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Dave's Garden Articles: By LariAnn Garner

Thursday, June 26, 2014

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Botany for Gardeners - The Basics of Fruits
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

After flowers, many gardeners grow plants in the hope of obtaining fruits. Wait a minute, what about vegetables? Well, much of the vegetable produce that we are expecting from our gardens is actually fruit! When is a fruit the same as a vegetable? Read on . . .

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

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Amorphophallus - a Living Patio Umbrella?
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

You'll be hard pressed to find a group of plants as strange as some of those found in the aroid genus Amorphophallus. Among these can be found the largest inflorescence and single leaves that look like trees. The most commonly grown species go dormant in winter, making them ideal for the northern tropical garden. But you haven't had the full experience of these plants until you've smelled the inflorescences . . .

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

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Weather for Gardeners - Warm and Cold, Humid and Dry
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Weather conditions are extremely important to us as gardeners. If you are like me, you keep an eye on the weather for signs of heat, cold, rain, snow, or other possibilities that will impact your plants. In this group of articles I'm going to help you understand some of the "what" and "why" of weather phenomena. This is knowledge that you can use to get better gardening results. . .

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

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Keeping your plants in "mint" condition - and keeping rodent damage out!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Ah, another tropical morning! Time to go inside the greenhouse and see the nice new leaves emerging on my prized Anthuriums. So I unzipped the door, poked my head in and. . . AGHHH! The new leaves were gone, chewed off at the stem, and no sign of the culprit anywhere. Such is the kind of hit-and-run damage that rodents can wreak on your favorite plants. I didn't really want to set those vicious traps, I just wanted the pesky critters to go elsewhere for gourmet snacks. Alas, a serendipitous tip came my way and it really worked! Read on. . .

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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Spanish Moss - Adding that Southern Touch, and More!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

If there is any image that can be considered iconic of the Deep South, it must surely be the sight of Spanish Moss drooping lazily from a Live Oak tree. I remember seeing this sight when I was much younger, and even remember seeing this adaptable bromeliad festooning power lines as well. Alas, it seems that one doesn't see the plant around as much as before, and there is a sobering reason. Read on for more . . .

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

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Unusual and Bizarre Plants - Rafflesia, the World's Largest Flower
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

One would think that the world's largest flower would be found on a plant of considerable size, if only to support the flowers! In reality, the world's largest flower has no roots, leaves, or stems; read on to find out how this is possible . . .

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

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Transgenics - the Brave New World of Engineered Organisms
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

As a fan of science fiction, I've read a lot of interesting and thought-provoking stories over the years. Back in the 1960s, I remember reading a few stories that featured peculiar new kinds of organisms developed by what was at that time a wildly fictional technology called genetic engineering. Well, science has now overtaken fiction with a vengeance - read on to see why . . .

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

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The Jewel Alocasias - Spotlight on Alocasia nebula 'Imperialis'
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Up until now, I have introduced a Queen, some princesses, and other royal and semi-royal personages in the form of various Jewel Alocasias. However, the one that is the subject of this article is the Emperor and an Imperial Highness. Of all the Jewels, this one is arguably the most beautiful and difficult to grow. Difficulty notwithstanding, anyone who loves Alocasias will have to try this one, even if the prospect is daunting. . .

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Monday, March 4, 2013

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Hot Breakfast Pastries and Tubers with Rot - What Can Make Them Both Better?
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

If you guessed "cinnamon", you're right! Hot cinnamon rolls are great for breakfast and cinnamon powder is amazingly effective for stopping rot in stored tubers, rhizomes or corms. Plus, it smells good! Read on . . .

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

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Alocasia Hybrids for the 21st Century - Breeding for the Holy Grail
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Many lovers of tropical plants are smitten with the very large leaved Alocasia species, and many of them lust after a plant as large as Alocasia robusta is reputed to grow. One result I have been seeking in my breeding work, a holy grail of sorts, is a giant-leaved Alocasia that is easy to grow for all. Here I'll share about what I've come up with so far . . .

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Monday, February 11, 2013

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Fungi As Your Garden Partners - Enlisting the T-22 to Terminate Root Pathogens
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

"A gleaming, cold battle machine is on patrol, red glowing eyes ever searching for the enemy. The slightest movement focuses the attention of this guardian, enabling it to determine if the intruder is friend or foe. Suddenly, a stirring in the soil alerts those ever-watchful burning eyes. A tentacle is seen extending furtively towards an unprotected root, intent on infecting, dissolving, digesting and destroying it. Instantly, the T-22 springs into action, training weaponry on the invader and dooming it quickly to a vapory oblivion..." Science fiction? Not any more, because gardeners today can call on a real live T-22 that can help protect their valued plants. Read on. . .

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

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Mycorrhizae - Optimizing the Roots of Your Plants
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Mushrooms growing amongst pines in a forest can be indicative of much more than merely the rotting of organic matter. Many fungi have symbiotic relationships with vascular plants. These relationships involve trees such as pines, oaks, and eucalyptus, and include your garden vegetable plants and flowers. Knowing about mycorrhizae, what they do for plants, and how you can grow them with your plants can enable you to obtain their benefits for yourself in your own garden plot or yard.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

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A Tuberous Tropical Garden - Here in Summer, Gone in Winter!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

With the interest in tropical gardening surging amongst people who live far north of the tropical zones, anything that makes this easier is a boon. For those who don't have a greenhouse, a warm, lit basement or an extra room in which to overwinter their favorite tropicals, a garden consisting of tropical-looking plants that go dormant in winter can be the next best thing . . .

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Friday, December 14, 2012

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Greenhouse Kits: Your way into the (green)house
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

As your plants grow, so will your enjoyment and interest. Soon the day will come when you will want to be able to grow your plants year-round. For most, that will mean getting a greenhouse. Below is an overview of some of the more affordable and easier-to-build options for your new greenhouse.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

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Unusual and Bizarre Plants - A Titanic Inflorescence
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

While the genus Rafflesia may hold the record for the largest individual flower, the Titan Arum takes the award for largest unbranched inflorescence. However, the size of the inflorescence is not the only strange thing about this plant; read on to learn more . . .

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

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Long-Lost Plants - "if it's yours, it will come back to you"
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

If you've ever lost something you valued, then years later found it unexpectedly, you'll understand how I felt that day when I was out in my garden and noticed a small Alocasia plant growing up near where recently I had planted a Heliconia plant. If something is yours, it really does come back to you . . .

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

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Unusual and Bizarre Plants - Welwitschia mirabilis
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Some plants have unusual or strange flowers, while others have interesting leaf shapes or branching patterns. This plant, however, is bizarre and strange all around, practically exuding paradoxical characteristics. Read on to discover more about a plant that could win the title, "most likely to have originated on another planet . . ."

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

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Philodendron 'Xanadu' - a sport success story
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

For many, many years, the plant known as "Philodendron selloum" has been a mainstay in tropical landscapes and indoor plantings. The plant is quite tropical looking, relatively easy to grow, and large. In fact, it grows very large at maturity. For indoor decor and interiorscaping, a smaller plant with somewhat the same look would be ideal. Such a plant became available when Philodendron 'Xanadu' hit the market . . .

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Friday, February 24, 2012

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Weather for Gardeners - Climate Anomalies and Paradoxes
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Did you know that the southern hemisphere is warmer than the northern hemisphere? Ever wonder why a plant or tree that can survive in the snow of southern NSW, Australia, can't make it in the snow of Virginia, USA? The answer lies in understanding the effect of land and water on climate. Read on to learn more. . .

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

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Alocasia advincula: Batwings in your greenhouse
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

As leaf shapes among the Alocasia species go, this particular one is hard to beat. Although it is a challenging plant to grow, this Alocasia is well worth your effort if you have a warm greenhouse and can give your plant the attention it needs . . .

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Monday, December 19, 2011

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Fractals in Nature - and for the Holidays as well!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

You may be surprised to discover that among the amazing images one can produce using fractalic equations can be found ones with a holiday theme! Here's a fractalic holiday greeting for you . . .

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

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Growing your Christmas forest - one tree at a time
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

When I was a child, I remember thinking that when I grew up, I was going to get live Christmas trees in pots each year, and then after Christmas, plant them out on my land. This way, over the years, I would grow my own Christmas forest, each one with a unique holiday story to go with it. Well, I never did get land up north where I could do that, but I still think about it. How about you? If you have land in a state where you can grow Christmas pines, you can do this for yourself, starting this year!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

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Alocasia robusta - the Giant that will bring you to your knees!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Impossibly huge leaves and plants are often the Holy Grail for tropical plant lovers, whether their gardens are in the deep tropics or in temperate zones. None other is more sought after than Alocasia robusta, the plant with the record for the largest undivided leaf in the plant kingdom. However, I venture to state that none other has broken more tropical gardener hearts than this plant. Read on to see why. . .

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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The Jewel Alocasias - Spotlight on two little-known Jewels
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

The plants featured in this article are quite desirable, but much less familiar to the Alocasia enthusiast. They are also likely to be more difficult to find. Those facts notwithstanding, each of these plants deserves to be more widely grown and appreciated.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

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My start with Alocasia hybrids - Alocasia x portora
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

This plant was the result of one of my earliest hybridizations with Alocasia plants. The cross was done in the late 1970s and this plant is now grown in gardens around the U.S. and in other parts of the world. Here I'll share how this plant came to be . . .

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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The Look of Tropical Trees in a Northern Garden
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Herbaceous plants and exotic flowers are impressive enough in a tropical garden, but to really complete the look, you need some genuine trees with the tropical look as well. You don't need a greenhouse for this because the palette of trees you have available is sufficient to the task; read on to learn more . . .

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

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Unusual and Bizarre Plants - Massonia: Something Strange and Beautiful for Winter
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

For many people, winter means gray, cold days and much pining for warmer weather. However, not only can you grow some interesting plants in winter, here is one that will grow and bloom for you in winter! You won't have to worry about it in summer because it will be dormant then! Read on for more about this wonder . . .

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

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Aroids of the imagination V - Cryptic Flowers, Hidden Foliage
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Sometimes things are not as they seem, and especially so in the natural world. Camouflage and mimicry abound in the insect world. For example, flies that look like bees, butterflies appearing as wasps, and caterpillars that resemble animal guano rely on these visual illusions to evade predators. On Aroidia, however, the swapping of roles in structure and function is for filling niches with abundant diversity, and not a necessity for survival. . .

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

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Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner - Soil fertility by the seasons
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

What we eat varies according to the time of day. While our modern diet is often a blend of necessity and impulse, the plant world has a natural dietary cycle that is meaningful to the point of maximizing growth and survival. Let's take a moment and learn from the cycles of field and forest. . .

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

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Aroids of the imagination VIII - Bananas and Aroids: A Match Made on Aroidia!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Banana plants have captured my attention for a longer period of my life than aroids have, so it is only natural that at some point, I would imagine the ideal melding of both into one plant. On Aroidia, the ultimate example of this fusion is found, but on Earth, a very close approximation can be seen in the aroid genus Typhonodorum . . .

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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Cutting-edge plant science - A cure for your plant's viral headache?
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

"Take two aspirin and call me in the morning," is a phrase not often thought of as applicable to plant diseases. Recent research, however, has shown that acetylsalicylic acid, the ingredient in aspirin, has a surprising use in the protection of plants from infections. What is even more exciting is what this research revealed about the response of plants to pathogenic infection. . .

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

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21st Century Alocasia Hybrids - Developing Alocasia 'Imperial Giant'
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

The genus Alocasia is one place to look if you are in search of the ultimate lush tropical garden. Unfortunately, so many of the most desirable species are also too tender to grow for very long in temperate gardens. With that in mind, I began hybridizing Alocasias with the objective of producing hardier, easier to grow tropical specimens for all gardeners. This hybrid is one of the newest I've developed.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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Gardening with a Silver lining!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

While this time of year brings thoughts of silvery stars for the holidays and confetti for the New Year, elemental silver has a use in the garden that has been almost totally overlooked. Read on to learn the amazing facts . . .

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Friday, November 13, 2009

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Philodendrons - Spotlight on the "Tree Types"
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

These are among the largest of the plants in the genus Philodendron, producing thick trunk-like stems and cord-like roots that can wrap around nearby trees or anchor to the ground like guy wires. Known also as "tree philodendrons", they are spectacular in the tropical landscape but can become unwieldy indoors . . .

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

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Fractals in Nature - An Introduction to Organized Chaos!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

The beauty we enjoy in our gardens and indeed, in the entire natural world, seems so awe-inspiring at times that it brings us to speechlessness. But what if you learned that, instead of "evolutionary" origins, we should be looking for "iterationary" origins of the world and all in it? In this article I will introduce you to the fascinating and wonderful world of fractal geometry as it relates to the natural realm . . .

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

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The Jewel Alocasias - Spotlight on Alocasia sanderiana 'Nobilis'
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Few of the Jewels have the startlingly exotic look that this plant has. Seeing one of these transports you to a tropical nirvana where every plant is like a fantasy. You, too, can grow one of these, if you know how. . .

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

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The Jewel Alocasias - An introduction to these diminutive beauties
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Few other plants say "tropical" as clearly as plants in the genus Alocasia, and few Alocasia plants are as exquisitely beautiful as the ones I have chosen to call the "Jewels". They are jewels because they are almost all small growers whose spectacular beauty makes up for their size, if only you can keep them alive - read on to see why. . .

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

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A Philodendron Pollination Party with - The Beetles!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Think of flower pollination and most often, bees come to mind. After all, they do the lion's share of pollination, especially in our agricultural and garden plants. However, some of our plants don't attract bees at all. What they do attract, and how they do it, may surprise you . . .

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

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Hand-y Watering in the Garden - Hoses and Et-cetera!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Whether your garden is large or small, in the ground or in pots, you are likely to need a garden hose and accessories of some type to water your plants from time to time. But with all the sizes and hose-end doodads out there, how to choose the right one? Read on for some tips . . .

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Monday, April 27, 2009

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Alocasia watsoniana - A Giant Jewel!
By LariAnn Garner (LariAnn)

Most of the Alocasia species that I consider to be "jewels" are small growers suitable for a windowsill or small conservatory. However, not all Jewel Alocasias are so diminutive! Read on to learn about this Giant of the Jewels . . .

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