Some thoughts abouts plants in Pennsylvania and anywhere else we travel

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Muhlenberg Botanic Club of Lancaster, PA

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All photographs copyright by Mike Slater unless otherwise noted.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Dianthus is Dead, Long live the Dianthus

We had a wonderful large Dianthus erinaceus in our dry sand bed for about 15 years that was one of the first things that visiting rock gardeners noticed. As it grew over the years it expanded out on the top of the wall and it smothered other plants like Gypsophila aretioides but we loved it anyway. This big spiny cushion bloomed well every year but never set seed (The anthers did not appear to produce viable pollen) and I could never get cuttings to root so we knew it was only a matter of time before we would lose it. Most years it would get some dead brown patches that I would pluck out and it would heal up easily over the summer, but this year the dead patches grew steadily larger and the plant was dead within tw0 to three weeks. So our favorite Dianthus was gone, but this year a plant given to us by a friend came into bloom and replace our dianthus void. Growing nearby his spectacular young Dianthus myrtinervis ssp. caespitosus was spectacular.
I can only hoped it will live as long as our old D. erinaceus did.

Update :
I think we got our D. erinaceus from Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery but they don't list it now but they do list Dianthus myrtinervis ssp. caespitosus.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Invasive Species Weblog

I just learned about The Invasive Species Weblog at the 2007 Weblog Awards (Voting going on through Nov. 8th.) in the Best Science Blog category It is full of great information and links about invasive plants and animals.

Monday, November 5, 2007

My Winter Enertainment Begins!

Now that we have had our first frosts, the outdoor blooming season is seriously slowing down, but, in our little greenhouse where our winter blooming Mediterranean climate bulbs live, things are just getting started. Some South African bulbs flower first for us. With Mediterranean and Californians coming later.

The first "Winter rainstorm" came on September 21st when I began watering for the growing season and now the first flowers are starting. We keep it set so the temperature stays just above freezing at night in the winter and we let everything go dry and dormant so we don't have to do any watering in the summer when we are busy outside!

Oxalis purpurea 'Ken Aslet' (S. Africa) -A gift from our friend Lee Raden. An early Octbober picture first followed bb one February picture so you can see how it just goes on blooming for months.

Polyxena sp. 'Silver Hill 11157' (S. Africa) -From Silverhill seeds.

Massonia depressa (S. Africa) -According to the The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs (a very dangerous book for anyon who lies unusual plants) this is pollinated by Gerbils! It is in bud right now, with fowers in January and February. I find the large leaves which lie flat on the ground to be very exotic and intriguing.

Lachenalia pusilla -Last year is the first time it bloomed. In bud now this should be open in a few weeks. The inflorescence will be bigger this year.
This was also grown from Silverhill Seed.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Muhlenberg Botanic Society - November Meeting

November 15: Fred Habegger: "Meadow Wanderings."

A longtime Muhlenberg member, Fred will talk about his meanderings through the meadows of Lancaster Co. and show slides of the plants and animals found there (including butterflies!).

As John Wolf says: "Don't miss it, Fred is a fabulous photographer".

These pictures are two that Fred Shared with us at the September meeting. I especially like the "Crocodile".

Board members please note there will be a short Board Meeting at 6:45 pm.
(Everyone is welcome, we will be discussing next years programs and field