A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 66 – Wingstem

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“Wingstem – Trailside” – Summer 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

I chose todays plant because last year I collected seeds… I then “relocated” them to my neighborhood… The way I figure it… All of the abandoned land already grows as tall as a meadow… Instead of fighting this neck-high mess with power tools… I’ll engineer it to be beneficial… I’ll engineer it to be beautiful…

Plant names can be confusing as hell sometimes… A few years ago I became obsessed with wildflowers… I spent a large amount of time photographing and identifying them… I spent nights on the computer flipping through photographs and information… A site I continuously found myself browsing is MyWildflowers… I learned a lot from this website and the fact that you can search using color is a great feature…

I am still learning about this plant… In fact… I won’t know a damn thing about growing it till the end of this coming summer… So I am going to give you a few links to check out…

Actinomeris alternifolia – From MyWildflowers.com – Notice the name…

Verbesina alternifolia – From Wikipedia – Same as above… Up to date name…

Verbesina alternifolia – USDA – When in doubt…

Verbesina alternifolia – University of Wisconsin – I always try to end on a .edu website…

And that is how I research a plant on the internet… Something I am going to be doing for the rest of the day… That and starting seeds… My White Sage germinated yesterday… One step closer to “smudge stick” bliss… And my PawPaw seeds are stratified… And I have a ton of them… I may have to sell a few for seed money… I need a new garden spade too… I have champagne dreams on a Thunderbird budget… Lucky for me I at least have a green thumb…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbesina

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 65 – Chicory

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“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Chicory is considered a weed by many… Not in my book… I love the blue coloring of the flowers… Similar to the sky but a slightly different hue… If you lay on the ground and look up at the flowers they will disappear against the blue… I have been searching the roadsides and parks for a pink flowering chicory… They are rare and I want one…

Chicory can handle abuse in a way few other plants can… Flowering occurs at any height… Even when growing in a regularly mowed lawn… I often see it flowering next to plants that are 4′ tall… In the garden it can be pruned like any ornamental plant…

The roots of Chicory are baked and ground into a coffee substitute… It can be found in most grocery stores in the coffee aisle… Typically it is labeled as a “coffee extender”…

Belgian Endive is also a type of chicory… Though it is cultivated for its leaves instead of the roots…

I hope everyone has a good Saturday… I wish I had more time to type… But I don’t…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickory

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 64 – Cuckoo Flower

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“Cuckoo on Ice” – Whitney Avenue/Hamnett Way – Wilkinsburg, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Cardamine pratensis… My arch nemesis… I swear to god I have it growing out of my ass… Say what you want about this little guy… I hate it…

The seeds of the “Cuckoo Flower” germinate in the fall… They then quickly establish before the first freeze… CF will then go dormant and live quietly under the snow waiting for an opportunity to awaken… When the spring thaw occurs this plant comes to life… It is a quick grower… Often flowering with the spring Daffodils… After flowering the seeds form… and the cycle repeats…

Although CF is considered a good weed in some circles due to it being thought of as an early season pollen source… I personally consider it an invasive… The seeds are like little rockets… When disturbed they shoot 20′ away from the plant… After a day pulling CF it is not uncommon to find seeds all through your hair… Flowering can occur on any size plant… So don’t think you can just pull the large ones and leave the small ones for another day… By the time you return they will have already set seed…

As annoying as this plant is I have a few tricks to aid in removal… I often use a cheap leaf rake… I have tried stiffer rakes but find they dig too deep… CF only needs lightly pulled because the roots are very shallow… A cheap garden rake run over a patch a few times will typically clear 90%… The rest can then be easily pulled…

Cuckoo Flower is edible… The leaves have a peppery taste… I think the leaves that have been under ice all winter taste better than the summer leaves… They tend to taste a little sweeter… Just my opinion…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardamine_pratensis

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 63 – Hens-and-Chicks

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“First Plant Photograph of 2014 – Sempervivum tectorum” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – We are experiencing temperatures in the 50’s after a long cold spell… The snow pack is finally melting… I managed to find some life in yesterdays sunshine… Expect my first gallery of the year soon…

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

I want to start this off by mentioning the common name “Hens-and-Chicks” is shared by quite a few plants… True “Hens-and-Chicks” are members of the Crassulacea family… The name is also used by plants in the genus “Sempervivum” and “Jovibarba“…  Though these plants are technically different… For the purpose of this post they will all be lumped into one group…

The plant photographed above is – Sempervivum tectorum

Now… I’d be willing to bet most of the gardeners reading this post have grown “Hens-and-Chicks” (A.K.A “Hens-and-Biddles” in the Southern States of the U.S.) at one time or another… HAC is an effortless plant to grow… They are a succulent so watering is rarely needed… They do not require fertilizer… Ever… And they can grow in sun or shade… The patch will be fuller in the sun… And they will never bloom in the shade… But they will grow…

The mature plants (Hens) send out runners with new plants on them (chicks)… These can be cut off and transplanted or shared easily… The roots are extremely shallow… Because of this they can be a bit difficult in high-traffic areas of the garden… They are very easily disturbed… Although they can handle occasional abuse… Regular abuse will kill them… Kids seem to be drawn to these plants… They always want to pick them up… If you have small children they may have to be reminded a few times of the fact that these plants are not toys…

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Today is expected to be in the 50’s here in Pittsburgh, PA… So…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hen_and_chicks

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 62 – Verbena

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“Framed Verbena” – Summer 2013 – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

So a few years ago a friend of mine handed me a plant… It was 4′ tall and bare-root… It had obviously been out of the ground for a while as it was rather desiccated… After a brief introduction… I threw it in a 5-gallon bucket full of fresh water for an hour… Cut the entire plant in half and threw it in the garden…

This is a good opportunity for me to talk about one of the most important aspects of gardening… Transportation and transplanting… When it comes to sharing transplants from your garden there are steps that can be taken to ensure the plant survives to grace another garden…

It is always best to dig the plants roots out in a single undisturbed ball of soil… But this is not always possible… The second best thing is to carefully remove the plant and some of the soil around it… I keep a bunch of cut-up white t-shirts to wrap the roots and loose soil in… I then soak it like a tea-bag… Transportation is relatively easy… If your only option is to go bare-root… Then it is imperative you keep the roots soaked… Again… The white t-shirts make a good temporary root surround…

The first year of growth is rather boring… A single 5′ tall plant… Very thin and sparsely leaved… I was told it was a voracious self-seeding plant… I personally like to control where these types of plants lay their seeds… So when the flowers are spent I pin the flower head to the ground using a ground-staple in the location I want next years plants to grow… This works like a charm…

Verbena is borderline invasive… It sets a massive amount of seeds… Growing it requires a little respect and a lot of observation… As summer comes to a close the flowers will begin to brown a bit… This is a sign the seeds are in production… What I recommend is a brutal pruning… Be meticulous… Each flower-cluster produces hundreds of seeds… If you want more to grow the following year… Leave a few select flowers… Just be aware that the seeds are extremely viable… They will grow almost anywhere… In any condition…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbena

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 61 – Brown-Eyed Susan

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“Brown-Eyed – Surrounded” – Summer 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

One of my favorite wildflower memories from last year was a product of the photograph above… I was carefully working my way into a massive expanse of golden flowers in an attempt to take a few macros… Right around the time I got to the middle of the patch the wind started to pick up… As the flowers began to dance the feeding honeybees took flight… I guess since I was the only object not uncontrollably swaying in the wind… I became the preferred landing zone…

As I stood nervously covered in nervous honeybees… I suddenly became calm… The bees had no intentions of stinging me… They were just happy to have found a safe spot to rest until the wind relaxed… After a little while the wind relaxed long enough for the bees to resume their duties… It was right around this point that I came back to reality and realized I had a camera in my hand… I was kind of blown away at what had just happened… I took out the camera and snapped a single photograph of the expanse of flowers I was sitting in and made my way home… I had forgotten about that day until last night when I came across this photograph…

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Brown-Eyed Susan… Black-Eyed Susan… Any of the Rudbeckias really… Are very easy plants to grow… In fact… Wildflowers are some of the easiest… Specifically the types that flourish in full sun… These types of flowers are designed to thrive in neglect… Oftentimes surviving periods of extended drought without showing a single sign of stress… When someone responds to me by saying they do not have a green thumb… My reply is always look to nature for the answer…

Mother nature… Though she can be a huge bitch sometimes… She isn’t a stupid one… She has created plants for almost every climate on our planet… Now… I would be willing to bet that your garden matches at least one of those climates… Right… Armed with this information plant selection is only a few mouse clicks away…

I’m not sure what to say about this plant as far as the garden is concerned… It is perennial most of the time… I would go as far as calling it a tender perennial… Although it can survive most winters… A harsh winter will often kill it… Because of this Rudbeckia’s are voracious self-seeding plants… Each flower produces mass quantities of extremely viable seeds… This is basically the plants way of saying it will survive regardless of conditions…

Collection of seeds occurs in the fall… They can be sown on the surface of freshly prepared soil… I prefer to do this before the first snowfall… But it can also be done in the early spring… I prefer doing it before the snowfall because that is when it would happen in the forest… Like I said before… And will continue to say for the rest of my life… If you have a garden question… Ask nature before you ask anyone else… 9 out of 10 times you will find your answer… And experience something magical in the process…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudbeckia_triloba

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 60 – Heal-All

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“Heal-All” – Summer 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Today is my birthday… But I prefer to think of it as my b-earth-day… And after 34 of them I can say without a doubt… I could live without them… But social conventions dictate I at least mention it… So yay for me…

Todays plant is the super sexy Prunella vulgaris… Though I prefer the common name “Heal-All”… I have also heard it called “Self-Heal”…

Heal-Al is not really one of those plants people take note of… It is rather small… The flowers are light-purple and insignificant… This plant will grow in almost condition… In fact… It is actually considered a weed in much of its range… Not exactly invasive… But when found growing in the garden 9 out of 10 people would pull it… And that’s why I chose it today… Because… That’s how I feel much of the time…

Heal-All is a magical plant… It is edible…It is a medicine… It has been utilized by Native-Americans throughout history… And yet 99% of us would step on it without even giving it a second thought…

I want to go on ahead and say I am not trying to suggest we do anything different… A plant growing where it is not supposed to grow is technically a weed… Heal-All also seems to actively spread seeds… When I find a patch of seedlings I rarely find just one… They grow in a thick mat wherever they germinate… And honestly… I pull it out all the time from clients properties… But I also strategically let some grow… It just takes a little bit of observation to pull the flowers off before they go to seed… Though the shallow rooted seedlings are easy to pull…

That’s it… Like I said… It’s my birthday and I have things to do…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunella_vulgaris

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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