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Plant of the Month

Amaranth 'Chinese Giant Orange'
Amaranthus hypochondriacus
'Chinese Giant Orange'

Location: West side of the parking lot entry down by the barn, grid N34

One of my goals in planting annual flowers in the Arboretum is to grow some plants that are not commonly seen in the area, that ideally provide showy color in mid-summer, and are easy to grow.

Amaranth 'Chinese Giant Orange' 7-18-15
Amaranth 'Chinese Giant Orange' 7-18-15

I think the Amaranths that are planted out in the parking lot entry meet those goals. I did start them from seed in the greenhouse, so they are flowering somewhat earlier than they would if they had been seeded in the ground.

Amaranth 'Chinese Giant Orange' 7-18-15
Amaranth 'Chinese Giant Orange' 7-18-15

Amaranths produce lots of highly nutritious seeds which are an important food source in many parts of Africa. They are also a favorite of small, seed eating birds like finches which will perch on the seed heads and feed when the seeds mature. There are actually two cultivars planted in the bed. The other one is called 'Autumn Torch' and is not supposed to get as tall as the 'Chinese Giant Orange', but so far the difference isn't as pronounced as I expected.

Monthly Projects

The hot dry weather has been pretty relentless this summer. That makes it seem like all we do is water and fix irrigation problems. That certainly takes up a lot of our time, but we also try to keep up with the weeds, pruning, labeling and removals. We have flagged the next phase of irrigation installation and hope to get that done before the student crew has to go back to school.

Hosta garden 7-8-15
Hosta garden 7-8-15

We are making a big push to inventory the Hosta collection and attempt to get them all correctly labeled. Labels have a nasty habit of disappearing (or almost worse, migrating to a new, incorrect location).

As always, the ponds look worse than I would prefer—the weird news is that somehow this year the upper pond looks worse than the lower pond. We are trying to stay ahead of the Azolla, the red leafed water fern that has covered the lower pond the past three years.

Upcoming Events

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Science Saturdays
July 18, August 15 10:30 am at the Red Barn
This year the theme will be pollination, and each session will look at different aspects of pollination. The August session will focus on honeybees, and includes a demonstration hive and honey tasting!

Science Saturday, 7-18-15
Science Saturday, 7-18-15

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