It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Confessions in Cafe Botanique -

Confessions of a Plant Explorer:

With one eye on the road, the other on the roadside

Allan Taylor, Ph.D.

In his talk Allan Taylor will describe some of the interesting woody plants that he has discovered and collected from the wild. He will also teach the audience how to drive with one eye on the road, the other on the roadside, looking for the next outstanding plant introduction. All for the greater glory of gardens, of course!

Taylor has always been interested in gardening, both as a scientific and spiritual exercise. Gardening for him is a superb way to commune with nature, to learn the secrets of the genetics and physiology of plants, but also to express oneself artistically in partnership with the plants. Taylor’s primary interest in gardening is to introduce plants from the wild, and to discover how they can be successfully brought under cultivation. He was practicing xeriscape gardening long before it had a name.

One of Taylor’s most spectacular introductions is a Pinus contorta, which has golden candles in the spring. This plant is propagated and sold under the cultivar name “Taylor’s Sunburst.” The tree was found at about 9,000 feet just west of Boulder, 20 years ago.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Denver Botanic Gardens – Morrison Center

6:30 – 8 p.m


Anonymous said...

Looks like the little potted "Italian Pine"" Christmas tree" in red foil I purchased last year at Lowes. Here at Southport on the Carolina coast, it's a slow grower, but doing OK in the sand. Also got a tiny, bare-root Pondarosa(?) Pine doing OK, but even slower. Will it likely survive here, the pine beetle killing them out West?

Anonymous said...

In my drive in Brunswick County, N.C., I espied an unusual pine, perhaps 25-feet tall, few limbs, dark green needles. The shorter than usual needles, sparser than usual needles, gave the tree a big Japanese Bonzi (?) Tree look. I discovered the tree (now needlessly cut down) was bewitched with "Witch's Broom". Can one purchased Witch's Broomed pines? Can they be shipped interstate> Will they grow to tall maturity? Dos Witch's Broom infect non-pines also. How is it transmitted; by bird droppings?

Allan Taylor said...

Your Pinus pinea ("Italian Stone Pine") should do well in the US Southeast. It is tolerant of cold down to about 10 degrees F. The Pinus ponderosa might not thrive there, since it is adapted to dry air and soil. Plant it on a hillside, in coarse, gravelly soil, and you might succeed with it.
Many of the dwarf conifers sold in the trade came originally from witches brooms. These miniaturized growths can result from several causes. Those which are genuine genetic mutations are the best, since they will never, or almost never, revert to their normal type. If that should occur, simply cut off thenormal sized growth. They are sometimes also caused by viruses (no cure!), or the miniaturized growth may be the result of nutritional deprivation. If a mistletoe growth is located "upstream" from the witches broom, it may represent a "starved" form of the normal type. Witches brooms of this origin revert to type immediately if they are grafted, whereas those which result from genetic change remain the same when grafted.
Allan Taylor