Archive for the ‘Flora Watch’ Category

March Flora Watch

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

I took a walk this past Saturday around N.C. State’s campus, J.C. Raulston Arboretum, and my own Gorman Street to see what’s what right now in the landscape. I’m not sure if we’re safely out of danger from frost yet between the alternating snow and eighty-degree weather, but it’s definitely spring. I saw lots of yellow and white blossoms plus the beginnings of new leaves of a lot of the shrubs and some of the trees. By the way, the stinky-but-pretty (and overplanted, frankly) bradford pears ([Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford']) are also in bloom so that’s probably the source of any random smells of decay.

Highlights from the [flickr photoset]:

<i>Narcissus willkommii</i>

Narcissus willkommii

<i>Artemisia</i>

Artemisia (wormwood)

<i>Crocus vernus</i>

Crocus vernus

<i>Fatsia japonica</i>

Fatsia japonica (aralia)

<i>Forsythia</i> X <i>intermedia</i>

Forsythia X intermedia (spring forsythia)

<i>Hammamelis virginiana</i> 'Sunburst'

Hammamelis virginiana 'Sunburst' (witch hazel)

<i>Hyacinthus orientalis</i> 'Blue Festival'

Hyacinthus orientalis 'Blue Festival'

<i>Iberis sempervirens</i>

Iberis sempervirens (candytufts)

<i>Lonicera fragrantissima</i> (fragrant winter honeysuckle)

Lonicera fragrantissima (fragrant winter honeysuckle)

<i>Magnolia</i> X <i>soulangiana</i> (saucer magnolia)

Magnolia X soulangiana (saucer magnolia)

<i>Phlox subulata</i> (moss pinks)

Phlox subulata (moss pinks)

<i>Berberis julianae</i>

Berberis julianae (wintergreen barberry)


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J.C. Raulston Arboretum: Early Spring

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

My cockatiel and I visited N.C. State’s J.C. Raulston Arboretum this Thursdy afternoon to see what’s going on. Besides being a public garden, the Arboretum is used to research, outreach, and plant trials (among other things). It’s free and open to the public and right behind the Waffle House on Hillsborough Street–and I can never say no to waffles and flowers.

Right now there are some showy winter plants and early spring bloomers adding color around the grounds–I took a ton of pictures! I also sought out some old favorites to track as they leaf out and set fruit. I spent I don’t know how many hours there as an undergrad. I’m planning to take pictures at fixed points around the Arboretum so I can see how it changes throughout the seasons.

So many things looked beautiful. Many of the hollies are in full berry and some of the trees (like [this flame willow]) have incredibly striking bark to show off. There are a bunch of pictures up in [this Flickr photoset] but here are some highlights:

<i>Prunus</i> 'First Lady'

Prunus 'First Lady' (flowering cherry)

<i>Pieris japonica</i>

Pieris japonica (Japanese andromeda)

<i>Ilex cornuta</i> 'D'Or'

Ilex cornuta 'D'Or' (yellow berry Chinese holly)

In the Winter Garden

In the Winter Garden

Xeriscape garden

Xeriscape garden

<i>Iris reticulata</i> 'Spring Time'

Iris reticulata 'Spring Time'


<i>Edgeworthia chrysantha</i> 'Winter Gold'

Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Winter Gold' (golden paperbush)


<i>Daphne odora</i>

Daphne odora (winter daphne)


<i>Poncirus trifoliata</i> 'Flying Dragon'

Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon' (hardy contorted orange)


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April is going to be a fabulous month. I’m really excited for the annual trial beds to get into full swing–daisies, grasses, ornamental veggies… It’s a great place in Raleigh to get some new ideas.

February Flora Watch

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

This is an aside, but I noticed a few of my favorite early spring bloomers are coming into flower over the last couple days.

This is a yellow crocus blooming in front of my boyfriend’s house. I planted a set of these in fall 2007 and adore them. Even when the brief flowers wither, the slender leaves persist like a delicate grass.Crocus species are in the iris family are not true bulbs–they overwinter as a specialized stem called a [corm]. The stigma (female reproductive structure) of Crocus sativus is dried to become the coveted spice saffron.

Carolina yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is a climbing vine that is also the state flower of South Carolina. Its yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers are fragrant and abundant, contrasting with the slightly glossy, dark green leaves. Once you know what it is, you’ll see it everywhere (and I hope you will). This clump was planted near the corner of North and Glenwood Streets in downtown Raleigh. There’s also a really stunning planting of jessamine on the arbor in front of Withers Hall on the N.C. State campus.

The flowering cherries/almonds/apricots (Prunus species) are coming out! Most of the flowering apricots (Prunus mume) just finished their flowering cycle so I hope to have some pictures of their fruit set later in the season. Either way, I saw some beautiful cherry trees (either Prunus campanulata ‘Okame’ or Prunus ‘First Lady’) when I was in Cameron Village Tuesday. The pears, peaches, and crabapples should start showing signs of flower soon as well. I can’t wait for the kwanzan cherry (Prunus serrulata) my boyfriend and I planted together to come into its own in a few months.