The people's voice of reason

Plant of the Month -- Allamanda

I hope everyone has kept their patriotic spirit up since Memorial Day the end of May because the 4th is upon us. Happy Birthday America. We know that the new settlers from Europe came to the shores of this country with deep roots in gardening. Be it herb gardens, vegetable gardens and flowers thrown in the mix, they looked to gardens for healing and sustenance. I have been to Williamsburg several times and loved seeing these historical gardens laid out from authentic plans, with historically correct plantings. These settlers are much like us, they loved order and beauty. Just marvel at the gardens

at Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello outside Charlottesville, Va. where you can read the gardening details from his diaries. Also at Annapolis, Maryland there is a historic garden, the William Paca House which was resurrected from under some warehouse asphalt parking lots. And there are many, many other historic gardens just waiting to be explored and appreciated. It may be a good idea to visit some of these historic sites this summer.

As usual the dreaded heat has set in and some of my flowers look like cooked turnip greens if they are not watered daily. Woody stemmed plants fair so much better in the summer heat and some can be drought tolerant. I am speaking of tropical plants either in pots or in the beds. Plumbago can tolerate light shade and be perfectly beautiful en mass with the pale blues and the darker blues mixed. You would need about 6-8 plants to make a grand showing. There is also a white plumbago, although it does not bloom as profusely.

Sometimes garden centers have over stocked with new inventory piling in. Since trays and large pots of flowers take up so much space, these centers many times will put their older inventory on sale. These are great buys,

especially the perennials. Just the other day, verbena was on sale for $.50 a pot instead of $4.98. These are hardy plants and if a few stems have died back, just pinch it off, clean off any dead leaves, and plant. I have had great luck in restoring these plants to a vibrant and happy life with money in my pocket.



There are basically 2 varieties of Allamanda, one is a vine and the other a bush. I have experience with both and can attest they are extremely satisfactory. Please note that all parts of these plants are POISONOUS if ingested. As I say, beauty has it limitations. Having forewarned the public, these are handsome tropical and very much sought after. They do well in pots or in the garden. Just give the vines something to climb on such as a trellis. Allamanda do well in greenhouses in the winter unless you live in the tropical south such as New Orleans or Florida. They are perennial, but need protection in winter. They require full sun, and normal watering.

1. A. cathartica, or common allamanda is the vine. They have gorgeous yellow trumpet shaped blooms with gloss

leather-like leaves. Hendersonii have yellow-orange blooms. If ones pinches back the tendrils, it can be shaped into a bush.

2. A. schottii is known as bush allamanda and the flowers are tinted orange or reddish.


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