Showing posts from December, 2012
Curcuma--The "Hidden" Ginger

  Curcumas are interesting plants, and most of them are easy to grow, once you understand their growing cycle. Curiously, the complaint I hear most often is that the plants go dormant. My opinion is that for several months of the year, you don't have to do anything to maintain them ! Several of the species are widely used as a spice, such as C. domestica and C. longa, also known as Turmeric. Most of the cultivated species and selections have attractive flowers, many of which can be used as cut flowers.One of several orange species used to be popular, but has fallen out of favor for unknown reasons.

  There are dozens of species in the genus, from petite species under a foot tall to semi-giant species over 7 feet tall. One of them, C.alismatifolia, has made it to the mass flowering plant market in many areas, erroneously called a "Thai Tulip" . More than a few people think it is indeed a tropical tulip, not a ginger. I…
A Private Pet Peeve: Unlabeled Plants   
One of my biggest irritations in going to some public gardens or to someone's orchid or bromeliad collection is the lack of plant labels. There has been a brewing debate for years in public gardens whether to label or not label plants. The sentiment for and against the visibility of plant signs is an equal argument. In private collections I feel there should be no argument at all: label the plants because in 20 or 30 years you may not remember the details of the plant. If you give the plant to someone else or divide the plant for distribution, the new owner should have a name from which he can get more information. There are numerous ways to label plants, ranging from utilitarian to beautiful, inexpensive to pricey, simple to ornate. Unquestionably, there is a method for your needs and budget.


I have posited this argument at speeches in local plant societies, and have heard that labels are little use to a private grower becaus…