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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

R-e-s-p-e-c-t and Rare Plants

Home gardeners are getting some respect! I read an article in the Wall Street Journal today entitled “Coming to Your Backyard: A Nearly Extinct Tree”.

The main point of the article is that that there is a movement to preserve rare plants by encouraging gardeners to grow them at home. Included in rare plants are heirloom plants that have nearly disappeared as gardeners switched to new hybrids and plants that are threatened in the wild due to land development or other changes in their environment.

The article went on to point out that by selling rare and heirloom plants, it discourages rogue plant hunters from harvesting these plants in the wild and it raises funds to help in conservation efforts. Typically, these types of plants are found in botanical gardens and nature preserves, but by extending their range into the home garden, if something happens to the plants in the wild, there is potentially another source for the plants. And that source could by your own back yard!

One of the new rare plants just being offered for sale is the Wollemi Pine, Wollemia nobilis, which is now for sale in the United States via The National Geographic Society. I was very intrigued, then found out that this plant is only hardy to 23 degrees, so I would have to grow it indoors with bright light. Shoot. I put a moratorium on buying new indoor plants because I am still battling a bit of a mealybug problem indoors. I certainly would not want to purchase a rare plant and then find it was all infested after a few days!

But, still, I am intrigued, and am going to need to do some research to see if there is a rare plant I can grow in my zone 5 garden, outdoors.

In the meantime, I’ve included a picture of my moth orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.) above, which has been blooming for about 10 weeks. It is not rare, and it isn’t unusual for these blooms to last that long. But, I’m showing it because it doesn’t seem to have mealybugs and I bet there are a lot of orchid gardeners who have or covet rare orchids for their gardens.

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