I braved clouds of pollen last weekend and managed to mulch the flower beds and transplant some black-eyed Susan and Russian sage. I even sowed some cosmos seed ('Sea Shells' and 'Cupcake Mix'), orange cosmos and some other new (to me) flower that I'll tell you about if it comes up. :-) Please share Floridata with your friends and be good and grow. Jack
Our newest Plant Profile is of the notorious Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), a large, fast-growing perennial species that was imported into the US as an ornamental species in the late 1800's. Since then the plant has spread across the continent, disrupting a wide range of plant communities in all but the southernmost states. Japanese knotweed is extremely persistent and nearly impossible to eradicate. Read more about this weedy species that is found in USDA Zones 3-8.
I've known this species since I was a kid when I used it to make "camps" under its leafy domes. It was everywhere but I didn't learn its name until this summer. In the 50's and 60's a "miracle shrub" was advertised in the Sunday newspaper comics section. It was also promoted by the USDA as a fast-growing species for controlling erosion. It's name is Amur or Chinese honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and now it is everywhere. I think of it as the northern analog of The South's infamous kudzu vine (Pueraria lobata). Click here to read more about this beautiful but extremely invasive exotic shrub that grows (don't plant it!) in USDA Zones 2-8.
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) is a robust deciduous tree with tiny scale-like leaves and showy pink flowers in late summer. Saltcedar is an aggressive grower, even on soils so severely impacted that virtually no other plants will grow. Unfortunately it has escaped cultivation in some places to be become an invasive pest in parts of the southwestern United States. Saltcedar is hardy in USDA Zones 3 - 8. where it is occasionally used in screens and hedges (where it isn't invasive). Read more »
Stick a few tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) plants in the ground (or in containers) and grow your own. Home grown vegetables taste better, save money and are good for the environment and your health! Plant a few of the vegetables in this list and you will enjoy your own fresh salsa all summer long:
The butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is a long-time garden staple whose cultivars come in a range of colors from white to pink to purple - and they really are attractive to many kinds of butterflies. However the species is an invasive pest in some regions so check locally to determine if it's OK to plant where you live. We've added this warning to our Profile. Here are a few more flowers that butterflies visit at this time of year:
The paperwhite daffodils (Narcissus spp.) are in bloom here in the Cincinnati area at mid-spring. For more on spring flowering bulbs, read Ray's articles about The Daffodils and history of The Tulips then check out Floridata's profiles of these and other spring-blooming favorites:
The Hawaiian Islands are home to an array of native plant species that has attracted the attention of botanists, naturalists, horticulturists and world travelers ever since Europeans first visited the islands near the end of the 18th century. Read more »
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The tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) trees began blooming this week here in Northern Kentucky. If you look closely, it is easy to see the resemblance of the tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) flower to those of its close relatives, the magnolias (see the southern magnolia).
I was lucky to catch the Kentucky coffee trees (Gymnocladus dioicus) in bloom. I've been watching the flower buds on a young tree in my neighborhood, anticipating that they would be very showy. They're not - at least from a distance. At close range these little female flowers are greenish white with maroon calyces that I think is pretty as well as interesting. Here is a list with links to a few other showy spring-flowering trees:
These problematic tree species also produce showy flowers that may catch your attention at this time of year - look but don't plant...
After several attempts, I finally grew my first hollyhock (Alcea rosea) flowers this summer! A couple of weeks ago this pretty white double-flowered hollyhock began producing these big beautiful blossoms along four feet of towering stem. The buds at the bottom of the stalk open first, with blooming proceeding upward over a several week period. Click to download a large (800x600 px) version of this image.
Right beside the white hollyhock (Alcea rosea), I planted a single-flowered black one. Actually the flowers are more dark purple than black but they are just opening they look almost black but whatever the color, it is very striking plant. Click to download a large (800x600 px) version. Here's a list of a few more perennial summer favorite flowers:
The banana shrub (Michelia figo) is probably finished blooming back home in Tallahassee, Florida. The interesting flowers resemble small versions of those of its relatives, the Magnolia species (see southern magnolia) - and they actually do smell like bananas (Musa spp.). Download a large version of this image or visit the banana shrub profile for more.
Here are some other spring-blooming shrubs:
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