Monthly Archives: July 2018

New Introductions

By Doug Schuster

It’s an exciting time of the year for me. I just got back from one of the largest horticulture tradeshows in the world, ‘Cultivate’18’, where many new plant introductions are made for the spring of 2019. New plants are exciting; it’s when my imagination can run wild of the possibilities. I’ve have found that it is important to keep perspective on new plants though, the plant race is turning in to an “arms race” of sorts.

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Sempervivum – ‘Forever Alive’

By Holly VanKeuren

The Latin name for what is commonly referred to as ‘Hens ‘n Chicks’ is Sempervivum, and this name was derived from the custom in Europe of planting these remarkable succulents along the ridges of thatched roofs.  This was done to protect the houses from lightning, and the name came from this custom, with Semper standing for ‘always’ or ‘forever’ and with Vivum meaning ‘alive’.  They are also known commonly as a Houseleek, yet another named that refers to their use on rooftop plantings.   Their third common name, Hens ‘n Chicks is used very widely, and refers to their method of reproducing themselves.  The mother hen or more mature plant is surrounded by its miniature offspringsimilar to baby chicks around their mother hen.  These baby chickens are attached to the mother plant by a thin stem, or umbilical cord, which once severed allows the new plant to grow its own roots and begin its own colony. 

Sempervivum arachnoideum or Cobweb Houseleek

Sempervivum arachnoideum or Cobweb Houseleek

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Garden Thug: A plant with the potential to be a huge pain in the asparagus

By Ellen Azotea

What is a Garden Thug? Most gardeners have encountered at least one Garden Thug in their experience…plants that grow vigorously and choke out less aggressive nearby plants. They tend to be a really interesting, pretty plant that grows so easily for you that you are suddenly overrun with it. Beware taking a new, unfamiliar plant that someone offers by the boxful. The giver might say things like, “It’s a really enthusiastic plant!  I just rip it out… I’m sure it’ll grow for you!” Or, “I have so much I just had to share!” 

Sometimes we buy plants from a garden store, and other times we get “pass along” plants from fellow gardeners. Or we see a plant growing wild in a field or ditch and think it might look great in our gardens.  No matter where you acquire a plant, use a bit of restraint and do some research online first. Don’t dump thugs on your friends, and beware of bringing an unknown botanical headache into your own garden, from a well-meaning but uninformed friend or garden center. 

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