November 28, 2015
— Open Blogger Y-not: Good afternoon, gardeners!
This week the incomparable KT asks "What is your Statice?"
When I went to do my own "status assessment" it went something like Kryten's in this classic Red Dwarf episode:
What with the move and our new routine (including college football or basketball games to attend several times each week), I'm currently at Condition Marigold...
...and headed to Condition Heliotrope.
So no contribution from me this week. My apologies!
Fortunately, KT, brought the content:
What is your Statice?
I recently decided that I needed to pay a little more attention to making good memories, for myself and those I care about. Statice is a good plant choice for memory-making. The Front Yard Foodie wrote:
This thought is related to many, many, many memories of my mother. Her garden. And a flower called statice. . . .
Though I don't think my mom considers herself very crafty, I remember her picking flowers and hanging them in bunches with twine or yarn on nails along the sunroom windows to dry. . . . I have these idyllic visions of her cutting her flowers from large plants saturated in golden sunlight with butterflies and bees lazily coming off the plants and hanging in the air about her, a small smile resting on her face. It was her world, her space, her project and she loved it.
There are more kinds of statice than I thought there were. The flowers known to gardeners and florists as "statice" are mostly from the genus Limonium, which contains 120 species or more, depending on your source of information. There are a couple of garden-worthy species from related genera. Do you have any in your garden? All garden varieties of statice form a basal rosette of leaves, with flowering stems rising above them.
You can use statice to make a lasting country bridal bouquet.
I do not know if limonium species are edible, but who cares? Nobody wants to eat papery flowers. They are on the "safe" list of garden plants. So if you want to decorate a wedding cake with Statice "Emile" (a hybrid cultivar for florists), Singapore Orchids, Phlox and Wax Flowers, go ahead. I once decorated a wedding cake for a low-budget wedding with silk flowers, since I am too klutzy to do those frosting decorations. I think statice would be almost as easy to use, for example, on those trendy naked wedding cakes, which despite their name, are classier than this wedding cake:
STATICE GROWN AS ANNUALS
The annual statice most commonly used by florists is Limonium sinuatum. I once had a delightful elderly neighbor who grew it. The plant is kind of gawky. She always planted it in a hot location, against the garage facing west into the alley. Sometimes a few plants lived over the winter. She loved to make dried arrangements for her friends.
In my 1988 edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book, the only colors listed for this Mediterranean species were blue, lavender or rose with a white corolla. A similar species, L. bonduellii, was described as having yellow flowers with a tiny deep yellow corolla. I found a little information about this species on the intertubes, mostly in French, but it is rarely mentioned in terms of gardening today. It has been re-classified as a subspecies of L. sinuatum. Cross-breeding the blue to rose forms with the yellow form has given us new colors of S. sinuatum, such as most of those in the Sunset Strain. The flower colors in this strain harmonize nicely with fall colors in bouquets and with crafts in "antique" colors, as well as with tannish flowers preserved with glycerin.
There are wild forms of L. s. bonduellii in the Sahara desert and in Morocco. Seeds are still available from a company in Malta. The flowers look nice, but the plant form of the Saharan strain is probably not one you would choose for your garden. There is a word for this plant in the Tuareg language. Some of our lefty friends consider the Tuareg culture to be "progressive" even though they are slave traders, their culture is based on a fairly rigid caste system and they consider themselves to be superior to others. Sex and the Saharah. Striking photos. The short video included may give us a clue to where twerking came from.
I am grateful that I do not live in or near the Sahara desert. This 2010 Journey to Timbuktu by NBC News seems so long ago. . . .
I get the impression that garden and greenhouse forms of L. sinuatum were floppier back in the 1980s than they are today. Not as floppy as the ones in the Sahara, though. You can now buy refined strains for the florist trade in single colors or in mixtures with a very wide range of colors. If you want to try making a little money growing your own, Stokes Seeds has directions for various parts of the country.
The USDA has issued guidelines for florists wishing to improve the quality and lasting power of cut flowers including German statice, annual statice and new hybrids for florists, propagated by tissue culture. Statices known in the trade as Sea Foam, Latifolia, and Caspia are also mentioned.
Many statice species can be dried and used for years in permanent flower arrangements. Yet when used as a fresh flower, they may last only a few days before leaf yellowing (on statice only, not German statice) or Botrytis infestation occurs.
Even if the leaves yellow, you may still be able to use annual statice flowers from bouquets in wreaths where the stems do not show.
Russian Statice, or Pink Pokers, is very easy to use in both fresh and dried arrangements. According to Sunset, Psylliostachys suworowii hails from Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. It prefers average soil and water. Its slender spikes of lavender pink flowers may be branched or unbranched, with the latter resembling "furry rat tails". It may grow better in coastal Alaska than in some parts of the country.
Goniolimon tataricum (sometimes still sold as Limonium tataricum) is a favorite for making wreaths. It has tiny rose to purple true flowers that fall off after blooming, leaving white or silvery-blue star-shaped calyxes. Though the plant is not very tall, it has been described as having "architectural presence". It looks white from a distance and gives an effect in bouquets similar to babys breath. Sunset notes that the entire 1 1/2 foot high and wide dome of flowers can be cut and dried for winter arrangements. It is hardy to USDA Zone 4 and can be seen at the Denver Botanic Gardens. It does best where summers are hot and dry.
LIMONIUM PEREZII AND NATIVE SPECIES
All of the remaining types of statice below are from the genus Limonium. This genus is known for plants that tolerate heat and poor soil, including salty or alkaline soils. They all need good drainage. They tend to be tap-rooted and do not transplant easily once established. Some may not tolerate humidity or continuously moist soil. Flowers are typically made up of two parts, an inner corolla and a surrounding calyx. Often, these are different colors. The flowers attract butterflies.
Limonium perezii, from the Canary Islands, is the showiest species of statice for the garden. Its individual flowers resemble those of L. sinuatum above, though they only come in lavender blue. The flower heads are large and it has a long bloom period. It is a favorite in California, and will grow in the low deserts of Arizona with afternoon shade. It can be fire retardant. Sadly, it is only hardy to 25 degrees.
Garden designers in California have used Limonium perezii with other plants even in the "hell strip" between the street and the sidewalk. Other ideas for this difficult planting situation here.
Because it naturalizes near the beach in Southern California, people sometimes confuse it with native Limonium californium, a salt marsh plant. L. californium can excrete salt from its leaves.
The two other native species are also salt-tolerant. Transpecos sea-lavender flourishes in the salty, often alkaline soils near cienegas in the Southwest.
Carolina sea-lavender is the only native statice in the East. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 - 8. Flower stems are gathered from the wild to make wreaths, worrying some ecologically-minded people.
Popular with floral arrangers, this coastal native grows in the dunes just above the high tide line. Wide leathery evergreen leaves form a ground hugging rosette from which rises the foot tall, broccoli- shaped heads of tiny purple flowers. En masse, these flowers appear as a purple haze. Very tolerant of salt, as it grows in marshes, yet easy to grow in the garden, provided it has moist, very well drained conditions in full sun.
Speaking of crafts, they love Carolina sea-lavender at Marsh Radio Island, where in 2013, they invited people to:
Come to "Stitching the Shore" a collaborative crochet session to stitch floating salt marsh islands before they are deployed in the Boston Harbor. This workshop - for veteran and inexperienced crochet stitchers alike, will result in community crocheted connective tissue between our prototype salt marsh modules.
If you understand how this helped protect the shoreline, let us know.
HARDY GARDEN STATICES
Sea lavender, Limonium platyphyllum (AKA L. latifolium), is listed as suitable for USDA Zones 3 - 9. Sunset does not list it for the desert, but does list it for parts of Hawaii. It grows at the edge of the water at The Battery, a waterfront part at the tip of Manhattan. "Tiny blue-lavender flowers arranged in basketball-size masses above sprawling basal rosette of dark green 6-12" leathery oval leaves. Foliage turns rich purple and red in autumn." Note: Fall foliage color may not be reliable in all climates.
Sunset says that there are also pure white and pink forms. Some people call it broad-leafed statice. Grows 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall. It has a frothy, see-through quality. Excellent for fresh or dried flower arrangements.
Siberian statice, Limoniium gmelinii, is a little shorter and more compact than the species above. It has widely-branching clusters of blue flowers in mid- to late summer. Some sources list it as hardy only to Zone 4. Hawaiians are out of luck with this one.
Common or Mediterranean Sea Lavender is native from the British Isles through Southern Europe, North Africa and the Azores. It sometimes turns large swaths of ground near the shore lavender when in bloom. It only grows a foot or two tall. It is hardy to about 15 degrees.
Go ahead. Get some statice. There are many possibilities. Maybe you could make a wreath.
Y-not: Thanks, KT!
To close things up, here's the Heliotrope Bouquet:
What's happening in YOUR gardens this week?
Posted by: WhatWhatWhat? at November 28, 2015 09:46 AM (HMt16)
I am reduced to patrolling for ice-weasels.
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 09:50 AM (q2o38)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 09:52 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: Kanye West at November 28, 2015 09:52 AM (B1TZ/)
Will be adding small ornaments and 'cones to fake-greenery garlands. Pretty.
Posted by: JQ Flyover at November 28, 2015 09:52 AM (044Fx)
Posted by: Y-not at November 28, 2015 09:52 AM (t5zYU)
Posted by: Y-not at November 28, 2015 09:53 AM (t5zYU)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 09:54 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: zombie samuel clemens at November 28, 2015 09:54 AM (xodPA)
Posted by: The Moron who shouts TRUMP! at November 28, 2015 09:54 AM (EUMr7)
"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come."
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 09:55 AM (q2o38)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 09:57 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: Palmetto Primary at November 28, 2015 09:58 AM (qCxUV)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 09:59 AM (mUa7N)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:00 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: Spellcheck at November 28, 2015 10:00 AM (j+aWk)
Posted by: bob at November 28, 2015 10:02 AM (7Ovi4)
Posted by: chemjeff at November 28, 2015 10:04 AM (uZNvH)
I have some remarkably good luck, because when I bought the place, seeing all of it was impossible, but I see that I can grow pig and chicken food on the wilder sections and convert the current pasture into crop.
My brother gifted me some garlic, so I have about 300 more to plant tomorrow. Also planting 7 gardenia and a crepe myrtle tomorrow.
Posted by: traye at November 28, 2015 10:06 AM (ORTuM)
Posted by: fluffy at November 28, 2015 10:07 AM (AfsKp)
I like wreaths done that way. Garlands, too. You can add some little lights to the gardland if you want to.
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:07 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:08 AM (qahv/)
The leaves are eaten by caterpillars of the Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes).
Persea palustris is in grave danger from a fungus (Ophiostoma sp.) carried by the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle (Xyleborus glabratus), introduced from Asia. Many of the trees in the southeastern part of North Carolina are already dead. The redbay wilt, or laurel wilt disease, is spreading rapidly in coastal North Carolina, and has already destroyed most Persea trees in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. It has been reported in Sassafras (Sassafras albidum); other members of the laurel family (Lauraceae) may be susceptible.
Posted by: traye at November 28, 2015 10:12 AM (ORTuM)
What kind of salvia do you have, and what region do you live in?
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:14 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: PaleRider at November 28, 2015 10:14 AM (1OLmv)
Posted by: ThePrimordialOrderedPair at November 28, 2015 10:18 AM (zc3Db)
Posted by: zombie carl sandburg at November 28, 2015 10:19 AM (xodPA)
Terrible about that new tree disease. The Eat the Weeds guy has a page on those bays.
I always thought of the Palamedes Swallowtail as a Florida butterfly. They're pretty.
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:21 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 10:24 AM (mUa7N)
Posted by: Bruce Boehner at November 28, 2015 10:25 AM (B1TZ/)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 10:27 AM (mUa7N)
When we got here everyone was saying "rent a dozer and clear all this mess." No way in hell was I tearing up a beautiful natural area in the interest of expediency. I know my way is harder, and time consuming but I'm sharing this place with a ton of native wildlife I haven't seen before.
Posted by: traye at November 28, 2015 10:29 AM (ORTuM)
(Hugel means heap, it is basically a pile of slash and trash wood covered with dirt to make a planting area)
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 10:30 AM (q2o38)
Posted by: sandra fluke at November 28, 2015 10:33 AM (wKcQA)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:35 AM (qahv/)
The cattle browsed down all the brush, but didn't eat the wildflowers and kill them in the early spring when they were vulnerable. So there was enough sun and clear areas for them to grow in.
Hogs are different, they root everything up, but if you run some cattle in the late summer and fall, they will do a bit to clear out your underbrush in your woods.
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 10:36 AM (q2o38)
I'm going to this winter. A big mo fo, about 6-8 wide and 100 or so ft long. I want to plant plums, peaches and apples in it, and let the fruit roll down to my pigs. I'll document it for a garden thread.
Posted by: traye at November 28, 2015 10:37 AM (ORTuM)
Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 10:38 AM (FvdPb)
KT and Y-not makes:
Posted by: chemjeff at November 28, 2015 10:39 AM (uZNvH)
Posted by: Alberta Oil Peon at November 28, 2015 10:39 AM (7MWCL)
Posted by: Hairyback Guy at November 28, 2015 10:40 AM (ej1L0)
Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 10:41 AM (Lqy/e)
Posted by: WhatWhatWhat? at November 28, 2015 10:45 AM (HMt16)
Posted by: Rand Paul at November 28, 2015 10:45 AM (B1TZ/)
Posted by: PabloD at November 28, 2015 10:48 AM (eOnMX)
I am not surprised that canola makes a good green when it is young.
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:53 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 10:59 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 10:59 AM (FvdPb)
Posted by: Pink poker at November 28, 2015 11:02 AM (B1TZ/)
I just got done cleaning out the leaves in the window wells. Tomorrow, it's tune up the snowblower and probably drain the lawn mower gas and then get the Christmas lights up.
Time to start thinking about what to put into the yard this spring. Thanks for your ideas and tips. I usually learn something each week.
Posted by: Bruce at November 28, 2015 11:06 AM (8ikIW)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 11:11 AM (qahv/)
Now I know where linoleum comes from.
Posted by: Ed Anger at November 28, 2015 11:12 AM (RcpcZ)
Posted by: Skip at November 28, 2015 11:13 AM (XRpjE)
Posted by: Skip
Thanks a lot! Now I'm wanting those for dinner. I don't make them, but the place in town does them up nice.
Posted by: Bruce at November 28, 2015 11:19 AM (8ikIW)
"Andy Morgan, who managed Tuareg rockers Tinariwen, noted in 2013 some Tuareg considered the 'culture to be backward and irrelevant in the modern world, a folksy throw-back kept alive by meddling Western anthropologists'."
Reminds me of a Spengler piece about Obama's anthropologist mother, before he was elected.
Some of the rock-influenced Tuareg music is really interesting. The Islamists pushing them to give up their music may win out over both the anthropologists and the enticements of modernity. At least for a while.
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 11:22 AM (qahv/)
Posted by: Eromero at November 28, 2015 11:23 AM (b+df9)
Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 11:31 AM (FvdPb)
Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 11:34 AM (FvdPb)
It is also free on Gutenberg
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 11:39 AM (q2o38)
Posted by: Velvet Ambition at November 28, 2015 11:44 AM (QPdNE)
Posted by: Woolford Spaulings at November 28, 2015 11:49 AM (5j3K1)
Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 11:51 AM (FvdPb)
Pwink pwokers? Ohooooooooeeww...
Posted by: Bwany Fwank at November 28, 2015 11:53 AM (JErR4)
Posted by: logprof at November 28, 2015 11:55 AM (vsbNu)
Posted by: Spellcheck at November 28, 2015 11:57 AM (j+aWk)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:02 PM (qahv/)
Posted by: Teh Barrel at November 28, 2015 12:03 PM (uZNvH)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:03 PM (mUa7N)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:03 PM (qahv/)
Posted by: Golfman - Xenophobe Extrodinaire at November 28, 2015 12:03 PM (48QDY)
Posted by: Teh Barrel at November 28, 2015 12:04 PM (uZNvH)
Posted by: Golfman - Xenophobe Extrodinaire at November 28, 2015 12:05 PM (48QDY)
They are probably Salvia Splendens. They won't make it through the winter, but should be readily available in the spring. They may take a light frost.
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:07 PM (qahv/)
Posted by: Woolford Spaulings at November 28, 2015 12:08 PM (5j3K1)
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:09 PM (qahv/)
It made good dirt but it took 5 years or so. I remember digging it out with a wheelbarrow and having the ducks follow me around because I would throw them big-ol nightcrawlers and beetles.
Composting is really easy, the trick is to make it faster than 5 years, and that requires some planning and some digging.
I used to use 10' of woven wire fencing in a circle to pile up the compost, it keeps it together and it is easy to move. You can also use pallets wired together, or like I do now, scrap lumber cribbed up like giant lincoln logs to make an enclosure kept together with those fencing T-posts
The trick is to keep the volume greater than a cubic yard so it will keep warn and working, and keep it damp in the summer. The other thing is to keep it un-compacted enough so enough air gets in so it doesn't go anaerobic and stinky and slimy.
Anyhow, read the book, its a really good book, and you will find a lot of good information in it.
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 12:09 PM (q2o38)
Posted by: Ricardo Kill at November 28, 2015 12:12 PM (fmL7f)
Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 12:13 PM (Lqy/e)
We kept a colander in the corner of the sink for vegetable peelings and carrot tops and onion skins and other stuff peeled off when prepping veggies, and that went into the compost.
It was the "colander".
Mom did not hold with throwing otherwise useful stuff into the garbage so we could pay to have it taken away and smell it rot while waiting for garbage day.
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 12:13 PM (q2o38)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:14 PM (mUa7N)
Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 12:15 PM (Lqy/e)
The kind f compost barrels that rotate? Don't know.
The kind that just sit there may attract roaches.
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:22 PM (qahv/)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:23 PM (mUa7N)
Posted by: Bruce Boehner at November 28, 2015 12:24 PM (B1TZ/)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:24 PM (mUa7N)
Raw turnip. Romantic, no?
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 12:25 PM (qahv/)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:26 PM (mUa7N)
Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 12:26 PM (Lqy/e)
Posted by: Ricardo Kill at November 28, 2015 12:30 PM (sBphU)
Posted by: Ricardo Kill at November 28, 2015 12:33 PM (PLMhP)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:33 PM (mUa7N)
Posted by: Golfman - Xenophobe Extrodinaire at November 28, 2015 12:35 PM (48QDY)
Will you go out and rotate it every day or every week? It will make compost fast, but you have to use them.
I tend to forget, so piling stuff up and throwing a pan of the water I wash dishes on it every-other day or so is about my speed.
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 12:37 PM (q2o38)
Posted by: Golfman - Xenophobe Extrodinaire at November 28, 2015 12:38 PM (48QDY)
Posted by: Bill DiBlasio at November 28, 2015 12:38 PM (B1TZ/)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:39 PM (mUa7N)
Posted by: Ricardo Kill at November 28, 2015 12:43 PM (0CPzC)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:43 PM (mUa7N)
Posted by: Notsothoreau at November 28, 2015 12:43 PM (Lqy/e)
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 12:45 PM (q2o38)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 12:47 PM (mUa7N)
Posted by: Notsthoreau at November 28, 2015 01:08 PM (Lqy/e)
Posted by: Ronster at November 28, 2015 01:14 PM (mUa7N)
Posted by: JTB at November 28, 2015 01:23 PM (FvdPb)
Nicotine is an insecticide, but there is some risk of spreading Tobacco Mosaic Virus to certain plants.
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 01:32 PM (qahv/)
She was very particular to never use it on edible plants and to not let anyone use the rose petals for anything that would be eaten, Nicotine is toxic in high enough doses.
Posted by: Kindltot at November 28, 2015 01:43 PM (q2o38)
Posted by: Y-not at November 28, 2015 01:53 PM (t5zYU)
Tuareg rockers. gotta figure out the scale:
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 02:16 PM (qahv/)
Posted by: Farmer at November 28, 2015 02:24 PM (o/90i)
I am still cracking up about crocheting little floating salt marsh islands to release into Boston Harbor.
They don't do stuff like that in the Midwest, do they?
Posted by: KT at November 28, 2015 02:30 PM (qahv/)
Posted by: Farmer at November 28, 2015 03:39 PM (o/90i)
Posted by: Farmer at November 28, 2015 03:47 PM (o/90i)
Posted by: Gordon at November 28, 2015 08:38 PM (hqhmo)
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