Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Photos

These two photos are of Broomweed which is blooming this time of year.

The next three photos have another interesting plant that is also blooming right now. This is Winterfat or Krascheninnikovia lanata. This silver leaved drought tolerant shrub is blanketed with a white woolly coat of seed heads in the fall. These seed heads remain through much of the winter making it seem to glow when backlit by the low winter light. And as the common name implies, it is excellent forage for animals in winter. It is also very beautiful in dried arrangements. This is an excellent low maintenance plant for a xeriscape.

The last two photos are of Green Rabbitbrush. You can see the curling leaves that differentiate it from Broomweed and that it has a more compact growth habit than the Silver(Rubber) Rabbitbrush it commonly occurs with. It also makes a great low maintenance plant for xeriscape landscaping, attracts butterflies and other pollinators and provides shelter for birds and small mammals.
Hopefully this will give you some ideas for a new additions to your garden.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September Heat Wave

Greetings Gardeners! You may think your season is over but think again. Now is a GREAT TIME TO PLANT and you should be deep watering your trees and shrubs to prepare them for winter. This unseasonably hot weather will dry them out and leave them in a perilous state.

If you are in Southwest Montana, take a moment to enjoy the fall beauty of the Rubber Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus)- it's brilliant yellow blooms so beautiful in the Autumn light. Chrysothamnus comes from the Greek chrys for golden yellow and thamn for bush. The specific name means nauseous and refers to the fact that animals find it distasteful. The common name comes from jackrabbits finding refuge under its branches and the high-grade rubber compound chrysil found as a sticky secretion at the base of the leaves. Indians used Rabbitbrush leaves as chewing gum and tea made from various parts of the plant was used for medicinal purposes. This is a very important pollen producer for migrating butterflies and every household in Southwest Montana should have at least one in the garden. This plant is deer resistant and rabbits seem to not prefer it. The flowers produce a bright yellow dye and adding stems makes a greenish yellow dye. This is a very low maintenance, drought tolerant shrub that with its silver-blue foliage and late season blooms is a great addition to your garden.

Look carefully and you will discover that there are actually three different plants blooming brillant yellow right now. The Green Rabbitbrush(Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus) is blooming but has a more compact form than it's relative, the Rubber Rabbitbrush. It's foliage is green rather than silver and is eaten by deer and rabbits.

On the other hand, Broomweed(Gutierrezia sarothrae) is very common and from a distance can be mistaken for Green Rabbitbrush. Broomweed has straight leaves while those of the Green Rabbitbrush are twisted. It is a lovely plant and very drought resistant once established - a definite attractive addition to any garden. It starts out small the first two years but can grow into a plant about 24" tall and 30' wide with adequate moisture. It does not regrow from the previous years growth, instead regrowing from the crown. The numerous, slender errect stems give the appearance of a broom. The specific name comes from the Latin word Sarothrum, which means broom. The generic name comes from Pedro Gutierrez, a Spanish botonist of the early 19th century.

So enjoy the brillant yellow palette and plant some of these wonderful natives in your garden.
More soon - meanwhile HAPPY GARDENING!