Horticulture Staff

Tue
29
2018

Meet Mark Nagel Volunteer Beekeeper

Hi Everyone!

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Mark Nagel and I am the new volunteer beekeeper at the Garden.  I have been keeping bees for 6 years and am an Oregon State University certified apprentice beekeeper working towards becoming a master beekeeper.  I have several beehives located throughout the valley and also manage the Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club hives located at the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center in Boise.

May has been a busy month for the three new hives at IBG.  We started with one hive from a package of bees the first weekend of April.  A package of bees is about 3 pounds of bees and a newly mated queen that are placed together in a hive.  This hive has shown great progress harvesting the spring nectar flow leading up to me having to add a honey super this week to start collecting honey!  It is not common for a package of bees to produce honey the first year, but we have had a warm early spring with a lot of nectar and pollen in the Foothills.  It also helped to have previously drawn honeycomb to put us ahead of schedule.

The second hive was started from a swarm I caught the last week of April on the Boise Bench.  I gave them a permanent home at IBG the first week of May.  Doing a routine inspection this week the queen has a beautiful laying pattern and hive population is increasing quicker than expected!

Finally, the third hive was completely unexpected.  I came up to install the swarm I had caught into their permanent home and another swarm had moved into the hive we had just set up the week prior to moving the new swarm into!  What a great surprise!  This hive is just starting to establish itself and making some good early progress.

Looking forward into June I will be monitoring queen production, hive population, and early season mite counts* as we move into the main nectar flow for our region late June and into July.

Please stay tuned in the upcoming months as I plan on providing monthly updates about the newest members of the garden!  I look forward to discussing bees with you all!  If you have any questions about the IBG hives or beekeeping, in general, please feel free to reach out to me.  mark@720apiaries.com

*Mite counts are a way I can track the level of the Varroa Destructor mite.  A parasitic mite that is plaguing the honey bee population.  You can read more about this honey bee issue at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varroa_destructor


Submitted By, Mark Nagel, Volunteer Beekeeper



Fri
25
2018

Idaho Botanical Garden is now a propagation member of Plant Select

New Plant Select Garden Featured at Idaho Botanical Garden

The Idaho Botanical Garden is now a propagation member of Plant Select, the country’s leading brand of plants designed to thrive in high plains and Intermountain regions. IBG will now be able to propagate these special plants for sale and for use throughout the garden. For the past several years IBG has showcased some of these plants in our Plant Select® demonstration garden, and we are excited to deepen our ties to this outstanding program.

Plant Select® is a nonprofit collaboration of Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens, and professional horticulturists. Its mission is to seek out and distribute the very best plants for landscapes and gardens from the intermountain region to the high plains and beyond.

 

Plants chosen for the program exhibit these eight attributes:

  • Flourish with less water
  • Thrive in a broad range of conditions
  • Habitat-friendly
  • Tough and resilient in challenging climates
  • One of a kind/unique
  • Resist disease & insects
  • Long-lasting beauty
  • Non-invasive

 

Learn more about Plant Select®: http://plantselect.org/

 

Photo courtesy of American Nurseryman

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Written by Nell Frazer Lindquist, Nursery & Greenhouse Coordinator



Sat
19
2018

What’s Blooming May 2018

Meadow Rue – Thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’

 

The genus Thalictrum may surprise you by just how showy and attractive it can be. Commonly known as the meadow rues, plants in this genus are found throughout the northern hemisphere and are generally adapted to cool, shady locations. While several species have miniscule, inconspicuous flowers and unremarkable foliage, others are quite the opposite. One inarguable example is a hybrid cultivar called ‘Black Stockings.’

‘Black Stockings’ describes the deep purple, nearly black stems that stand sturdy and tall above delicate, green foliage. Reaching up to four feet and beyond, the plant is topped with numerous clusters of lavender-magenta flowers that look like little fireworks. Butterflies and other pollinators can’t resist.

This a perfect addition to the back of a perennial bed or border. It is best suited to full sun or part shade and thrives in rich soil with regular water. Late spring to early summer is when you will find it in its prime. See it now, along with other late spring flowers, in the English Garden.

The nearly black stems of Thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’

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Written by IBG Collections Curator, Daniel Murphy



Thu
17
2018

30,000 Honey Bees!

Please welcome our newest IBG staff members…30,000 honey bees!

 

Please welcome our newest IBG staff members…30,000 honey bees! The Garden is now keeping honey bees (Apis mellifera) to promote honey bee and pollinator awareness through hands-on education. Our bee hives are NOT open for visitors yet, so if you see hives in the Garden please respect the “restricted area” signage.

We’d also like to welcome our amazing Volunteer Beekeeper, Mark Nagel! Mark comes to us from the Treasure Valley Beekeeping Club and his own 720 Apiaries with many years of beekeeping experience. Thanks Mark!

The Buzz Around Town: This is a bumper year for bees! With an early winter warm spell, honey bees in the Treasure Valley have gotten a jump start. As the queen bee lays eggs and populates the hive, the hive gets crowded. This causes the hive to split into two populations, wherein one of them “swarms” and leaves the hive in search for a new home. If you see a honey bee swarm, do not “bee” alarmed! Contact a local beekeeper to remove the swarm at www.idabees.org.

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Submitted By, Sierra Laverty, Assistant Horticulture Director



Wed
16
2018

Bear Grass Bloom Watch!

It’s an exciting day in the Lewis and Clark Garden; we are on Bloom Watch for our Bear Grass!

 

What makes this bloom so exciting is that Xerophyllum tenax blooms in five to seven year cycles, and our cluster of bear grass was planted ten years ago and has yet to flower—until now. Yesterday I noticed that not one, but TWO, of them are getting ready to bloom! One of them is farther along than the other, so you should have plenty of time to catch one or both in action. You may be familiar with bear grass if you’ve ever hiked in an area that is recovering from wildfire; I first encountered them close to  McCall in the Pins and Needles area.

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Submitted By, Anna Lindquist, Garden Lead



Thu
26
2018

What’s Blooming April 26, 2018

Koreanspice Viburnum – Viburnum carlesii

 

Viburnum is a genus of shrubs consisting of more than 150 species, most of which are found in the Northern Hemisphere. They are ecologically valuable in their native habitats, providing food and shelter to countless insects, birds, and mammals. A fair number of viburnum species have also become popular garden and landscape plants. Take a look at any viburnum, and it’s easy to see why.

One particularly attractive species is Viburnum carlesii, a deciduous shrub native to Korea and Japan and commonly known as Koreanspice viburnum. It has a natural rounded form and reaches about 6 feet tall to 6 feet wide. Like most viburnums, its form and foliage make it appealing even when it isn’t flowering or fruiting; however, its flowering stage is the moment you definitely want to experience.

Dome-shaped clusters of red-to-pink buds form at the tips of branches. As they open, pink flowers turn to white. The flowers are abundant and highly fragrant. Their scent has been described as spicy vanilla or spice cake. Their fragrance is currently filling the air in the English Garden, where additional viburnum species can be found flanking a massive and impressive bulb display. Don’t miss it.

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Written by IBG collections curator, Daniel Murphy



Fri
6
2018

What’s Blooming April 2018

Prairie Smoke – Geum triflorum

 

One of the first wildflowers to bloom in the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden is a low-growing plant in the rose family. Patches of fern-like leaves green up quickly in the spring, followed by a series of upright, mostly leafless stems that reach anywhere from a few inches to over a foot tall. Three bell-shaped flowers are borne atop each stem, which bend at the top to face the flowers downward.

Pink to red sepals and small, pointed bracts encase each of the flowers. The petals, which are white or light pink, are barely visible. After the flowers are pollinated, they turn to face upwards. The styles of the flowers persist and grow up to two inches long. They also become hairy, which gives the seed head a feathery appearance and explains one of the plant’s common names, old man’s whiskers.

Geum triflorum is widespread throughout western North America and occurs in dry to moist open areas in montane and subalpine regions. Where it is abundant, the collective seed heads create the appearance of a low-lying haze, hence its other common name, prairie smoke.

See prairie smoke blooming now in the Prairie Zone of Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden.

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Written by IBG collections curator, Daniel Murphy



Thu
29
2018

Interested in Saving Seeds?

Here are some very basic seed saving tips!

Some of the easiest flowers to collect seeds from include:

  • Chocolate flower (Berlandieria lyrata)
  • Winecups (Callirhoe involucrata)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia sp.)
  • Coneflowers (Echinacea sp.)
  • Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

Be aware that there are many hybrid varieties of Black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and sunflowers. If you save seed from a hybrid, it may be sterile, or the resulting plant may revert back to looking like one of the hybrid plant’s parents. You can save these seeds, but the plant you grow will be a surprise!

A couple of very easy herbs to save seed from include dill and cilantro.

1. Observe your plant and seed formation:

Don’t deadhead if you want to collect seed! Let the flower bloom and then go to seed. The best time to collect seed varies for each flower type, but you want to let the seeds dry on the plant as long as possible. Observe plants frequently and watch as seeds develop and ripen.

2. Collect your seed:

Shake the seed head over a paper bag to collect the seeds, or snip off the entire dried seed head and drop it into a labeled paper bag.

3. Clean your seed:

Some seeds fall freely from the seed heads or pods; others need to be rubbed to loosen them. Discard non-seed material.

4. Store your seed:

Don’t use plastic bags to store your seed long-term. Good choices for seed storage are small glass jars and envelopes. Whatever you use, label your seeds! Store your seeds in a cool place, like the refrigerator.

 

For more information on seed saving, check out:

http://extension.wsu.edu/skagit/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2014/03/090310.pdf

http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sfn/su09Seedbasics

 

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Written by IBG

NELL FRAZER LINDQUIST

Nursery & Greenhouse Coordinator

Garden Tour Search Coordinator



Thu
1
2018

What’s Blooming March 2018

Panchito Manzanita

Arctostaphylos x coloradensis

 

Panchito Manzanita ‘Arctostaphylos x coloradensis’

 

There is a plant for every season in our Plant Select Demonstration Garden. A few of the species found there, like the manzanitas, are even attractive year-round and worth visiting anytime. If there is a season you don’t want to miss them, though, it’s spring.

The Plant Select program (www.plantselect.org) has released three varieties of manzanita, two of which are found in our Demonstration Garden: Panchito and mock bearberry. Each are selections of Arctostaphylos x coloradensis, a naturally occurring hybrid between A. uva-ursi and A. patula. These manzanitas are low-growing, sprawling, evergreen shrubs that thrive in sun to partial shade. Their broad, glossy, deep green leaves and their reddish bark give them year-round interest.

In early spring they produce dozens of clusters of white and pink flowers. The flowers -characteristic of many plants in the heath family – are bell-shaped and hang from the tips of branches, calling out to early pollinators and other garden visitors.

http://plantselect.org/plantstories/colorados-hardy-manzanitas-welcome-winter-beauty/

http://plantselect.org/plant/arctostaphylos-x-coloradensis/

http://plantselect.org/plant/arctostaphylos-x-coloradensis1/

Panchito Manzanita in bloom this March at the Idaho Botanical Garden.

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Written by IBG collections curator, Daniel Murphy



Thu
1
2018

What’s Blooming 2/1/2018

Helllebores – Helleborus spp. 

 

Hellebores ‘Helleborus spp.’

This oddly mild winter has us already anticipating spring flowers. One genus you can generally rely on to be in bloom around this time of year is Helleborus. Native to Eurasia, species in this genus are commonly known as Lenten rose, Christmas rose, or (simply) hellebores. They are a popular addition to dry shade gardens, and as a result, there are numerous species, hybrids, and cultivars to choose from.

Historically, hellebores have been used medicinally due to toxic alkaloids produced in all parts of the plant. A side benefit of this is that deer and rabbits generally leave them alone. Humans should also avoid eating them and should instead appreciate them for their beautiful late winter/early spring blooms and interesting foliage. Hellebore flowers are particularly showy due to the enlarged, sometimes colorful sepals that are easily mistaken for petals. The actual “petals” are small, tubular nectaries found in a ring at the center of the sepals surrounded by a tight grouping of the flower’s sex organs.

Several varieties of hellebores can be found blooming at Idaho Botanical Garden in both the English and Meditation Gardens. We hope you will plan regular visits in the coming weeks to see all this early spring has in store.

Hellebore in bloom this winter at the Idaho Botanical Garden.

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Written by IBG horticulturist, Daniel Murphy



Mon
20
2017

English Garden

The renovation of the English Garden began in the summer of 2015.  Renovation of this garden was prompted by the growth of the trees and the change in the amount of sunlight that is in the garden.  New plants and 6000 bulbs were installed in the English Garden in 2017.  A new metal pergola was also installed in the fall of 2017.  Make sure you stop by the English Garden as we celebrate the 20th birthday of this garden in 2018.



Fri
20
2017

Labyrinth

This spring, as we began construction for our new bathrooms, we removed the Labyrinth. Find a new one in the Foothills Grove near the Vegetable Garden and the Lewis and Clark Garden. A Labyrinth is a flat surface containing an intricately designed pathway. It has one path that moves back and forth or from side to side until you reach the center and then back out again to where you began. It is often used as a form of meditation. We were able to install a new Labyrinth thanks to donors Lisa and Norm Schlachter. Throughout the fall, the lower section of Foothills Grove was regraded and new stone retaining walls installed. The design has a gravel base, and pathways are defined by sandstone bricks. Our new Labyrinth is a work of art in the landscape. Make sure to visit early spring to see all of the wonderful updates to our Garden!



Thu
21
2017

What’s Blooming 9/21/2017

Globe Amaranth – Gomphrena spp. 

 

Gomphrena haageana ‘QIS™ Carmine’

What is not to love about gomphrena? It’s an easy to grow, low maintenance, disease resistant summer annual that can survive on little water and will tolerate a range of soil types. It blooms prolifically from the beginning of summer and into the fall, forming an attractive mound of color that is difficult to miss.

Read the article »



Wed
23
2017

What’s Blooming 8/23/2017

Eaton’s Aster – Symphyotrichum eatonii

 

Every year during the final weeks of summer, we look forward to seeing the asters bloom. They are a sure sign that fall is on the way, but a reminder that there is still so much color left to see before the gray days of winter. In our Idaho Native Plant Garden, you will find Eaton’s aster in full bloom. It is a native of the western states, and one of dozens of asters native to North America.

Read the article »



Mon
31
2017

What’s Blooming 7/31/2017

Goldhill Golden-aster – Heterotheca jonesii x villosa ‘Goldhill’

 

One of the many things to love about the Plant Select program is their collection called Plant Select Petites. These are tough plants that are adapted for gardens in the Intermountain West, just like all the other plants in the program. The difference is that the Petites are selected specifically for small spaces. They are perfect for troughs, containers, rock gardens, and anywhere else that a small plant is needed. The Plant Select Demonstration Garden at Idaho Botanical Garden features several Plant Select Petites, one of which is Goldhill golden-aster.

Read the article »



Thu
15
2017

What’s Blooming 6/15/2017

Spanish Foxglove – Digitalis thapsi ‘Spanish Peaks’

 

Idaho Botanical Garden is home to one of Plant Selects many demonstration gardens located throughout the Intermountain West. On display in our demonstration garden are plant varieties that are perfectly suited for creating sustainable gardens in the Treasure Valley. Many of those plants are in bloom now, one of which is Spanish Peaks foxglove.

Read the article »



Mon
24
2017

What’s Blooming – April 24, 2017

April showers bring more April flowers. Brave the rain and come see the most recent blooms at Idaho Botanical Garden as April draws to a close. Here’s hoping for a sunnier, drier May.

Imperial Fritillary (Fritillaria imperialis) – English Garden

Saskatoon Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)  – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden

Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden

Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda ‘Texas Purple’) – English Garden

Uintah Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon uintahensis) – Summer Succulent Garden

Mountain Goldenbanner (Thermopsis montana) – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) – Vegetable Garden

Koreanspice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) – English Garden

Red-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden and Western Waterwise Garden

Antelope Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden

 



Wed
5
2017

What’s Blooming – April 2017

Idaho Botanical Garden is on the verge of bursting into full bloom. So many things are already flowering, and there is much more to come. Below are just a few of the things blooming now throughout the Garden. Stop by today to see these, and visit often as spring unfolds to see all the rest. Happy Spring!

Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden

Yellowbells (Fritillaria pudica) – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden

Western White Trillium (Trillium ovatum) – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden

Redbud (Cercis canadensis) – Children’s Adventure Garden

Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium) – Throughout the Garden

Magnolias (Magnolia spp.) – English Garden

Forsythia (Forsythia × intermedia) – Throughout the Garden

Common Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum) – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden

Canada Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) – Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) – On the border of the Rose Garden

 



Mon
26
2016

What’s Blooming 9/26/2016

Bluebeard – Caryopteris spp.

 

caryopteris clandonensis 2

Plants that bloom late in the summer and into fall are particularly important in the garden. Not only do they offer continuous color and interest as other plants fade, but they provide essential nectar and pollen resources to bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects as they prepare for migration and hibernation. One such late season bloomer is Caryopteris.

Read the article »



Wed
14
2016

What’s Blooming 9/14/2016

Firecracker Vine – Ipomoea lobata

 

mina lobata 2

After months of growth, Ipomoea lobata is finally coming into its own. Commonly known as firecracker vine, Spanish flag, or exotic love vine, this annual, ornamental vine can be a real showstopper when it finally reaches full bloom.

Read the article »



Wed
7
2016

What’s Blooming 9/07/2016

Mexican Sunflower – Tithonia rotundifolia

 

mexican sunflower 6

Mexican sunflower is a real presence in the garden. Closely related to the sunflower genus (Helianthus), Tithonia rotundifolia matches many sunflowers in its size and showiness – reaching up to six feet tall and four feet wide in a single season and producing dozens of large, orange to red flower heads. The flowers occur from mid-summer into the fall and are similar in appearance to many other flowers in the aster family. It is native to Mexico and Central America, but is easily grown as an annual in cooler climates.

Read the article »



Wed
31
2016

What’s Blooming 8/31/2016

Joe Pye Weed – Eutrochium purpureum

 

joe pye weed 1

Native to wooded slopes, wet meadows, thickets and streams of the eastern and northern United States, Joe Pye weed is better known as a garden plant in England than here in its homeland. Stunning in size (4-7’ tall) Joe Pye weed is an impressive plant of the aster (Asteraceae) family whose stout, arching stems are awhirl with large serrated leaves and topped with domes of small flowers rich in nectar and pollen.

Read the article »



Wed
24
2016

What’s Blooming 8/24/2016

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant – Cleome serrulata

 

Cleome serrulata

At first glance Rocky Mountain bee plant might appear to be an import from an alien planet. The big pink blooms, with long seed capsules dangling down like legs, atop a spindly stalk are unlike many other plants. So why do we have this plant at the Idaho Botanical Garden? Well, despite its otherworldly appearance Rocky Mountain bee plant is a North American native. It can be found growing from British Columbia all the way down to Arizona and New Mexico.

Read the article »



Sat
20
2016

Koi Pond

In the summer of 2016, the Idaho Botanical Garden installed a new Koi pond thanks to a generous donation from the Richins family.  The Richins donated their beautiful collection of Koi fish to the garden along with the funds to build a new state of the art Koi pond.  IBG’s new Koi pond resides in the Meditation Garden. 



Thu
18
2016

What’s Blooming 8/18/2016

Hardy Hibiscus – Hibiscus moscheutos

 

hibiscus 1

Hibiscus moscheutos has the tropical appeal of other Hibiscus species but is surprisingly well-adapted to survive in cold climates. For this reason it is commonly known as hardy hibiscus. Another common name, swamp rose mallow, refers to the wet environments where it is found growing naturally. Its native range spans from Texas eastward to the Atlantic coast and then north into Ontario, Canada. It is a robust, woody perennial in the mallow family (Malvaceae) that reaches up to 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Its flowers can be the size of a dinner plate, and its large overlapping petals come in a range of colors from white to pink to deep red, often with a maroon or crimson center. The pistil and stamens form a central column that is prominently displayed. Each flower only lasts a day or two, but new flowers open each day throughout the bloom period which runs from July to September.

Read the article »



Thu
4
2016

What’s Blooming 8/4/2016

Globe Thistle – Echinops ritro

 

echinops 1

In the Children’s Adventure Garden, a mass of planting of globe-shaped, blue-purple flowers draws a crowd. In the heat of the day, nearly every flower head is occupied by at least one bee, if not three or four. Human visitors are also lured in, not only to observe the swarm of pollinators but also to admire such a unique bloom. The view is other-worldly.

Read the article »



Thu
28
2016

What’s Blooming 7/28/2016

Desert Willow – Chilopsis linearis

 

IMG_1791

The common name for Chilopsis linearis, desert willow, might first appear to be an oxymoron, as we often associate willows with water. However, Chilopsis is only “willow” in name and appearance. True willows are in the genus Salix. Chilopsis, on the other hand, is a monotypic genus – a genus that contains only one species. In this case, that species is Chilopsis linearis.

Read the article »



Wed
20
2016

What’s Blooming 7/20/2016

Dahlias

 

dahlia 3

Native to Mexico and Central America, dahlias are tuberous rooted perennials in the aster (Asteraceae) family. Years after its discovery, the first dahlia was taken to Europe. Although it adapted well to European soils, it did not dependably survive winters. In the 19th century, botanists in the Netherlands began to experiment, and from a pair of dahlias came the majority of dahlias found for sale today.

Read the article »



Tue
12
2016

What’s Blooming 7/12/2016

Purple Prairie Clover – Dalea purpurea

 

FullSizeRender

Throughout the Idaho Botanical Garden you may notice certain plants covered in small metal cages made of chicken wire. Curious visitors often ask what we use these cages for, and the answer is: for protection. It really is a problem we have brought on ourselves. While human members see the staggering variety of plants we have here at the garden as a tapestry to be admired, our resident critters see a veritable smorgasbord of tasty treats. One particularly appetizing plant that needs extra protection is Purple Prairie Clover, Dalea purpurea. Without fortification, this plant would surely have succumbed to our rabbit population years ago, the young shoots being especially desirable for their high protein content. Luckily the clover has become more established over the years, and now appears to be at the point where it is not as appetizing, having woodier, thicker stems, and thus in less need of protection.

Read the article »



Wed
6
2016

What’s Blooming 7/06/2016

Texas Red Yucca – Hesperaloe parviflora

 

hesperaloe 6

It may surprise you that a plant native to central Texas and northern Mexico thrives in Idaho, but it’s true. Hesperaloe parviflora has a condensed native range deep in the heart of Texas, where it tolerates extremely high temperatures and very dry soils. When grown in regions where temperatures drop below zero in the winter and snow piles up around it, it tolerates that too. It’s a tough Texas plant.

Read the article »



Wed
22
2016

What’s Blooming 6/22/2016

Oceanspray – Holodiscus discolor

 

IMG_1444

As we enter the heat of summer, flowers in many parts of the garden are slowly succumbing to the rising temperatures. However, one plant that is flourishing in the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden is oceanspray, Holodiscus discolor. A member of the rose family, oceanspray is a northwest perennial shrub that grows 4-5 feet tall with an arching habit. In summer the shrub is covered in green, deeply lobed leaves and sprays of fragrant white flowers. The plentiful, creamy blooms provide a bounty of food for native pollinators. 

Read the article »



Tue
14
2016

What’s Blooming 6/14/2016

Butterfly Milkweed – Asclepias tuberosa

 

butterfly milkweed 1

Butterfly sightings have become common in the garden these past few weeks. Butterflies are among the most charismatic of insects and are easy to attract to a garden. The key is to provide a wide variety of flowering plants that produce abundant nectar. One such plant is Asclepias tuberosa. Its common name, butterfly milkweed, demonstrates just how appealing to butterflies it is.

Read the article »



Tue
31
2016

What’s Blooming 5/31/2016

Red Hot Poker – Kniphofia uvaria

 

FullSizeRender (9)

The common names of plants can often be misleading or nonsensical. However, looking around town at the blooming Red Hot Poker, also known as Torch Lily, the plant seems suitably named. A native of South Africa, Kniphofia uvaria has quickly become a garden staple throughout the world thanks to its striking blooms, love of heat and sun, and its drought tolerance.

Read the article »



Wed
25
2016

What’s Blooming 5/25/2016

Black Beauty Elderberry – Sambucus nigra ‘Gerda’

 

black beauty elderberry 2

A Black Beauty elderberry in full bloom is a sight to behold. Black Beauty is a trademarked name for Sambucus nigra ‘Gerda’. It, unlike the straight species, has foliage and young stems that are shades of purple. The leaves are dark, sometimes black in appearance. They are large and divided into 5 – 7 distinct leaflets. The tiny flowers are pink and white and are organized into a flattened, wide inflorescence called a corymb. They give off a lemon scent. Flowering occurs late spring into early summer, after which large clusters of fruits begin to form. The ripe fruits are highly desirable to birds.

Read the article »



Mon
16
2016

What’s Blooming 5/16/2016

Streambank Wild Hollyhock – Iliamna rivularis

 

iliamna rivularis flowers

This eye-catching, Idaho native is a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae). As its common name implies, it mainly occurs along stream banks and in wet meadows at elevations ranging from the foothills to subalpine zones. It varies in height depending on its location, but is typically between 3 to 6 feet tall. It sends up numerous flower stalks that are loosely populated with large pink to rose-purple (sometimes white) flowers. Its large lobed and toothed leaves resemble the leaves of maple trees or grape vines. The flowers, fruits, and seeds are similar in appearance to its cousin, hollyhock (Alcea sp.), which explains the other half of its common name. In the wild, forest fires encourage the seeds of Iliamna rivularis to germinate.

Read the article »



Tue
3
2016

What’s Blooming 5/3/2016

Lilacs – Syringa vulgaris

 

lilac

Sense memory in the springtime garden can be strongly influenced by the nostalgic perfume of lilac.  Does the scent of lilac in the air take you back to your study abroad in Paris?  Whitman’s elegy When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed, mourning the death of President Lincoln may come to an English major’s mind.  I think of the corsage made of lilacs Tress Parke wore to the high school graduation of her granddaughter, Louise, and smile at the memory of a more innocent time.

Read the article »



Wed
27
2016

What’s Blooming 4/27/2016

Owens Valley Penstemon – Penstemon confusus

 

penstemon confusus 4

The western United States is lousy with penstemons. Idaho alone claims at least 43 native Penstemon species. Neighboring states claim similar numbers. It is hard to think of the West without them, which is why Idaho Botanical Garden has made it a point to showcase as many of these plants as we can get our hands on. We currently have around 60 different penstemon taxa (including varieties, subspecies, and cultivars) distributed throughout our gardens. In fact, a small handful of these penstemons are part of a nationally accredited collection through American Public Garden Association’s Plant Collection Network.

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Thu
21
2016

What’s Blooming 4/21/2016

Curly Leaf Sea Kale – Crambe maritima

 

crambe martima 1

One of our horticulture missions at Idaho Botanical Garden is to showcase plants that are suitable for gardens and landscapes in the Treasure Valley. That is why we maintain various waterwise and native plant gardens. The plants in these gardens are acclimated to our soils and our hot, arid summers. One such garden is our Plant Select Demonstration Garden. Plant Select is a collaborative organization between Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado State University that aims to bring ornamental plants to the horticulture industry that are reliable, attractive, low maintenance, and suitable for the high plains and intermountain regions. The horticulture staff at IBG thinks highly of the Plant Select brand, not only for their incredible selection of plants but also because their mission is so similar to ours.

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Mon
11
2016

What’s Blooming 4/11/2016

Barestem Biscuitroot – Lomatium nudicaule

 

lomatium nudicaule

Lomatiums are among the diverse suite of wildflowers that bloom in the Boise Foothills each spring. Commonly known as biscuitroot or desert parsley, Lomatium is a genus consisting of around 75 species, all of which are found in western North America. There are several species native to our region; the most common include Lomatium dissectum (fernleaf biscuitroot), Lomatium grayi (Gray’s biscuitroot), Lomatium triternatum (nineleaf biscuitroot), and Lomatium nudicaule (barestem biscuitroot).

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