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

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 

Some hardy hibiscus

A few of the named hardy hibiscus I've been trying out and using in crosses.
I didn't have a tag on this one when I got it, but I'm pretty sure that it's 'Fireball'
 Here's 'Kopper King'

A new one for me this year, 'Midnight Marvel' - sadly the sawfly larvae really like this one's foliage

'Old Yella' with it's voluptuous flowers

And another even more voluptuous one I got last summer, 'Razzberry Jam'. I like how compact of a grower this one seems to be.

Rosa palustris X fedtschenkoana

Here's a good picture of the upper foliage of the F1 Rosa palustris X fedtschenkoana
 But to be fair, the bottom foliage is showing some kind of spotting issues and dropping off.

Iris foliage health 2

Didn't take many pictures of the sickest looking ones but here are some that look promising as a starting point in breeding for better health...

Iris aphylla 'Transylvania Native' looks a lot healthier than the other clones of Iris aphylla I've grown. Here's a clump pf it at my in-law's house.
 My reblooming MTB, 'Cricket Song', is pretty healthy.

The old pallida type 'Floridor' is healthier than the average.

My "Pink Volunteer" is still looking decent in mid-summer.
The iris that started me thinking about foliage health in the first place was this seedling ('Rosalie Figge' X aphylla 'Wine Red'). It's always looking relatively clean while everything around it is covered with leaf spot.

This clone of Iris variegata is always looking pretty ratty by mid-summer - so it wouldn't be one I'd want to use in a foliage health breeding program.
This one I'm currently calling by a garden name ("YRFT") is another one that is only average in the foliage health department. But it's a super-vigorous grower and has excellent branching, so I've crossed it with Floridor to try to get the best of both parents combined into one line.