Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Marmalade Bush

Marmalade bush-Streptosolen jamesonii
I had seen this plant in Logee's catalog and wanted it. I never ordered it, and so had never seen a real one. Then, last Spring, I went to Hidden Lake Gardens and there it was. It's gorgeous!
Streptosolen jamesonii is from South America and has a spreading habit. It is evergreen and can grow up to 6' across. The flowers start out a yellow orange and then turn a deep orange with age, so the flowers have a multi-colored look, thus the name marmalade. It grows best in full sun to part shade.

The name streptosolen comes from the Greek words "streptos" for twisted, and "solon" for tube shaped, describing its 1" long tubular flowers. In its native habitat, hummingbirds and butterflies love it. I think I need to find this and grow it. I love orange flowers!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Plant Envy

Rhapis excelsa 'Variegata'
This winter I went to a visit a friend's greenhouse, full of his fabulous plant collection. I was amazed at the amount of plants he had that were rare. I didn't take pictures of everything, but will share some pictures with you of the plants I did photograph.
The first thing I came to, was a variegated rhapis palm. I love variegated plants and this is just beautiful. Rhapis palms, also called Lady palms, need filtered light or partial shade. They need to be kept constantly moist and their soil needs to be rich in humus. They like to be slightly root bound and need little amounts of fertilizer. Use non-chlorinated/flouridated water to prevent brown tips.

Pellionia repens

 Pellionia  repens is a gorgeously variegated plant. Originating in Vietnam, this plant needs high humidity and bright, indirect sunlight.  I have this plant, but it doesn't look like this! This plant was probably 5-6' long.

Watermelon peperomia- Peperomia argyreia

  Peperomias are from tropical and subtropical America. They are semi-succulent and so can tolerate the dry atmospheres of our homes. Most grow naturally as epiphytes. When grown in soil, as most are, they need to be watered carefully, as they can rot easily. I have killed more than one of these plants           

Hoya nummularioides

 Hoyas are one of my favorite plant families. I have about 5-6 different varieties. This plant was about 2 1/2 feet around and covered with blossoms when I was there.

 These next group of plants were my favorites that day. They are Lycopodium or Huperzia.I just bought a Lycopodium squarrosum last year, and these different varieties are even more interesting. The term lycopodium means wolf foot. They are commonly called clubmosses or ground pines. Lycopodium are flowerless and epiphytic. A lot of times they are grown on slabs of wood or in wooden baskets and can become quite large. I have a picture of a very large carinita at Longwood Gardens below as well as the young one in my friend's greenhouse.
Huperzia nummularifolia

Huperzia phlegmaria

Huperzia carinita
Lycopodium carinita at Longwood Gardens.

Euphorbia francoisii
 This Euphorbia francoisii is so gnarly and awesome. I have one at home, but mine is so much smaller. I bought mine at Phipps Conservatory last year. Hopefully it will be as large as this someday. This plant is native to the island of Madagascar. It is an evergreen, unlike some Euphorbias, and its stems emerge from a geophytic caudex.

Lemmaphyllum microphyllum

Lennaphyllum microphyllum is a rare epiphytic fern. Its glossy, green thumbnail sized fronds grow on wiry black stems. It is a diamorphic (containing separate spore producing structures) fern. I think its adorable!

Beloperone guttata variegata
This variegated shrimp plant is necessarily rare, but it is beautiful, and you don't see it everyday. It can get quite leggy, but if you keep it cut back, or start new plants on a regular basis, it will stay bushy and full. 

Dichorisandra thyrsiflora
Dichorisandra thyrsiflora or blue ginger, resembles a ginger, but is actually a spiderwort. It grows from underground rhizomes in moist shady areas in Brazil.

Begonia 'Fire Flush'
Begonia 'Fire Flush' is a rhizomatous begonia, bearing fragrant, pink flowers. It prefers filtered light. I find that my begonias appreciate an Eastern exposure.


The Rhaphidophora, or shingle plant, is from Borneo. It is a climbing vine and is on a fabricated cork tree that bromeliads and other epiphytes also reside on in the greenhouse.

Aechmea racinae

Don't these Aechmea flowers glow in the sunlight like little red light bulbs? They are beautiful. They are native to Brazil and as a bromeliad, grow epiphytically on trees. The common name is Christmas Jewels.

Bowiea volubilis-Climbing Onion
The climbing onion is very interesting. It grows from an onion like caudex, obviously above ground. It sends out an extremely long stem in late winter/early spring and then it dies down in the fall. At that time, quit watering or the bulb may rot. Start watering again when it starts to grow again in the late winter. 
All these plants were so unusual and so exciting to see (for me at least). They definitely aren't your run-of-the-mill houseplants. There were many more, but I didn't want to make this the longest post, ever.  I will be visiting again.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

'Fire Flash'

Chlorophytum amaniense 'Fire Flash'

My favorite colors are green and orange, so it is pretty obvious why I love this plant. This is Chlorophytum amaniense 'Fire Flash', also called the orange spider plant. It was introduced to Florida from Thailand in the late 1990's. It originates in the rainforests of East Africa in the Usambara Mountains of Tanzania. It, like the ubiquitous spider plant, is in the Liliaceae family and is closely related to the aforementioned spider plant, but does not produce runners with babies. It does produce a dense cylindrical spike of white flowers in the crown of the plant. It probably should  be removed so the energy goes into the plant, but when mine flowered, I let it.

Here's a couple of pictures of the spent flower stalk. I didn't remove it, so the seeds matured, and now there are babies growing in the pot.

They haven't grown much. I need to move them into their own pots, but just haven't done it yet. I'm excited to have little seedlings. I've never had a houseplant go to seed and produce new plants. I'll keep you updated as to their progress.

Baby 'Fire Flash'

Friday, April 13, 2012

Longwood Love

Pride of Madeira in display house.
I'm in love...with John of course, but also with Longwood Gardens. I was lucky enough to visit when I drove to New Jersey to help pack my daughter up, and move her back home. Yeah! for that, too. But, back to Longwood. Four acres under glass=heaven! That's where I really was for 7 hours~heaven! I took over 900 pictures ( I won't bore you with all of them...) and was literally almost the last person out the door. I could live there. I'd like to live there.
The conservatory had its annual orchid display in full swing.
Topiaries of orchids.....

Orchid topiary.

Arches of orchids.....

Arch of orchids.

Floating orchids......

Floating orchids.

Rooms full of orchids. Orchids everywhere!

A wall of orchids.

I attended a seminar in this orchid display room, given by Maria, the keeper of Longwood's 9,000 (yes, I said 9,000) orchids. They are kept in 5 greenhouses, each with its own climate. All the orchids in this room are here for display purposes, not growing purposes. They all have different needs, thus the reason for 5 different greenhouses, each with a different climate. These are happy orchids! And beautiful!



x Laeliocattleya g. 'Trick or Treat'
Phaphiopedilum g. 'Golden Slipper'
x Potinara g. William Farrell 'Apricot Orange'

The fern walkway is also beautiful. I love ferns and they have some fabulous ferns. I don't think I've ever seen such huge, healthy ferns. 
I especially love all the lycopodiums. Lycopodiums are actually club mosses, but grow in the same conditions as the ferns, so they coexist happily.

Lycopodium carinatum

The "footed" ferns look nothing like mine. Mine are babies compared to these giants hanging from the ceiling.

Vine Fern-Stenochlaena tenuifolia

Hare's Foot Fern- Plebodium aureum 'Crispum'

Up close to see the "feet".

There were also some great staghorn ferns. I didn't know there were this many different varieties. They are just monstrous and so unusual.
Platycerium superbum

Platycerium wandae
Close up of the center of the fern.

 There was so much more, but I don't want to make this the longest blog post ever. I told you I took 900 pictures. The orchids and ferns are enough for now. I've barely even covered an acre at this point. There are bromeliads, roses, hibiscus, tropical rooms, and the children's area. This doesn't even cover the over 1,000 acres outside. I love this place. If you go, you'll fall in love also.