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Good Oak News

Monday, December 15, 2014

yams vs sweet potatoes: a local interest story

So, the annual 'yams vs sweet potatoes' issue came up at dinner last night. Turns out there's a local angle to this story!

Sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). In fact, they are are in the same genus (Ipomoea) as these showy ornamental vines. Wild local members of this family include the native hedge bindweed and troublesome, introduced field bindweed. What we at Thanksgiving and Christmas are, in-fact sweet potatoes, even though some people call them yams. I think I got that habit from my grandpa who was an old farm boy.

Hedge bindweed is actually pretty closely related to sweet potato. Who knew?

True yams, are in-fact monocots, making them more closely related to grasses, orchids and lilies than they are to any kind of potato! They have their own yam family (Dioscoreaceae). Most are tropical species, some are commonly used as food in the Caribbean and tropical Africa (available only in specialty stores throughout much of the US). They are represented locally by wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), a charming climbing vine with attractive heart-shaped leaves and three-winged seed pods. The roots of wild yam are small tubers, they are edible, and the plant is preported to have medicinal properties.

Wild yam. Photo courtesy Chris Noll.

True potatoes are in nightshade family (Solanaceae). They are in the genus Solanum along with tomatoes (both from South America) and a few local weeds including black nightshade and deadly nightshade (both from Eurasia). Chili peppers are also a member of often tasty, but sometimes poisonous family and also of American origin.
Deadly nightshade, not actually deadly, but not good for you either.

So there's something to talk about with your fellow plant nerds over the holidays!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Native Plant Sale: 50% off our entire stock!

Good Oak is growing up and moving out! We have found an office/shop on Pflaum Rd. off of Stoughton Road on Madison's east side that will fit our growing team and allow us to work more efficiently.

We’d like to save the time of moving over  almost 400 plants to our new location, so we’re putting our entire inventory on sale at 50% off retail price! We are also happy to donate plants to not-for-profit organizations for use in local conservation and sustainable landscaping projects. You can find our current inventory below.

We are  offering these plants on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Either myself or Athena will be at my house (205 Walter St. Madison, WI) for you to come by and pick up what you'd like. Please knock on the side door of the house and we'll come out and help you make your selection, during the following times:

Tuesday, Nov. 4rd9am - 5pm
Wednesday, Nov. 5th8am - noon
Thursday, Nov. 6th: evening, by appointment only
Saturday, Nov. 8th9am - 1pm

Common Name
Scientific Name
Size
Qty
Type
Retail Price
Sale Price
Note
leadplant
Amorpha canescens
plug
8
forb
$4.00
$2.00

pussy toes
Antennaria plantaginifolia
plug
21
forb
$4.00
$2.00

common milkweed
Asclepias syriaca
plug
21
forb
$2.00
$1.00

sky blue aster
Aster azureus
plug
2
forb
$4.00
$2.00

New England aster
Aster novae-angliae
plug
8
forb
$4.00
$2.00

silky aster
Aster sericeus
plug
11
forb
$4.00
$2.00

short’s aster
Aster shortii
plug
4
forb
$4.00
$2.00

pale purple coneflower
Echinacea pallida
plug
23
forb
$4.00
$2.00

alum root
Heuchera richardsonii
plug
18
forb
$4.00
$2.00

Blazing star
Liatris ssp.
plug
13
forb
$4.00
$2.00

black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta
plug
14
forb
$4.00
$2.00

sweet black eyed susan
Rudbeckia subtomentosa
plug
28
forb
$4.00
$2.00

blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium albidum
plug
7
forb
$4.00
$2.00

showy goldenrod
Solidago speciosa
plug
8
forb
$4.00
$2.00

butterfly milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa
quart
1
forb
$6.00
$3.00

sky blue aster
Aster azureus
quart
3
forb
$6.00
$3.00

New England aster
Aster novae-angliae
quart
2
forb
$6.00
$3.00

large-flowered coreopsis
Coreopsis grandiflora
quart
3
forb
$6.00
$3.00

white snakeroot
Eupatorium rugosa
quart
4
forb
$5.00
$2.50

Virginia waterleaf
Hydrophyllum virginianum
quart
2
forb
$6.00
$3.00

Mayapple
Podophyllum peltatum
quart
12
forb
$7.00
$3.50

black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta
quart
16
forb
$6.00
$3.00

brown-eyed susan
Rudbeckia triloba
quart
3
forb
$6.00
$3.00

stiff goldenrod
Solidago rigida
quart
2
forb
$5.00
$2.50

Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pennsylvanica
plug
13
graminoid
$4.00
$2.00

bottlebrush grass
Elymus hystrix
plug
21
graminoid
$4.00
$2.00

bottlebrush grass
Elymus hystrix
quart
6
graminoid
$5.00
$2.50

early wild rose
Rosa blanda
#1
1
shrub
$12.00
$6.00

redbud
Cersis canandensis
#10
2
shrub
n/a
FREE
pulled from landscape sites after winter damage
black chokeberry
Aronia melonacarpa
#5
1
shrub
$45.00
$22.50

early wild rose
Rosa blanda
#5
1
shrub
$40.00
$20.00
poor form
downy arrowwood viburnum
Viburnum rafienesquiaqum
#5
1
shrub
$45.00
$22.50

cranberry viburnum
Viburnum trilobum
#5
3
shrub
$45.00
$22.50










Though its a little later in the season than we usually plant, fall is a good time to plant because the plants require very little (if any) maintenance once they are in the ground. Plus they get an early start next spring ahead of any newly-planted plants.

Also, check out our Online Garden Center for some great gardening tools such as our favorite, the hori hori, to help you do your planting.