Sunday, April 19, 2015

No-name begonias

Begonia 'Helen Teupel'
Begonia 'Helen Teupel', sold unlabeled

In an online begonia group that I frequent, not a day goes by that somebody doesn't post one or more photos of begonias they got from a friend, or purchased without any label, asking "what is it?"  These are often rex hybrids, one of the groups I most often see offered without any names in garden centers.  There's something about rex begonias that seduces people into buying them, but there's apparently also something about them that makes people lose their names.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pollarding, or just plain murder?

Pollarded crape myrtle
Pollarded crape myrtles, National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

It's that time of year again, when southern homeowners and landscape crews look at crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia species and cultivars) with murder in their hearts. "Crape murder", as the brutal pruning of crape myrtles is often dubbed, is also becoming depressingly common here in Washington, DC with many mature, beautiful specimens being hacked to bits. Who on earth thinks this looks good? Who on earth thinks this is the right thing to do?  Enough "professionals" do this that my biggest question is, who on earth is TRAINING people to do this?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Washington, DC: more than just cherry blossoms

Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle and Enid A. Haupt Garden, July 2014

If you asked almost anybody what Washington, DC is known for, cherry blossoms would probably be in the top five things they list.  This time of year, tourists start taking picture of pretty much any tree with pink flowers, thinking they're cherry blossoms.  In reality, these are often flowering plums or magnolias, both of which bloom a bit earlier than the cherries.  There are a few early cherries blooming here and there, but this has been a late spring and it will be another week or so before the cherries reach their peak.