Lazy Gardener & Friends for May 24, 2019

By: Nature's Way Resources | Published 05/24/2019

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Memorial Day is the perfect time to give thought to creating our own "living memorials" -- not only to lost loved ones, but to precious memories that will come flooding back (oops, bad word choice?) every time something new blooms.
 
Most of us already have treasured plantings that spontaneously trigger thoughts of loved ones, here and departed. But a special niche? I was always delighted with our then-neighbor Mel Basham planted a colorful little memorial area with a departed friend's bicycle as a centerpiece. I have sites dedicated with Louisiana iris (my birthland), red yucca (favorite Big Bend trips), etc. In our new yard, I have the perfect protected-yet-sunny spot for a plumeria to bring back thrilling visions of Hawaii.
 
Speaking of plumerias, isn't it amazing our Gulf Coast area hosts the world's primary international organization dedicated to this Hawaiian lei flower, one of the most deeply-ingrained cultural icons across numerous continents.
 
How did we get this honor . . . especially considering there probably wasn’t a single plumeria to be found for retail sale in Houston as recently as the mid-1970s? Three Houstonians, at least, did have impressive private collections. Elizabeth Thornton, Nadine Barr and Nancy Ames (yes, the famed singer) were so enamored with this exotic flower, they formed the Plumeria Society of America. At their first sale in 1979, an amazing 700 gardeners showed up and all 120 plants and leis sold out in 20 minutes. 
 
Now an international organization, PSA is still based in Houston, still educating us and still offering the best-for-us plumerias at their annual sales.
 
If you ever wanted to either try a plumeria, or to expand your collection, 'tis the season. Free advice is going to abound all around the area:
 
 
?This is all the more amazing when you realize most local plumeria growers haul their plants in every winter. The good news is:
  • plants go dormant so, in a protected garage corner, they can be ignored until spring.
  • inground plants can also be dug up, soil shaken off, and stalks stacked inside the same way.
  • increasingly plumeria lovers, especially to the south, are heavily mulching inground plumerias and praying they make it through the winter. Usually the more winters they survive, the stronger root systems become and the more likely they will survive through harder winters.
 
So what are serious plumeria growers talking about these days? In our Spotlight Article below, Past PSA President Paula Furtwangler is used to questions and shares some of her most frequent answers.
 
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FIRST, THO, TIP O' TROWEL TO RITCHIE BROS AUCTIONEERS
I realize my love of the wildflowers on their Bender Dr. @ I-59/69N northern border has nothing to do with Ritchie's mowing schedule. But it does wonderfully allow for the peak flower bloom period we are now entering and plenty of time for enough plants to drop seed to ensure next spring's blooms. And it ensures such a healthy, joy-surging smile for me now every time I drive by! Never hurts to praise big companies!
 
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EVENT NOTICES FOR CALENDAR MUST BE EARMARKED SPECIFICALLY
FOR PUBLICATION IN THIS NEWSLETTER. NO EVENT NOTICES ARE PICKED
UP FROM OTHER NEWSLETTERS OR GENERAL PR RELEASES.
EMAIL information in our exact calendar format to: lazygardener@sbcglobal.net
See Calendar for details. Always check to make sure submitted event
IS published. If you don't see it, email me: lazygardener@sbcglobal.net
 
Brenda's column in the LAZY GARDENER & FRIENDS HOUSTON GARDEN  
NEWSLETTER is based on her 40+ years as the Houston Chronicle's Lazy Gardener.
 
A PDF OF THIS NEWSLETTER IS POSTED AT
We hope you will repost & share it with anyone and everyone!
 
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Tried and true plumeria favorites include Hawaiian cultivars:
‘Duke’, ‘Hilo Beauty’ and 'Penang Peach'
 
 
PLUMERIAS AFTER HARSH WEATHER
 
by PAULA FURTWANGLER
Past President
Plumeria Society of America
 
  • HARSH WEATHER ALWAYS CAUSES PROBLEMS in the plumeria world. We had early freezing weather in October, and fairly mild winter, thereafter.
 
  • When people don’t take precautions to protect from freeze, they will lose the plant tips, and sometimes all the way down to the roots. 
 
  • Wet weather will cause the roots to rot. If pots are put away wet, they dormant root system does not take up the water, causing the water to stagnate in the pot…again leading to rot. 
 
  • CAN DIFFERENT COLORED PLUMERIAS BE GRAFTED ONTO ONE ROOTSTOCK? Yes. Grafting onto multiple branches can be quite rewarding. But donor plants must have similar growth habits.
 
 
  • For instance, to graft a Jeannie Moragne (insert) donor plant onto a plant, the other donor cuttings should also be lanky in growth habit to match Jeannie’s growth.
  • It is best to use compact growing plants as donor cuttings to keep your new "rainbow tree" compact and balanced.
 
 
NO BLUE PLUMERIAS!
There is no such thing -- yet! -- as a blue plumeria, even though you can find "photoshopped" plumerias on Ebay that have extraordinary colorations. Just don't be fooled into ordering or buying one!
 
  • WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR PLUMERIA COLORS?
  • To date: lavender, purple, orange, and red.
 
Black Purple, JL Metallica, ‘George Brown’ (aka Musk
Rainbow) from Australia and J-105 from Thailand
 
  • WHAT ARE SOME HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PLUMERIAS FOR THE GREATER HOUSTON AREA?
  • The PSA recommends you buy plumerias from local growers at upcoming PSA sales. (See end of article)
 
  • Some of the most fantastic plumerias available include tried and true favorites such as the Hawaiian cultivars: ‘Duke’, ‘Hilo Beauty’ and 'Penang Peach'. (Pictured at top of page)
 
  • Other Show Stoppers include Black Purple, JL Metallica, 'George Brown' (aka Musk Rainbow) from Australia and J-105 from Thailand. (Pictured above)
 
* * *
 
NOTE: Upcoming Plumeria Society of America show/sales & classes include:
  • SAT., JUNE 8: PLUMERIA SOCIETY OF AMERICA SHOW & SALE, 9:30am-3 pm, Seabrook. Free.
  • TUES., JULY 9: GROWING PLUMERIAS, 7-9pm, Hermann Park.
  • SAT., JULY 20: PLUMERIA SOCIETY OF AMERICA SHOW & SALE, 9:30am-3:00 pm, Seabrook. Free.
(See calendar below for details. Only PSA members are allowed
?to enter PSA shows - to join: theplumeriasociety.org)
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