooms profusely throughout the season. To achieve optimum results, and maintain flower production the whole season, provide morning sun and afternoon shade, especially in hotter climate zones. (Blue bottle tree from Felder Rushing, who has a new book out January 2013, Bottle Trees.)
Soak the seeds for 12 hours in water (or organic cow manure tea, available from Authentic Haven Brand) and then plant them in peat pots to germinate. In two to three weeks, transplant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.
Other seed varieties to look for: ‘Arizona Dark Red’ (reddish-orange), ‘Salmon Shades’ (pretty coral-salmon blend), and ‘Susie White Black Eye’ (pure white with a dark eye, just like its name).
March 14th is Pi Day!
And to celebrate we are going to honor the Pinophyta Division (conifers) of the Plant Kingdom, specifically, trees with botanical names that begin with “Pi” ~ like Picea and Pinus.
Pinophytes are gymnosperms (seed-producing plants) that include conifers. The Latin word Coniferae means cone-bearing, or fruit-bearing of a conical shape. Conifers in the Pinophyta Division consist of cedar, fir, juniper, redwood, hemlock, spruce, yew, and pine, to name a few. Coniferous trees can be found on every continent in the world, except Antarctica (where they thrived during the Cretaceous period).
Conifers are evergreen and highly adaptable to very cold climates. Their needles “harden off” before winter temperatures plunge, making them resistant to freezing snow and ice. Their symmetrically-tapered shape and downward-sloping limbs allow them to shed snow in winter so that their branches do not break under the weight of accumulated snow. Isn’t it ironic that conifers no longer exist on Antarctica?
Pinophytes do not flower. Rather, conifers produce both male and female cones on the same tree. The female cone (ovulate cone) contains ovules which are fertilized by pollen-bearing cones (the males). Pollen is transferred to the female cone by wind and insect movement in the spring. While the pollen grains develop into seeds, the scales on the cone remain tightly closed to protect the maturing seeds. Once the seeds have matured, the scales on the cone begin to open and seeds fall to the ground, or are carried off by wind and insects. March 14th is just days before spring…the perfect time to celebrate Pinophytes.
Pictured above: a few “Pi” trees and their cones. Pinus and Picea are both classified in the Pinophyta Division of the Plant Kingdom.
Happy Pi Day! Celebrating the day with Pinophytes.
John B Varice Fine Seeds
Winter purslane also known as miner’s lettuce. Will grow in the shady areas of our farm. #cropplanning
Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’ is a visual feast for the winter garden - or the dinner table. This edible foliage plant has stems in gold, red, purple, and varying shades in between, and is a perfect vegetable for the sunny winter garden. It’s also a striking vertical accent plant for container gardens when combined with edible flowers like violas or pansies and herbs such as parsley and thyme. Grown from seed, it can be harvested in 4-5 weeks. AAS winner, 1998.
The Little Gladiolus Girls (1919), Gill Bros. Seed Co.
Porcelain Doll F1 Hybrid Pumpkin seeds, from dpSeeds.
Starting sprouts in egg cups and egg cartons. *cute*
February 27, 2012. Seed Exchange at the Stock Exchange.