Jonesboro and home
It was supposed to be a cooler day and when we got up it was cloudy and gloomy, but the skies brightened and the sun came out and spring was back. It was a beautiful day in Jonesboro, but while it would have been a great day to garden outside, we had a great group of gardeners who came inside to hear my talk on native plants. We had a lot of questions, and I didn’t realize we went as late as we did–but I was on the road before 4 p.m. heading home.
The Horticulture Garden Club awards college scholarships and so do the Craighead County Master Gardeners. The two recipients this year are the same for both scholarships and they were there to hear the talk and be introduced. One is also the recipient of one of the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show scholarships. Both are hardworking and deserving seniors.
In the morning I was able to run a few errands and pick up some things for the house, and get Valentine’s presents. I was early so stores were not crowded, but there are a lot of things to buy. I was surprised to see bouquets of roses at the entrance and the checkout at Target. So no excuses guys! And if you want to give something that will last even longer, flowering houseplants like this cyclamen would be nice.
I also got to tour Kim’s greenhouses at ASU to see what they are growing. Her classes are doing propagation and there were a lot of cuttings. Some will be used for the plant sale in the spring. They are also growing a wide variety of vegetables in containers for a vegetable class. This just shows that all vegetables can be container grown, not just in the ground. The sweet potatoes and potatoes looked great, but the asparagus was a tad wimpy. Speaking of asparagus, one MG already has harvested 3 spears outside with more coming up. Things are on warp speed this year.
They also grow a lot of the common houseplants. Two groups that she had a lot of are the Commelinaceae family (dayflower or spiderwort family). There are so many varieties to choose from but all have similar three-point blooms and all are monocots, or flowering plants that have one seed leaf, flower parts in threes, and parallel veining. Common names include Fuzzy Wandering Jew, Tahitian bridal veil, Bolivian Jew and Wandering Jew.
The other group is the Plectranthus genus in the mint family. While many are familiar with the old-fashioned Swedish Ivy, there are many more choices these days:
Although similar in their growth habit, they are all slightly different species. Most are grown for their foliage but they do have the potential to bloom. The variety most commonly sold for flowers in Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’ or ‘Velvet Elvis’. and one I just saw last season with a pinkish-red bloom is Hilliardiae Red So you can see how difficult it is to be able to identify all the plants out there, when there are so many different species and cultivars of the same plant or within a family group. Knowing something about how plants grows, can help you narrow the search.