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Old 06-23-2011, 08:22 AM   #1
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This is a good analysis of the possible ramifications of planting cultivars and hybrids. It's sympathetic and non-dogmatic, but it gets the point across.


http://nativeplantwildlifegarden.com...-bad-and-ugly/
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:52 AM   #2
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Jack, good find. What is the point of using a plant that may not provide what the gardener has in mind for the garden. In a small urban garden each plant must serve a purpose as well as be pretty. Most plants perform multifunctions over the course of its life. These plants are altered for larger blooms or different color in the leaves to bring attention and sales. But often the loss of other not selected for traits changes the character of the plant and renders it less useful in the natural community.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:51 PM   #3
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Jack, good find. What is the point of using a plant that may not provide what the gardener has in mind for the garden. In a small urban garden each plant must serve a purpose as well as be pretty. Most plants perform multifunctions over the course of its life. These plants are altered for larger blooms or different color in the leaves to bring attention and sales. But often the loss of other not selected for traits changes the character of the plant and renders it less useful in the natural community.
Your last sentence hits the nail of the proverbial head. I purchased Penstemon digitalis "Dark Towers" earlier this year and have been sorry ever since. I bought three, and though they are attractive in flower, the leaves have not a mark on them and nothing has even approached the flowers since they bloomed almost three weeks ago. What a waste!!

Fortunately, I have three other open=pollinated real natives acquired from Prairie Moon earlier this year that are just beginning to bloom white. If I notice a significant difference in the effects upon wildlife, I'll remove the Dark Towers and replace them with something more natural.

The truth is, they are unnatural looking anyway, in the same way I always found my former Japanese Red Maple to be unnatural.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jack View Post
...I purchased Penstemon digitalis "Dark Towers" earlier this year and have been sorry ever since. I bought three, and though they are attractive in flower, the leaves have not a mark on them and nothing has even approached the flowers since they bloomed almost three weeks ago. What a waste!!

Fortunately, I have three other open=pollinated real natives acquired from Prairie Moon earlier this year that are just beginning to bloom white. If I notice a significant difference in the effects upon wildlife, I'll remove the Dark Towers and replace them with something more natural.
My concern is that they will cross with the naturally occurring Penstemon and muddy the gene pool of their progeny.

This spring, I had an interesting conversation with a native plant nurseryman...he explained to me that mixing genes from the same (naturally occurring) species with another (naturally occurring) from a distant location will result in a first generation that shows more vigor, but subsequent generations become weaker. I'm not sure I explained it as well as he did, and I'm curious what others think...and what evidence based science will back that up....I've been meaning to start a thread about it. If I don't soon, feel free to remind me.

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The truth is, they are unnatural looking anyway, in the same way I always found my former Japanese Red Maple to be unnatural.
You and I are a lot alike in what looks unnatural in a natural landscape.

I've yet to remove the Japanese maple in our yard (I didn't plant it!)...but I've been waiting for a blackgum I planted near by, to get big enough to replace it. A week or so ago, I found a nest in it! This is the first time in 3 1/2 years that anything nested in it. I believe I have a pair of cardinals, but I'll have to keep my eyes open to be sure.

I still want it removed, but I want a native of good size to replace it. Twice now, I've found a seedling or two sprouting 10-15 ft. away from the parent plant--so, they could escape cultivation--I hate the idea of seeing that unnatural color out in the wild!
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dapjwy View Post
My concern is that they will cross with the naturally occurring Penstemon and muddy the gene pool of their progeny.

This spring, I had an interesting conversation with a native plant nurseryman...he explained to me that mixing genes from the same (naturally occurring) species with another (naturally occurring) from a distant location will result in a first generation that shows more vigor, but subsequent generations become weaker. I'm not sure I explained it as well as he did, and I'm curious what others think...and what evidence based science will back that up....I've been meaning to start a thread about it. If I don't soon, feel free to remind me.



You and I are a lot alike in what looks unnatural in a natural landscape.

I've yet to remove the Japanese maple in our yard (I didn't plant it!)...but I've been waiting for a blackgum I planted near by, to get big enough to replace it. A week or so ago, I found a nest in it! This is the first time in 3 1/2 years that anything nested in it. I believe I have a pair of cardinals, but I'll have to keep my eyes open to be sure.

I still want it removed, but I want a native of good size to replace it. Twice now, I've found a seedling or two sprouting 10-15 ft. away from the parent plant--so, they could escape cultivation--I hate the idea of seeing that unnatural color out in the wild!
Dap, no question they are invasive. Though it has been and entire twelve months since I turned the trunk of it into a mason bee house and decapitated the branches carrying the leaf load, I'm still finding seedlings all over the yard. Don't let that sucker get ahead of you. Take the ax, close your eyes, don't think about the space it will leave, and swing!!!
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:19 PM   #6
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Wow! I guess I'll have to do it sooner than I expected...but I won't be swinging an ax any time soon with aan active nest in the tree.
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