Thursday, May 12, 2011

Keep the variegation!

I learned much of my plant knowledge during my time working at a local greenhouse & produce market when I was first married.  It was the perfect make-my-own work schedule, and I learned volumes. Very physically demanding job, but I loved it!
It was my boss Joel, who was really more friend & fellow plant enthusiast, who taught me to keep an eye out for the all-green shoots on a variegated plant.  These need to come off.  If they are allowed to stay, a plant will soon take the easy road and begin to revert back to its green state, instead of exhibiting all the great markings and colors of a variegated variety.

If you take time to notice, you will see some great (I mean terrible!) examples of this around neighborhoods.  I often used to walk past a variegated willow bush with nice white markings, but that was fully green on the left side only.  Not a look to aspire to.

An easy example: Variegated Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander')

When I see green shoots like the ones above mixed in with the variegated ones, I just pinch them out. New green shoots show up every spring but, by taking the time to pull them out, I maintain the color I like so well (and that gardeners often pay higher prices to have!). 
                                 Discarded shoots.

   Lovely, purged, mounded loosestrife.

Here, it is mounded with the spring Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades' 

And speaking of Anemones...
Happy Birthday Grace!
I have to include a picture of my now five-year-old daughter's cake.
 When asked what kind of cake she would like she, the little already-gardener said, "An Ane-nemone cake!" To be precise, she asked for a chocolate mint anemone cake with sprinkles and bananas on top.  We had to amend that recipe a little for palettes sake, but here is my best Anemone rendition in icing!

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