Archive for August, 2012
Roses are grouped into three types: species, old garden roses, and modern roses. This classification system is based on their existence in the wild, as with species roses, or their date of introduction. The year 1867 heralded the introduction of what is generally accepted as the first modern rose, in this case a hybrid tea rose. This first hybrid tea rose,”La France,” was bred in France by Jean Guillot. “La France” was an offspring of the old garden, hybrid perpetual rose named “Madame Victor Verdier” and the old garden, tea rose “Madame Bravy.” “La France” was special because of its urn-shaped, high centered flowers. This new flower form was remarkably different from those that came before it, thus necessitating a new class. This new class of roses was ultimately named hybrid teas. Hybrid tea roses and the rose classes introduced after 1867 make up the modern rose group.
In addition to hybrid teas, polyanthas (a cross between Rosa multiflora and hybrid teas), floribundas (a cross of polyanthas with hybrid teas), grandifloras (resulting from crossing hybrid teas and floribundas), miniatures, and English roses are also considered “modern roses.” All but two of the roses in the Folger Rose Garden fall into these categories and are therefore modern. The exceptions–a hybrid perpetual rose and a tea rose–were included to demonstrate the old garden rose classes that were the precursors to the hybrid tea rose and hence to the “modern rose.”
Shelley Gaskins, Smithsonian Gardens Horticulturist
Smithsonian Gardens and Mitsitam Café Chef, Richard Hetzler continue their partnership to provide delicious, locally grown food in the National Museum of the American Indian Mitsitam Café. This year, we have expanded the crop growing space to include more plants than ever before by “jumping”onto the museum’s rooftop!
Two varieties of tomatoes, Cherokee Purple and Manyel, tower over their potted companions. New Mex Big Jim Peppers and Serranno Peppers are a dynamic duo that keep things spicy on the rooftop and in the cafe’s recipes. These two staples of summer can be married in a great salsa.
The leaves of an herb found in the containers, Hyptis suaveolens, commonly known as Chan in Latin American countries, can be used in a refreshing drink. Its minty aroma is sure to perk up any midday slump.
Also included in the containers is Tagetes lucida, an herb also known as Mexican Mint Marigold, Texas Tarragon and Yerbis Anis. The lemon colored flower is used in Day of the Dead celebrations and the leaves are used as a heat tolerate culinary substitute for French tarragon.
The beautiful orange blooms of Mexican Marigold (Tagetes erecta), native to Mexico and Central America, are dried and used in traditional Day of the Dead (November 2) celebrations. It is known as flor de muertos (flower of the dead.)
Amaranthus spp. ‘Hopi Red Dye’ is an annual with burgundy stems and maroon foliage. The edible black seeds can be ground to make a high protien flour. Young leaves can be eaten raw or steamed for a nutritious vegetable. Traditionally, Amaranthus is used by the Hopi Indians as a ceremonial dye used to make red cornbread.
Dysphania ambrosioides, espazote, is a small plant with lots of flavor. Commonly used to season bean dishes, epazote can also be used in chili, tamales, mole and enchiladas. Epazote is believed to cure flatulence, which is why it is often paired with beans.
The seed of Carthamus tinctorius or safflower is used to make culinary oil, yellow dyes and seasonings. Long utilized in textiles, dyes from Safflower has been found in the tombs of ancient Egypt!
Wyatt Carpenter, National Museum of the American Indian Horticulture Intern
As a follow-up to last week’s blog about butterfly host plants, we thought we’d add a few more varieties of host plants that are commonly grown in gardens.
In the Smithsonian Gardens’ Butterfly Habitat Garden, visitors often wonder why we’re growing parsley and tomato plants. We tell our visitors that there are a few plants popularly grown in herb and vegetable gardens which are ideal species for hungry caterpillars (which will transform into butterflies and moths)!
Curly parsley is a popular herb that attracts Anise Swallowtails (Papilio zelicaon) and Eastern Black Swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes) in their larval stage.
Tomatoes attract several species of moths; two of them are infamous to experienced back-yard tomato gardeners. Tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) and tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) are identified by the “horn” protruding from the rear of the caterpillar. Both are voracious eaters and will munch on tomato foliage and fruit. They are not welcome visitors in most vegetable gardens, but they are invited to dine in the Butterfly Habitat Garden.
If you’re willing to sacrifice some of your herbs and vegetables to sustain a few caterpillars, you will be able to witness the butterfly life cycle just as we do at Smithsonian Gardens!
What are butterfly host plants? These plants are essentially caterpillar food. Each species of butterfly is pretty specific about the plants they’ll eat at the caterpillar stage. Butterflies will lay their eggs on plants that the newly hatched larvae will eat until they move onto the pupae stage. Hence, if you want to attract certain types of butterflies to your garden, and especially if you’re interested in seeing the egg-caterpillar-pupae-butterfly cycle, it’s important to do a little research.
The monarch lays its eggs on milkweed. An easy way to remember this, is to note the bright orange blooms of the milkweed as the monarch has similar fiery orange coloring. Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a shorter version of the common variety. As opposed to growing 3-4 feet tall, it grows only 18-24 inches.
Planting a spice bush is an easy way to attract spice bush swallowtails. The spice bush is a deciduous shrub which can grow as high as 6-10 feet! Hence, whether you’re looking for a small plant for the front of your herbaceous border (butterfly milkweed) or a larger plant to fill a vacant space in your yard with foliage and butterflies (spice bush), there are lots of options when it comes to choosing your butterfly plants!
By Kristina Borrman, Katzenberger Art History Intern
In the early twentieth century, gardens were predominantly documented by hand-painted glass lantern slides. The painting process was a meticulous one as it involved the painstaking application of color to the flowers and foliage captured on the black and white positive. Not surprisingly, colorists (who were not horticulturists) often applied the wrong colors; purple irises were painted pink, and orange tiger lilies were painted yellow. Garden enthusiasts yearned to have photographs that not only depicted their gardens beautifully, but accurately.
The earliest color photography, the autochrome process was developed by the pioneer fimmakers, the Lumière brothers. As Sam Watters writes in his book, Gardens for a Beautiful America, Frances Benjamin Johnston, the famous garden photographer, was one of the first in her business to experiment with this new additive color process. An autochrome plate consisted of a a glass plate coated on one side with microscopic grains of red-orange, green and blue-violet potato starch. Lampblack filled the space between grains and the top layer was coated wtih a black-and white panchromatic silver halide emulsion. Once the camera’s shutter was opened light went through two crucial steps; first, it would pass through an orange-yellow filter on the camera (which corrected the emulsion’s ultra sensitivity to violet and blue light); second, the light would penetrate the glass plate of colored potato starch before finally reaching the emulsion.
The plate was reversal-processed into a positive transparency and at normal viewing distances, the individual grains of colored potato starch blended together in the eye, reconstructing the captured scene. Autochrome glass plates continued to be produced into the 1930s, falling out of style with the introduction of Lumière Filmcolor sheet film in 1931, then Lumicolor roll film in 1933. Sprinkled throughout the Archives of American Gardens’ collection, autochrome photographs not only beautifully and faithfully depict their subjects, but also testify to the intersection of garden design and photographic history.
Kristina Borrman, Katzenberger Art History Intern