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

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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

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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

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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

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Minor Bulbs in the Garden

By Bill Collins

When we think of spring bulbs in our garden we usually picture tulips and daffodils.  These are wonderful but there are so many other minor bulbs that can be used in the garden.  By selecting many of these you can extend the spring bloom time in your garden. Some can bloom as early as February or early March depending on the weather. Others will bloom along with or after the tulips and daffodils in April and May. They are often  most effective when they are planted in large patches or sweeps.

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Anticipating Spring Gardens

by Chuck Gleaves, Executive Director

At Kingwood you can enjoy the daffodils by the thousands or as incredible individuals like this one

At Kingwood you can enjoy the daffodils by the thousands or as incredible individuals like this one

Spring is the most popular time at Kingwood, and we have lots to see. Over the years our gardens have become more nuanced that just a gazillion tulips, although we have far from forsaken the brilliant spring color that tulips provide. Many thousands of daffodils bloom sequentially over about a six-week period, typically from late March to early May, although as I write this on the second to last day of February there are already one or two daffodils in bloom.

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