Monday, March 16, 2015

Sweet Kate Offers a Sweet Look

This was the day I should have had my camera back in action for shots of so many volunteers here at the gardens on this warm day.  I know there are bulbs blooming out there as well and need to capture them with the camera soon!  I was on the road delivering seeds to our growers for most of the morning and missed much of the action.  We had some sunshine changing to overcast skies but the temperature peaked at around 70 degrees F!  We'll be back in the 40 degrees F tomorrow but have enjoyed the heat.  We saw the return of quite a few volunteers today.  Cheryl D., Kathy, Eva, Lloyd, Peg and Ron R. all headed out in the gardens for clean-up efforts in multiple locations.  They were sweeping up and tidying paths as well as cutting back many of our ornamental grasses.  Pat M. and Urban both worked on pruning and Marv and Terry helped bring back in more elements of the Holiday Lights Show.  The guys helped Larry pack away a lot of these displays as well and with the recent thaw, we've been able to get almost all the cords out of the gardens.  Jenny M. and Dr. Gredler were in for painting duties and Dick H. worked on some odds and ends.  Vern, Ron Y. and Bob K. continued on carpentry projects and Bill O. was in to help later.  Maury ran more errands for us and Kay came in to process labels for the Spring Plant Sale (see our website for more details).  Janice was here producing more plant sale labels and Patrea stopped by to chat about some projects.  We also saw Stan, Russ F. and many others.  I'm sure I missed a couple volunteers but regardless, it was nice to have so many folks converge for more progress.

This blog is dedicated to the golden spiderwort (Tradescantia x andersoniana).  This variety  is called 'Blue & Gold' or 'Sweet Kate' and offers showy, chartreuse gold foliage and gentian-blue, triangular blossoms in late spring well in to early summer.  I enjoy watching the entire show from foliage emergence (see below) in late April all the way to flowering and a mature height around 15" tall.  Preferring moist, well-drained soils in full sun or part shade, this variety packs a visual punch and looks very much like a grass with narrow foliage.  While the foliage tends to be more gold (as opposed to chartreuse) in full sun, you might see some leaf scorching in hot and dry locations.  Consider afternoon shading or dappled light for longer foliage appeal.  If the plant gets bedraggled for any reason, cut it back severely for fresh growth to emerge and quickly fill in the space.  I like this perennial a lot although you may see green seedlings in close proximity to the parent plant (see photo directly below with one green seedling).  Be vigilant about pulling those out to maintain the integrity of this golden perennial.

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