Clerodendrum trichotomum

Another intriguing flower.

Clerodendrum trichotomum Verbenaceae
Harlequin Glorybower, Peanut Butter Tree

Native to Japan, Harlequin glory bower is gorgeous deciduous shrub or small tree. It grows up to 10 ft tall. Leaves are usually entire, opposite, ovate-elliptic, triangular-ovate, or ovate, 5-16 2-13 cm, dark green, soft hairy. When bruised, they have the odor of peanut butter, hence the common name Peanut butter shrub. Flowers start as cream colored buds, then open as soft pink/white. Flowers are borne in clusters which branch into 3, hence the species name trichotomum. Flowers have a long, narrow tube, up to 1 inch long, which opens into 5 petals, about half an inch long. Stamens are 4, very long and prominently protruding out of the flowers, carrying large oblong anthers. The sepal cup is initially greenish, gradually swelling into a magenta. Fruit is 4-lobed, shining dark blue, round, surrounded by enlarged reddish-magenta sepals. Blooms are very fragrant and attract mobs of butterflies. Flowering: August-November.

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Chinese Dogwood

This a specimen of Cornus kousa var. chinensis

The dogwoods, Cornus, comprise a small genus of around 65 species of mostly deciduous shrubs and small trees from northern temperate grasslands, woodlands and swamps.

Cornus are extensively grown for a wide range of ornamental effects. Dogwoods such as Cornus alba and C. stolonifera are prized for their brilliant autumn foliage, handsome fruits and outstanding winter beauty provided by colourful stems which range in colour from yellow, crimson and almost black-purple.

The flowering dogwoods such as C. florida, C. kousa and C. nuttallii are also grown for their stunning autumn colour but it is their large white or pink bracts produced in early summer for which the group is most celebrated.

Cornus kousa var. chinensis
Introduced in 1907 from China, as the name suggests, Cornus kousa var. chinensis differs from typical C. kousa in its taller, more open habit, usually forming a small tree.

Cornus kousa var. chinensis reaches up to 7m (23ft) tall with a trunk of flaky bark and dark green leaves which turn a deep crimson-purple in autumn. In early summer green flowers are borne in inflorescences up to 1cm across. These are surrounded by four large tapered bracts, 5cm (2in) long, which open creamy white and then turn white before eventually fading to red-pink.

The flowers are followed by deep crimson, strawberry-like fruits.

Cornus kousa var. chinensis should be grown as a specimen tree in a fertile, humus-rich, neutral to acid soil in a location in full sun or partial shade. It is not recommended for poor, shallow, chalk soils.

Cornus kousa is best left to develop with a central-leader or as a branched-head standard with minimal intervention. Gradually clear a short trunk when young by pruning in the autumn or spring and then keep pruning to an absolute minimum. Dead wood should be removed after flowering but care must be taken not to damage the twiggy flowering growth. Cornus kousa does not tolerate hard pruning.

Cornus are rarely affected by pests and diseases, though some may suffer from Cornus anthracnose. This fungal infection is most prevalent in cool, damp weather, with infections showing as spots appearing on the leaves in late spring or early summer. As the infection develops patches of dieback may appear and in severe cases the plant may die. To stop the infection spreading the affected branches should be pruned out and burnt.

Cornus kousa var. chinensis propagates well by seed which should be cold stratified when ripe and sown the following spring.

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What a beauty!

Shaving brush tree

Native to Mexico, the Shaving Brush is a large deciduous tree to about 30 feet suitable down to 20 degrees

Desired for it's unique brush-like flowers in late winter, the leaves are an attraction as well. Leaves are first bright red turning into a lush green as they mature.

With minimal water requirements, this is a excellent shade tree as well as a show stopper bloomer. Flowers have silky pink stamens topped with yellow pollen. A delight for hummingbirds. This tree is suitable for bonsai treatment as well.

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We have Adenium Babies

I used my favorite mixed Thai seed assortment in hope for another batch of double Adenium.

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Make Your Own Liquid Herbal Extract

Peppermint, Rosemary, Green Tea, Stevia, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger…..or whatever else you have in mind.

This recipe is the simplest way to make your own liquid herbal extracts in your own home.

Start with a clean jar that has a tight fitting lid and the herbs of your choice. If you can use fresh herbs, then fabulous! Fresh material is always preferred but availability is determined by your local bio-region, climate, etc and many quality herbs may not be available.

If you cannot locate fresh materials, be sure to get good quality, organic herbs from a reputable supplier.

Note: Try not to use powdered herbs; they will be difficult to filter out in the end and the debris will settle in your final product.

  • If using fresh material: Chop the herbs finely. Then put in the glass jar. Next, pour a good, strong grain alcohol or Vodka over the herbs, completely covering the herbal material.
  • If you are using dried herbs: You will need to add more alcohol over the next day or two as the dried herbs absorb and expand. A good ratio for dried material is about 1 part herb to 5 parts alcohol and with fresh material 1 part herb to 3 parts alcohol.
After you have done this, cover with tight fitting lid and be sure to place a plastic bag sandwiched between the lid and the jar. This will prevent rust contamination from spoiling your extract. Shake well and place the jar in a dark place & allow the herbs to soak or macerate for 4 to 6 weeks. Shake every few days. The alcohol will siphon and extract the active constituents from the herbs.
After 4 to 6 weeks strain the herbs. Use a large sieve, strainer, press or potato ricer lined with fine mesh cloth or cheesecloth. Then pour into another large bowl or container.
After you have done this grab the soggy herbal material and place in muslin, cheese or another fine cloth and tightly squeeze the material to extract every last drop from the cloth.
The herbal material left over that is saturated, is the strongest in terms of active medicinal constituents.
Now funnel the material from your larger container into smaller bottles, preferably amber bottles and store your tinctures in a cool dark place.

You have now made your own remarkable medicinal herbal extract for a fraction of the price you would have paid at the store. By now you have probably noticed that your pantry is stored with some 16-20 ounces of liquid herbal extract……this will last you for some time. (It will keep for 3-5 years)

Content written by Mountain Rose Herbs

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Jamaican Poinsettia

Botanical name: Euphorbia punicea
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Common name: Flame of Jamaica, Jamaican poinsettia
Habit: Evergreen shrub or small tree to 20’

Flower: On and off, throughout the year. Large bracts in shades of
red surrounding a complex yellow flower structure.
Fruit: Usually green tinged with red, pop open when ripe.
Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil
Propagation: Seeds, cuttings, air layers

Euphorbia punicea, known as the flame of Jamaica, is an evergreen succulent shrub to small tree found only on the sunny island of Jamaica. Although first described in 1788, E. punicea has yet to find its way into many Southern gardens, even though it thrives on limestone, needs no irrigation and is a very light feeder. Its slow
growth, upright habit and branching structure make pruning irrelevant.
Flame of Jamaica has the potential to bloom almost year-round. What we see as a flower show is actually an odd inflorescence surrounded by showy bracts, or modified leaves. These bracts can range in color from orange to pink to scarlet to crimson red.

Plant Euphorbia punicea in welldrained soil, or even a rocky hole with full exposure to the sun. Be patient. Like a fine wine it gets better with age.

Its sap may irritate the skin.

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August Toons

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Clock Vine, Lady Slippers

My newest find and I have just the spot to plant this.

Thunbergia mysorensis, or Clock Vine, is a woody-stemmed, evergreen climbing flowering plant, native to India. The name, mysorensis is derived from the city of Mysore in the south of India. Is also sometimes called "Brick & Butter Vine" & "Dolls' Shoes".

The vine often reaches 20 feet (6 metres) and has narrow leaves. The flowers are shaped like pendants and are brownish red with a yellow center, and bloom from Spring to Autumn.

The plant is a popular tropical garden item because of its attractiveness to hummingbirds.

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