Second Snow…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and warm. I realize that some of you are in warmer climates and are in the spring season. Here, as you can see, it is not warm and there are no spring flowers blooming…

The forecast yesterday said it was going to snow, so throughout the night, I kept looking out the sliding door to check. Eventually, I did go to sleep. Then, this morning when I got out of bed…

The cows were eating hay, which they were glad to have available. I had also put a second bale in the small lot by the barn in reserve.

 

It didn’t get below freezing so I didn’t have to go cut ice on the pond. That’s good!

 

Susie and The Barn Cat aren’t very enthused about the snow. The other three cats had eaten and probably went to the barn by the time I took this photo. The Barn Cat (in the box) was given her name by my parents because she seemed to always stay in the barn. She has spent most of her time on the back porch this past year so maybe a name change is in order. Susie is the only cat that comes inside the house when she can sneak in. She makes her rounds and when she is satisfied she attempts to stay in longer. She tells me she will be OK in the house and won’t bother anything… One evening I let her stay in to see what she would do. Next thing I knew she was on the bed getting ready to take a nap…

 

Winter… Snow… Cold… No plants on the front porch.

 

Just a dreary cold wind and still snowing.

 

Seasons come and go and I know winter will eventually lead to spring. For many years we didn’t have any snow before the first of the year. I hope this isn’t a sign we will have a very snowy winter.

I can just hear it now… “Well, the persimmon seeds had a spoon inside. That means we will get a lot of snow.” I left the snow shovel on the side porch from the last time. Does that mean I was asking for more? I certainly did not ask.

I have been making some good progress updating the plant pages on the right. I have A LOT more to add but I wanted to get the pages that are already published updated with recent photos, proper links, and make sure their scientific names are still correct. I am also trying to discipline myself to keep current with your posts as well. Once I get started reading I get sleepy. I try to make a comment but sometimes I don’t know what to say and just click on “like”. I do read your posts, though, so if I just “like” I have read it. I haven’t really started promoting my blog yet so I only have 87 followers on WordPress. Some days I have well over 100 visits to the pages on the right but very few readers leave “likes” or make comments. Maybe no one can leave a “like” or make a comment unless they have a WordPress account, have signed up to follow (even by email), or something. I don’t know. I do enjoy reading your posts and I am thankful for all who make comments here.

I thoroughly enjoy the WordPress community and being able to share photos and experiences here. I have a great appreciation for bloggers who take time to do the same and I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. My first blog was The Mystical Mansion and Garden which I started in 2009 from when I was living in Mississippi. I had a lot of pages and information about porcelain companies and Japanese Kutani and Satsuma, Televera, etc. Of course, most of my posts and pages were about plants and gardening. I received A LOT of comments from people asking questions about antiques. I started my first Belmont Rooster blog in 2013 when I moved back to the family farm here in mid-Missouri. This is my third Belmont Rooster blog and hopefully it will remain for many years to come… Many bloggers that I used to follow, and were followers, have stopped blogging. I feel like I missed something when I was in between blogging. Where did they go? What happened to them… Blogging does take time and many people who have families have to juggle between jobs, family, and blogging. I also have Facebook and Twitter accounts. I haven’t been on my Twitter accounts for a very long time, though. I just can’t get into Twitter… I guess I have a Twitter block. 🙂

I follow a few blogs that I followed since 2013 and some haven’t posted for a few years. I used to have close to 500 followers and climbing. I would spend hours promoting the blog, following, and making comments and looking for more. We went through this “award” phase which I am glad has settled down. I don’t remember how many blogging awards I had in 2013, but there were many. For me, I think I like quality and not quantity. I am not here to set records, be awarded, or even claim to be a great gardener or blogger. I just enjoy growing plants, gardening and sharing my experience that may be helpful to others. I also enjoy the relationship with my fellow bloggers in the WordPress community. I am also on another journey which I may share at a later time…

Well, I guess I better stop writing and get a few other things done for the day. It has finally stopped snowing for now but I doubt I will be making a snowman. 🙂

Until next time… Be safe, stay positive, healthy… You know the drill. Try and GET DIRTY when you can! Even if you have to stick your finger in a pot.

Ummm… First Snow of 2018

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and keeping warm. The weather forecast has been predicting snow for today. By this afternoon we hadn’t had any, so I did a little work in the yard. I was hoping it would not happen. Then I took a nap and got up about five. I looked out the sliding door in the dining room and what did I see? It was snowing…

The car was outside because I hadn’t cleaned up the sawdust in the garage from a few projects I had finished. So, I cleaned up the garage, swept the snow off the car then moved it into the garage.

Needless to say, sometimes I can be a bit of a procrastinator. I put off digging the bigger Colocasia esculenta rhizomes until yesterday (one is the largest I have ever seen). I haven’t raked any leaves yet because I am waiting for them all to fall off and dry. My “higher self” kept telling me that it may be a good idea to rake the leaves anyway because of the weather. How will the leaves dry when they are wet? Did I listen? Nope…

When I was going to take the cows to the back pasture today they weren’t around. They were probably in the north hayfield grazing in the back so I just left them alone. Once again, my “higher self” reminded me I should take a bale of hay out in case it snows. Well, it wasn’t snowing, so I started cleaning the Martin House out instead.

It was pretty chilly and my hands got cold, so after I cleaned out the top tier, I went inside. Normally, I clean out the birdhouse after the Martins leave. This time the sparrows moved in and my sister, who was visiting earlier, suggested I just let the sparrows have it. So, maybe I can blame her for persuading me not to clean it out at the time. I didn’t see a single sparrow this afternoon when I was cleaning out the birdhouse but almost EVERY nest compartment is FULL of their nests.

During the heat of the summer, many things were put off until it got cooler. Now it is cooler but it has been rainy. When it wasn’t raining, I found other things to do and always tell myself there will be plenty of nice, warmer days it can be done…

That’s the good thing about not having a “to-do” list anymore.

So, tell me… What have you been putting off?

Until next time, stay positive, stay well, be safe… GET DIRTY! I can always get dirty because right now there is plenty of dirt in the house (with all the plants inside).

Crazy Cow and No Camera…

Hello folks! I hope this post finds everyone well. A couple of strange things happened this evening. If I take the cows to the back pasture I go back and get them before it gets dark. Normally when I call them they come but sometimes I have to whack a stick on a tree limb. This evening that did not happen. One of the cows was next to the back fence but most of them were by the gate they were supposed to go through. Instead of the other cow coming to the gate, the rest of the cows where she was. Then they started walking the fence in the wrong direction. So, I tagged along in case they knew something I didn’t. Well, you never know.

As it turned out they were just being weird. Once I got them turned around, instead of going toward the gate they went to the north end of the pasture. So, I went around the back side of the pond to get them headed in the right direction.

Well, when I got to the cows they could apparently sense I was a little perturbed by their behavior. One of the cows, I think maybe Fatty, was 3-4 feet from me and she looked at me and said, “WAIT!” She reached down and picked up an Osage Orange ball. Well, here we call them hedge apples… Anyway, I thought she lost her mind! It was huge and she was acting like a dog wanting to play fetch or something. Well, it fell out of her mouth and she picked it up again. It fell out of her mouth again and it landed at my feet. She picked up another one and it also fell out. She didn’t give up, though, and found one that was smaller. This one went all the way to the back part of her mouth.

Now, although I was anxious to get the cows to the front pasture because it was getting dark, I was kind of concerned about this cow with a hedge ball in the back of her mouth. She just stood there looking at me, trying to chew this big ball in her mouth. She stood there, slobber running out of her mouth, attempting to chew this thing up. I began to wonder if she was choking… What if she did choke? How in the world would I perform a Heimlich maneuver on a HUGE cow?

FINALLY, she made progress and the hedge apple started breaking up. I stood there and watched this crazy cow eat a hedge apple until I knew she was going to be OK.

For the most part, cows seem to be pretty particular about what they eat and a cow as old as this one should have plenty of experience. I wasn’t too worried about it being harmful but I checked online anyway. Apparently, cows and other livestock have died from Osage Orange. Not because it is toxic, but because it can lodge in their digestive track if they try to swallow it whole…

Cows, like us, use their molars to chew, so she had to have the fruit in the back of her mouth. With all their slimy saliva, it could have easily slipped down her throat…

After that experience, I wished I had the camera with me so I could have taken a video. Almost always when I don’t take the camera I see something I would have liked to have a photo or video of. In all my years around cows, I have never seen one eat an Osage Orange fruit. I have seen them pick them up but they always spit it out.

This experience reminds me of one of the Old English Game hens that got the front of its top bill stuck inside of its lower bill. She came out of the chicken house and walked up to me like she was saying, “Ummm….” I could tell she looked a little off, but in a few seconds, I didn’t get a good look at her. She ran off and I had to chase her down. I picked her up and saw her predicament. I took her to the back porch and sat down with her trying to figure how I was going to get her beak unstuck. Then she shook her head and it popped out. Again, it would have made a very interesting and memorable photo… One of those YouTube moments that no one would ever believe could happen.

How many photos have you missed?

Here I am wondering what to post about this winter. You just never know…

Until next time… Stay positive, be safe, stay warm (or cool), and GET DIRTY!

Malva sylvestris Fall Show

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. For the past few weeks, the Malva sylvestris in front of the church I attend has been going crazy. Apparently, it likes the cooler temps and moisture fall brings. They don’t seem to do well during the heat of the summer, but now it is strutting its stuff.

Malva, Mallow, French Hollyhock, Etc.

Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’ ?

MAL-vuh  sil-VESS-triss

Malva sylvestris L. was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

The genus, Malva Tourn. ex L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. It was first named and described by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, but I am not sure what the complete name was or when he named it. I read the pages online but I can’t make sense out of it. 🙂

Carl Linnaeus published two volumes of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. The second edition was published in 1762-1763 and the third in 1764. Other volumes were published after his death by other authors.

Plants of the World Online by Kew currently lists 53 accepted species in the genus Malva. They grow in various parts of the world and may be annual, biennial, or perennial. I’m not 100% sure if they are perennial in this bed or if they come up every spring from seed (even though I clean out the bed every spring). Some species that are annual in some places are perennial in others. Several species have become popular as garden plants and many species are also edible. Some species are also considered an invasive weed…

 

A few of the plants in the right side of the bed have grown very large leaves.

Malva species have been mentioned as far back as the third century when Diphilus of Siphnus, a physician, wrote that mallow juice lubricates the windpipe, nourishes, and is easily digested.

 

Almost as large as my hands…

Lord Monboddo wrote that Malva was planted upon the graves of the ancients, stemming from the belief that the dead could feed on such perfect plants.

 

The flowers are a purpleish-pinkish color with darker stripes. This may be the cultivar ‘Zebrina’ but I am not sure.

 

After trying to figure out the different species of wildflowers on the farm, it has become a habit to look at the backside of the flowers…

 

The Organic Facts website states Malva sylvestris speeds up wound healing, protects against infection, reduces inflammation, reduces signs of aging, improves respiratory health, optimizes digestive function, improves sleep, and is used for the treatment of headaches. Malva sylvestris is powerful, so if you take prescription drugs you should consult a physician before using because of the possibility of drug interactions.

 

I have wanted to do something with the bed in front of the steps at the church but I haven’t decided what would look good. No one really takes care of it except for when I do occasional weeding. The bed is long but not too deep… I have some ideas, though. The Gomphrena globosa ‘Gnome White’ I grew in the northeast bed is a good candidate, but it just depends on what is available at the local greenhouses.

The temperatures have taken a drop today and the forecast says we have a chance of snow maybe on Thursday. After the “F” a few weeks ago, it warmed up so I put some of the potted plants back on the front porch for a while longer. I moved them back in earlier Tuesday evening… The leaves on a few of the maple trees are almost all on the ground now, but the two in the front yard and hanging on… Almost time for Fall cleanup.

Well, that’s it for this post. Stay well, stay positive, be safe, and GET DIRTY!

 

Three Very Good Plant Documentaries

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. I watch a lot of documentaries on YouTube about various topics and stumbled upon Botany: A Blooming History Part 1 of 3. It was AWESOME! So, I had to search for the other three parts.

They are REALLY good and I know they answered a lot of questions. I always wondered how Carl Linnaeus named so many plant species. I always thought, even though his abbreviation was used, maybe he didn’t actually name them all but was the first to write about them. In this first part, I found out that before Linnaeus “re-named” plants, they had VERY long names. Besides genus and species, the rest of the name had to do with plant features and characteristics. So, Linnaeus shortened their names to just genus and species, sometimes completely renaming them or reclassifying them. Of course, over the years, many plants have been renamed and reclassified several times.

The narrator does a very good job talking about the earlier botanists whos work shaped the way we classify plants today.

 

Botany: A Blooming History Part 2 of 3 Photosynthesis.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that photosynthesis was figured out. In history, a physician/botanist that opened his mouth to say that plants had healing properties was arrested. To think plants could heal was blasphemy toward God. He was put on house arrest. Until one of his research projects, people thought plants ate soil. So, he set out to see if it were true. He took a few fig trees, weighed the plant and the dry soil and waited. After five years, he re-weighed the trees and the soil. Although the trees had grown the soil weighed almost the same that it did five years earlier. His conclusion? Plants drink water…

They didn’t get the picture and even 17th-century botanists didn’t know much about how plants grow. They had been so busy identifying and classifying plants, writing books and making a name for themselves (and arguing among themselves) that little attention was given to what makes a plant tick.

I could say more but I think if you are interested you would like to watch the documentary for yourself. In one part, though, “the man” who figured out what plants do with carbon dioxide was “let go” from “a” university and later his boss was given the Nobel Prize… Thirty years later, he wrote a book telling about his “teams” work and never mentioned the name of “the man” who actually figured it out. Well, in the beginning, “the man” and his boss were working on the same question but they were in disagreement. Actually, “the boss” didn’t realize “the man” didn’t agree with him because “the man” was working on his own experiment behind his bosses back… As a result, “the bosses” theory was proven wrong and “the man’s” theory was correct… Well, there is a little more to the story, but you get the idea.

 

Botany: A Blooming History Part 3 of 3: Hidden World

Part 3 takes a closer look at plant breeding and inheritance. It’s amazing how the early botanists and researchers did such hands-on experimenting all without the use of modern science. Much like we would do in our own garden and flower beds.

YouTube has a lot of very good documentaries in just about every niche you can think of. Since December 2016 I have become interested in ancient civilizations. As a kid, history wasn’t one of my favorite subjects but lately, it just fascinates me what has been discovered in recent years. From YouTube, I also subscribed to gaia.com. Some of the videos on gaia.com are somewhat out of date because I have watched newer videos that contradict or improve on the older ones. Well, many people have their own opinions, too.

OK, now I will stop so I can continue. Until next time, have an enjoyable weekend. Be safe, stay positive, embrace life around you, and just go outside and take a deep breath. Of course, as always, GET DIRTY!

End of October Update: After the “F”

Northeast corner bed on 10-28-18.

Hello folks! I hope you are all doing well. Our first frost came and went and as usual, it warmed up again. I think that’s what I don’t like most about the “F”. The plants get ZAPPED then it warms up again! After moving the potted plants in I can move them back out after a few days. Not all the perennials were affected, though, and some are quite enjoying the cooler temperatures. I took a lot of photos today and still wound up with 80 after editing. I usually take two of each in case one is blurry or comes out whacky. Sooo… Do I put them all on one post or spread them out? I think all at once this time. 🙂 Never know what tomorrow will bring and it may take a week or more if I spread them all out… Been there done that…

The top photo is of the northeast corner bed. The Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ is still looking very good (even without flowers). Pretty much everything else has given up. There are still a few green leaves on the Coloclinum coelestinum.

 

The Gomphrena globosa ‘Gnome White’ did awesomely well all summer but one ZAP did them in…

 

The poor Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ was looking so GREAT the day before the “F”. Darn it! The Heliotrope is always one of my favorite annuals and this one did better than others I have planted in the past. Hopefully, I can find it again next spring.

 

And what do we have here under everything? Oh yeah! I almost forgot about the Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis). When I planted it in this bed I didn’t expect for it to get covered up. Then the Conoclinum coelestinum came up late and it really did get covered up then. Every time I checked on it it was still alive, though. It was a tiny cluster of plants to start with and now there is only one stem. Maybe it will survive the winter and come back up in the spring. We shall see. I will have to put a stake by it so I will know where it is because it will either die or go likely go dormant…

On the other side of the steps…

 

The Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ is still alive and well. This is the only Monarda I have grown that hasn’t gotten mildew and died. I know there are mildew resistant cultivars but I have not seen any locally. The Monarda fistulosa growing in the pastures are all gone now, but they aren’t bothered with mildew either.

 

The Conoclinum coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum, etc.) in this bed are still green and lively although their flowers don’t look so hot. I hope they reseed for next year and come up a little earlier this time… Maybe I should save some seed because I would hate to completely lose these plants. Dad got his start from Aunt Inez (his mother’s sister) many, many years ago. Last winter was very hard on them…

 

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ had a very good summer and grew quite a bit. It is the worlds largest Hosta and will grow larger next year. Supposedly it will mature after five years…

 

The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ did well this summer and still looks good after getting ZAPPED. I forgot to take a photo of the other one…

 

The Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ (Creeping Jenny) had a great summer and spread even more. It spread clear up to the front of the steps! It seems to do much better in more sun even though I keep telling it to spread more in the shade. It just won’t listen!

 

Well, now that’s just pitiful! The Colocasia esculenta got ZAPPED and now it is growing new leaves. The smaller ones I planted on the north side of the chicken house and under a few trees (I have so many!) didn’t even get ZAPPED and are still alive and well. The Xanthosoma sagittifolium is doing well in the basement. It still thinks I lost my mind for putting it in a pot and putting it in the dark.

 

I know I need to just dig them up and store them for winter but I haven’t gotten around to it yet… Next thing you know, this one will be blooming like the other one… Well, I think that time has passed. This isn’t Mississippi.

Now for the south bed…

 

The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is as happy as ever. It doesn’t mind the heat of the summer or the cooler temperatures. The big flower pot behind it is on standby for later. I turn the pot over and stuff the whole plant inside the pot during the winter. Trust me, when the temperature drops, it will fit one way or another. This frost wasn’t a freeze, but when the time comes and we are going to have a hard one… It will fit. Then when we have warm days, I uncover it to get some sun. Eventually, however, it will turn brown and go dormant. Seems like a lot of trouble for a plant, I know, but I think its worth it. Truthfully, it may survive without the trouble but I am not ready to take the risk yet. It isn’t supposed to be hardy here but it has survived five winters so far… Thanks to the pot. 🙂 It will fit.

 

The Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ which turned out not to be a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ thinks its time to grow new leaves. I sheared it a while back to give the Phlomis more sun because it was getting carried away. Maybe this coming spring it will decide to be a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ after all…

 

The south bed has certainly seen better days. The Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ had another successful summer. Now it can drop THOUSANDS of seeds for next spring… If you would like some seed, just ask… I have to send some to Raphael Goverts, senior content editor at Kew, so you just as well have some, too. He asked for some seed and I am happy to send them. Once they grow, I hope it encourages them to re-evaluate and change the name back to Celosia spicata instead of saying it is a Celosia argentea… At least include the infraspecific name Celosia argentea var. spicata as a legitimate name. Whether that happens or not, I am calling it that anyway. 🙂 Nuff said… (for now). Well, it is totally impossible for Celosia spicata to be a synonym of Deeringia spicata!

 

I was very surprised to see Ms. Argiope still alive and kicking… She seems to have lost some weight though.

 

The Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ is still flowering as are the…

 

Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ and…

 

Salvia farinacea Cathedral ‘Blue Bicolor’.

 

The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ is still OK but it flowered poorly all summer. It says it was on vacation after five years… It may be secretly on strike because it wants a sunnier location. I moved the Elephant Garlic that was growing behind it because I thought it might spread a little better then it barely flowered. What’s a guy to do? It follows my 15-second rule about complaining, which I am grateful for. Complain for only 15 seconds about a subject and you will always know what I think… It complained about the Butterfly Bush in 2014 and I still know it isn’t happy about it… When I removed the Elephant Garlic, all it said was, “Ummm…”…

 

All the Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) are still alive. I am not going to mention their seeds… I will just say they are well prepared for future generations.

 

The southeast corner bed can speak for itself… There are plenty of Brocade Marigld seeds here and in the corner by the back porch. If you would like some seed, just ask and I will happily send some to you.

 

The Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) I brought from Mississippi is still looking great. I know I have mentioned it is my favorite shrub several times, but it is my favorite shrub. They are evergreen in the south, but here, if the winter is very cold it will go dormant.

 

The three Angelonia angustifolia ‘Perfectly Pink’ are not dead yet but the “F” knocked their flowers off. Angelonia are perennial but maybe not here. We shall see when spring arrives… You just never know what kind of winter to expect.

 

The Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) I out in the southeast bed is looking good still.

 

All the Elephant Garlic started coming up a while back and will remain green and growing most of the winter. It just depends on the temperature. Last January was definitely a test for their hardiness.

 

 

The Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) is enjoying the cooler weather.

 

The two maple trees on the south side are looking really nice now but the two in the front yard haven’t even changed color yet.

 

The roses between the basement steps and back porch are flowering pretty good now. They can flower all they want without the Japanese Beetles eating them now…

 

 

You don’t have to say much about Roses. They speak well on their own…

 

All of the Iris are getting on with their fall growth and the Iris x violipurpurea ‘Black Gamecock’ is really spreading! There have never been this many!

 

Dad’s red Cannas… That’s all I can say…

 

The Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is very hardy and will remain green pretty much all winter. I have been really surprised how well it has done in this old fill dirt along the wall. This will be its second winter.

Now, for the “other yard”.

The big old maple tree in the “other yard” (where my grandparents lived) is all glowing in its autumn colors.

 

The Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) may appear to have been set back by the “F”, but it is just pretending. It has a hidden agenda…

 

Ummm…

 

Those dead flowers are LOADED… That is just a small sample.

 

The ZAP didn’t affect the Sempervivum x ‘Killer’ one bit. It wants to flower even more! This is its first year flowering and it doesn’t want to stop.

 

The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla)… Like I mentioned before, it looks different every time I take photos. It grew this long branch this summer and now looks lop-sided… GEEZ! With spines like this who would want to argue with it?

 

The Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ loses most of its leaves during the winter but it will be fine…

 

The Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegata’ loses more than its leaves but it will be fine, too. If it can survive last winter, it can survive this winter. It has survived since 2012…

 

This Sedum spurium, maybe ‘Dragon’s Blood’ keeps its leaves most of the winter. It was unnamed when I brought it home but I am 99.9% sure it is a Sedum spurium but only 40% sure it is ‘Dragon’s Blood’.

 

The Sedum kamtschaticum has been weird most of the summer. I kept the Celosia from growing in this bed this summer so it could have more sun but it decided to be silly. It sprawled out and developed a hole in the center of the clump. It never did that before. I don’t know…

 

This is the rest of the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Cone Flower) I dug up from the, um… In front of the sign up the street. They did very well and I am hoping to spread them out in this bed this coming spring.

 

This is the northeast corner bed next to the old foundation in “the other yard”. The rhubarb completely went dormant after the “F” but the horseradish is looking great! I didn’t deadhead the Rudbeckia hirta (the wildflower) or Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’. The Rudbeckia hirta will spread by seed while R. fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ seems only to spread by rhizomes. They need to be spread out more this coming spring…

 

There are a lot of Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ in there. Want some? They don’t spread that much in a shadier location, but give them full sun… Yeah, they like it a lot! They are drought tolerant but do like a little extra water when it stays hot and dry for several weeks in the summer.

 

The rhubarb and horseradish need to go to the garden istead of being in the flower bed.

Now for the shade beds…

 

The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ looks a little beaten up but it is still green. Most Hostas get a little weird when the temps start cooling down even before an “F”. Once they have performed well all summer they are ready for a winter’s hibernation…

 

Umm… That is, or was, the big and beautiful Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’.

 

Believe it or not, this is Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’…

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ #1 still looks pretty good…

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ (right) almost looks variegated now. H. ‘Dancing Queen’ doesn’t look like a gold Hosta when the temps get cooler because its leaves turn green. I forgot to take a good photo of the new Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ (in the background). I am hoping it survives the winter and proves to me it really is a Hosta ‘Blue Angel’. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ should be a large plant but this clump looks more like some miniature cultivar. If it doesn’t grow like it should next spring, then it definitely is NOT a ‘Blue Angel’. It is possible Mast’s supplier used a growth retardant but I can’t imagine why they would do that with a Hosta unless they didn’t ant to put them in a larger pot…

 

Although this photo is a little blurry, the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ made a great comeback this past summer. The mole runs in the other bed may have been one of its biggest problems.

 

The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ also made a great comeback after many died last winter.

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ is growing new leaves like it was spring. It didn’t do that well this summer. I really need to mulch the shade beds better to keep the soil damper and cooler. The Japanese Beetle invasion didn’t help either when they stripped the leaves off the Chinese Elm trees…

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ definitely wants to hibernate for the winter.

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’ is also enjoying the cooler temperatures. It did fairly well all summer but not as well as 2017.

Heuchera ‘Southern Comfort’ got off to a bad start and ultimately didn’t make it.

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ wants to hibernate, too.

 

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ says a blanket would be nice…

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ #2 is also still looking pretty good. I still think I will put this one back with #1 in the spring. I don’t like the same plants in different locations…

 

The Hosta ‘Red October’ never quite recovered from its issue with the mole run in the other bed this spring. I put them in two different locations but will put them back together this spring.

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ was new this spring and it has done well all summer.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ was one one of the top performers this summer despite its small size.

 

The Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) went nuts as usual… Many people comment about how neat it looks but none have committed to taking any home with them/ 🙂 This has proven to be a perfect location for the Equisetum, but it thinks any location is perfect.

 

The Achillea millefolium has done fair in front of the chicken house but it trying to sneak around the corner. It says it doesn’t get enough sun but I told it that was a good thing. Somehow it doesn’t believe me… I think its funny how the Achillea will move all by itself… The clump I moved in front of the barn is doing well but I think the cows reach through the fence and nibble on it… Of course, there are still two clumps in the north bed… One is completely in the sun now and I have no idea how it got there.

Now, it’s time to get the cows from the back pasture…

 

It is strange how all the Mulberry trees on the farm have practically lost all their leaves except for the one that is leaning. It leaning over is strange in itself. It just started doing that last spring…

 

It was 6:30 PM when I took this shot. The air is getting cooler and there was hardly any breeze at all. No birds chirping, no cicada making their evening racket, no lightning bugs (fireflies)… All the bugs and butterflies have found shelter for the evening.

 

The north hayfield is full of Redtop that grows after the hay is baled.

 

Not sure why I took this photo of an old hedge post (Osage Orange) covered with dead Virginia Creeper.

 

I finally finished mowing the back pasture so the cows can go to the back and graze. A friend and I had to work on the mower before I could use it. The old mower had a wheel but no tire and dad may have bought it that way. I had been using it like that but not allowing the wheel to touch the ground. Then, this past summer when I was mowing brush, the pin came off of the gizmo the wheel is on. I bought a new one but the pipe the gizmo goes through was too small. So, we got another pipe and my friend cut the old one off and welded the new one on. Good to have a friend with a cutting torch and welder. Good to have help when you need it, too.

 

The cows really enjoy being in the back pasture.

 

When I go get them to bring them back to the front pasture all I usually have to go is say, “Come on. Let’s go.” Well, usually that works. If it doesn’t I get a stick and smack it on a tree limb or something. Then they say, “Oh, now the human has a stick.”

 

They are growing their winter fur now…

One of the best things about fall is…

 

The persimmons…

 

I always have to eat as many as I can find on the ground. They are the ultimate fall fruit. 🙂 Just don’t bite into one that isn’t ripe. :):)

My sister asked before what was inside the seed. She said that someone posted on Facebook that there was a spoon inside the seed. People used many methods in the past to predict winter weather but most are just myth. I have checked persimmon seeds in the past and they all have an image of a spoon inside no matter what the weather is like during the winter. It’s like looking at the Wooly Bear Wooly Worm. As folklore says, it depends on how many black bands are on the wooly worm. Research has shown that the color of the bands reflects the past summers weather and not the upcoming winter.

 

On the way back to the front pasture, July had to lag behind as always. She enjoys a good scratch behind the ears. I kept telling her to come on because the other cows were way ahead of her. She looked at me and said, “You don’t have a stick…” So, I left her behind and caught up with the other cows. Eventually, she started coming and a few of the other cows started mooing at her… Cows can be quite entertaining sometimes.

Well, that is it for this post. I have been working on the pages to the right, getting them updated, adding links for further reading, etc. I still have a lot of pages to add but that will be a winter project. I am not sure what all I will blog about over the winter but I am sure I will think of something. Have any suggestions? I promise I will start reading more of your posts over the winter, too. I changed the email address to where your posts will be sent so I think that will help.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay warm (or cool depending on where you are). As always, my friends, GET DIRTY!

First “F” of 2018

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I am a little tardy with this post but that isn’t unusual. The forecast said we would be having our first frost on Monday evening (the 15th) so I reluctantly prepared for the event. I moved the potted plants inside on the 10th but they are still not all in their proper places for the winter.

I discovered a few problems. #1, I have more plants than before, and #2, a lot of them are in bigger pots so they now take up more room.

Several of the plants on the table will overwinter in the basement. The Alocasia, for the most part, are already there. The Begonias will rest but not lose all their leaves (well, they didn’t last year anyway). The bigger Amorphophallus in the green pot in the center of the table have already done dormant but the Oxalis have remained wide awake. Last year they went dormant before I bought the plants inside. Instead of one pot with Oxalis, I have four. It is so funny how the leaves close up at night. So, I suppose I will put them on the table in the front bedroom until they go dormant. The succulents should go into the back bedroom window so they can have sun from a south facing window.

 

Ummm… The cactus that were on the back porch are temporarily in front of the sliding door. Last winter, and the winter before, I kept most of the cactus in the kitchen windowsill. BUT… They are all in larger pots than before. PLUS…

 

The new cactus are in the kitchen windowsill now. The pot on the left has the Kalanchoe delagoensis offsets in it. I am hoping they will grow even though I know what will happen when they do. 🙂 My plan is to make a shelf and put another row of cactus in this window. I may be able to make two more rows. The glass on the right… The last time my sister was here we went to Wagler’s Greenhouse because she wanted ANOTHER Popcorn Plant. Hers keeps dying but she keeps buying more. Wagler’s didn’t have any small plants but they had a HUGE hanging basket. So, Mrs. Wagler took several cuttings and told my sister she never had any luck growing them from cuttings. Then, she gave me the cuttings and told my sister, “Maybe he can get them to grow.” I put a few in a pot and the rest in water. I kept the pot damp but they died after a couple of weeks. The cuttings in the water are still not dead but they have not rooted. WAIT A MINUTE!!! I mean Candy Corn plant not POPCORN!  It is also called Firecracker Vine. Well, I don’t think it will work. It needs to be done in the spring and not in the fall… There is a moral to the story of my sister continuing to buy plants that she fails with, but I am not going to say anything. It would be like giving advice I am not using. 🙂 I usually try three times and that’s it… The keyword here is “usually”.

My problem is not with plants dying, it’s the ones that barely hang on and never die… I try this and that until they perk up and take off or they die.

 

Right now, the Tradescantia sillamontana and Callisia fragrans are in the north bedroom in a west facing window. I am trying to give most of the Callisia away because I certainly only need one. The Tradescantia sillamontana will go to the basement (as well as the other Tradescantia) so they can go dormant because they get all weird growing inside over the winter. Best to let them go dormant and regrow in the spring.  I have an experiment going on with two of the smallest Callisia offsets… I didn’t put them in pots several months ago but they are still alive. Honestly, I threw them in the backyard but when I was mowing I saw them and put them on the back porch. I guess since they are so persistent I will have to put them in pots after all. GEEZ!

Since the forecast said “you know what” was inevitable, I had to make a decision about the Xanthosoma. I messaged a new Facebook friend who is a member of the International Aroid Society Group (among other groups) to quiz him a little more about what he suggested I do about it during the winter. He is actually the one who told me what it was in the first place. The question is (or was), should I let it get ZAPPED and then dig the rhizome like I do with the Colocasia or should I put it in a pot then take it to the basement. Since I am a Xanthosoma newbie… After a very lengthy discussion with him about the Xanthosoma and many other plant related subjects, I was still somewhat confused. He didn’t recommend it get zapped, though.

Well, on Sunday afternoon I had to dig the three Alocasia I had been experimenting with over the summer. I wanted to see if they would grow larger in the ground than in a pot. After being in the ground all summer I couldn’t tell that it made that much difference if any at all. I had plants that were the same size that I left in pots and they were all the same size by the end of the summer…

Anyway… After I potted the Alocasia I went for the Xanthosoma… I am so glad the Alocasia I have now are hardier than some I used to have. They can take cooler temps pretty well as long as they don’t get zapped. Some of the species I had in Mississippi would go dormant even if they thought it was going to get cold… I had to move them inside before 45° F. The three Alocasia in the ground took temps below 40.

 

As with Alocasia and Colocasia, I am always surprised by their lack of roots. Strange how such HUGE plants can have so very few. After I dug it up I could see it had three offsets that hadn’t made it to the surface yet. The offsets are definitely MUCH larger than what Colocasia or Alocasia produce. I had been confused about the difference between bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, and corms but I think I have it figured out now. Colocasia, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma grow from rhizomes (even though they don’t look the same). The Amorphophallus grow from corms.

 

Now the Xanthosoma is in a pot for the winter. The plant is 60″ tall and spreads out 80″! The Alocasia in the basement grow upwards so they don’t take up a lot of space. This plant takes up a lot of room!

One thing “the guy” said was that he was mistaken about my Xanthosoma’s identity… He initially said it was a Xanthosoma sagittifolium but he has since changed his mind. He said it may be either a Xanthosoma robustum or X. atrovirens because it hadn’t produced as many offsets as X. sagittifolium normally does, its glossy leaves, variegation, and how it has grown so wide. He said the random variegation was a characteristic of X. atrovirens but they don’t get such wide leaves and aren’t so broadly spreading. He also said they don’t have such dark green (almost teal) leaves and not so glossy. So, he thinks my plant is X. robustum. I checked with Plants of the World Online and it says Xanthosoma atrovirens is now a synonym of X. sagittifoliumX. robustum is an accepted name. SO, now I guess I have to go back and change everywhere I have the incorrect species name. That includes its page to the right, several posts, and all the photos.

I did take photos of the beds before the “F”. Even so, not all the perennials were affected. Luckily, the Phlomis is still looking as AWESOME as always. That’s good because I forgot to cover it with the big flower pot…

Well, I guess that’s it for this post because I am running out of words for now. Until next time, stay well, positive, and GET DIRTY!