Garden Diary - June 2013

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Water Plants at Aquascapes

Off to Aquascapes. What does the name suggest to you - a water park, a landscape with water prominently featured, somewhere with water lilies?

. . . .

Well, yes. There are water lilies at Aquascapes Unlimited. That's not their focus though.

Native plants for wet places, and especially native insectivorous plants like this planting bed of Sarracenia flava.

Their plants, both species and hybrids, are raised from seed. The large numbers allow for variations
to show up - some uniformly chartreuse green, others embellished with burgundy veining.

. . . .

I like the veining. Was also impressed by these supersize plants. Perhaps they are developing a pest control variation.
These look large enough to swallow mice, don't you agree?

What also impressed me were the quality of their "weeds." Lovely pink bog orchids, Calopogon tuberosus

casually thriving among the sarracenia.


And if that's not sufficiently high quality weed for you, how about Calopogon tuberosus albus
mingling with Sarracenia leucophylla. Looks quite elegant to me.

And then there were some sarracenia with double flowers.

Insectivorous plants evolved in nutrient-poor sites. They get their nitrogen by digesting insects.
Venus flytraps close a modified hinged leaf to trap gnats and flies. Pitcher plants, Sarracenia have
a different kind of modified leaf, like a hollow tube with downward pointing hairs. Insects slip inside
and cannot climb out, drown in a pool of liquid, becoming a nitrogen-rich soup to nourish the plants.

And sundews, Drosera species, have sticky hairs that glisten in the daylight,
functioning like living flypaper to trap the insects.

Water hyacinth, Eichornia crassipes, is not a native, banned from inter-state sale, and fortunately not hardy in our area.
It floats on the surface of the water, pushed around by a breeze. Its mat of roots makes a spawning area for fish. It can
multiply so vigorously that the plants choke canals in Florida. Manatees eat it but alas, no manatees in Pennsylvania.


The real reason I'm here, sneaking in and playing Mata Hari (no trench coat) is to pick up
a pot of Hydrocotyle ranunculoides 'Crystal Ball' to trial as a container plant in my garden.
Here is a pdf of the press release. Aquascapes is a wholesale only nursery so it is not available
this year while they bulk up stock. Look for 'Crystal Ball' at your quality retail nurseries in 2014.

Aquascapes Unlimited. Waterlilies, yes, and also a diversity of other plants that like wet feet, anything from a wet meadow to a marsh, swamps to bogs and ponds.

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