Peonies Plant of the week

went to a garden and saw this.

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extnews/hortiscope/flowers/peony.htm

I am starting with a web site that has many many questions and answers on Peony culture. Gardeners should find a cure for what ails them there. Meanwhile, here, we shall look at good pictures of Peonies from the University of Michigan’s Peony trial garden in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Oh yes, one more thing….ants have nothing to do with Peony buds opening. The ants just like the sugary sap.

Peonies come in colors from white to deep pink

Peonies are a perennial plant that come in herbaceous and shrubby. All the plants we saw at the garden yesterday were the herbaceous type which die down to the ground each winter.

Single flowers show the yellow center.

Herbaceous peonies are easy to grow in sunny locations.


If your peonies do not bloom, they either are not getting enough sun or are planted too deeply. Hope you enjoy my pictures taken by my husband.

Zygocactus

Years ago we used to call Schlumbergera spp. a “Zygocactus”.  The old name has been replaced by Schlumbergera spp.  by taxonomists trying to make sense out of several related genuses that were named incorrectly by botanists a long time ago.  Most people, of course, call these plants Christmas cactus.

There are many Christmas cactus varieties that have been bred to increase the flower size, to give different colors, and especially to flower coincident with a certain holiday.  There are now types of these that flower for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. 

This is an old variety of “Christmas cactus”.  The original plant is from the 1950s. 

This "Christmas Cactus" blooms sporadically all winterNotice the tiny roots at the joints. A vestigial air root from their epiphytic origins.

 These plants are bred from the epiphytic cacti that grow in South America.  Plant breeders have been growing them in pots of soil, so the air roots are not really used anymore.  However, if you grow these plants in a humid greenhouse, the rootlets coming out of the joints will develop and be functional. 

These plants grow in the wild up in trees in Brazil.  They flower in May in South America and are nicknamed May Flowers.  Flowering is induced by cool temperatures and daylength.  When you grow these plants in the house, flowering is sporadic all winter long because the daylength is interrupted by electric lights being turned on and off and the heated  night temperatures.

Spanish Moss is not a Moss

Infamous is heading south and you will see some pictures of that.  The first plant in this exciting journey is Spanish Moss.  As I recall, this is an epiphyte in the flowering plant family called Bromeliads.  Bromeliads are famous for pineapples and colorful houseplants.  Spanish moss is in the Genus Tillansia sp. 

It is not a parasite, as some folks claim.  An epiphyte simply hangs from a host tree for support. It’s photosynthesis works just fine.  Epiphytes usually grow in areas of high humidity since they have no roots in the soil.  They can catch rain, but mostly they just slowly absorb water from the air. 

Epiphytes do not directly harm their host trees as a parasite would.  However, they may become so thick and numerous that they block some sunlight to the host’s leaves.  They also can cause a problem from their weight hanging down the branches of the host.  They may also catch the wind and harm the host in that way.  Usually, though the host remains healthy and not affected by the epiphyte.

Spanish moss grows from mid Virginia into the deep south where the temperatures are mild.  It seems to prefer Live Oak trees because of the minerals exuded from thier leaves.  These serve as a source of nutrients for the plant.

Hanging tresses of Spanish Moss