The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 29, 1998 · Page 125
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March 29, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 125

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Sunday, March 29, 1998
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Page 125
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.1 4H THE PALM BEACH POST bUiNUAY, Mftrttn y, iyyo 3 Botanists rely on unchanging Latin Containers can extend your garden ... . . I 1 AnrAr cnarp nf a natio. balcony or deck. eliminate that confusion. With more than 300,000 species of flowering plants, how could one man? He concentrated on the characteristics involving the stamens in flowers, their number and so forth. While sexual characteristics are important, so are a host of other natural characters, as well as evolution. While plant classification is not the same as producing a sort of evolutionary family tree, evolution is helpful in establishing the relationships between plants. While the system of classification is precise, the actual classifications are changing. Characters linking one plant to another are reexamined and found to be wanting, or new information is viewed that tie a plant more closely to another genus or even family. And historical research finds that a person credited as the author of a plant name was not the first to describe it. Scientific names are useful as a precise reference for a plant, and they often carry additional information. While all must be treated as Latin, they can recognize important people, witness Erio-gonum shockleyi for William Shockley and Prunus sargentii for Charles Sprague Sargent. They can have geographic references, too, such as Viola canadensis, which is found in Canada. And while these can be dead wrong (japonicas and chinensises are not always really from the Far East), Tradescantia virginiana indeed is found in the middle Atlantic states and honors John Trades-cant, an important 17th-century plant The balcony gardener should invest m one or two attractive large containers. Finished wood boxes or unglazed terra cotta pottery in a 24-incn (at minimum, 18-inch) depth will grow you anything form a "Big Boy" tomato to a genetic dwarf nectarine. A container any shallower must De watered more often, sometimes twice a day, or sun and wind dries out soil and stunts the growing PlaITerra cotta look-alikes made from plastic resin are lightweight and far cheaper than wood or pottery. Shepherd's Garden Seeds (860-482-3638) offers good-looking fakes in 20-, 16- and 14-inch heights, generously broad at top and bottom, lne 14-inch size is roomy enough to grow three or four sweet peppers; the 20-inch size can hold a truit tree. Called Ariana pots, they're American-made. Cheat a bit and lightly sponge on some moss-green acrylic paint to achieve a weathered, old-world 100lFor short-season potted plants, try cachepots of glazed porcelain into which you can fit 1 -gallon or 5-gallon back plastic nursery pots. (Be sure to bring along an empty plastic pot to make sure it will fit in the bottom of the cachepot.) Tuck in a bit of green florist moss to hide the gap between containers, and presto utilitarian becomes elegant. Once the vegetables are harvested, or flowers faded, replace the nursery pot with another, perhaps one you've seeded with summer marigolds or snapdragons. Crafty gardeners might try paining a 5-gallon or 1-gallon plastic nursery can with acrylic spray paint. Nursery pots are meant to stack, so you can have a snugger fit and a color that suits your decor summery French blue, deep moss green or rusty red to match a brick exterior. ' ' As with a cachepot, the extra layer with insulate plants against dryness and heat, creating better growing conditions for your treasured vegetables and flowers. ' . " ,' Other plant-cosies to try might be wicker or tole wastebaskets, a rusty metal watering can or one of those time liter olive oil cans . GARDENERS From 1H ed to grow sweet potatoes, but his back yard was too shady for anything but a few herbs. So he built a wooden box, 2 feet wide, 2 feet deep and 2 feet across, finished the outside nicely and placed it in his front yard. The tiny slips of sweet potato grew into luxurious, attractive leafy vines, soaking up the sunshine and thriving in the warmth radiated from a nearby concrete sidewalk. By fall he'd harvested so many fine sweet potatoes he could give some away. Luscious tubers were the centerpiece of the family's Thanksgiving table, with plenty left for dinners and New Year's Day sweet potato pie. It's amazing how containers extend the range of edibles you can grow in a kitchen garden. A Manhattan gardener first showed me how to grow blueberries .in an 18-inch pot, for example. She grew them," on a ninth-floor terrace. I put my blueberry pot in my tiny back yard, and if your soil is naturally alkali or clay, you probably should too. Blueberries need extremely acid soil. Expert berry growers will tell you to lower the pH by adding aluminum sulfate. I don't care to use such a harsh fertilizer in garden soil, but it works fine in a pot. My blueberries can be happy, and so can I. In my own kitchen I grow many fruit trees in pots. Lemon, orange and lime trees, stubby on their dwarf rootstocks, are small enough to be trucked into the garage at the threat of a frost. This spring, a "Mansanillo" olive joined the group, its feathery gray leaves a nice contrast to the kelly green of the citrus. It's an open secret that photographers for garden magazines use plants in pots to hide the view of a spigot or fill up a bare space in a flower bed; you can do the same. Pull together a garden with a strategic placement of a bright red potted geranium in terra cotta pots, a pretty urn by the garden bench that will hold a magnificent, golden-leafed hosta well above .the depredations of ground level slugs. Pots protect and add heft and structure. They are essential for kitchen gardens constrained be snobs. We use it to be very precise." You can rely on these precise, fixed Latin names. Until, of course, they are changed, and that happens for a variety of reasons at international congresses, held every six years. Plant names are much longer than their binomials. Take the kidney bean. Its class is Angio-spermae, order Fabales, family Fa-baceae (formerly Leguminosae, often still used), genus Phaseolus, and species Phaseolus vulgaris (the binomial, not the specific epithet alone, is the species). You might prefer to grow the bush variety of kidney bean. It is Phaseolus vulgaris var. humilis. Or maybe your taste runs to a particular cultivar, which is a variety produced through cultivation. Try Phaseolus vulgaris 'Canadian Wonder.' The single quotes are correct, and variety and cultivar names are not underlined or printed in italic. Take the English oak. It is Quercus robur L. This last L is often left off, but the name of the original author, the person who first described a plant, is also part of a scientific name. In this case, the L. stands for Linnaeus, Carl, the 18th-century Swedish botanist whose hierarchical system of classification in "Species Plantarum" led to the system used today. Linnaeus did this at a time of great confusion in describing and especially classifying plants, with many botanists relying on the most obvious, but not necessarily most important, characteristics to divvy things up. Linnaeus did not LATIN From 1H genus, for example, Rudbeckia, and a specific epithet, say, hirta. Together, they form the species name, Rudbeckia hirta, your basic black-eyed Susan. " Botanists do not use common riames, and knowledgeable gardeners do not, either, because of the confusion that can arise. Rudbeckia serotina and R. triloba also are known as black-eyed Susans. A binomial, on the other hand, may apply to only one plant. R. hirta is R. hirta is R. hirta. But why Latin and not, say, Greek? Well, said Hewitson, as a dead language, Latin terms are fixed, no longer evolving. Also, he said, Latin is required by the Internationa Code of Botanical Nomenclature. So there. : Hewitson knows the problems people have with Latin. (I certainly do.) "Most botanists are like the lay person," he said. "I've never had a course in Latin." By now, though, Latin names are second nature to Hewitson, though he acknowledges that he occasionally forgets common names of plants. "Scientific names bother people," Hewitson said. "They see a big long name like Liriodendron tulipifera, which is the scientific name for tulip tree, and they say, 'How do you pronounce that?' " Good question. But since no one alive has heard real Latin spoken, it doesn't much matter. Go by what the reference books say, and if you mispronounce, so what? As Hewitson said of Latin nomenclature, "We don't do it to Gardening calendar Brings You ildeimexl in a Grand New Gallery of Homes MEETINGS . B Evening Herb Society of Palm Beach meets Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Mounts Building Auditorium, 531 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach. Call 835-6724. . B Palm and Cycad Society of Palm Beach meets Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Mounts Building Auditorium, 531 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach. Call 967-8020. B Boca Raton Orchid Society meets Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Boca Raton Community Center, 150 Crawford Blvd., Boca Raton. EVENTS B Palm and Cycad Society's Spring Plant Sale: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 5, Morikami Park South Pavilion, 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach. Call 585-4183. B Mail gardening events to Janis Fontaine, Garden Calendar, Home 6 Garden Section, The Palm Beach Post, P.O. Box 24700, West Palm Beach, Fla. 33416-4700, or fax them to her at: 820-4445. y,X. x. - -'.; l M r. ill man i00St "" "V j1Wiu." mi i ' k Model "D" - 3,064 total sq.ft. - Luxury single-family home, 3 bedrooms, den, 2 baths, 2- Model "A" - 2,962 total sq.ft. - Luxury single-family home, 3 bedrooms, 2 'A baths, and Newport - 1,866 total sq. ft. - Luxury 3 bedroom, 2 'A bath townhome with 2-car garage. Capri III - 2,122 total sq. ft. - Luxury 2 bedroom plus den, 2 bath patio home with 2-car car garage, porte cochere. 2-car garage. garage. - 4. 1 -JX ' ' &t-.. ii .: - f -"it - Z,l'l'fTn t. Regent - 2,245 total sq. ft. - Luxury 3 bedroom, 2 bath patio home with 2-car garage. Model "E" - 3,921 total sq.ft. - Luxury single-family home, 4 bedrooms, den, 3 baths, 2-car garage, porte cochere. Model "B" - 2,697 total sq.ft. - Luxury single-family home, 3 bedrooms, 2'A baths, 2-car garage. 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Stroll down landscaped paths and footbridges to the Town Center with a convenient Village Store, gas pumps and a car wash - for residents use only Here you can have a sandwich with friends enjoy a game of tennis a swim or a workout at the fitness center - its resort style living every day. with shois services and recreation in a private gated community of luxury waterfront homes' Hammock Reserve: Agatedem law in tlteHiKd Defray area with ) ai rellamirxx k Rcsetve and Heated Community Pool fantastic area just minutes from Boca Raton and Delray Beaches. 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Call Us. We'll interrupt your service, or save rhc newspapers for you. Call 820-4663 or 1-800-654-1231. ft rA(ny to Kiicr imr hrst efforts lo achieve, maintain and enhance ethnic diienit) in imr community Broker participation imited. I h o m

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