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Calgary Horticultural Society: Right plant, right place | canada.com – Canada.com

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July is the perfect time for visiting gardens. Most are at their best — everything is up, leafed-out and summer flowers are in full bloom. On more than one occasion, I’ve thought, “I have that plant, but it’s not as vibrant as theirs.” At the last garden I visited, there was a small group of us chatting about what made the garden look so great. The gardener mentioned planting in groupings of odd numbers, repeating plant groupings and colours, using colours that are complementary or harmonious, and ended with ” … and of course, right plant, right place — don’t fight it.”

That is the key to having thriving plants. Growing the plant in conditions that are optimal for its success.

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From a biological perspective, success is the ability of a plant to compete with its neighbours for nutrients, light and water and being able to reproduce. Features that helped a plant do well are carried on in the next generation, until a plant has the characteristics that make it ideally suited for a set of specific environmental conditions. Take a full sun plant and try to grow it in deep shade and it will likely perish.

Pussytoes produce a bristly seed that is easily carried on the wind but also has stolons that help it form colonies in dense mats, allowing it to incrementally expand its territory.

These evolutionary characteristics are readily seen in native plants that we’ve brought into our gardens. Take pussytoes (Antennaria) as an example. They grow best in bright sun and in soil that drains well and is frequently dry. The plant produces a bristly seed that is easily carried on the wind but also has stolons (above ground runners like a strawberry plant) that help it form colonies in dense mats, allowing it to incrementally expand its territory. Like many other plants that prefer full sun and dry conditions, pussytoes have a greyish appearance due to fine hairs on their foliage. These hairs help reflect sunlight, reducing the leaf’s surface temperature, minimizing its need to transpire and helping it retain moisture. These light-reflecting properties, so beneficial in the sun, are detrimental to the plant in the shade. A popular garden perennial with similar protective hairs is lambs ears (Stachys byzantina).

Golden sedum (Sedum adolphii) changes its leaf colour from summer to winter in response to changes in the available light. for Hort society

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Some plants change colour over the season in response to the changed qualities of daylight and temperature. Golden sedum (Sedum adolphii) changes its leaf colour from summer to winter in response to changes in the available light. In the summer, the plant is mostly yellow with a red blush on the tips or yellow with a red inner band. In the winter, it turns greenish with distinct outer red tips. Many sedums, when grown in low light conditions, turn green as chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green colour of plants and is needed for the absorption of light for photosynthesis, becomes the dominant plant pigment. The leaves also spread out trying to capture as much light as possible. To have a nice tight sedum with vivid colours, it needs to be planted in full sun.

Examples of low-light tolerant plants include begonias, hostas, above, and astilbes. Courtesy, Deborah Maier

On the other side of the light spectrum, some plants have adapted to grow best in the shade. Instead of relying on photosynthesis for energy, they get their main nutrients from the soil. These plants tend to grow broad thin leaves to capture the light. Examples of lowlight tolerant plants include begonias, hostas, astilbes, heucharas, ferns and Solomon’s seals.

There are many varieties of hostas. A general rule is the darker the leaf the more shade tolerant the plant. Most hostas will tolerate summer drought but prefer a well-drained moist soil. Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) is one of a few plants that will tolerate dry shade.

Some plants have adapted to blooming early in the spring, making them popular with early pollinators. Hepatica will often have flowers up without any green leaves visible. They bloom before the canopy above them shows any obvious signs of spring. Other plants, such as asters and goldenrods, wait until fall to bloom.

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Annual plants usually are prolific all-summer-long bloomers. The goal of an annual plant is to produce enough seeds in one season to guarantee reproduction. Some seeds may get eaten or land in an unsuitable growing environment, but if enough seeds are produced, then that plant will appear again in the spring. Especially with the aid of deadheading, annuals will continue to flower in an effort to ensure their survival.

So, if you want your garden to look amazing, choose plants that are showy in each period within the growing season — early spring, summer and fall — and grow them where they will do their best. Be sure to choose plants are suited to the light, moisture and soil conditions in your yard.

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SDO caught the Mercury transit from space – EarthSky

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) had a ringside seat on Monday, November 11, 2019, as Mercury crossed the face of the sun in the last transit of Mercury until the year 2032. The video above shows SDO’s views of the sun – during the hours of the transit – in a variety of wavelengths of light in the extreme ultraviolet.

Plus … hey, who knew NASA could be funny?

Bottom line: Video of November 11, 2019, transit of Mercury, as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

EarthSky 2020 lunar calendars are available! They make great gifts. Order now. Going fast!

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Mercury Transit Live Stream – Den of Geek US

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Your Monday is about to get a lot better, especially if you’re on the East Coast. At 7:35 am ET, you’ll get the clearest view of a rare celestial event, as Mercury transits the Sun from our vantage point for the first time since 2016. This is an event we’re only able to witness from Earth about 13 times per century. In fact, the next time you’ll able to watch Mercury cross in front of the Sun is in 2032, which means you probably won’t want to miss it this time around. 

It’ll take Mercury five and a half hours to complete its transit, so you’ll have until 1:04 pm ET to catch the event. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stare directly at the Sun — protective eyewear is recommended. Check out NASA’s eye safety tips for viewing transits and eclipses. 

For those of you who won’t get a chance to see the event in person, you can watch Mercury’s transit across the Sun in the live stream below:

Video of Mercury Transit 2019 LIVE Stream

Mercury actually completes a full orbit around the Sun every 88 days, but it’s not often that it does so from an Earth-friendly vantage point due to its “eccentric, egg-shaped orbit,” according to NASA. Due to this unusual orbit, the fastest planet in our Solar System, traveling through space at 29 miles per second, can get as close as 29 million miles and as far as 43 million miles from the Sun. For comparison, Earth is about 93 million miles from the star.

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As you’d expect, the first planet in our Solar System can get MUCH hotter than Earth, reaching temperatures higher than 800 degrees Fahrenheit or as cold as minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit since Mercury has no atmosphere with which to retain heat. Basically, don’t expect to find any signs of life on this celestial hellscape.

I leave you with my favorite scene from my favorite science fiction movie, Danny Boyle‘s Sunshine. Chris Evans (before he was Captain America), Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Hiroyuki Sanada, and the rest of the movie’s killer ensemble cast gather in their spaceship’s observation deck to watch Mercury transit the Sun on their way to reignite the star and save Earth from a chilly death:

Video of &quot;Sunshine&quot; Movie Clip – Approaching Mercury

John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9.

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Planet dances with sun | Local News – The Chronicle Journal

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Allan Haney braved cold temperatures at Hillcrest Park on Monday for a front row view of the planet Mercury passing the sun in a rare celestial transit.

He used a pair of binoculars to reflect the sun on a white paper plate to see the tiny black dot that is Mercury as it passed directly between Earth and the sun during the five-and-a-half-hour celestial show that was visible in Canada, the eastern U.S., Central and South America.

The rest of the world, with the exception of Asia and Australia, got just a sampling.

In our solar system, Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet. The next transit will take place in 2032, but North America won’t get another glimpse until 2049.

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