Homo neglectus Part 1: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing very well and beginning to enjoy the heat of the summer. There are many ways we can enjoy the heat like under a shade tree, in front of or under a fan, or in a recliner in the AC. You don’t have to be outside in the heat to enjoy it. I find taking a nap under a ceiling fan in the afternoon a good idea. Then, I get up about 6 PM and go outside and work until about 9. By then a few mosquitos have found me so I go inside.

This may be a weird post showing the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am not going to sugar coat anything because with me, what you see is what you get. The flower beds have been neglected a little more than usual because I have been spending a lot of time in the garden. That is slowing down somewhat now because we haven’t had much rain to make the weeds and grass keep coming up. I can till and weed and just watch the garden grow. We did have 6/10″ on Friday and a little more Saturday so that will sure help. The forcast has 30-40% chance of rain every day all week. It says each day less than one-tenth of an inch with more possible during thunderstorms. Hmmm… Well, this time of the year, 30-40% means a very slight chance. It may thunder and lightning and the wind may blow but there may be no rain at all.

 

I have finished hilling most of the corn (I think I said that before). Not having to work in the garden has allowed me time for other projects… This past week I cut down the trees inside of the basement. They were getting so tall I couldn’t see the garden from the house. It looks much better now.

 

The front steps and old entryway were covered with grapevines and Carolina Creeper. I had been cutting down a few maples and white mulberry trees from the old entryway for several years. I bought a product Tordon RTU from the feed store I have been using on all the trees and grapevines I have been cutting down and it keeps them from coming back. I don’t like using chemicals but enough is enough…

 

When I cleaned out the Iris bed on the north side of the steps I found grapevines, Carolina Creeper, Smilax tamnoides, elm, redbud, and maple trees, and maybe a few other unnecessary intruders. Hard to imagine so much stuff in one small space.

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant).

The southeast corner of the foundation is a BIG problem area and it always has been. When I lived here before this area was full of Bermuda Grass and used to grow all the way up to the top of the downspout. I dug it all up from the dining room to the corner of the back porch for a flower bed but the Bermuda Grass was very hard to control. I am still fighting it…

I thought this corner would be great for Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) and it has worked very well here. It is a spreader and the colony gets bigger every year. I wanted it here but I don’t want it anywhere else and it softens the corner… The only problem with them is that their top leaves look like they are burnt or frostbit. I guess it is a common thing… I put one plant here in 2017 and it has spread very well but I wouldn’t want it in a flower bed.

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla), Phedimus spurius ‘John Creech’, Phedimus kamtschaticus ‘Variegata’, and Sempervivum ‘Killer’.

Hmmm… You can clearly see the Tree Cholla in this old cast iron planter (used to be part of a coal-burning furnace) but you have to look very close to see the Phedimus kamtschaticus ‘Variegata’ and Sempervivum ‘Killer’. The Phedimus spurius ‘John Creech’ is taking over so I need to remove it from the planter. It has its own area between the planter and the foundation…

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla).

The Tree Cholla is doing great and promises it won’t bite when I start removing the intruder. I have had this cactus since 2017 and I am always hoping for flowers. Maybe next year…

 

Phedimus kamtschaticus.

The Phedimus kamtschaticus (Orange or Russian Stonecrop) is doing great and always has since I put it here in 2016. I think finally (hopefully) “those in charge” have agreed to call it Phedimus kamtschaticus instead of Sedum kamtschaticum. Several Phedimus/Sedum species have been flopping around between the two for a long time. It used to stand up in a nice tidy clump but since it started flowering a few years ago it wants to sprawl leaving a hole in the middle. A few years ago, when it was a Sedum, the Missouri Botanical Garden had a page for both Sedum kamtschaticum and Sedum kamtschaticum var. ellacombianum. They said the latter was similar but had larger leaves. Since the Phedimus name is now accepted, the variety is now Phedumis ellacombeanus once again like it was named in 1995… Phedimus kamtschaticum is a native of Russia and Phedimus ellacombeanus is a native of Korea and Japan. It seemed this clump had larger leaves before it started sprawling so I wondered which it was. I am pretty sure it is Phedimus kamtschaticus now. Dave’s Garden still doesn’t have a pronunciation for Phedimus, but kamtschaticus is pronounced kam-SHAY-ti-kus. I guess we just have to redneck the Phedimus part which I do a lot of anyway. 🙂 Maybe FEED-ah-mus. How about FEED-A-mouse?

 

Echinacea purpurea cv. ? on 6-26-20, #714-12.

The Echinacea purpurea cv. ? (Purple Coneflower) is doing great. They have done so well I put a couple of clumps in the center of the bed at church. I have a clump in the southeast corner bed next to the house as well.

 

GEEZ! I cleaned off the ivy from what used to be an enclosed back porch, steps, and patio area. In the 1980’s I moved the Japanese Spirea from the front of the house to this area between the back porch and basement steps. When I returned in 2013 I saw it was still here and also in the front iris bed. I am not sure how many times I have cut trees out of this area not to mention the ivy… There was no ivy here in the 1980’s… I put the peony here a few years ago I dug up from next to my grandpa and grandma Miller’s tombstone. Now I have to remove this ivy and trees again. I already cut down several redbud trees…

Redbud trees are a pain when you cut them down. They keep growing and are hard to get rid of. I have one by the street I keep battling but the one behind the house never sprouted after I cut it down. According to the almanac, there are certain days that are best to do this and that. I wonder if sometimes I get the time right by accident. If that is true, it would be great to be able to cut the ivy out and not have it come back. 🙂 Hmmm… I am not going to count on that one…

 

The bed at the northeast corner of the old foundation has always been a favorite spot. Back in the early 1980’s this was where I made my first shade bed. With no house here now there is no shade. You can see it in this photo, but there were a lot of iris coming up along the north side of the foundation in 2013. Dad said he had been mowing them off for years and they just kept coming up. SO, I moved them to the corner of this bed and the colony has gotten HUGE now. He brought home some rhubarb and horseradish from a friend so I put them here as well. I have grown marigolds in this bed but a few years ago I moved the Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’/’Goldstrum’ from the north bed by the house to this location. They approved and have really spread. I haven’t gotten the old stems from last year all removed yet. Normally, there is also a big colony of native Rudbeckia hirta (?) in the front of this bed but late last summer they got some kind of mildew or something and didn’t return this year. I am not sure if they were Rudbeckia hirta or a different species of Black-Eyed/Brown-Eyed Susan. There are several species, varieties, and subspecies that are native to Missouri that I haven’t been able to tell apart. There are several in the south bed by the house that are a later flowering species that have no mildew issues.

 

As I was taking photos, I noticed Japanese Beetles were chewing (and mating) on the rhubarb. Yesterday I put a new attractant on one of the traps which is hanging next to the shade bed…

I will finish this post now and move on to Homo neglectus Part 2. But, before I go, I want to show you something…

 

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern) on 6-26-20, #714-27.

I was cleaning out the smartweed in the north bed by the house a few days ago and ran across this fern. I think it is Polystichum acrostichoides also known as the Christmas Fern. It has never been here before so I was very surprised.

And one more thing… I think I made a new friend in the garden.

 

Anaxyrus americanus (American Toad).

After I took the photos for this post and part 2 and maybe 3, I went to work hilling up more of the sweet corn. I was on my hands and knees moving dirt with my hands when I felt something squishy. I guess I squeezed it too hard thinking it was a clod of dirt and it made a noise. It turned out to be a big fat toad.

 

I sat him on the dirt next to a stalk of corn and petted him and apologized for squeezing him. There are a lot of baby toads this year which is great. They eat a lot of bugs, spiders, and even slugs. The color of this guy is a bit strange for an Anaxyrus americanus or even the other similar species. They are supposed to be browner and have a light central stripe running down their back. I am going to have to pay closer attention… He had been sleeping under the soil where it was cool and damp so maybe his color had changed somewhat. Then I scared the crap out of him and he just sat there like he was in shock. 🙂

That is it for this Homo neglectus Part 1. I will get started on part 2 right away.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful, and GET DIRTY!

25 comments on “Homo neglectus Part 1: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

  1. Feed-a-mouse might be a good way to remember what your plant is. ha… In my experience getting rid of ivy is a digging procedure and keeping an eye on the area from then on. It is a tenacious plant as you well know. Pulling out the little starts of redbud etc is a good thing but if they don’t pull the shovel is the only alternative other than chemicals.Good luck… Ahhh such a sweet toad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lisa! I successfully got rid of a huge area of ivy while I was in Mississippi by digging them up. Around the old foundation is a bit more tricky as the roots are growing inside cracks and crevices where they can’t be dug out. Redbud and maple can be a pain because they produce so many seeds. When they are tiny they are no problem. It’s a good thing Redbuds are small trees or their seeds would be in the gutters as well as the maple seeds. GEEZ! Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Like

  2. Jim R says:

    It’s amazing how quickly nature fills in the empty spaces when we leave it alone. Plants and insects are such opportunists. Nice toad, by the way. We have two young fawns romping around our trees and yard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Jim! You are so right about nature filling in empty spaces. There is always a lot to keep in check which can be very difficult if you have so much space to maintain. There are a lot of toads this year and I am glad to have them around. Glad to hear you have a couple of fawns to watch. I hope they don’t bother your tomato plants… Take care and thanks for the comment.

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  3. Dayphoto says:

    I love finding toads. Like you, I always save them. We need those little guys in our gardens.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Where is the house? Is it in Oz with a witch under it?
    Do you remember who Bobby Hutcherson is? He was our neighbor in Montara. His home was built within the foundation of the old Montara Hotel. The foundation made a nice low garden wall, as if it had been built for the home.
    Obedient plant is something that I have not seen since I was in school in the late 1980s. Most of what I remember was the pink, but I particularly liked the white. If I remember correctly, it worked well as a cut flower.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Tony! The house? I wrote a post about the farm, it’s history and layout last year sometime. I will send a link when I find it. I didn’t know Bobby Hutcherson so I looked him up. This Obedient Plant is “usually” white but last year the flowers had more of a pinkish hue. Take care and thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        When we studied obedient plant in school, we learned that it was typically white, but then I never saw it in white much after that. Most was bright pink; and then, I have not seen it, either pink or white, since then!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Tony! Click HERE for the post about the farm.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        Oh my! That is so enviable. You know, I drove an excellent 1976 F250 too, but sadly, lost it to a very serious wreck. This sort of lifestyle is something that I always wanted, even though it is not possible here. I know of people who had always wanted to get out of their town where their parents had lived. They thought it was boring. I always wanted to live right here where my ancestors had lived, but it is not the same. There are more than a million other people in the way. An average home that used to be suburban is now in the city and costs about a million and a half dollars. Some are two million dollars. Those are just the average ones. My parents payed $50,000 for their home in 1976, and that was a lot of money back then. The home that my great grandparents purchased for $4,000 is now worth more than a million and a half dollars. I could never purchase it, or even pay the taxes on it. I was always told that $4,000 was a lot of money back then, but again, it is not the same as now. Besides, even if I could afford it, I am not certain that I would want to live in such a horrid place, even if it is my home. My simple lifestyle is so unwelcome in my hometown. I get pulled over just for driven an old car.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I never wanted to leave my hometown but so many others have. Some have returned after retirement. I was glad to come back because I have always been a country boy. As you know, I lived in California for eight months and was astonished at the prices of real estate. Just think, you can sell your property there and move to a nice small farm close to an adequate rural community in the midwest and be debt free… You could drive to work in a nearby larger community no farther than you drive already. You don’t have to make as much money because your expenses will be much less. My grandparents paid $2,000 for this property in the late 1950’s and the taxes are less than half that now (almost $700 annually). I will admit times have changed a lot here and there are very few businesses compared to what it was like when I was a kid. We still have a grocery store, a Dollar General, two convenience stores, a hardware store, several places to eat, a medical clinic, Farmer’s Coop, two banks, and several churches. Our school is still AAA. The people here in the midwest are very friendly.

          Liked by 1 person

          • tonytomeo says:

            Oklahoma was very tempting for those same reasons, but it is not my home.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Like Mississippi was for me. I made new friends and enjoyed the mansion and the backyard but it wasn’t like home.

              Liked by 1 person

              • tonytomeo says:

                It amazes me that most people do not have a problem making a new home somewhere else.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I have adapted easily to several locations and made friends that became like family. I was married for 20 years and never felt like I was home until I… Well, that is another story. Gardening (vegetable and flower) and getting to know the neighbors and greeting everyone with a smile and “how are you doing” seems help to make anywhere a home. People in the city don’t know each other, not even their neighbors. That changes when I move in. 🙂 I moved in with my brother in St. Paul, Minnesota one time and knew the neighbors within a couple of weeks. My brother had lived there for several years and not even spoken to them. People would drive by when I was in the yard and wave and recognize me if we met in the grocery store. They would say, “OH, you live in the house with all the flowers.” Home is where you make it… 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • tonytomeo says:

                    Oh, I get that too. I was very much at home in Oklahoma, and would like to go back for a while. There were so many other towns between here and there where I would have liked to stop for a while. I miss every town I ever lived in. Yet, I still crave for the home that was in the Santa Clara Valley a long time ago.

                    Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        Wow, I did not intend to rant like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Keld Herbst says:

    Kamtschaticus is pronounced kam-SHAY-ti-kus, you say.
    I would say kam-TCHAT-ti-kus, as the area in Russia is called Kamtchatka. Just my 25 cents 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Keld! LOL! I am giving no one a hard time about how they pronounce anything. I write down what I find on Dave’s Garden but it is not necessarily how I pronounce it. My neighbor in Mississippi had a good friend that was a horticulturalist. He would come to my house sometimes and correct how I pronounced the scientific names and get a good laugh. We can read how to pronounce the names “SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWLLLLYYYY” but when speaking normally it doesn’t always come ou right. If we were brought up speaking and writing Latin it would be much different. I always wondered if it would have been better if I took Latin in high school. In my way of thinking, you can pronounce anything any way you want to as long as you and I know what you are talking about. Take care and thanks fr the comment!

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  6. debbie says:

    Hi Rooster
    Now you are showing the vegetable garden as well as the wild areas & then there’s the house areas we have seen all along, it seems you are working across a giant area! I must admit sometimes i get a bit overwhelmed with my own garden but seeing yours makes me feel not so bad! You are going great guns at the moment !
    I really love the little fat toad – I get just a few frogs & toads on a regular basis & found one living inside the parasol stand recently -he popped out when i moved it!
    Today at work i found a mutant foxglove where the top ‘bell’ was totally coloured with the spotty throat pattern inside & out and was a big round upright trumpet. It was a strange and beautiful sight
    Keep safe and well
    Sorry about what i think is the corn ☹️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Debbie! It is very easy to get overwhelmed sometimes even in a small area. You just have to keep working at it and realize it is a continual work in progress. It may cause some people to just not do anything at all, but for those of us who enjoy it, it doesn’t matter. We just do what we can and keep on doing it. 🙂

      I was working in the watermelons yesterday evening and saw a BIG frog. It was the size of a bullfrog but it was spotted… I didn’t have my camera that time and figured i may be gone by the time I came back with it.

      It is always a nice surprise when we find a different plant than we expect. Did you get a photo of the mutant foxglove?

      I am not sure what you mean by your apology about the sweet corn… LOL!

      Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Like

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