Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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My First Peeks at the Woodland Garden

By Karen Fraizer

This winter I was assigned the task of taking care of the Woodland Garden here at Kingwood Center. We had a long-time gardener retire, that had been taking care of the Woodland Garden for many years. This gardener left me with a plant inventory, garden maps, and very detailed notes for this garden (Thanks Glenna). This winter and early spring, with everything covered in snow, it was difficult to get a vision of the garden. With spring slowly emerging I am surprised everyday by something new. First, it was just the outline of the walkways and the beds. Second, it was the benches and the stepping stones throughout the beds. Now, with spring officially here (fingers crossed), it has been so exciting to watch the spring bulbs popping up. The daffodils that are scattered throughout the garden mix well with the blooms of the hellebores.

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The Carriage House Garden Edibles

By Karen Fraizer

The Carriage House Garden was planted a year ago. Part of the theme for this garden was to have an array of edible plants included in the design. We planted cherries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, pears, and hazelnuts. These are all shrubs or trees. We also added edible annuals for seasonal interest that can be changed every year. I am pleasantly surprised that some of the trees and shrubs are producing fruit in their first year.

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