The bushy, vigorous habit of Sun Parasol Pretty Pink mandevilla tropical vine makes it ideal for growing in containers.
CAROL LINK: How to care for mandevilla, bougainvillea
By Carol LinkSpecial to The Times
Each spring, Oscar situates a large container filled with a beautiful, pink-flowering mandevilla vine along the driveway near the side entrance to our home. Years ago, I placed a 3-foot, lightweight metal trellis in the container. With a small amount of assistance from me, the vine climbs the trellis throughout the spring and summer. Occasionally, I pick up a stray tendril and wind the vine through the trellis. Throughout the growing season, the beautiful vine decorates our landscape and hummingbirds zoom in, butterflies flutter in and bees buzz in to enjoy the lovely pink flowers.
Mandevilla vines are sensitive to the cold, so in this area, all mandevilla plants should be brought inside and stored for the winter. Because our personal mandevilla plant grows in a large container, Oscar recently used a set of hand trucks to roll the container into the garage for the winter. I will apply a small amount of water to the container about once each month until spring. That’s all that’s necessary, because the plant will soon be going dormant, and applying too much water during the winter could cause root rot.
Next spring, after the last predicted frost, we will move the container back outside, situate the plant in full sun, cut the vine back to about 1 foot in length, apply fertilizer and then keep the plant watered well. Once again, the plant will grow rapidly and very soon the vine will be climbing the trellis, and in due time, beautiful pink blossoms will once again dangle from the vine.
A bougainvillea vine is treated in much the same manner as a mandevilla.
On Gardening: The brassicas are taking center stage along with kale, mustard, and collards too
By Norman Winter
Tribune News Service
The brassicas are taking center stage!
In the fall and winter season, we have always dabbled in flowering kale and cabbage, but it seems in the last couple of years things are changing. The cruciferous crops are doing their part to create the WOW factor in flower beds across Georgia. It’s not just flowering kale and cabbage but edibles like the Toscano kale and would you believe that old southern favorite collards.
Last year, anyone who went to the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport could not help but notice the monolithic blue-green leaves not only serving as the backdrop to the pansies and snapdragons, but the enormity of the leaves created their own photo-worthy moment. This year, I am seeing collards used elegantly in mixed containers and even baskets. Why not? You couldn’t ask for a better companion to the colorful pansies. When I took the photo I was thinking now I need catfish and cornbread.
While collards are really old fashioned, the application with ornamentals is new and trendy, at least in several generations. Toscano kale also called Toscana, Tuscan, Lacinato and Dinosaur kale is similar. Culinary experts know it is among the most flavorful and treasured in Italian soups and stews but recently new to the flower garden. So you can rejoice for incredible beauty and texture, but if you fancy yourself a chef, then the edible landscape is close at hand.
Over the past decade, gardening developed into a viable part of the news, as the ranks of home gardeners swelled to record highs. This growing interest in the growing season can be attributed to a stubborn continuation of economic concerns and an accelerating passion for anything green. “Going green,” whether in energy efficiency, environmental protection or food production, continues to enjoy a popular ranking as an “in” thing to do right now. It’s estimated that during the past decade several million new household gardens have been planned, planted, and tended by first-time gardening families in the U.S. Though this may be a new experience for many, in some ways it’s a repeat of an earlier effort made 75 years ago, when a financial depression and a world war brought many Americans ‘back to the land’ in the form of backyard plots called Victory Gardens.
In 1943 more than 20 million gardens were planted to provide fresh fruits and vegetables on the home front. During World War II much of the commercially produced food was used to feed the troops. In the face of shortages and rationing, Americans turned lawns and flower beds into garden plots. City dwellers were able to get into the act by planting container gardens on rooftops and fire escapes. Community gardens were developed in vacant lots or on land in public spaces. Some of the biggest public gardens were located in New York’s Central Park, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and across the pond in Hyde Park in London. Actually, the Brits were the first to start growing their own food in 1940. As the war escalated, the movement spread throughout Canada and the U.S., as ordinary citizens did their part to support the war effort.
If you travel through the Pacific Islands or northern Queensland a plant you’ll find hard to miss in the gardens, parks and streetscapes, is the brilliantly leaved Acalypha, also known as Fijian Fire Plant, Beefsteak Plant or Salt Bush. These plants have large, medium or small leaves with flashes of red, yellow, pink and bronze. The leaves may be margined or striped with colour, and they may be rounded, narrow, triangular, rectangular, heavily toothed or quite lacy in shape. Plants also vary in size, from tall shrubs, some 3 to 4 metres (10-14 feet) high and wide to compact bushes less than 1 metre (3 feet) high and wide.
The name Acalypha comes from the Greek akalephes – a nettle. The genus includes some 450 to 460 species. Wilkesiana commemorates Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes, an American Naval Officer who explored the South Pacific during the late 1830s and early 1840s.
Despite their great diversity, the plants we grow are not hybrids, but are cultivars of one species,Acalypha wilkesiana. What’s more, recent research suggests they may represent mutations of a single or limited number of clones. Cultivated acalyphas, like many other popular foliage plants from the Pacific region, seem to be quite unstable and prone to throwing up branches of differing colour or shape. Occasionally they revert back to the parent plant, giving us an idea of their origins, but more rarely they throw up something entirely new. So keep your eyes open, as you might have something very special in your own garden.
Fragrant, fast-growing, and one of the most used culinary herbs– Mint can be grown indoors. Growing mint indoors is easy and doesn’t require many efforts!
Herbs can be grown indoors and mint is one of them. However, mint (or any other herb) growing indoors can’t grow as vigorously as outdoors. Still, you can enjoy those freshly picked leaves year-round, even in winters!
People enjoy plants both inside and outside of their homes. Container gardening, which is a planting method in which flowers and other plants are grown in pots and other containers, is quite popular because of design versatility. Containers can be moved from location to location if plants are not thriving in a particular spot. They also make gardening possible when there isn’t any available land space, which might be the case for apartment-dwellers.
Flower pots enable plant enthusiasts to enjoy foliage inside of the home as well. Houseplants can add beauty to interior spaces and help filter indoor air. House plants have been shown to purify indoor air.
Several plants are particularly good at filtering out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Having plants around can create inviting spaces and improve healthy conditions inside and out.
Part of caring for plants in containers involves knowing when a potted plant might need a little tender loving care. As plants grow larger, they may outgrow their containers and require more roomy quarters. Without ample space, plants may not be able to adequately draw up water and nutrients to support top growth. Repotting may seem like it is easy, but it actually takes a little finesse so not to damage the plants.
Gardening experts like those from Fine Gardening, HGTV and Today’s Homeowner suggest these repotting tips:
Observations showed that hoverflies, skippers, and parasitic wasps (such as the sphecid wasp shown here on Coreopsis ‘Cosmic Eye’) were frequent visitors to butterfly and conservation gardens. – Credit: Bethany A. Harris
Ornamental plants for conserving bees, beneficial insects
October 13, 2016
American Society for Horticultural Science
Insects play a vital role in ecosystem health, helping to aerate soil, keeping the natural system in balance, and preventing detrimental pests from taking over essential natural resources. Additionally, insects provide critical biological services such as pollination and biological controls. The authors of a study say that flowering ornamental plants have the potential to support beneficial insect communities, such as pollinating bees, wasps, and predatory plant bugs.
Bethany A. Harris, S. Kristine Braman, and Svoboda V. Pennisi from the University of Georgia conducted visual observations and sampled via sweep nets to assess the potential of flowering ornamentals to act as a conservation resource for pollinators. “By monitoring pollinator and beneficial insect occurrence within habitat management sites, ornamental plant species can be evaluated for their arthropod attractiveness and the provision of arthropod mediated ecosystem services,” said Bethany Harris, lead author of the study.
The research included visual observations and sweep-net sampling in four research plots at the University of Georgia’s Griffin Campus. The plots, called the “Butterfly” and “Conservation” Gardens, included 74 commercially available annual and perennial herbaceous and shrub ornamentals, including exotic and native plant species.
“The gardens attracted a diverse population comprised of pollinators (30+ species and 16+ families) and beneficial insects (20+ species and 9+ families),” Harris noted. Hoverflies, skippers, predatory plant bugs, and parasitic wasps were frequent visitors to Butterfly and Conservation Gardens. “In addition, species of native bees were identified in the gardens, suggesting that pollinator habitats could be created in southeastern landscapes using these taxa.”
Celosia, Gaura, Lantana, and Nepeta xfaasseniiwere some of the most-visited plants by both pollinators and beneficial insects. “This could be due to the vibrant colors, rich nectar and pollen supply, and the variety of floral inflorescences these plants possess,” Harris said. Agastache and Celosiawere the most frequently visited by pollinators among 74 plant taxa.