Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beautiful but Invasive Gypsy Flower or Houndstongue

 by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener

Houndstongue is one of many common names (Wasacth Audobon)
Discovered near the greenhouse, the beautiful maroon flowers intrigued me. I cut a stem and grabbed the wildflower identification book when I got home. It is Cynoglossum officinale or houndstongue as listed in this book.
Houndstongue seed pods clinging to livestock
Oh, no! This lovely plant is invasive, a non-native exotic weed, harmful to livestock. The most annoying characteristic is the seeds which are covered with barbed prickles that have been referred to as nature's Velcro ®.The heavily burred seeds stick to animals and, if eaten in sufficient quantities, the plant can be poisonous.
Dig out the long tap root (Montana State Univ. Ext.)
If you see it, dig it out, especially now before it seeds. It has a long taproot, developed during the first year, which should be dug out. Any seeds on the plant or on the ground should be collected and burned, or you may wrap them and discard in the trash.
Burred seeds - help prevent spread by destroyed these
If the plants are around animals, review any precautions if you elect to spray a weed killer.
Beautiful flowers and prickly seeds
According to a U.S.D.A. research report, hounds tongue reproduces by seed only and was probably introduced to North America as a grain seed contaminant.  It invades grasslands, pastures, forests, and croplands. It is an effective competitor the readily displaces desirable species.


On another note, while Master Gardeners are sometimes scoffed at for using the scientific or Latin names for plants, knowing the correct name for a plant can be important.
In the wildflower book this plant is referred to as houndstongue and a search for photos of the seeds on the Internet revealed that houndstongue is also the common name for several plants in the hawkweed family (Hieracium cynoglossoides).
Houndstongue is a common name for some hawkweeds
Cynoglossum officinale has many common names: houndstongue, beggar's lice, dog's tongue, sheep bur, dog bur, sheep lice, glovewort and woolmat. It is in the borage family (Boraginaceae) and the similarity between the two can easily be seen.
L-Cynoglossum officinale       R- Borago officinalis (Borage)

For more information, check these links:
Montana State University Extension: Houndstongue: Identification, Biology and Integrated Management (Lists information about poisoning)

Monday, May 26, 2014

4-H Garden Club Visits the Greenhouse

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener

The 4-H Garden Club visited our greenhouse where Juanita Kauffman explained plant growth cycles focusing on the greenhouse process. They gathered outside since the greenhouse was really hot inside.
Juanita passed out some seed packets and led the group through reading about germination rate, when to plant, germination time, and time to maturity.
The group sanitized their shoes and went inside to see the transplants. Juanita explained the steps to growing transplants from seed to potting up and taking care of the plants.
Prior to heading up to the greenhouse, the group gathered for a fun picture in their gardening clothes.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rescue the Redbud Tree

I wanted to post some pictures this week of a little redbud tree. The picture is of a much larger tree that fell in our woods about a month ago.  You can see the little redbud tree attached and amazingly still living and even bloomed.
We would like to salvage the Redbud tree but are not sure where the roots to the dead tree stop and the smaller trees roots start.

We were wondering if anyone had any suggestions. I’ve included pics of the root ball and various angles.

Update on My Seed Starting

On day five and six nothing had sprouted. On day seven my cabbages, dianthus, bachelor’s buttons and bunny grass have sprouted.
Day eight and nine and nothing new sprouted but the ones that already sprouted got taller.

We purchased our fence and gate. We also measured where we’re going to put our fence.

We had to take our rototiller to get the seal on it fixed and, hopefully, it will be done this weekend.
We know from the past garden that no garden will survive without a fence. We had deer, possums, ground hogs and many more unwanted visitors.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Spring: Part Three

April 11…Apr 25…now May 9.  Spring picks up speed and continues to feast our eyes (though I don't ever remember the redbuds, cherry blossoms and dogwoods in bud all at the same time!)  Just a quick visual of how far we've come in 4 weeks (my other posts are "And You Thought It Would Never Get Here" on 4/11/14 and "Two Weeks On…Is Spring Here Yet?" on 4/26/14).

The rose is down to business now, just filling out its leaves and getting ready for some later color.

Rose - May 9
The Liberty Elm is leafing out nicely but slowly.  The canopy is getting thicker.

Liberty Elm - May 9

The forsythia is pretty much done (for those of you who use that as a reminder: the forsythia blooms are falling so get your crab grass killer on if you hope it to be effective!).

Forsythia - May 9

Big difference in the Viburnum - it has put a lot of energy into those blooms over the past two weeks…

Mohawk Viburnum - May 9
The Weeping Katsura has interesting shaped and colored leaves, especially right now when they are young.

Weeping Katsura - May 9

The Sedum is off on a growth spree, already up about 6 inches.

Sedum - May 9

I never got to enjoy the cherry festival this year - the blossoms were so late that the leaves were already opening up, so just a bit of pink in between the new leaves fro this year.  I'm disappointed.

Cherry - May 9
And the Maple does its maple thing…leaves out, ready to push out some chlorophyl…

Maple - May 9

Enjoy these warmer days, and don't forget to pick out your next-year's spring buds and blossoms at the Master Gardener Plant Sale at the Franklin County Extension Office on Saturday May 17th, 9AM to 1 PM!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Gass Garden Spreads Its Wings

Carol Kagan and Cindy Stead, Master Gardeners

On Right is the stone Patrick Gass House (Jen Wetzel) 

The Gass Garden is located at the Patrick Gass House on Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg.
This garden memorializes the leading role of a native son in a seminal event in the U.S. history – The Lewis and Clarke Expedition of 1804-1806. 

A Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission marker at the Patrick Gass House. (Jen Wetzel)

The garden borders the entrance to the limestone house where Patrick Gass was born and where a Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission marker now stands.  The mission of the garden is multi-fold.  It will offer a horticulture experience, an historical educational experience for visitors and school groups, and a recreational experience while beautifying the property. 
A white Annabelle hydrangea is a featured plant in the Patrick Gass Memorial Garden. (Jen Wetzel)
Plant species are selected using two criteria:  Flora reported in the Lewis and Clark Herbarium and which is viable to our area and flora documented in the local area for the 18th and early 19th century.

Here's an update on the Gass Garden project from Cindy Stead.

"The Gass Garden spread its wings today [May 3, 2014]. Many thanks to you, Niles, Steve G., Cindy F., Barbara P., Nancy M. and Bill S. for such hard, non-stop work. Not only did we do all the spring maintenance on the existing garden, but we added four plants, edged Area Two, spread five yards of pine fines and leaf mould and adjusted the stone wall.
White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus) at Monticello
It was especially gratifying to add Thomas Jefferson's favorite plant, Chionanthus virginicus (white fringe tree) and to add another Lewis and Clark Expedition specimen, Mahonia aquilifolium (Oregon grape . The Fothergilla gardenii (dwarf witchalder) and the Franklinia alatamaha (Franklin Tree)  both date from our Gass historic period, 1750."

What are those plants?
White Fringe Tree (Wm. S. Justics, USDA)
 White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Growing at Monticello today, the white fringe tree was first discovered by John Bannister (1650-1692), cleric and naturalist, when Henry Compton, Lord Bishop of London, appointed  him to explore the flora of the Virginia colony in 1678. Among the many North American natives described by Bannister was the Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus) or Old Man's Beard. In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, then living in France, wrote Philadelphia botanist John Bartram, Jr., for seeds of this showy, spring flowering tree to share with his Parisian friends. Its delicate, fragrant, white blossoms bloom in late spring and are followed by blue berries.

Oregon Grape
Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquilifolium )
The state flower of Oregon. This stout shrub is the state flower of Oregon. The berries of this and other Oregon-grape species are eaten by wildlife and make good jelly. Native Americans made a yellow dye from the bark and wood of this shrubby species. Genus name honors Bernard McMahon, 18th-19th century American horticulturist. Synonymous with and formerly called Berberis aquifolium.
Holly-like leaves on the Oregon Grape (Jen Wetzel)
Dwarf Witchalder (Fothergilla gardenia)
The genus honors the English physician John Fothergill, who aside from his affinity for plants contributed much to the body of medical knowledge in the 18th century. The species gardenii is named for Dr. Alexander Garden, a Scots physician and botanist who lived in South Carolina and was instrumental in introducing a great many new-world plants to Europe.

Franklin Tree (Franklinia alatamaha )
A tree was discovered in the wild along Georgia's Altamaha River in 1765 by botanists John and William Bartram. The Bartrams named the plant in honor of their friend Benjamin Franklin. All Franklinias today are descended from those propagated by the Bartrams in their Philadelphia garden. Today this beautiful landscape tree is considered extinct in the wild.

Fall foliage of the Franklin Tree
For more information on the Gass Garden check these links:
Gass Garden Background
The Patrick Gass Garden
Lewis and Clark garden celebrates the life of Franklin County native, Patrick Gass