Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well, safe, warm, and prosperous! I just wanted to take a few moments and share with you what has been happening since the last update. I took photos April 8 but didn’t finish the post. After a week of warmer weather, most of the perennials had grown so had to start over.
First, I wanted to share a photo of one of the baby grasshoppers that have been in my bedroom windowsill for about a month. I have never seen baby grasshoppers before let along having them hatch out in the house. I tried to take photos before, but they were too tiny for me to get a good photo. Sunday, the 8th, I finally got a photo that wasn’t blurry.
The first three photos are from April 8 and I didn’t take new photos of them on the 13th.
Sunday afternoon I as I took my camera outside, I started on the west side of the north bed next to the porch. First, the Achillea millefolium is continuing to grow… Not only are they among the last to be affected by colder temperatures, they are also among the first to return in the spring. In fact, they peek out off and on during the winter everytime we have a few days of warmer weather.
If you need a spreading ground cover that you don’t mind crawling among your other plants, then you should try Lysimachia nummularia. Here in mid-Missouri, the Creeping Jenny all but disappears during the winter. They, too, are among the first to return in the spring. I bought this Creeping Jenny cultivar in the spring of 2014 and they have spread nicely in the north bed. I think this year I am going to move them around in other beds to see how they do in different areas.
More of these have come back up in the past week, even in places I didn’t have them as much last year. What a traveler!
The patch of Geranium sanguineum or Geranium sanguineum var. striatum has been struggling for the past couple of years. I think maybe they had an episode of crown rot a couple of years ago so maybe I need to dig the area up and replant them. They are normally pretty hardy but when they get really thick they can have a few issues. Many plants do this, including the Ajuga (Bugleweed). These are the descendants of the Geranium sanguineum I bought from Bluestone Perennials in the early 1980’s when I first moved to the farm when grandpa passed away in 1891. Dad moved them to this spot after my parents bought a manufactured home and moved to the farm in 1996. This species could be Geranium sanguineum var. striatum which has larger flowers than the species so this year I will measure the blooms…
I am a member of several plant groups on Facebook, including one called Cheap Succulents and Cacti. I had never bought plants from anyone on the Facebook groups before but when I saw this particular Sedum from Elizabeth Li I couldn’t help myself. I contacted her and she said she had other plants, too. I checked her offering and they were mostly Echeveria. But she also had a Kalanchoe that also looked tempting… So, bought two plants. She shipped them on Monday and they arrived on Friday (April 13).
They were shipped bareroot and she had them all nicely packed in shredded paper.
They have a good root system…
The Kalanchoe marmorata has very thick leaves, kind of rubbery, with brownish-purple blotches. The leaves have a weird sticky feeling that is hard to explain. Common names include Penwiper Plant, Pen Wiper Plant, Spotted Kalanchoe, Penwiper, and Baby Penwiper. They are native to West and Central Africa where they grow up to 48″ tall but in pots, they normally grow to about 16″. The species was first described by John Gilbert Baker in Gardener’s Chronicle & Agricultural Gazette in 1892.
STARTING OVER ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON…
Now, let’s start over in the south bed…
Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ continues to do well despite it normally doesn’t come back up until May. Every time the forecast says the temp is going to be below 35 during the night, I run out and put the pot back over it before I go to bed. 🙂
The Baptisia x ‘Lunar Eclipse’ has really taken off this past week. Hopefully, it will flower and we can really see what it can do. This is the first Baptisia I have had since I have been back on the farm and only the second I have ever tried. I tried ‘Carolina Moonlight’ in 2012 while I was in Mississippi but then I forgot about and left it behind when I moved here in February 2013. Well, it was dormant and I may not have even been able to find it. I am really looking forward to this plant flowering!
The Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ was new last spring. I also bought a ‘New Dimension Rose’ but it didn’t do well during the invasion of the Marigold ‘Brocade’ last summer and did not return this spring.
The Salvia x sylvestris Mainacht is doing well as usual. Always one of the first to come up in the spring and will flower continually throughout the summer. That is, as long as I keep it deadheaded.
Stachys byzantina-Lamb’s Ears
All I can say it was a good thing I divided the big clump of Lamb’s Ears last spring because the bigger clump all but died out over the winter. The photo above is from the division I made and put in the southeast corner bed in the somewhat amended crappy fill dirt. The other division is in the southwest side and it is only doing fair. I have heard the Stachys byzantina can be somewhat invasive but I have never had that problem. I think location plays an important part, especially during the winter months. Even though plants may be very cold tolerant, they still need protection with a layer of mulch. The larger clump is on the edge of the bed and the wind keeps any type of cover blown off. Normally I don’t remove the dead leaves and stems until spring when new growth starts to emerge. I think that was a big problem because I pretty much cleared off the south bed last fall.
I haven’t gotten the page for the Stachys byzantina added on the right yet. I am on the “S’s”, but STILL working on the Sedum pages. I got stumped on one species for several days just trying to figure out who actually named the plant. Finally, I just had to admit it was actually unknown so I could move forward.
The Iris x violipurpurea ‘Black Gamecock’ is still alive and seemingly OK. I am debating moving this clump, too, because I think it would do much better elsewhere. It is in the area between the basement steps and the back porch. I had certain plans for this spot when I moved here in 2013, but those plans did not materialize. When I started working in this area there were about 20 cats here. I amended the fill dirt but the cats thought it was a good spot to dig… Then dad bought a few roses and wanted them planted along the basement steps… So, I did. I also have Zinnias along the steps every year, but someday…
Prunus calleryana-Bradford Pear
Dad planted this Bradford Pear shortly after they moved their manufactured home here in 1996. It is usually LOADED with flowers every spring and the bees and pollinating flies just love it. Outside of a few wildflowers that are already blooming, there isn’t much for the honey bees and other pollinators to feed on.
The tree has had a lot of issues in the past and does need some pruning to get it back in shape. The wind took the top out of it several years ago, before I returned, and there are several dead limbs that need to be removed.
Progne subis-Purple Martin
The Martins have officially returned for 2018. I have an issue… Even though I pretty much do everything on the farm and have certain ways I do things or think they should be done, sometimes dad will have a different opinion. Normally, I just do what needs to be done and tell him what I did after the fact. Last summer, after the Martins left, I was getting ready to clean out the Martin house and put the covers on the holes. Dad said to just cover the holes and clean it out next year. GEEZ! So, I did. Last week, when three Martins showed up, I need to go clean it out and open the holes. Dad said to just open the top two rows or the sparrows would try and take it over. GEEZ AGAIN! So, I went out, cleaned out all the nests and only left the top two rows open. Within a couple of days, there were A LOT more Martins so I had to lower the house AGAIN and remove the rest of the covers. You know, they are fighting over the nests in the top two rows… Can’t they see they are all open now? If you have never seen male Martins fight over nesting rights, I will tell you they are very determined and vicious! You would think they were going to kill one another.
The Catmint in the corner on the right side of the back porch is doing really well despite it being in the crappy fill dirt. I keep calling it crappy dirt, but there must be some value in it. It sure can grow weeds! Soon, the Catmint will be LOADED with flowers!
Cydonia oblonga-Flowering Quince
The Flowering Quince is now LOADED with flowers.
Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’
The Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ is doing much better now. It seems to do weird things over the winter but at least it survived… I really like this Sedum with it smaller leaves. It also spreads very well. I do not have its page ready yet, hopefully within the next few days. It is next on the list and there doesn’t appear to be anything whacky with its name.
This is also one of my favorite Sedums. It has fairly good sized bright green leaves and will produce an abundance of yellow flowers later. This plant could also be Sedum kamtschaticum var. ellacombeanum but I am not sure. That variety is somewhat larger so I will be taking measurements this summer. This species, along with many other Sedums, were moved to various other genera to reclassify them into groups according to various traits. Sedum kamtschaticum became Phedimus kamtschaticus. Apparently, the name change didn’t win much favor because the Phedimus genus is now a synonym of Sedum, at least on most plant name databases. I wonder what the results of a polygenetic test would say?
Well, the Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ survived the winter and hopefully, it will spread a little more this summer.
HA! I am still uncertain what the species of this Sedum is. I have a few ideas and I will have to make my decision soon. I found a tag that says Sedum ‘Cherry Tart’ which I bought in 2016 but this plant is older. I believe I bought it unlabeled from Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2015. It could be Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’…
Sempervivum x ‘Killer’
The Sempervivum x ‘Killer’ is still looking very good despite the frigid temperatures in January. I just bought it last spring and since it survived the winter, I know it will be around for a very long time.
Physostegia virginiana-Obedient Plant
Well, GEEZ! I bought this plant last spring from a local garden club’s plant sale. I knew the Obedient Plant could be invasive which is why I bought it especially for this spot (a corner along the foundation which used to be my grandparent’s old house). The leaves always pile up in this spot over the winter and when I pulled them back to check on this plant… Well, as you can see, one plant turned into many. 🙂
Alive or dead? I don’t know yet. When Mrs. Wagler gave me this cactus in the spring of 2016, she said it was hardy outside. It survived last winter with no problem but this winter was much colder. So, I am patiently waiting. A photo taken of this plant last April 20 showed it was growing those new limbs. It still feels solid in the ground, so maybe after more warmer temperatures, it will show signs of life.
Tephrocactus articulatis var. papyracanthus-Paper Spine Cactus
You know, I have had some oddballs, and this cactus is certainly no exception. If this plant were in a larger pot, or outside, its odd balls would be falling off and growing new plants. It usually just sits there, not making any sign of life, making me wonder if it alive or dead. Then, I noticed it had new growth. When did it do that? When I was buying plants from Wal-Mart in February 2016, a piece fell off of one of the other cactus so I put it in my pocket and brought it home. 🙂 I don’t consider that stealing when you think of what could have happened to it otherwise. Maybe swept up off the floor and thrown in the trash. So, I have had this plant for two years and it has been in this same small pot the whole time.
I think I will close this post for now and save the Heuchera and Hosta update for the next post. Maybe tomorrow. 🙂