Category: Ginny Rosenkranz

Early bloomers get the party started

April is when spring really starts to bloom! Spring, to me, is always a treasure hunt — walking around the gardens and seeing what is up and blooming as well. A few of the plants that bloom include Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox), Aurinia saxatilis (Basket of Gold), Bergenia cordifolia (Heart Leaf Bergengia), Iberis semperviens (Candytuft), Iris cristata (Crested Iris). Some plants like the Moss Phlox and Crested Iris are natives to North America while the Basket of Gold, Heart leaf Bergengia and Candytuft arrived from other continents. I always try to include the botanical names of the plants I talk about so if anyone falls in love with them, they will be easy to find. Common names are fun and picturesque, but often they reflect a region or a portion of a state, or just because someone thought it sounded good, but that doesn’t make it easy to find in a garden center. The native Phlox subulata or Moss Phlox comes in so many pastel spring colors — blues, pinks, blush and pure white. The plant is an evergreen groundcover that needs full sun and excellent drainage which is perfect for our sandy soils on the Eastern Shore. I love the fact that it starts to bloom sporadically in February and March, but comes into its full glory in April. Many perennials bloom only for two weeks, but the...

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Bulbs are ready to flower

March is a time for spring bulbs to spike out of the soil and unfurl into bloom. After months of cold, dark winter weather, seeing color in the garden is always a guarantee that spring is close. The bulbs that were planted in the fall have had time to go through their chilling period and are now ready to flower. The first to bloom of the early bulbs are the smallest of crocuses. Tiny cups of petals poke out about an inch high in lawns, deciduous woods and flower beds as soon as the temperatures in the soils warm up. The colors of crocus include pure white, pale- to bright-yellow and soft- to bright-purple. The earliest crocuses are often a soft shade of yellow and purple while the later, larger crocuses are colored more boldly and brightly. The grass — like leaves — can blend into the lawns and flower beds and last about a month after the crocuses bloom. Crocuses are long-lived bulbs if they are planted in well-drained soils with winter sunshine. Many areas in the country have gardens full of crocuses that have naturalized and have created a mass of color in the early spring. Chionodoxa or Glory of the Snow are either blue or a pure white, tiny flower bells that arch up out of the soil 2 to 3 inches tall. Snow Drops are...

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African violets offer fuzzy reception

African Violets (Saintpaulia) traditionally came with dark fuzzy green leaves and five blue-petal flowers. Plant breeders have enjoyed creating fuzzy green leaves that are edged with white, green and white splashed leaves and leaves that start out pink and green that mature to white and green. Most of the leaves are flat, but now there are some leaves that are wavy or even curly on the edges. These African Violets are always lovely to have in the home because they provide color and texture contrast even if the plants are not in bloom. The flowers that started out solid blue have also changed to lavender, purple, pink and shades of red. Some flowers are often a solid color, others are edged with pure white while others can come in blue and pinky-lavender colors swirled together or pure white with a splash of color in each petal. There are even some flowers that are white with a pink, blue or green edging. The petals that started out flat now have curly or crimped edges, and some have more than the five petals, making the flowers appear larger. The flowers are almost always held above the fuzzy green leaves in small clusters, with one to several clusters on each plant when in bloom. African Violets also come in standard size, up to 10-12 inches across, and miniature size plants that only grow...

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Bald cypress a faux evergreen

By Ginny Rosenkranz The Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) is an interesting native tree that looks like it should be an evergreen, but in the late fall of the year the slender green needles turn a soft cinnamon orange/brown color then fall completely off the tree, leaving it “bald.” This long lived conifer lives as far south as Florida, and as far west as Texas and grow very well in Maryland. It is one of the few trees that can live in the swamps and rivers, but can also grow beautifully on dry land. The tree trunks flare out at the base and if they grow in the water, the trees will also develop distinctive knobby root growths that are called “knees’”that grow in slender pyramids above the water. Whether growing in water or growing above ground, the trees can reach as much as 50-75 feet tall by 20-30 feet wide, so they will need room to grow! The bright yellow green leaves emerge early in the spring to mature into a soft sage green and are sometimes described as resembling feathers. The fibrous bark looks lovely in the winter with its attractive reddish brown color, and the small rounded cones start out green to purple then mature to brown. Although these beautiful trees do not make a good evergreen holiday tree, they add so much color and texture to the...

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Upcoming Events

  1. Chesapeake
 Memorial
 Exhibit

    April 3 - May 30
  2. Wetland
 Wandering

    April 26 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
  3. Spring
 Open
 House
 &
 Native 
Plant
 Sale

    April 27 @ 8:00 am - April 29 @ 5:00 pm
  4. 2nd
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 KART
 Klassic
 Golf
 Tournament

    April 27 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  5. 24th 
annual
 Oxford
 Day


    April 28