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Arp TX News

Sep 10, 2018

Plant of the Month: Pua Kala

The blue green color of the leaves, stems and seed capsules lend the plant an overall glaucous blue-green cast. The ubiquitous sharp prickles actually make this an ideal plant for protecting an area in your landscape from foot traffic. Pua kala's attractive flowers appear sporadically year round. They usually measure about 3 inches across with six bright white crinkly petals and a yellow-orange center. The center's numerous yellow-orange male stamens surround a dark purple, lobed female stigma. The flowers stay open for a single day and once pollinated become attractive seed pods. New flowers will usually open daily during blooming periods. The seed pods are erect, oblong, gray-green capsules that are prickly. They eventually dry to a dark brown and split open, exposing numerous dark brown seeds. You can collect the seeds or allow them to fall and germinated on site. Seeding is the best propagation method for pua kala. Though the seeds take a long time to germinate, they eventually will do so when conditions are ideal. Seedlings initially need regular watering when the top of the soil dries out. Full sun is preferred for best growth and flowering potential. They can tolerate partial sun but will flower less, look scraggy, and be more likely to topple. New plants should do well planted in dry, sunny and even rocky areas from low to upper elevations in soil that drains well. Pua kala is one of the few plants that can tolerate very dry, windy locations even in poor soil. They are also very wind and heat tolerant as well as fire tolerant. They are known to sprout in areas that have recently been burned. Mature pua kala plants are drought tolerant and will do best when allowed to dry out between waterings. Overwatering can make the plants top heavy and cause them to fall over. Deep watering once or twice a week is better than short daily watering. One of pua kala's assets is its minimal maintenance requirements. Few pests bother pua kala. Even cattle will not eat this plant. Occasional checking for problems is advised but treatment is rarely required. Even fertilizing is optional. Though light additions of plant nutrients won't hurt, over-fertilizing can cause unnatural, large growth and the tendency to topple. Pruning is only needed when primary stalks start to age and wither. Once they are cut back new shoots will usually emerge near the base of the plant. This is a way to keep the plants low. Cutting off spent flowers and removing seed pods regularly can encourage flowering but is not necessary. Single pua kala plants may have a short life span of five years or less. You might want to continue growing new plants to replenish older ones as they die. Collecting seeds regularly is advised since pua kala plants can become weedy if left untended. Pua kala is one of our only endemic plants with prickles or thorns. It is unclear why they developed though since they did not initially need protection from predators. Their thorns, as well as their acrid taste, have protected them well in the centuries since ungulates have arrived, however. No cattle, goats, sheep or pigs will eat them. The prickles on the leaves can also be advantageous in directing people away from areas where they are growing. Pua kala is one of the few toxic native Hawaiian plants. It does not contain morphine or codine like the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) rather it contains alkaloids that can irritate the stomach and intestines. Only a very few poisonings have been reported, however, due to its extremely bitter taste. Despite its toxicity, early Hawaiians used the yellow latex sa...

Sep 10, 2018

Passion Flower grows in neglected areas

Leaves are up to 10 cm across, usually three-lobed, and with a heart-shaped base. The apex is sharp and with a margins, and the stalks of the leaves are about two-three cm-long, glandular-ciliate. Flowers are axillary, solitary; the bracts are hairy and thread-like. Calyx is light green and the corolla is white. Flowers have corona filaments in multiple series. Flowers are surrounded by three deeply-divided bracts and are densely covered in large sticky hairs. The fruits are globose, three-cm in length. They go from green to yellow or orange-yellow when mature. Ripe fruits are edible, emit sweet fragrance when opened and contain mucilaginous sweet and sour pulp with numerous black-coloured seeds. Flowers and fruits are seen almost throughout the year. The thread-like bracts secrete sticky digestive enzymes that helps the plant to trap small insects as a form of defence. It is also reported that this species is host to a variety of butterflies. It is usually found to grow throughout India – in neglected areas along wayside hedges, open areas, pastures, edges of forests and plantations. This species is reported to be useful in folk medicines for indigestion, gastritis and diarrhoea. In Tamil, it is known as Mooku Chali Pazham or Thaat-ppot kodi. Wild Passion FlowersFlowers have corona filaments in multiple series. Flowers are surrounded by three deeply-divided bracts and are densely covered in large sticky hairs.

Sep 10, 2018

Campbell Horticultural Society celebrates 90 years with annual flower show and tea

Sandra Strong also won in the cone flower section, this for double blooms.Linda Harper of Evansville won first prizes for her clematis, outdoor potted plant, and floating begonia, no foliage, while Roberta McMullan took home prizes for best snapdragons, hydrangea, listeria, and Best in Class for dahlias and perennials.Wilda Campbell of Mindemoya also won a Best in Class award, this for her orange gladiola. She also placed first for potted begonias, any colour except yellow.Mary White of Providence Bay won first prizes for pansies, coleus, house plant, and potted begonias with two or more plants in a pot while Ann McFarquhar of Sandfield won firsts for her ivy and prayer plants and Alana Lubenkov won for her collection of cacti and succulents.The judges for this 90th celebration of the Campbell Horticultural Society were Christine Liinamaa Osmond and Tina Hansen. The Flower Show Committee consisted of Diane Chmielak, Carol Lang, Carol Lee, Marie Sloss, Sally Blackburn-Sloss, Bev Webster and Mary White.The Society's executive is made up of President Sandra Strong, Secretary Sally Blackburn-Sloss and Treasurer Mary White. Meetings are held monthly, save July and August, and all are welcome to join.a...

Aug 17, 2018

Sonya M. Ambrose

Hercules. She was a loving aunt who always found time for her nieces and nephews when they sought her out, which was often. She was known for her sharp-witted sense of humor and thoughtful, practical advice. Ambrose was always fun to be around and hosted many wonderful parties for family and friends. In her youth, she was a beautiful and talented Ukrainian folk-dancer. She will be remembered for her love of music, fine gourmet cooking and elegant gardening at her beloved South Bethany beach house, and as her husband's faithful traveling, boating and fishing companion. In addition to her parents, Ambrose was preceded in death by her brothers Tom and Ted, and her sisters, Ann, Olaine, Mary and Evelyn. Ambrose is survived by her husband, Kenneth W. Ambrose, of Bethany Beach, Del.; a brother, Basil Macknik of Wilmington, Del.; three nephews, Bob Halstead, Ed Gsell and Mike Marine; a niece, Suzanne Halstead Hoffmann; and three great-nephews, John E. Hoffmann, Tristan Hoffmann and Ryan Gsell. A funeral service was to be held Aug. 14, 2018, officiated by the Rev. Bruce Miller at Bishop-Hastings Funeral Home in Selbyville, Del., with burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Dagsboro, Del. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the giver's favorite charity. Condolences may be sent online at Sonya M. Ambrose Sonya M. Ambrose of South Bethany, Del., died Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, at Beebe Healthcare...

Aug 17, 2018

Pollinator gardens increase interest in insects

A pollinator habitat full of different types of flowers of varying shapes, colors and heights will attract a wide variety of insects. Carpenter bees have shiny abdomens, and southern carpenter bees can be spotted because of their wings that appear to be metallic blue, Griffin said. Honeybees will fly miles from their hive looking for flowers. Griffin said there are smaller bees in many pollinator gardens. "Some native bees, like orchard bees, are metallic in color and are fun to spot," Griffin said. "Leafcutter bees gather pollen using hairs on the undersides of their abdomens. They are the bees with a bright orange, white or even green undercoat." Fuzzy bumblebees extract pollen from the flower through what's called "buzz pollination" - they vibrate their bodies to get the most pollen from each bloom. "Bee mimics, or flower flies, are often found in pollinator habitats. These are actually flies with coloring that resembles the coloring of bees. The flies have little antennae and their eyes are often larger and closer together than a bee's eyes," Griffin said. For simple reference, flies only have one pair of wings while bees have two pairs. "This is hard to notice when the insects are darting about," Griffin said. Pollinator habitats also attract predators looking to eat a pollinator for dinner. "Praying mantis and ambush bugs often hang out in the flowers looking to capture an insect or two. Parasitic wasps also visit flowers, so you might find them in your pollinator habitat. These beneficial wasps are powerhouses in the vegetable garden as they help control insect pests," Griffin said. Griffin said insect-watching can be a fun family activity. "Teaching the next generation to appreciate these insects leads to responsible pollinator stewardship," she said. The Wyman sisters and Olivia Westergreen said they had learned about the role pollinators play before visiting the Carmichael Street garden. Cowetans can have their gardens certified as a Georgia Pollinator Space. For information, visit . Individuals who follow the four steps on the website will receive a certificate. ...

Aug 17, 2018

On Gardening: Planning a cutting garden

Here are her current top 10 picks for summer bouquets: Dahlia >> medium-sized formsZinnia >> Queen series for soft colors; Persian Carpet varieties for textural accentsSunflower >> “Plum”, “White Night”, “Moulin Rouge”, “Strawberry Blonde”, “Chocolate”Cosmos >> Double Click and Cupcake seriesAmmi >> (called false Queen Anne’s Lace) “Dara”, “White Dill”, and “Green Mist”Yarrow >> both pure colors and muted/pastel varietiesShasta Daisy >> especially double forms like “Crazy Daisy” and “Sante” Roses >> try some in the caramel and terra cotta range: “Hot Cocoa”, “Cinco de Mayo”, “Pumpkin Patch Herbs >> purple basil and “Berggarten” sage for foliage and fragrance Nigella >> blue blooms, unusual seedpods, and lacy greenery are eye-catchingAfter the gardener has selected plants for the cutting garden, the options are to buy and install small plants at a garden center, or plant seeds. Buying small plants involves paying someone for starting the plants from seed, so it’s faster and more expensive than growing your own. But choices could be limited Planting seeds requires less expense, and also provides access to a wide range of options. Advertisement Seeds should be planted at the right time of the season. Some seeds should be started indoors in early spring; others are best planted in the ground in early spring, early summer, or mid-summer/early fall. This month is still a good time to start certain seeds for a cutting garden. An excellent source of recommendations for seasonal planting of seeds for flowering plants is local expert Renee Shepherd. For a timely list of flowers to plant now, browse to her website,, click on “Gardening Resources” and search “Time to plant Renee’s Garden Seeds.” Her seeds are among those on display in garden centers. Seed packets typically have brief instructions for successful planting of seeds. Flowering plants that have multiple, branching stems will produce maximum yield of good quality flowers with long stems when their primary stems are cut back (“pinched”) at an early stage of growth. Examples include carnation, cosmos, dahlia, and snapdragon. Pinching is not appropriate for plants that produce just one flower per plant.