Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winter Blooms in the Greenhouses

With the winter blahs upon us I thought I would share some images from the Powell Gardens' greenhouses. Though the greenhouses are closed to the public, these flowers will be on display in the conservatory for the fragrance display or on the grounds after March 15 (if Mother Nature agrees).

Danova Mix Primroses: the flowers are very nicely scented, especially the warmer colored flowers. These are a hybrid polyantha primrose that is occasionally a perennial in a protected, damp spot in the garden. I have had success with them in rain gardens sheltered on the east side of my house. As perennials they bloom in early spring.

Jester Mix Cineraria: also grown for the fragrance display in the conservatory. Cinerarias must have cool weather to prosper so are a great flower for a cool window or in spring containers outdoors. These are currently the Friends Membership bonus plants available at the Front Desk! If you come out and join or bring in your membership plant voucher you can pick one out to take home.

Cyclamen are also a very popular blooming plant for the cool season. They are the main color to the fragrance display.

Here is a first for our greenhouses: a blooming mango tree! Our grafted, dwarf mangoes are currently in flower and we hope that they will produce a few fruit. These plants will go outdoors into the new Heartland Harvest Garden for the summer and we will evaluate whether our hot summers will be long enough to ripen the fruit. Stay tuned....

A closeup of the mango flowers clearly shows their relation to our native sumacs! The flowers have the same richly pleasant scent and look nearly identical. Mangoes and sumac (and cashews and poison ivy) are in the Cashew Family Anacardiaceae. Some people have known allergies to this family. I find mangoes delicious and look forward to a successful ripening process on the fruit of our dwarf "condo" mango varieties.

Our 30 varieties of citrus are also in bloom: some are on display in the conservatory but others like this Citron will be moved into the Heartland Harvest Garden this summer. There is nothing like the sweet scent of citrus bloom! Most citrus fruit take nearly a year to ripen (some mandarins shorter, others longer!).

Our new banana "pups" are starting to grow and respond to the lengthening days. This is the Indian banana 'Raja Puri'. I don't think it will flower until next season (2010). In a couple years we hope to share home grown bananas that were overwintered in our greenhouses and put outdoors for the summer in the Heartland Harvest Garden.

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