The Mysteries of Wisteria

By Karen Fraizer

For too many people, me included, the thought of growing Wisteria can cause nightmares. Kingwood recently planted a variety called Amethyst Falls Wisteria in the new Carriage House Garden. This is an American Wisteria, which is supposed to be smaller and slower growing than its oriental cousins. Now that spring is upon us I have been thinking that it’s time to start training these four Wisteria plants, which also got me thinking about how little I actually know about this plant. So in order to care for and prune them properly I’m going to have to do some research.

Wisteria

Continue reading

Molly the Witch Peony

By Chuck Gleaves

With what must be thousands of varieties of hybrid peonies to chose from, it is fun to go back, sometimes, to actual natural peony species. One peony species of particular fascination also has one of the most unpronouncable of plant names, Paeonia mlokosewitschii.  An effort to pronounce the second name in that binomial will readily explain its nickname, Molly the Witch.

Molly the Witch flower and foliage

Molly the Witch flower and foliage

Continue reading

The Dark Side of Kingwood’s Tulips

By Chuck Gleaves

Kingwood is widely known for our spring tulip display. Our phones ring constantly in the spring as prospective visitors try to determine the best time to come see the tulips. We have been offering big displays of tulips every year for about sixty-two years. Some of our tulip beds have had tulips in them every year for decades.

Kingwood's tulips with peacock

Kingwood’s tulips with peacock

Continue reading

Garlic Mustard

By Shawn McClain

On April 22nd for Earth Day, one of the most common practices of celebration is to plant new trees. Other practices of celebration include picking up trash, planting wildflowers and cleaning up streams. In my case, removal of invasive species from the woodland area here at Kingwood Center Gardens, particularly Garlic Mustard. This ecologically invasive and non- native plant easily naturalizes in shady locations and spreads viable seeds early in the spring pushing out many wildflowers and native plants.

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Continue reading

Iris

By Mona Kneuss

There are around 300 species in the genus Iris. In this area we have Tall bearded irises or Iris germanica a very familiar flower with the three inner upright petals called “standards” and three larger outer petals called “falls”, the falls may have beards or crests. These are soft hairs along the center of the falls. In Crested iris the hairs form a comb or ridge.

Tall Bearded Iris

Tall Bearded Iris

Continue reading

Dichondra

By Laura Mast

This is the time of year we start preparing for summer at Kingwood. We have several signature plants at Kingwood Center Gardens. One of those plants is Dichondra Silver Falls. It is used in hanging baskets, planters and in the garden beds as a filler and vining. However, if you have ever tried to overwinter or propagate Dichondra you might find it can be somewhat difficult. If you are interested in over wintering Dichondra, you will need to bring it inside where it will not freeze. Another factor in keeping Dichondra over winter is keeping it dry between waterings.

Full Dichondra plant

Full Dichondra plant

Continue reading

Where are the bananas?

by Doug Schuster

The most popular question at Kingwood’s greenhouse in 2016 was “Where are the bananas?” As we continue to navigate the utilization of a 1960’s greenhouse facility in the 21st century, modifications are needed from time to time. What’s always been lacking in the greenhouse is a “people space” an area that allows for us to accommodate larger groups and even have small workshops within the greenhouse. To accomplish this, we had to move some plant material around including the banana trees. We decided to relocate the banana trees from the back of the tropical greenhouse to the front where they have a much larger space to grow, and they are thriving in that space. For the first time in my tenure, we have two stalks that have set fruit at the same time. The banana trees in their original location never met their full potential; they were in narrow ground beds with limited space to grow.

The full size banana tree

The full size banana tree

Continue reading