Meijer Gardens Gardening Tips – August Recap

Having an expert team of horticulturists on staff sometimes makes for an overwhelming amount questions from guests (and fellow employees) on how to grow and maintain plants of all shapes and sizes. We thought it’d be fun to share their knowledge through weekly Gardening Tip segments. Here’s a recap of August’s Gardening Tips:

Edging a Garden Bed – August 9, 2012
Manager of Outdoor Horticulture Ed McKee showed us how to keep our garden bed looking clean for the fall season.

Dividing Perennials – August 16, 2012
During this week’s tip, Ed McKee showed us how to divide and replant perennials to make a fuller garden.

Cutting & Drying Perennials – August 23, 2012
Outdoor Horticulturist Koree Mabie showed us how to cut and dry perennials to use for arrangements during the winter months.

We have more underway, so stay tuned for updates on our social media channels every Thursday. In case you happen to miss a few, look for recaps at the end of each month.

Have a question for one of our horticulture staff? Let us know and it could be made into a Gardening Tip segment!

Smooth Agave, growing 2 to 3 inches every day!

Smooth Agave

The Arid Garden is home to what looks kind of like an over-grown asparagus—way over-grown. It’s a “Smooth Agave” (aka Agave weberi). You may be familiar with agave as a sweetener. Agave weberi is part of the succulent plant family and is typically found in Mexico and the southwest United States. Steve LaWarre, Director of Horticulture, says the emerging stalk (called a peduncle) means the plant will be blooming soon. It is over six feet tall now and growing a couple inches every day. Agave plants can grow up to 26 feet tall. When it does bloom, the Smooth Agave will have bright yellow flowers and may produce bulbils or seeds. We hope it does; most agave are monocarpic, meaning they only bloom/flower once in their life cycle.

Come by the Arid Garden and check out this “once-in-a-lifetime” treat then let us know what you think. Post your photos on our  Flickr group page or our  Facebook page.

Stinky plant blooms, for a limited time only!

Devil's Tongue plant

When you walk through the Seasonal Display Garden, most of the year it smells lovely. But at certain times, something definitely smells “funny.” That would be the Devil’s Tongue.

Devil’s Tongue is a tropical plant from Southeast Asia. It is a member of the philodendron (arum) family and has a single flower stalk that can reach five feet tall. It also has large leaves and a dark colored spathe surrounding a large spadix. In nature, the Devil’s Tongue is pollinated by flies. To attract the flies, it mimics the smell of a dead water buffalo. Thus the “funny” smell.

Devil’s Tongue can be used as a food source as well. It produces an edible tuber that can weigh up to 22 pounds. The tubers are used in China and Japan to provide a chewy texture in soups and stews, much like tofu.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has several of these smelly plants.  They bloom rarely, but when they do, we want to share this unique plant with our guests – despite their smell.

There is a Devil’s Tongue that is ready to bloom right now.  The blooms will last for seven to ten days. Stop by and check it out on your way to the Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition.