So this looks like it is going to be awesome…help spread the word, garden folks of Tumblr!
Does your garden have a story?
Community of Gardens is a digital archive created by Smithsonian Gardens in connection with the Archives of American Gardens to preserve America’s garden heritage. Gardens often go undocumented and are subsequently underrepresented in the historical record. Your participation in this project will contribute to the preservation of garden history in the United States and allow historians and the general public to gain insight into the role of gardens in everyday American life.
Five Fun Facts about Mistletoe
1. Though mistletoe is native to the US (sorry, Canada!), it is the European mistletoe, Viscum album, that is associated with the holidays. The American mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum, is not quite as pretty and graceful as the European species (shown here).
2. Mistletoe is a partially parasitic plant, penetrating tree bark and infiltrating a tree’s vascular system to gain nutrition while it is getting established.
3. The plant is spread rather unconventionally: The fruit is extremely sticky, and it coats the beak of any bird that attempts to eat it. The bird then wipes its beak on bark to try to get the berry off, and in so doing, plants the seeds in the crevices.
4. Both American and European mistletoe are highly toxic to humans and pets, so if you decorate with it, hang it out of reach and dispose of it properly.
5. In Europe, mistletoe that grows on oak is rare and was considered sacred. American mistletoe, on the other hand, commonly grows on oaks.
Ten fun horticultural facts you may not know about poinsettias:
1. They are native to southern Mexico & Guatemala.
2. They are perennials in areas warm enough for them to grow year-round.
3. In these regions, a plant can reach 10-15’ tall!
4. In warm climates, they are popular garden plants and are commonly used in landscaping.
5. Poinsettias are brought into flower in greenhouses with a very specific schedule of exposure to light and dark. Even the tiniest bit of light during the daily dark periods could prevent an entire crop from flowering.
6. The scientific name for poinsettia is Euphorbia. Other types of euphorbia are grown as houseplants and hardy perennials; one species is even a common weed that you’ve no doubt encountered in your garden: (http://www.msuturfweeds.net/details/_/prostrate_spurge_38/).
7. Because many species of Euphorbia are highly toxic, poinsettias have long been thought of as toxic as well. However, research reveals that their toxicity is extremely low - a 50 lb. child would have to eat 500 leaves to begin to feel any toxic effects.
8. The colorful portion of the poinsettia isn’t a flower at all - it is a modified leaf, designed to attract pollinators.
9. Each poinsettia “flower” actually consists of 10-20 true flowers - the funny yellow bits in the center.
10. There are well over 100 different varieties of poinsettia available, with colors ranging from white, pink, to red, different flower forms, and variegated foliage. Each year, we only see a small fraction of the different types that exist.
Boxwood flowers - few people ever notice them, as they are clearly not very showy and they bloom very early in spring. However, these non-descript little flowers emit a powerfully sweet fragrance and are an important food source for insects that emerge from dormancy on warm spring days (as evidenced by the two tiny flies at center left).
Berry Heavy Gold winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) - coming to garden centers in 2015, but too beautiful to wait to share! This incredible golden winterberry was developed in Michigan by the late Fred Case, a biology teacher and expert on orchids, trilliums, and native plants.
Especially if you live in a cold climate, it is best to wait until spring to prune butterfly bush. Leaving the extra wood on the plant provides a lot of protection for the dormant buds, resulting in a far better winter survival rate than for pruned plants.
Don’t let trees have all the fun…plant shrubs for excellent fall color! This is Little Henry itea, aka sweetspire, which not only lights up autumn with an array of reds but also perfumes the air with fragrant flowers in summer.
We got an unseasonal snow storm yesterday…though it didn’t last terribly long, it sure was strange to see snow on hydrangeas in full leaf and at the peak of autumn flower color.
Just a friendly reminder…if you have big-leaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) in your garden, don’t cut them back. Doing so removes the flower buds for the following season.