All In the Family Part Two: The Mallow Family
Last month, I wrote about the Rose Family and the large variety of plants in that group, which contribute to the landscape industry and provide us with produce. This month I will highlight the Mallow Family whose members also provide us with useful plants that serve as ornamentals, produce or industrial use.
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), Marshmallow (Hibiscus mutabilis), Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea), and Rose Mallows (Hibiscus moschentos, Hibiscus paramutabilis) are all plants we use as ornamentals. At Springmoor, you can find the Rose of Sharon blooming from late June to September alongside the landscape office. The Marshmallow or Confederate Rose bloom in October, and I have sprinkled them throughout the campus. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is a tropical houseplant but can be left outdoors so long as there is no possibility of a frost. These tropicals come in very bright colors and make a great addition to any deck or patio.
Okra is also a member of the Mallow family. It’s a great late summer vegetable here in North Carolina, and even if you don’t like okra, the flowers are still spectacular.
An important crop to industry is cotton, which everyone is familiar with. As you travel to North Carolina’s coast during the late fall you can see white fields of it stretching to the horizon. Last but not least is cacao, the all-important bean which chocaholics love.
July Focal Points at Springmoor
Crape Myrtle (lagerstroemia sp.) continue to bloom until late summer with their red, pink, white and lavender flower clusters. You can find a crape myrtle tree just about anywhere on campus.
We only have one Oleander (Nerium oleander) on campus by apartment number 126. However, oleanders come in white, red, and pink varieties, and are marginally hardy here in Plant Zone 7b. They are worth taking the chance with.
There are several Abelia (Abelia grandiflora Kaleidescope) along the Administration building front wall. The yellow leaves make a good contrast to the rest of the plantings, and turn pink and orange in the fall.
Butterfly Bush (Buddelia davidii) is true to its name. This shrub attracts butterflies to the garden very well. Bloom colors range from almost black, yellow, purple, pink and white. This shrub can get leggy, so it is not for the formal garden. We have a few butterfly bush at Entrance One South.
Knock Out Roses (Rosa x) require very little maintenance unlike their hybrid tea cousins. Knock outs bloom prolifically during the summer, but only come in red and pink. Look for knock out roses throughout our campus.
July Landscape Things to Do
- Visit Botanical Gardens and Arboretums to get ideas for your landscape, and to learn about some new plants you may not be familiar with.
- Enjoy any produce you may be getting from your vegetable gardens. Tomatoes, squash, beans, corn, pickles and cucumbers should all be ready now.
- Contribute any spare vegetables you may have to your local food bank.
- Dead head spent blooms on your hybrid tea roses to promote new flowers.
- Now is a good time to plant winter squash, pumpkins, okra and eggplant.