... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Viola arvensis hybrids

First picture shows a single flower of an F1 Viola arvensis X Red Pansy. To the left of that Johnny-Jump-Up sized flower is a normal Viola arvensis flower for size comparison. There are two more normal Viola arvensis flowers at the right and left edges of the picture. I've pulled these non-hybrid seedlings out now. These F1 are those ones I posted about back in the winter surviving minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit with no snow cover. Notice the flowerbud in the lower left part of the picture looks like it'll have a little purple edging maybe.
 
The F1 seedlings ofViola arvensis X Orange Pansy have buds not quite open yet. They should all be yellow-flowered if it goes like the same cross I did years ago.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Violet hybrids

First picture is of the F1 Viola striata X walteri just starting to open a few blooms. I've had two F1 plants for over 10 years and they make a nice ground covering mat about a yard across each year. I trim the dead off in winter or early Spring and they're good to go for another year.

They are almost completely sterile but do make occasional seedlings that vary in color and growth habit. The next two pictures are of two that I'm keeping an eye on as possible "improvements". This first one has bunched up nicely and has more of the upright habit and white flowers of Viola striata. It's also shown a pretty reliable tendency to repeat in the Fall.
 This second one has abundant pale purple flowers (washed out by the strong sunlight in the picture). I like the way it holds them well about the foliage. The growth habit is not so upright which could be a plus or a minus.

Koi in Hagerstown City Park pond

We've seen about 5 or 6 of these pretty koi among the normal brown carp in the Hagerstown City park pond. It still amazes me how clear the water is with all these fish in it. There have got to be hundreds of them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hazelnuts

I got weary hand cracking hazelnuts with those little squeeze-type nutcrackers, so I decided to treat myself to an early birthday present... a Davebuilt hand crank nutcracker. It's noisy and certainly takes some muscle but HOLY SMOKES it was fast. Processed the 2013 harvest in about 15 or 20 minutes. Then I had to sort through and pick out the nuts, but it still was a whole lot easier. For hazelnuts, I'd sure say the Davebuilt is a winner. Here are some pictures of the bounty...

Swan

Not at all related to plants, but just had to share this picture of one of the two pretty swans up at the Hagerstown city park. I was also fascinated by the hundreds of jumbo sized carp. We even saw a big goldfish, and about six koi among the swarms of normal brown carp. Cool park!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Viola arvensis seedlings

Still kicking after all the abuse this winter has dealt them... these are the Viola arvensis seedlings from pansy pollen. Soon they ought to be exploding into growth and bloom...


Survival of the fittest

I unintentionally started this iris experiment back in 2002 I think, with a cross of 'Clown Pants' X 'Rosemary's Dream'. The seeds germinated well in these two medium size plastic pots and I getting them into the ground just never seemed to be at the top of my to-do list. The first picture shows them coming out of winter in February of 2004. Cleaned up and even sporting a bloomstalk, the second picture shows them in May of 2004.
Fast forward 10 years... the third picture shows what's left of them still in those same pots.
Keep in mind that they've never been fertilized in all that time. AND they've endured repeated spells of drying out, when I've forgotten to water them. Heck I don't think I watered them hardly at all last summer. So these few remnants have got to be some of the toughest little guys around. Gotta get them into the ground finally after all these years so they can show me what they can do in normal conditions.