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

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Trail Cam Pictures

I'd been curious what might be living in the big hole behind the garden and Santa brought me a trail camera (Tasco 3MP Model# 119256CW) for Christmas, so... I set it up in movie mode and caught a quick little red fox zipping in to check out the hole one night. I don't think that it's the fox's home though because after the recent snow there were fox tracks all throughout the yard and not a track at all coming from that hole. Also I've had the camera staking out that hole quite a few nights and this is the only time the fox has popped in.
By the way, in case anyone else has this trouble (which is one of the reasons I'm posting this)... the camera went into LOCK mode and I couldn't get it to take any more pictures. It wouldn't let me reformat it in the camera either. I looked all over the web and couldn't find anything that would work to fix it. Finally, I just reformatted the SD card in our laptop and all is good again. Just go to "My Computer" and right mouse on the SD card. You should get an option to reformat that way.
Now I've got the camera set up to record where I toss our compostable kitchen stuff. The tracks were especially busy around there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Viola hybrids again

After quite a bit of cold already, the F1 from Viola arvensis X red pansy is still looking alright. This was planted from seed back in late summer 2013. It would probably look better if I gave it a trim, since it's gotten a little "leggy".

Here's a close-up of a couple new blooms - in spite of sub freezing temperatures and 4-5 inches of snow last Wednesday. 
The next three pictures are of some of the self-sown F2 that are also taking the cold without much care.


Should be a lot of bloom when Spring 2015 rolls around.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rosa moschata X wichuraiana

I was out in the sub-freezing weather on Wednesday cutting some brush and got a chance to check out how some of my older species rose hybrids were doing. I have three old F1 moschata X wichuraiana plants still alive but two of them aren't looking all that happy with being totally neglected - no care except for mowing on two sides of them. One of them however is happy as can be. It's a big shrubby thing and covered with hips. Here it is:
And keep in mind that just upwind to the west 20 ft away is a big plant (that's supposed to be Rosa soulieana - it didn't look like my previous plant of that species). But, just like my original soulieana, this one seems to be super susceptible to Rose Rosette Disease, because it's just covered in witches brooms. I wouldn't imagine that the F1 moschata X wichuraiana is immune but it must have at least some level of resistance (to the disease or the mites that spread it) being this close to such a huge source of infection and still being free of RRD. Here's that diseased "soulieana". I just turned around and took the picture, that's how close it is.
Here's a close-up of the hips on the still healthy F1 moschata X wichuraiana. I harvested these and hope to get them in the ground within a few days. 

 And I guess this one probably deserves to have some intentional crosses tried on it next season.

Viola arvensis X pansy

Last year's F1 seedlings from Viola arvensis X red pansy, not only made it through last winter with all the "polar vortex" craziness, but they also survived the summer heat which is even more unusual for pansies around here. Here's the clump of F1 seedlings at 21°F this morning - frozen solid.

 And here's a close up of a flowering shoot so you can see the "frozen spinach" look of the foliage. I don't know exactly just how cold it's been so far for sure, but I know it's at least been down to 16°F within the past week and blooms were still looking fresh and undamaged when the temperatures warmed back up afterwards.

Here's that same shoot close up later in the day when the temperature went above freezing again. The ground is still frozen underneath the surface, so I think it's having a hard time sending water up to the thawed out parts, but even so looks pretty unfazed. I'll try to get another picture once it's been above freezing long enough to thaw the ground too.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Some rose species hybrids

Well the Rosa palustris X fedtschenkoana  F1 has pretty much defoliated from blackspot, I guess. It'll still be fun to see it bloom next year (hopefully) but it doesn't look like a winner for disease resistance by any means.
 In contrast, these new Rosa davidii X fedtschenkoana are looking incredibly healthy. One is showing mildew (and might get culled because of that) but the rest are looking great. I don't see much if any signs of disease.

'Prime Jan' blackberry

How I LOVE this blackberry! Hats off to the University of Arkansas hybridizers!
In addition to the normal season fruiting, it also flowers at the tips of the current season's new canes. These new canes are called primocanes - the second year they're called floricanes. So, it fruited with the single season type earlier in the summer on the floricanes (year old ones) and now it's got berries ripening again on the primocanes AND... also green berries and new flowers that'll keep the season going probably until frost. Just incredible! The only downside would be that it's very thorny. But that actually works well here, because thornless types get demolished by the local deer.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


The 'York' and 'Nova' elderberry bushes had a lot of fruit this year so I picked and de-stemmed these:
I made them into a big batch of elderberry syrup. I looked over a bunch of different recipes and went with something like this... put a little bit of water to cover bottom of pan... heat and crush the berries with a potato masher until all the juice is free... put the cooked stuff into a strainer (cup by cup) and stirred/pressed the juice through. Most of the recipes were around 1 cup sugar for 1 cup juice so that's what I started with (4 cups sugar added to the 4 cups of juice). It seemed a little thin though, so I added 2 more cups for a little thicker syrup. Oh and I added quite a bit of lemon juice to give it a little zing (maybe a 1/4 cup). Finished it off with a light dusting of cinnamon and cloves. Brought to a boil and then refrigerated. I plan on freezing some of this for use during the winter, since it's reported by some researchers to shorten the duration of the flu.

"One study suggested that using a standardized elderberry extract, Sambucol, could shorten the duration of flu by about 3 days."
Source: Elderberry | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/elderberry#ixzz39LuFIMc1
University of Maryland Medical Center