Wordless Wednesday: July 31, 2013

Nothing heralds the end of July like Siam Tulips, strikingly beautiful gingers that resemble their northern namesakes.  There are several different varieties, with flowers ranging from pure white to deep purple. Mine are a pink tinged hybrid botanically known as Curcuma Alismatifolia, Maejo Mont Blanc.   Here are several pictures taken in the past 10 days.

First flower spikes, 7/19/13

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Fully open bracts, 7/31/13

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C. Alismatifolia in late day sun, 7/23/13

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For further information, check out my full Siam Tulip post from 8/5/12.

Until next time…..

:) :) :)

The Siam Tulips are blooming!

A few years back, I purchased four 1-gallon containers of Siam Tulips to start a cutting garden behind my back patio. Native to Thailand and Cambodia, the plant is well suited to coastal, sub-tropical growing zones and began spreading almost immediately! Now in their third summer, these beautiful members of the ginger family have started another bloom cycle:

Curcuma Alismatifolia Maejo Mont Blanc

Curcuma Alismatifolia, Maejo Mont Blanc (aka Siam Tulip)

All varieties of Curcuma alismatifolia share grass-green colored foliage with a single inflorescence emerging from the center; differences are found in the height of the flower stalk and shape/color of its bracts.  The Maejo Mont Blanc variety is white with hints of pink and splashes of mauve along the edges. The bracts are more rounded than most alismatifolias, and the plant in general is more compact.

Siam Tulip Maejo Mont Blanc

Curcumas really DO resemble Tulips! :)

The lower bracts of the inflorescence are small and green with tiny purple flowers emerging from base to tip at full bloom.  The bract spike is quite sturdy and stands up well to windy conditions during rainy season.  When cut and placed in a vase, the flower looks great for a week to 10 days!

Short and sweet for today….TC is visiting and we’re off to the bookstore!

Until next time….

:)

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Zoned out? Turning over a new leaf?

Are you zoned out, or turning over a new leaf?  Time was, these were mutually exclusive propositions, but not anymore!

Yesterday, the USDA in conjunction with Oregon State University’s Prism Research Group, released a new Plant Zone Hardiness Map that divides the U.S. into 26 zones of average, annual, extreme, minimum temperatures, each zone varying five degrees from the next.  In addition to being 100% web interactive and searchable via zipcode, many things have changed since the last map was configured in 1990. New data used to compile the 2012 map includes the prevailing winds, bodies of water and slope of land in each of the 26 regions. The urban heat island effect was also taken into consideration, which may explain why 18 of 34 cities mentioned in the 1990 mapkey have higher designations.

So with most areas measuring 5° F warmer than before, yours may have zoned out, like mine did.  Yesterday, Vero Beach was located in 9b…today the USDA is calling it 10, which raises some all important questions:

Can you risk a zone 7-11 Agapanthus  if you live in 5b Binghamton, NY,?  Will that zone 10-11 Duranta Erecta Cuban Gold really grow in the formerly 9b Ranchero?

Who among us has the courage to turn over a new leaf?  ;)

For the time being, I think I’ll stick to what I know works best, which are plants like these::

alamanda

and this:

Mirabiliand especially this:

Siam Tulip

Alamandas, Mirabilis, and Siam Tulips are three of my favorite choices, but NOT because I lack courage or a spirit of adventure!   They’re sure bets in my garden; they come back every year; they make gardening fun and relaxing, and that’s what this hobby is most about for me.

The USDA can call the Ranchero any zone it likes, but for me?  I’m sticking with Comfort Zone.  :)  :)

Until next time……