Archive for November 2011

Kudzu Up The Wazoo

While walking around for a few hours the other week with my horticulturalist friend, we ran across this (open for a larger version):

It's an entire hillside and several trees completely covered by frost-damaged kudzu (Pueraria montana). Of course, kudzu is edible: kudzu jam, kudzu perfume, kudzu syrup, kudzu in salad, kudzu in quiche, stuffed kudzu leaves--I can think of a bajillion different uses! I wouldn't eat it, however. One never knows what's been sprayed when on these invasive plants in public areas. It's really not uncommon to eat it, I don't think--I find a ton of recipes when I search "kudzu recipes" on Google.

The kudzu was everywhere along the embankment at Walter C. Pierce Community Park, which, I have gathered, used to be a more vibrant gathering spot with a community garden and such. I like it now anyhow--I use it often to cut across Rock Creek Park. There's a dog park area, a basketball court, a playground, and a large grassy field, and it's just down the road from the parcours in Woodley Park (an outdoor fitness area that I always think might be fun to use but never get around to actually using). Walter Pierce Park is just south of the National Zoo--if you look behind the trees on the right, you can see a greenhouse structure on what I'm pretty sure is the Zoo's property.

About 15 years ago, an article was published about a group arguing with the Zoo about allowing a historic property to go untended in a successful effort to block the construction of a mulching facility. There's a sentence at the end that the hubbub group turned its attention to battle the Zoo's use of herbicide to fight the kudzu growing at the park--it's unclear whether they won that battle or not, because kudzu is so frakkin' tenacious, the Zoo's use of herbicide may not have had a real impact anyway. Fifteen years later, it seems that the historic building is still standing--as is the kudzu.

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It's Schlumbergera Time

The Schlumbergera NOID (I won't even try to look for an identification, but if anyone here has strong feelings about what it is, I'd be more than happy to know what I'm growing!) I got very early this year for the boy bloomed a lot this fall, although only on one side, it seems (perhaps the side that got the mid-afternoon light while on the front steps throughout the summer?). The blooms are pretty cool--not what I was really expecting, a faint, almost translucent peach colour with the bright pink stigma. And no, despite my efforts, the plant does not seem to take well to self-fertilization, unfortunately!


A Thoughtful(?) Mother

The last time I was actively looking for a new job, before taking the one in Saudi Arabia, my mother sent me a few clippings of jobs, for example, at the Winchester Star, her local newspaper. Now that I'm back in the states and in the market for employment again, she's started sending clippings again--with little notes of encouragement (or evil-doer monologues revealing in great detail her nefarious plot, complete with maniacal laughter?).

I'd love to be an Arboretum Assistant (and, in fact, there was a similar position listed recently for the National Arboretum here in DC, but I think it became available in that short period between when I had decided to work in Saudi Arabia and when I decided to come back), but sorry, mom, I'm not moving out to the Virginia mountains without the boy! She'll just have to stop inside DC the next time she drives past.

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A Touch Of Pink

I have a bunch of leaf variegation in my plant collection, particularly red and purple, so it's a delight but not terribly surprising when a plant that lost its variegation regains it.

This, however, is something a bit different. Leaves from a Pachyphytum NOID I received as a "welcome back" cutting started rooting, and I was all like "Whoa, dude, you're pink."

The potted cutting and its excess leaves I left on top of the soil to root.

And root they did, but I didn't really expect the whole pink situation! You can even see some little nubbins of what may be growing points around the base of the leaf as well.

I've read around the Internets and seen Pachyphytum with pink roots, as well as mention of the same with Kolanchoe, although I haven't found any sort of even semiauthoritative source that describes the pigmentation and why it's useful for the plant.


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