JAPANESE MAPLE

Japanese red maple tree
Japanese maple

 

This splendiferous (yes, that is a real word) Japanese maple resides in Columbus, Ohio with my friend, Loysetta. She assures me the photo is untouched by photo editing software.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas with family and friends.

 

KILLER PINE CONES

WANNA CHUCKLE? Ginny and I have always joked, morbidly, about being killed by green, tightly closed...

Ginny and I have always joked, morbidly, about being killed by green, tightly closed pine cones falling from our pine trees. She dubbed them greenies.

There are several reasons that pine cones fall:

  • Over production by the tree
  • Damp conditions (closed scales)
  • Drought conditions (open scales)
  • Windy conditions
  • Stress (tree is dying)
  • Squirrel bombings

Don’t laugh at squirrel bombings. It happens. Whiskey, my cat, likes to keep me company while I work in the garden. A cat invasion of squirrel territory results in a warning ruckus. If ignored, one of the more militant of the bunch will heave a green pine cone larger than himself at my poor cat. At the same moment the pine cone hits the ground with a tremendous thud, mere inches from Whiskey, I see a blur of cat fur streak past my peripheral vision. I envy a cat’s speed and agility.

Not that speed and agility would do you much good when under attack by a greenie. They don’t exactly make those missile noises you hear on the Saturday cartoons. All is silent until that awful thud when it slams into the ground. If your head happens to be in the way, well, Ginny and I wonder about that.

It’s hard to determine what a greenie weighs. You can never get an accurate weight of something smaller than a human on the bathroom scale. In order to weigh a greenie, someone in my crowd, and I’m not saying it’s Ginny and I’m not saying it was me, took the greenie to the grocery store and surreptitiously weighed it on the produce scale. It was under a pound but we are still convinced it would be deadly when you add distance, velocity, and all that other scientific stuff. Think about what a 12-ounce jar of jam would do to you if it fell out of a tree and you can appreciate our concern about greenies.

In a quickie search of the web, I found no reported instances of Death by Greenie but in California, killer pine cones prompted loggers to nickname the Coulter pine cone “widow-makers.” A 10 pound, 16-inch long pine cone falling from 80 feet (or 30 feet if the tree is still growing), gives you the combination of height and size needed for a killer cone. Mention was also made of spiny claws encircling the pine cone to gouge you to death just in case the head impact failed to do the job. Nowadays, loggers wear hard hats in Coulter forests.

Australia has bunya pines that date back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods when dinosaurs roamed. Strangely, they are not pine trees but produce pine cones that are real head crushers at 22 pounds.

If you’ve got any tall tales about Greenies, I want to hear them.

MY MEYER LEMON TREE

I have begun to use my 2015 crop of Meyer lemons. This year’s crop of 5 is bigger than the 2014 crop of 3.  I am looking forward to a larger crop each year.

June 28, 2015
June 28, 2015 — 5 lemons

That is not a weed in the lemon pot. It’s a naturally occurring fern whose name I can’t remember.

October 21 - 4 left
October 21, 2015 – 4 left

 

What I have always liked about the Meyer lemon is the less astringent flavor. It doesn’t have the “pucker to the 10th power” like you get with grocery store lemons because it is a cross between a lemon and an orange. Meyer lemons were brought to the United States from China in 1908 by a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, Frank N. Meyer. He was responsible for over 2,500 plant introductions during his career.

This USDA link has a photo of Meyer and a Certificate he used to introduce himself in his travels.

The Meyer lemon was a carrier of the citrus tristeza virus and an ‘Improved Meyer Lemon’ was not developed until the 1950’s.

Here is a link to 100 things you can do with a Meyer lemon.

Like a lot of my articles, I will come back and add photos or more information. This article definitely needs a photo of the Meyer lemon blooms. With blogging, your work is never published “once and for all.” Blogging experts tell you to write a new post when you get new information on a subject but I don’t have that kind of personality. I want all nice and neat in one place.

JAPANESE KOUSA DOGWOOD

Ms. Priss introduced me to Japanese Kousa dogwood trees. I had never before seen or heard of them because they grow in Zones 5, 6, 7 and 8. In Atlanta, they bloom about a month after the other dogwoods and for about 6 weeks, gradually fading to pink. Oddly, they produce an edible red fruit in the fall which is favored more by birds than humans.

Here are some additional facts on Kousa dogwood:

  • Height: 15 ft. to 30 ft.
  • Spread: 10 ft. to 15 ft.
  • Hardiness Zones: 5 6 7 8
  • Growth Pace: Moderate Grower
  • Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Japanese Kousa dogwood close up-2351
Blooms are pointy instead of rounded

 

Very full Kousa in right-of-way along a street
Very full Kousa in right-of-way along a street

 

In front of a private home
In front of a private home

 

Two trees: one with white blooms,  one with cream-colored blooms
Two trees: one with white blooms,
one with cream-colored blooms

 

AZALEAS AND DOGWOODS

Continuing with my show and tell from the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Callaway Gardens, I offer you a number of photos.  They grow rhododendrons rather than azaleas.

Rhododendron 'Stonewall Jackson'
Rhododendron ‘Stonewall Jackson’
native azalea red-2193
rhododendron
pink rhododendron
pink rhododendron
I think of this as a native azalea but I think it was tagged as a rhododendron
I think of this as a native azalea
I think it was tagged as a rhododendron
see the difference in the bloom structure?
see the difference in the bloom structure?
white dogwood tree at the Cascades  Atlanta Botanical Garden
white dogwood tree at the Cascades
Atlanta Botanical Garden
same tree close up
same tree close up
white dogwood bloom
white dogwood bloom
pink dogwood
pink dogwood Callaway Gardens

 

pink dogwood - Atlanta
pink dogwood – Atlanta
pink dogwood in shade
pink dogwood in shade
darker pink dogwood in sun
darker pink dogwood in sun