Sunday, March 26, 2023

Plant Story - Lettuce, Lactuca sativa

Let us talk about lettuce.

garden lettuce, Lactuca sativa
garden lettuce, Lactuca sativa, in a garden

Lettuce is easily overlooked and yet it is one of the top ten vegetables, traded, grown, or eaten. Americans ate an average of 12.7 pounds of lettuce each in 2021 and 25.8 pounds per person in 2015. It is the world's most important salad crop. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Plant Confusions: Hellebores, Helleborus and Veratrum species

The common name hellebore is confusing because three quite different plants are called hellebore or false hellebore. They're in the genera Helleborus, Veratrum and Adonis. Helleborus is just hellebore, Veratrum and Adonis are false hellebores, but of course sometimes the "false" is dropped. 

hellebore, Helleborus
hellebore, Helleborus

All three are poisonous plants that have been used medicinally as purges, to cause vomiting and diarrhea. All three are sufficiently toxic as to be dangerous. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Gardens and Natives: Colorado is Distinct from the East

I attended Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants conference in February. I came away very conscious of all the differences in gardening between our region and other places, especially the eastern U.S. If you want to grow Colorado natives, they recommended planting in a thick layer of crushed gravel (stone!), adding no fertilizer, washing off the potting soil to plant plants bare-rooted, and within a year, reducing water to once per week or once per month or not at all (that is, depending on rain and snow for water).  

natural vegetation, Colorado grassland
 natural vegetation, Colorado grasslands

We imported our idea of landscape and garden mainly from settlers who came from Kansas or Iowa or Kentucky or Pennsylvania.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Plant Story: Christmas Rose, Lenten Rose, Helleborus

Hellebores, also called the Lenten roses and Christmas roses, Helleborus species, are early spring garden flowers. 

Lenten rose, Helleborus
Lenten rose, Helleborus