- Orchids at Atlanta Botanical Garden: 7 days ago
- A future praying mantis? Wordless Wednesday: 19 days ago
- Deep Red Cyclamen – Wordless Wednesday: 26 days ago
- Winter Windowsill Coleus - Wordless Wednesday: 1 month and 16 days ago
- Winterberry after first snow–Wordless Wednesday: 3 months and 11 days ago
- Categories: Sites to see (RSS), Wordless Wednesday (RSS)
- Tags: Atlanta Botanic Garden (RSS), Chihuly sculpture (RSS), Wordless Wednesday (RSS)
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A quick trip through Atlanta provided just enough time to stroll through the Atlanta Botanic Garden's Orchid Display House. While I'm not an orchid grower, what gardener and flower lover can resist enjoying the warmth of a tropical atrium and orchid display house during the winter doldrums of February?
In sharing these images I hope you let your imagination wander away from the cold and snow that still envelops Connecticut and much of the rest of the U.S. Think warm humidity, tropical plants dripping with dew, vibrant colors, and intricately beautiful blossoms.
A sign in the Orchid Display House offers some orchid background. Read it to better understand the images that follow.
But don't expect any orchid growing advice … I have none. Just allow yourself to get lost in orchid beauty.
Atlanta Botanic Garden's Orchid Display House is filled with specimens from Madagascar, Ecuador, Australia, Central America, Mexico, and Asia. Click the link to learn more.
Each orchid face is so unique … each has it's own personality.
One can almost imagine the orchids coming to life and throwing parties when humans are not around.
There is no way for me to choose a favorite … or even narrow those most liked down to a few. It's easy to understand how growing orchids can become an obsession.
Should you manage to visit Atlanta Botanic Gardens for more than a quick tour, they offer guided tours and orchid care clinics. There's an Orchid Market Weekend planned April 5-6 for purchasing locally grown orchids and supplies.
But don't limit yourself to just the orchid display. Atlanta Botanic Garden has multiple outdoor gardens and plant collections including a rose garden, a Japanese garden, a conifer garden, an edible garden, a children's garden and strolling paths leading to lovely sites. It's definitely worthy of repeat visits at all times of the year but, to a winter weary northerner, the orchid house is divine.
If my latest Winter Review post, Are you invasive species savvy? did not offer ample links for learning about Connecticut's invasive plants, check this guide. Once you can identify invasive plants, and likely have learned your landscape contains at least one, it's time to learn how to properly dispose invasive plants.
Connecticut's DEEP and the University of Connecticut developed Guidelines for Disposal of Terrestrial Invasive Plants. Not all invasive plants are treated equally when it comes to disposal. The guidelines noted above are the most comprehensive I've found to date and provide valuable information on the proper disposal of terrestrial invasive plants.
Based on these guidelines and my own experience, these are the most important rules to follow when removing and disposing of invasive plants from a home landscape.
Rule #1: DON'T ADD INVASIVE PLANTS TO YOUR COMPOST PILE! This refers to the compost you intend to spread back into planting beds. Home compost piles often don't get hot enough to destroy all seeds/roots. When spreading home compost to planting beds you don't want to also spread still viable seeds/roots from any invasive plant.
Rule #2: R-read Rule #1.
Rule #3: Read the guidelines, print them, bookmark the link, and refer to the guidelines regularly.
Rule #4: Repeat Rule #3.
As an Organic Land Care Professional caring for home landscapes, I do not advocate the use of chemicals for control of invasive plants. Instead, I suggest vigilant observation for invasive species, followed by cutting, pulling, smothering, and/or burning, followed by vigilant observation and re-cutting, re-pulling, re-smothering, and/or re-burning as needed.
Catching invasive plants when they are still young, removing them, and regularly rechecking for re-sprouts, is the best control method and the easiest way to prevent invasive plants from taking hold. I do invasive plant patrols on our nearly three acres of home gardens and woods in early spring, late spring/early summer, mid-summer, late-summer, and before a killing frost. These patrols have proved to be as important as weeding in my cultivated beds.
For small, invasive woody shrubs, vines and trees, I use the pull-out-all-roots and leave-to-dry method. The key is in getting all the roots. I often leave the pulled plant to dry atop a fallen tree , then target the areas where invasives were found for continued re-checking for new sprouts. This is particularly important for Japanese barberry, as it aggressively regenerates from the slightest piece of root left in the soil.
When I spot a large number of newly sprouted invasive plants - think Oriental bittersweet seedlings that sprout each spring under trees after birds have deposited partially digested seeds during winter roosting visits to the tree's upper branches - I collect pulled seedlings in a plastic bag (I reuse large plastic bags from prior mulch, compost, or soil amendment purchases). Letting bagged seedlings bake in the sun for a week or so kills seeds/roots then the bags go into the trash.
This is my preferred disposal method for Japanese Stilt Grass seedlings and plants (left photo), bittersweet seedlings, garlic mustard, and any small weed in flower.
After weeding out young invasives – or any weeds - be sure to follow the standard good-gardening practice of covering exposed/disturbed soil with some sort of mulch.
Larger invasive plants, such as bittersweet vines that have climbed into trees, can be cut to prevent further growth, leaving cut remains on site to dry. But cut trunks/stems must be monitored for re-growth. And … if the invasive has produced flowers or seeds, the area must be regularly checked for newly sprouted seedlings. Non-flowering, non-seeding woody plant material can be chipped, left in place, or used to create a brush pile as habitat for woodland birds and creatures.
Japanese barberry requires repeated monitoring and managing of regrowth. This video shows how torching is used for Japanese Barberry control, but this method requires specific precautions and is not recommended for everyone.
The proper management and disposal of invasive plant material is best determined by the location, age, size, flowering status, and reproductive ability of each invasive. To keep invasive plants from spreading and overtaking your landscape you need to make monitoring and control a regular gardening task … just like weeding.
Invasive plant control can seem a daunting task, but keep at it … the more diligent you are in controlling invasive plants in your landscape the less time you will ultimately need to spend controlling them.
February 23 to 28, 2014 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week … take this opportunity to learn more about invasive species in your area.
- Winter Review: are you invasive species savvy?: 11 days ago
- Learn About Gardening, Small-Scale Farming – CT NOFA Winter Conference: 21 days ago
- White Blooms, Red Blooms – Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: 23 days ago
- It’s berry time in bluebird land.: 1 month ago
- Winter Review: Microclimates: 1 month and 20 days ago
- Categories: Gardening (RSS), Invasives (RSS), Techniques (RSS)
- Tags: CTDEEP (RSS), gardening in Connecticut (RSS), invasive plant disposal (RSS), National Invasive Species Awareness Week (RSS), UConn (RSS)