Park Seed Botanicals

What A White Strawberry?

Written by Matt Macedo on 10-Apr-2015

Also know as a Pineberry. For only about 5 weeks these babies are available in garden centers. The word “pineberry” is a fusion of the words “pineapple” and “strawberry” and refers to a relatively new pale pink or pale orange to white strawberry cultivar that is adorned with red achenes. 

The fruit produced by pineberry plants is very aromatic and has flavor that most say is reminiscent of pineapple while retaining the texture and feel of a strawberry.  The pineberry, or pineapple strawberry, is more of a novelty at present.  They are produced on a very small scale in Europe and Belize and are not very profitable due to the small size of the pineberries (large pineberries are less than an inch [2.54 cm] big) and the low yield of pineberry plants (see the videos below to better gauge the size of the berries).

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Start Thinking About Those Summer Dahilias

Written by Matt Macedo on 23-Jan-2015

If you need big or small, wide or tall this tubers got it all. Easy to grow and carefree too! Along with seed buying season, it's summer Bulbs or in this case Tuber buying season too.  If you can only grow one flower in the yard this year, a Dahlia should be it! Above is a summer soul warming dinner plate yellow and white tipped Dahlia from summer of 2014. 

Plenty of sources exist to find these guys but a good place to start is Swan Island Dahlias. With over 300 to offer you can get a better variety than the couple dozen or so at your local store. Dahilas can range from expensive to cheap, you can try to hold out till the end of the spring season for clearance specials.  Personally I enjoy running a summer bulb rescue at home.  Just stay away from the soft or moldy tubers and bulbs.  First thing I do before rescuing one is gently squeezing the package to make sure it's not DOA .  

At one time in the yard, I had a dahlias in every corner but in one of the gopher wars many were lost. So if you have those criminal critters in your yard beware Dahlias are a favorite bite. Over the years I have gotten smarter and planted them near daffodils or bearded irises, gophers are not fans of either. My last two seasons have been gopher minimal so I have been placing them around the yard again. Many are pictured below.

After a few season be sure to divide them up around late winter and and give them new spaces to grow. As spring draws near, I like to put tomato cages or large wire rings for my taller Dahlias to grow through as they become quite big and top heavy in the summer months to come.  As their blooming season draws near the end in August or September be sure to get a jump on treating for powdery mildew.  

Time For The Punchbowl

Written by Matt Macedo on 19-Jan-2015

I placed my first seed order of the year today and wanted to share one of my last seasons favorite finds, Gaillardia Punchbowl  from Burpee seed.  Heat loving Blanket flowers are easy to grow with big results, this one is no exception from a couple of packs of seed a got about 50 little gems that turned in to full fledged head turners by June. Above they are pictured on my BBQ counter with pink yarrow, yellow lantana and another seedling from last year Tickled Pink Petunia.Along with my new planted pink verbena lawn.

Bees love'em, and you will love'em! Not all of them turned out to be that pink, lavender and white a few were a sold straw yellow. Always a nice surprise when growing from seed.  Seeds give the gardener a cheap and effective way to have unique non big box flowers in the yard. Punchbowl Gaillardia is wonderful versatile, heat loving, ever blooming must have for your yard! 

Bottlebrush, A Winter Clean Up

Written by Matt Macedo on 12-Jan-2015

I have this beautiful 50 yr old Bottlebrush tree in my yard.  When I first started reshaping it close to 20 years ago it was a wild beastly bush.  Now, it is a stunning gnarled multi-branched tree, a showstopper from any angle.  Over the past two weekends I decided putting off pruning for another year was not an option. From the outside you really can't tell it was pruned, but from the inside it's a whole new world. Have a look.

On the left was the birds nest cluster of dead brittle branches. On the right you can see the after with all the inner branches removed.

Pruning for ten hours produced a wonderful open canopy feeling.  Pruning is not just about whacking branches. There is a fine skill involved in both helping to keep the tree healthy and slowly training the branches to your liking. In the case of the bottle brush it is a pretty slow grower and needs attention every now and then. Not only is this tree a bringer of Bees, it also represents an old beautiful architecture of shape and texture in my garden. 

A quick word about Bottlebrush trees, yes they are messy.  Dropping all those red little needle like flowers doesn't make my wife happy. . . however, its a small price to pay for all of the Bees it helps bring to the yard.  They now offer dwarf Bottlebrush shrubs which would be great for a small hedge. They do tend to get wide over time. In a past life I had several of them in a yard and they were pretty in their own way offering year round deep green foliage. 

Spotlight on Geraniaceae

Written by Matt Macedo on 05-Jan-2015

As you begin to think about your upcoming spring season, think about Pelargoniums, Geraniums and Erodiums pictured above is Bernice Ladroot a Pelargonium which grows in my yard.  When it comes to "Geraniums" most gardeners tend to think of the ones you see at every nursery and big box store.  The Ivy Geranium or the bushy hot pink or orange Geranium that adorns most every gardeners yard at some point in time. 

This year, I would like you to look at a beautiful nursery in Marin County just North of San Fransisco called . About eight years ago I found this company after reading a great article in Sunset Western Magazine.  They spotlighted these beautiful Angel Face pelargoniums, and I immediately went online and was astonished at the assortment of Geraniaceae family of plants they had available.  I ordered probably a dozen or so that first year. Just to show how long ago this was, I mailed them a check for the plants after I received them. The internet and lack of trust has come along way in this new eCommerce age.

Every year or so I still order these reasonable priced plants that come perfectly shipped in little 4" pots right to my door.  I couldn't possible do justice to all the amazing plants they have to offer below are just a few.  Please be sure to visit there site and enjoy them in your yard this year too.

Now a word of caution these little joyful plants can be addicting so be careful.  Also, not all them will make it through the winter. They are not all frost tolerant. However they grow very fast and if they grace your yard for just one season, it's well worth it.  Growing in the yard I also have a large patch of ground cover Geranium that has lasted in the frost in the hot summer sun in wet shady places and all through the drought, putting on a pretty pink show flowers every spring no matter where it's at.

Again I pass this diamond of find on to you, enjoy!