Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bragging Rights

In mild winters, the hardy bananas (Musa basjoo) you see in the photo above will defoliate but resume growing from the same height the following spring. If a big frost comes, as in the past three winters, then they will die all the way back to the ground. Unless of course they live in my yard, where they get wrapped in Christmas lights during a freeze so they don't die all the way to the ground. I'm afraid the only reason I do this is for the bragging rights.

The Schefflera taiwaniana in the photo below is quickly approaching my height. I am sure it will surpass me next spring.

Noel wanted me to take his picture. On his left is Ricinus communis (I forgot the variety - a red one) and to the right is Canna 'Musifolia' - a plant that is frustratingly spectacular. It seems to be hardier than other cannas. The stems are a deep burgundy with dark green leaves - very nice contrast. They reach about 12' before starting to flop over (I'll remember to tie them up next year). What's most frustrating is they get ready to bloom right about a day before they are killed to the ground by a frost. So this is merely a foliage plant around here. It also needs full sun.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Turning a corner

This red maple seems to be getting an extremely early head start on fall. I guess when you have several thousand plants, some are just bound to act weird.

I was going to wait until next spring to stock the pond with koi, but some very kind friends brought some over and dumped them right in. I am actually very surprised they have survived three weeks already considering the pond was in no condition for fish when they brought them over. They are still very skittish, but starting to become more lively as time goes by. They always travel in a line like this.

My second attempt at growing a cycad (Cycas revoluta) is turning out much better than the first (which ended up biting the dust after not producing any new leaves for two years). I was very pleased to see nearly a dozen new fronds shoot out of the middle starting in late July.

The plant below, which I just nabbed from Molbak's, is called Mukdenia rossii 'Crimson Fans'. I noticed it for the first time while browsing the store before going to hear Dan Hinkley speak, where he mentioned the very plant in his lecture. I resisted the urge to stay within my plant budget and bought one. It is in the saxifrage family, a group of plants I am becoming increasingly impressed with.

It's hard to believe this picture was taken in Washington, isn't it? (The dead give-away is the electric heater under the far umbrella)

Finally...I think my giant pumpkin has reached it's final size. It's about 65 pounds. I'll make growing a 100-pounder my goal for next year.