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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label Impatiens. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label Impatiens. Show all posts

      Sunday, April 1, 2012


      Well, yes, impatient but probably not going to buy or plant any impatiens this year and here's why. This favorite of all shade annuals has been hit by a serious blight of downy mildew that's infecting and wiping out whole plantings. The Palm Beach Post reports on one wholesale grower that had to destroy 150,000 plants, and residential communities that spent thousands on mass plantings, had to rip out and replant with something else.
      The downy mildew shows first on the underside of the leaves and has a powdery white appearance. Apparently New Guinea impatiens are not susceptible. I really don't know how far north it will spread, but nurseries here often buy starter plants from Florida and my spring budgets don't allow for a second planting. County extension agents in universities around the country recognize a serious problem.Long island and Upstate NY are two of the many places cited as having infections.
      But whether you usually plant a whole tree pit with impatiens or only use a few , as in the planters above, a change might be in order. I plan to stick to one of three main choices.
      Begonias, in containers...

      or in a shady garden with coleus and grasses...
      coleus in gold, orange and chartreuse shades...

      maybe with a splash of red as here at Fuller gardens, NH

      or pinks and purples that I planted at the base of a formal ivy tower
      or big-leafed or small caladium in tree pits
      by themselves or with coleus and Persian shield, with a little ivy thrown in...

      caladium where the pot gives a color boost...
      or caladium with rex begonias and coleus. Enough color for you?.
      No spraying for me, even if organic: too cheap and lazy.
      The symptoms of downy mildew on impatiens are : yellowed and pale green foliage, downward curling leaves, small buds that fail to grow, eventually leaves dropping leaving stems bare. ugh.

      Wednesday, December 9, 2009

      not so frosty

      Hey you!

      That's right, you, Begonia! Have you looked at a calendar lately? It's freakin' December, ok?

      And you, Impatiens?

      No one likes a show-off. Just give it a rest.

      Used to be annuals in NYC had quit blooming by Thanksgiving, but over the last few years the frost date keeps getting later. Truth is, we've already had a frost (or two), but with all the micro climates in the City, I'm still coming across clumps of annuals that haven't gotten the seasonal memo. Amazing. But there's no such thing as global warming.

      Now, on a serious note...take a look at these Actaea.

      I planted them five years ago in a brownstone backyard on the Upper East Side. I thought they were Actaea simplex, which usually blooms in September. Every year they produce buds and every year the buds just sit there through October and November, eventually turning brown in the cold. This year I thought about digging them up; in a small garden, plants need to deliver or else.

      However, perhaps because of our lack of frostiness the flowers had enough time to bloom this year. Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles. Or perhaps they sensed the imminent threat of compost-ation.

      So here's where I need your help: please tell me, what species of Actaea blooms in December?

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