|In the Garden |
Hey Matt, What's That?
by Matt Whiddon
Do you find yourself riding around town wondering what the names are of certain beautiful and unique plants? I’m sure you do as that even happens to me sometimes. One of the things I love about the field I work in is that gardening is a constant learning process. No matter how much plant knowledge one might have, there is always more to learn. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to feature some unique plants in our area. Follow along as I take a close look at plants that are raising eyebrows in Columbus.
One of our readers sparked this idea when she suggested we write about the unusual plant in the front parking lot of the former Los Amigos on Wynnton Road next door to WTVM. The plant’s name is Agave, or Century Plant, and it is a native perennial. Native Americans used it as a source of soap, food and medicine. Agave is a succulent, so it doesn’t need much water or any real care to do well. The specimen on Wynnton Road has a bloom stalk over 15 feet high! These are known to reach over 30 feet at times. Bloom color is greenish-yellow. If you would like to try Agave, I recommend using it in containers. Good drainage is essential so amend your Georgia red clay if you decide to plant one in the garden. Full sun is also needed for optimum performance. Most importantly, be careful handling the plant as Agave have sharp, needle-like edges.
Changing gears, what about this annual that is turning heads on Bradley Park Drive? It’s planted at the Brookstone Blvd. entrance to Brookstone subdivision and is named Angelonia. This is a fantastic annual that puts salvia and snapdragons to shame (if you can imagine)! Angelonia blooms non-stop through the summer and displays striking short flower spikes in mass effect. This particular planting is a mix of purple, pink and white, but Angelonia is also available in solid purple and white. Angelonia was the 2009 Georgia Gold Medal Plant of the Year and is still being heralded as one of our best new annuals. Full sun is a must, plus soil rich in organic matter that is well drained. I use it in both beds and pots. The blooms generally hold up for the duration of the season, but if they die due to a lack of water, simply remove them and the flowers will replenish. If you have yet to try this award–winning plant, make it your first choice next spring.
Moving on to the Airport Thruway, the Landings displays many fine plants that are enjoyable each time we go shopping. Although there are many noteworthy plantings in this shopping area, I would
like to focus on one of the tree selections. Chinese Elm, located throughout the complex, is a long-time favored tree, yet it’s one that most of us are not familiar with. If you are looking for something different, this Elm may be the ticket. It is adaptable to a wide range of conditions and is a good alternative to Dutch Elm, which has become over-run with disease problems. Chinese Elm grows 40 to 50 feet in height and has a graceful, somewhat weeping habit. It offers showy, colorful fall foliage and beautiful exfoliating bark. This gem certainly deserves more consideration as an alternative to over-planted maples and oaks.
These are just a few noteworthy plants from our area. If you have a plant that you think deserves special attention, e-mail usat firstname.lastname@example.org.
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