Category: Ginny Rosenkranz

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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Winterberry preparing for winter show

by Ginny Rosenkranz Ilex verticillata, also known as winterberry, is a beautiful native holly whose leaves turn a soft yellow in the fall before it loses all its leaves in November to display a huge number of large, brilliant berries that shine in the garden for practically all winter long. This lovely holly thrives in full sun to partial shade in average to wet soils, similar to what is found in the non-tidal marshes and along the stream banks or any poorly drained soils. The female plants are able to bloom on new spring growth — so for the best and...

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