July 31, 2009
Amaryllis belladonna is a bulb found wild on the southern side of the Cape Province of the Republic of South Africa. Its habit of producing solitary stalks of pink flowers at a time when its only other above-ground parts, its leaves, are dormant and nowhere to be seen has given it a rather racy common name -the ‘Naked lady.’
Its penchant for ‘nudity’ and its fragrant long-lasting flowers have made this plant a favorite of hobbyists since the late 19th century, and as a result ‘Naked ladies’ have been crossed so many times over the years that determining the parentage of some of them is impossible. The Arboretum's mass plantings of Amaryllis belladonna are located near the southwest corner of the African section, and should be in full bloom by mid-to-late August.
Amaryllis belladona in bloom at the Arboretum.
Stenocarpus sinuatus, commonly called the 'Fire wheel' tree, is native to Australia and New Caladonia. It's radial blooms are a bright crimson orange. Its flowers attract hummingbirds, and in its native Australia, bats. A copious producer of nectar, Stenocarpus flowers were sucked on by the aborigines as a source of sugar. Stenocarpus sinuatus is located on the eastern tip of Tallac knoll just south of the herb garden.
July 28, 2009
I’m Frank McDonough, botanical information consultant here at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. I get thousands of questions every year about plants, landscapes, and trees. I’ve started this blog to share with you some of the more interesting questions I receive every week, as well as news and information that has to do with your Southern California garden.
Lead and Ash Trees
Who do you recommend one contact about testing the Lead content of soil adjacent to the house I rent, which was built in 1923 or so, and had numerous coats of such paint. I garden vegetables/edibles intensely about eight feet away, but only container/pot garden within that distance. Is there any commercial value for ash trees? I have a huge ash tree that produces tons of seedlings.Is there an online plant keying taxonomy guide which I could use to ascertain which Fraxinus it is, pennsylvanica or what? Thanks,JeffHi Jeff, A local laboratory can do that testing for you, I wouldn’t worry, even if you have relatively high levels in your soil, lead translocation into plant tissue should not be a problem in our alkaline, calciferous soils (according to Inorganic lead exposure: metabolism and intoxication b y Nicoló Castellino, Pietro Castellino, Nicola … – 1994 – Science) this is because lead in the soil is not as mobile as in acid soils.And what about your ash seedlings? There is no commercial value to ash seedlings, unless you can sell them yourself; try Craig’s list. Personally I would not wish an Ash tree on my own worst enemy; their damaging roots and messy seed production are complimented by their production of copious amounts of allergy-producing pollen. To identify an ash tree to species I would use the Royal Horticultural Society’s Dictionary of Gardening. This is not a cheap set of books, so instead of purchasing them you can drop by our library and reference that same edition here. If you do, bring a sample of the tree’s leaves, seeds, and or flowers and stop by the plant information office. We’ll be more than happy to take a look at your tree and try to identify it.
July 1, 2009
Informative gatherings with horticultural specialists
Fall 2009: 8 Thursdays, Sept. 24 – Nov. 12; 9:30am–Noon
(Please note special times for field trips, which are are self-driven and require pre-registration)$100 for the series, $20 per class / Reservations or you may pay at the doorInformation and registration: 626.821.4623 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sept 24 – Garden Design Fundamentals with Laramee Haynes A well-designed garden – be it rustic, formal or modern in style – enhances the environment, raises property values and pleases the eye. Learn how a professional arranges and showcases native plants, using sight lines, open space, proper spacing, well-placed shade trees, boulders and benches for sitting, and pathways that invite and move visitors through the garden. Laramee is a landscape designer and contractor (www.hayneslandscaping.com ) with a fondness for comfortable, long-lived gardens that require a minimum of care and resources. Oct 1 – Field Trip: Three Gardens, Three Adventures 10:00am-1:00pmOur first field trip of the season caters to plant nuts. We begin in a North Hollywood front garden that is jam-packed with succulents, native shrubs and flowering perennials, and whimsical Mexican folk art sculpture. Next, we visit a sloping Beverly Hills landscape filled with mediterranean-climate plants, succulents, an outdoor cat run and other surprises. Our last garden, also in Beverly Hills, belongs to an avid plant collector and flower arranger whose lush collection includes rare tropical and variegated plants, fuchsias, abutilons, irises, vines, tillandsias and more! Pre-registration required. Oct 8 – The Art of Pruning with Fran WestThis very important part of gardening can be rewarding and lots of fun. Learn how to get started, what tools to use, how to make proper cuts and what three growth habits to work with when pruning any shrub or small tree in your garden. Lots of tips and helpful hints will have you ready to begin your next pruning project with confidence and enthusiasm. Fran hails from the Mid-Atlantic area, where she has been a pruning specialist, lecturer and writer since 1991. Her revised and updated DVD and Field Guide, Pruning Matters, The Formula for Pruning Mastery, will be available in The Arboretum Gift Shop. Oct 15 – Field Trip: South Coast Botanic Garden, Palos Verdes Peninsula 10:00am-1pm Our private tram tour of this South Bay jewel, narrated by biologist and plantswoman Laurel Woodley, will traverse the garden’s grounds. We’ll stop at the Propagation Workshop, where volunteers (led by Dick Kohlscreiber and aided by Debra Galliani) propagate plants from the garden’s collection. And we’ll visit the new mediterranean-climate garden, where California natives predominate, a handsome design by curator (and class member) Lisa Ceazan. Bring your lunch for a picnic al fresco in the garden. Pre-registration required. Oct 22 – The Art of Staging Succulents with Larry GrammerCacti and other succulent plants are living sculptures that lend themselves to display. Our guest lecturer’s stunning creations – which “marry the plant to the pot” and often resemble miniature habitats – are showcased at California Cactus Center in Pasadena (www.cactuscenter.com). Larry will bring specimens from his private collection, as well as all the materials needed to pot up several examples in class. You’ll leave inspired to create your own. Oct 29 – Easy Gardening with Native Plants with Barbara EisensteinNative plants have the undeserved reputation of being difficult to grow. Learn how to minimize the work while maximizing success with California native plants. Barbara Eisenstein, a native plant garden writer and consultant, will introduce you to unusual natives that will convert your garden into a peaceful, sustainable, backyard habitat, while using less water, resources, and effort. Nov 5 – Gardening in the Shade with Lili SingerThis session celebrates dappled, partial and deep shade – conditions that please some exquisite plants as well as the gardeners who tend them. Common and unusual shade-loving plants will be shown, and watering, pest management and other cultural practices will be discussed. Lili is an award-winning horticulturist and garden writer. She leads the Thursday Garden Talks at The Arboretum and is special projects coordinator for the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants. Nov 12 – Plants of the Arboretum: A Tour for Home Gardeners with Jill MorganelliExplore The Arboretum’s collections with the new curator of the Kallam Perennial Garden! Along the way, we’ll discover the season’s most interesting and colorful plants, with detailed descriptions and tips on using these plants in home landscapes. In addition to her Arboretum position, Jill is adjunct faculty at Cuyamaca College. Her current areas of focus include sustainable landscape design and organic agriculture.