Friday, March 11, 2011

Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden - A Total Delight!

Whimsical, wild, refreshing, creative, innovative, un-expected. All words I would use to describe Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden in Lexington, Va. I was expecting manicured grounds surrounding an old private residence, but what I found was much more interesting. A rambling yet intimate, delightfully un-manicured garden filled with giant-sized furniture, interesting garden art, and other gnarly, wooden garden creations. A garden truly seeming to have been created in the spirit of 'going with the flow' of nature rather than trying to control and manage it. When roaming through this interesting space, with the help of colorful, handmade signage, it felt like I was getting a VIP tour by the garden's creator, showing me all the little particular beauties and secret sweet spots of this little parcel of land. I felt like a kid again. I wanted to build a fort, make some mud pies in an earthen kitchen, and explore all the many secret hideaways behind trees and under bushes. And, this is how I felt traveling through the "adult" section of the garden! The children's garden, The Play Trail, was off -the -chain! Forts galore, a tunnel, a true mud kitchen complete with pots and pans for creating muddy delicacies; it looked so FUN! I think Boxerwood really hit the nail on the head with this children's garden. Kids can really be kids there(...and so can adults;). Check out this video to see some of the Play Trail's visitors in action:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Plant Sex

I began my Dendrology laboratory this past Wednesday and we touched on the concept of monoecious and dioecious. Generally speaking, monoecious plants have unisexual flowers( seperate male and female flowers) that occur on the same plant. Dioecious plants also have unisexual flowers but they occur on separate plants, as in male flowers on one plant and female on another. However, Despite all the different times I have heard this, I still get a little confused. Michael G. Simpson does a nice job of explaining this concept and the different variations that occur on this monoecious-dioecious spectrum in his textbook, Plant Taxonomy:

Click twice on the image to view:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tropical Escape

Brassavola Little Stars

Despite the fact that there is a bit of snow on the ground here in Blacksburg, Va., we still have a few things blooming around here. There is a Brassavola Little Stars blooming just inside the front doors of the garden pavilion. Come visit it late in the day and you will be able to smell its sweet fragrance. Also, blooming right next to it is Begonia dregei (syn. B. richardsiana). Unlike any Begonia I have seen before, it is mini-sized and develops a swollen, bulbous, stem base (caudex) as it matures. Because of its habit and toleration of dry conditions, it apparently lends itself to Bonsai. If you check out the Logee's website, there is a picture of it grown in this way. Very Cool!

P.S. I am a little bit confused on the nomenclature of this plant. I have seen it listed a bunch of different ways, B. 'Richardsiana', et. al., but went with B. dregei because the USDA GRIN ( website lists it as such, with B. richardsiana as a synonym. If you know otherwise, please let me know!

Begonia dregei