Sunday, March 15, 2020

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up March 2020: Spring Ahead!

March 2020 Garden
Welcome-Spring is on the Way!
Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up for the month of March! With the official start of spring just four days away on March 19th at 11:49 PM EST, there is excitement all around the garden as plants awaken from their winters sleep. After a couple of days of cold temperatures in the 40's here in the northeast, the trend now is a stretch of upper 50's, bringing in spring at full speed ahead.
Hellebore 'Merlin'
Over the past couple of weeks Hellebore 'Merlin' has made its appearance known with an abundance of deep pink blooms that mature to a deeper burgundy as they age. 
Hellebore 'Merlin'
Did you know that the flowers of Helleborus really aren't petals at all but rather sepals? That is what accounts for their rather long lifespan.

Hellebore 'Shooting Star'
Here is another variety called 'Shooting Star', which blooms much earlier starting in January. Now going on for three months, it's still blooming!

Perennial Border March
Come around to the perennial border. There are definite signs of spring as the border becomes just a little bit fuller with each passing day.
Hyacinth Buds!
Lilies, Allium and spring bulbs including crocus, hyacinths and daffodils are starting to show their foliage and there are buds on the Hyacinths!
Crocus Blooming!!!
Come look! Almost overnight the purple crocus are in full bloom on the front island bed just in time for Bloom Day! They are ahead of schedule in comparison to previous years.

Pussy Willow Catkins!
One of my favorite sights during late winter and early spring are the soft white catkins on this Weeping Pussy Willow.
Weeping Pussy Willow
Here is a wider view with evergreens Gold Mop Cypress and Blue Star Juniper (lower right).

This is My Tree!
Upon the very top of the Weeping Pussy Willow is the "master of the tree"! Every spring there is a battle among sparrows and house finches for occupancy, as it must be the ultimate of nesting sites.

Golden Skylands Spruce
There must be interest in the garden all year long and these colorful evergreens serve the purpose. Here is Golden Skylands Spruce and Montgomery Blue Globe Spruce.
Blue Globe Montgomery Spruce
I have always admired the ease of maintenance of each of these specimens and their outstanding color keeps its vibrancy throughout every season.
Rosemary Blooming
With the mild temperatures this year, the Rosemary plant located in the herb garden has remained a nice healthy green with flowers during most of the winter.
A Constant Combination
Foliage combinations are an important as well. This ongoing combination of Heuchera (Coral Bells) 'Caramel' and Japanese Golden Sedge is a stable in the garden. The only maintenance required is the removal of any winter damaged leaves once new growth appears. There will be little to remove this spring following the mild winter.

Sedum 'Lemon Twister'(Stonecrop)
Let's venture over to the pool garden. This Sedum 'Lemon Twister' was a new addition just last summer. It develops bright lemon-green variegated foliage and pink blooms, but this is the first time I have seen its new pink foliage in spring.

Allium 'Globemaster' Foliage
Allium 'Globemaster' is showing its foliage. Once started, this plant will rapidly produce tall spikes, followed by blooms in June.
Back Island Bed
In the back garden island bed are Hinoki Cypress 'Compacta' and Mugo Pine, along with Palace Purple Heuchera. There are signs of a few new leaves starting to form on the Heuchera. It won't be long now until they start to flush out.

Magnolia 'Royal Star' Buds
The Magnolia buds are forming and growing larger by the day...and Sedum 'Brilliant rosettes are more prominent!
Sedum 'Brilliant'

Spring growth is always a delight as pink highlights adorn the edges of the newly formed foliage on Sedum 'Brilliant'.
Thanksgiving Cactus STILL Blooming!
While the garden is emerging outside, there are still blooms to enjoy inside. Thanksgiving Cactus has been keeping me happy all winter long. It just keeps on blooming!
Indoor Garden

Last, but not least...here is a first time view of my indoor garden south facing windowsill. It gets the perfect amount of sunlight for Jade and those winter bloomers! The Jade tree is over 30 years old. It was purchased some years ago during a ride out east while visiting one of the greenhouses where they grow them. One could say it has become part of the family!
Thanks for Visiting!
Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed your tour of my March garden! Special thanks go out to our hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Also, special thanks to Pam Penick at Digging who has hosted Foliage Follow-Up for all these years, a meme I will still continue to honor. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday FotosMacro Monday 2, Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf, Nature Notes at Rambling WoodsDishing It & Digging It on Sunday with Angie the Freckled Rose, Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday with NC Sue and Gardens Galore Link Up Party every other Monday with Everyday Living. I am also happy to join the Homestead Blog Hop  and Weekly Photo Link-Up at My Corner of the World on Wednesdays.

Looking for some spring reading?-Visit my Author Page
Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

This Month in the Garden: A Re-Visit to Allerton National Tropical Botanical Garden Kauai, Hawaii

Allerton National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai
Allerton Garden, also known as Lāwaʻi-kai, is an 80-acre botanical garden located in the Lawa'i valley on the south shore of Kauai, Hawaii. The land in the valley was granted to James Young Kanehoa, the advisor to Hawaii’s King Kamehameha I in in 1848 and upon his death he willed a third of the land to his niece, Queen Emma of Hawaii. Queen Emma inherited the remainder of the property in 1885 upon the death of King Kamehameha's wife and to fulfill her great love of gardening she planted rose apples, laurel, mangoes, bamboo, pandanus, ferns, and bougainvillea along the valley cliffs.
Allerton National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai
Upon Queen Emma's death, the entire valley including what is now the adjacent McBryde Garden, was purchased by the McBryde family to be used as a sugarcane plantationIn 1938, McByde sold the valley to Robert Allerton, the only son of a Mayflower descendant who had made his fortune in Chicago livestock, banking, and real estate. Allerton later became an avid art collector and patron and took on an interest in landscape architecture. Robert met John Gregg, a young architectural student at the University of Illinois, whom he eventually adopted. The two men traveled the world collecting art and fell in love with Kauai during a visit. They purchased a small portion of Queen Emma's plantation for a residence and gardens and quickly began designing the landscape master plan and garden rooms of Allerton, incorporating collected statues with plantings.
Allerton Garden Rainforest
Today, the Allerton and McBryde gardens are maintained by the National Tropical Botanical Gardens (NTBG), a non-profit organization founded in 1964, who's mission is devoted to plant research, conservation and education. Today's feature, Allerton Garden can be considered part garden tour and part art exhibit, as visitors are guided through multiple garden rooms decorated with exotic plants, sculptures and water features, each designed by the Allertons themselves. Allerton garden also has a rich history as a Hollywood film location for many notable movies and TV shows including Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. Come along!
Heliconia Lobster Claw
The first of exotic plant we encounter is Heliconia, also known as Lobster Claw. As you can see, the plant gets its name from its claw-like "bracts". There are 194 known species of Heliconia native to the tropical Americas, but only a few are indigenous to certain islands of the western Pacific and Maluku. 
Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum))
One of the rain forest plants which I most admire is the magnificent Staghorn Fern, an epiphyte that lives on a host tree and draws its nutrients from the surrounding air, water and debris surrounding the plant. Staghorn Fern generally grow under the canopies of trees which provide light shade and over time the fronds of the plant can reach up to an impressive six feet in length.
Angel's Trumpet (Datura stramonium)
An interesting but potentially deadly flower is Angel's Trumpet, also known as Devil's Trumpet or Datura. The plant contains dangerous levels of the poison tropane alkaloids in all its parts, which are known to cause drastic hallucinations and changes in mental status characteristic of delirium. Although attractive, this tropical flower should be admired at a distance.
Allerton Garden Room
Here is the first of many garden rooms. The Allertons had such an eye for architecture that they wanted to create a place for relaxing and entertaining. Graced by walls of greenery and a serene cherub fountain, this area leads into an adjacent room just through the decorative lattice arch.
Muscovy duck
One of Kauai's introduced inhabitants, this Muscovy duck greeted our tour guide and was quite friendly. This species of duck is mostly native to the tropics of Mexico and Central and South America but they are sometimes seen near water areas in Kauai.
Aechmea (Bromeliad) 
A common houseplant in the northeast, Bromeliad can be seen growing in the rain forests of Kauai. Single flower spikes are composed of bright pink bracts that can last for several months. Most bromeliads bloom only once in their lifetime; however, after blooming the plant will begin to form offsets or pups, which are exact clones of the original plant. The new plants mature to produce blooms. 
Diana's Room
Designed by the Allertons, this latticed wood pavilion sitting area overlooking a mossy reflecting pool is known as Diana's Room. The life-sized limestone statue which is a copy of an original Roman work of art, depicts Diana Goddess of the Hunt.
Diana Goddess of the Hunt Allerton Garden Rooms
Diana Roman goddess of the hunt, while primarily associated with hunting, was also looked upon as the goddess of the woods, children and childbirth, fertility, chastity, the moon, and wild animals. Roman worshippers believed that Diana had the power to talk to woodland animals and control their movements and behavior.
Chicken Friend
With no natural predators, chickens are very prominent on Kauai and have gotten very comfortable around people over the years. This one in particular had befriended our tour guide Paul. 
Monstera deliciosa  (Swiss Cheese Plant)
This rather large leaf is that of Monstera deliciosa, also known as Swiss Cheese Plant. Monstera is a species of flowering plant native to the tropical forests of southern Mexico and south to Panama which had been introduced to many tropical areas. It has now become considered an invasive species in Kauai.
Cycad Seed Pods
Native cycads produce these giant prehistoric looking seed cones. Cycads were one of the first per-historic plants known. They were most abundant during the Jurassic Period between 201-145 million years ago.
Three Pools
This beautiful feature is known as Three Pools, a combination of a serene water feature and artwork with a statue of a sleeping horse at the upper level of the sculpture. The statue is an original piece of Hawaiian art by Robert Allerton.
Kauai Wildlife Visitor
Here is another chicken visitor.
 Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) 
With a long Hawaiian history, Breadfruit (Ulu in Hawaiian) was one of the original subsistence plants brought over by early Polynesian settlers. This species of flowering tree in the mulberry and jackfruit  (Moraceae) family is believed to have originated in New Guinea, the Maluku Islands, and the Philippines. Iconic to many Pacific cultures, Ulu the has been grown for thousands of years for its abundant, tasty and nutritious fruits, which taste like freshly baked bread. The starch-rich breadfruit tastes similar to potatoes. 
Ulu (Breadfruit)
Our tour guide Paul explains the history behind this valuable fruit. Since 2003, the NTBG's Breadfruit Institute has been dedicated to the conservation of Ulu and promoting it as a vital tree crop that can help to reduce hunger around the world.
Mermaid Room-Pulse of Water in Fountain Mimics Heartbeat
This well-designed Mermaid Fountain is 100 feet long and constructed with scalloped edges at a three percent angle, with ballasts at the narrow edges, engineered so that the water gushing through will pulse by the time it reaches the other end; thus, mimicking the rate of a heartbeat.
St.Thomas Bean (Entada phaseoloides)
St.Thomas Bean, a member of the pea family, is a large woody vine known for its unusual bundles of thick, twisted stems that spill down like old-fashioned telephone chords from the host tree into which is has grown. Entada produces giant brown seed pods that can reach a length of 2 meters and hold up to 20 dark brown, lens-shaped seeds. The vines and seeds have been extracted and used for soap making and the natural Gugo extract from the bark is rich in saponin, a natural surfactant with deep cleansing properties, which is used as a shampoo. 
Artistic Fountain
Another one of the Allerton fountains is more like a sculpture.
 Bulbophyllum medusae
Medusa's Bulbophyllum, also known as Medusa orchid, is a species of epiphyte orchid that blooms in the fall and winter. It's name was derived from its unusual flowers with long lateral sepals that resemble the snakes in Medusa's hair. 
Etlingera elatior (Torch Ginger)
Torch Ginger flowers are related to ginger, cardamom and turmeric. Although the roots are not edible, the bud is often sliced or shredded and is used as a spice in Malay cuisine. White Torch Ginger prefers a sheltered environment and rich soil and can be often seen in the rainforests of Kauai.
Monstera deliciosa  (Swiss Cheese Plant) Invasive Species
Way above, Swiss Cheese or Split Leaf Philodendron can be seen growing in the rainforest. This evergreen woody vine attaches itself to tree trunks and branches while climbing high up into the rainforest. A single vine can reach more than 70 ft in length. Known to be mildly invasive in Kauai, it is a common houseplant in cooler climates.
Ficus macrophylla (Moreton Bay Fig)
Here is Moreton Bay Fig, also known as or Australian banyan, and a familiar sight from the movie set of Jurassic Park. The trees in Allerton are just 65-70 years old and tower upwards towards 200 feet with a trunk span of 8 feet. The giant banyan-like roots extend much further outwards from this evergreen tree. These trees can live over 200 years.
Moreton Bay Figs Jurassic Park Dinosaur Egg Scene
As you may recall from the movie, Dr. Alan Grant and the kids discover the infamous dinosaur eggs. This is the spot where it all happened, as our tour guide Paul illustrates!
Moreton Bay Figs
These trees and the scenery behind them is absolutely magnificent!
Moreton Bay Figs
This capture will give you an idea of the enormous root system on this plant. The Moreton Bay's buttress roots are mainly for stabilization and serve as a support system for the tree.
Bamboo Room-(Bambusa vulgaris
The Bamboo room features clumping Golden Bamboo, which sways back and forth in the gentle breeze.
Bamboo Room
I have always looked at bamboo as a piece of nature's artwork with its bands of alternating patterns of green and golden hues.
Buddah Statue
This Buddah statue stands at the entrance to the bamboo room.
Lagoon
One of the more serene sights at Allerton is this view of the lagoon present on the property... 
Bridge from Beach
and walking bridge crossing over the picturesque lagoon and to the beach and ocean.
Allerton Beach Site of Nesting Sea Turtles

For further information visit Allerton Gardens.

I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for March. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. of each month for This Month in the Garden, as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Our World TuesdayTravel Tuesday, Pictorial TuesdayMy Corner of the World, Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Dishing It & Digging It.)

For gardening information and tips...Visit My Author Page and See My Books:

~As Always...Happy Gardening! ~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

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