A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 69 – St. John’s Wort

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“St. Johns Wort” – Summer 2013 – The Garden Table – 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…

Snow again… Damn… I’m sorry… And I don’t use this word lightly… But… Mother Nature can be a cruel bitch sometimes… I’m just sayin…

Hypericum perforatum… Commonly known as “St John’s Wort”… Is a herbaceous-perennial that is well-known as an over-the-counter supplement… Though I consider it an ornamental herb… Honestly… The amount of time and work that go into the preparation of this herb for consumption are rather limiting… I believe this is the reason the supplement has managed to go mainstream while the plant has not…

St. John’s Wort is a care free and work free plant… It requires no water making it a perfect plant for the xeriscape… About the only recommendation I can personally make is to give it a heavy pruning first thing in the spring… SJW grows a profuse number of stems throughout the year… As they grow they eventually flop over onto the ground… SJW that has not been pruned will form a tangled clump… Although this really doesn’t affect the plant negatively… It will create more work for you in the future… I always recommend regular maintenance of all plants… At the very least you should give every plant in your garden a once-over at least once a year…

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A few days last week our temperatures climbed above freezing… I took the opportunity to spend a little time on the lot where I am putting my new guerrilla garden this year… Sadly… The ground was still frozen… I wasn’t able to plant my apple tree… Which is symbolic because in the pioneer days of the United States… A requirement of land ownership was that the owner must plant an apple tree… Only after the apple tree was planted was the land officially considered owned…

A big part of what I do when I am planning to guerrilla garden an entire lot is observation… I have observed this lot for two years now… I know it’s ins and outs… I know where every mouse lives… I know where the tires are buried… I have excavated and identified all four corners of the now torn down homes foundation… I am ready to go…

All I need now is for mother nature to get on board… I want to dig the “urban-wetland” and the channel that will feed it from the neighbors gutters before the spring rains come… I also need to dig my production beds in the rear of the lot…

I need the thaw… I need spring… Because I am running out of steam…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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

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 68 – Toad Lily

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“Tricyrtis on Grid” – Summer 2013 – The Garden Table – Rebecca Avenue – 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…

This post got away from me quick… Toad Lily is a slow grower… It remains boring for most of the year… Towards the end of Summer it begins to bloom… This plant really only requires shade… No water… Fertilizer… Or even care… If anything it could benefit from a bloom boosting fertilizer around… Say Mid-August… But other than that it is one care-free momma…

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Toad Lily is another favorite of my girlfriend… We were hanging out at our favorite local farm/nursery “Soergel Orchards in Wexford, PA” a few summers ago… They are close friends of ours and honestly… They have done so much to help my efforts in the neighborhood… Well… The idea of buying anything “garden related” from anyone else just sickens us a little bit… Anyway… Towards the back of a row of perennials was a pot with a single white flower… From 50′ away I knew what it was… And I knew I had to have it…

Aware of the rarity of this particular plant (not actually rare)… And the high value of it (3 for $15.95)… I knew I would not be the only being in search of this particular specimen… I casually stepped away from the group… Never making eye contact with anyone… And never putting eyes on the plant as it could possibly give away the position of the object of my desire…

Although the walk was only 50’… It felt like 50 miles… Every crack in the pavement a canyon… Every insect an enemy… Nothing was going to stand between me and my destiny… Towards the end of the row I met my first road-block… A group of older ladies stopped me in my tracks… They will not let me pass unless I can answer a few questions… Number one… Do I work here? (I always get asked this anytime I am in a nursery – everywhere I go – I guess I just look the part) And number two… What is this plant? I answered with a smiling “no”… Then I answered the other question… And then all the rest of their questions…

After a few moments of this… They were satisfied with my answers to their riddles and let me pass… I had finally made it to my toad lily… And to my surprise… There were three of them… Only one had a blossom… All three were perfect… As I sat clutching the three plants I heard a gasp over my shoulder… As I read the name on the tag “Tricyrtis”… One of the ladies I was just talking to muttered the same word at the same time I was reading it… “Tricyrtis”…

Before I could grab my plants and run… I was again surrounded… Questions were flying… Stories were shared… Memories were brought up… And before I knew it I was out my three plants… I was bummed about losing my plants… But the woman had gained a memory… And three conversation plants…

As I accepted defeat and walked back to my girlfriend with my head low… The owner of the farm asked what was going on with me and the ladies… I smiled and told him I lost my Toad Lily… He pointed up the hill and asked if I had looked up in the other perennial aisle…

Guess who got his toad lily? This guy… Wait… Wait… Wait… That won’t go over well… Guess who got “her” Toad Lily?

My girlfriend…

And guess who gets to take care of them?

This guy…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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

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 67 – Sweet Autumn Clematis

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“Sweet Autumn Clematis” – Summer/Fall 2013 – Whitney Avenue – 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…

Clematis terniflora… Or the name I prefer… “Sweet Autumn Clematis”… I mean really… Who in the hell wants to call a plant “Clematis terniflora”… When it has such a beautifully descriptive common name… Sweet Autumn Clematis… In my mind… Sweet Autumn Clematis is a plant of seasonal memories… It is a plant of poetry… It is a plant of Autumn

In most places this plant is now considered an invasive weed… I have seen the base of this vine reach a massive size… And it doesn’t take long to grow to that size… 4 or 5 years of uncontrolled growth will produce a huge amount of plant material… SAC is a profuse bloomer… Each of those blossoms produces 4 to 6 feather-topped seeds… These seeds are designed to travel… I often find SAC growing up in the branches of trees… It is not uncommon to find thousands of seedlings directly downwind (East) of the tree…

Sweet Autumn Clematis has a wicked taproot… When it is young it is easy to pull… But after it has put on a set of mature leaves it becomes difficult… If you break the plant off above the crown it will rapidly re-sprout a bunch of new shoots… The only way to kill it at this point is sever the crown from the roots… The easiest way to do this is with a garden spade pushed into the earth at a 45 degree angle… Sever all the roots… Remove and dispose of the crown…

Although I am aware of the invasive tendencies of this plant… I still grow it… In fact… It is one of my favorite late bloomers… I have SAC strategically planted around the house (I live in an apartment but my landlady lets me garden the hell out of it)… In the autumn months when SAC is in bloom the AC unit comes down and the windows are open… I fall asleep to the scent of Sweet Autumn Clematis on a nightly basis…

Control and maintenance is surprisingly simple… It is important to remember that SAC is not your typical Clematis… It can handle serious abuse… I brutally prune mine all through the spring and summer… I like them to grow in very specific locations… Anytime a new runner starts to grow I cut it off… The result is a long stem that leads to a pom-pom of green-leaves… I will prune it up until the end of summer… Because of my pruning efforts I also get a more concentrated area of blooms… This summer I plan on actually bringing the front yard clematis up to my window when it begins to bloom… I have been planning for this for 4 years… I am 90% sure I trained enough stem to get it up there…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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

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 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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