Elephantopus carolinianus and Perilla frutescens Observed

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I was helping a friend move cattle from his mother’s farm a few days ago and stumbled across this interesting plant. I helped him move a 1964 Ford Pickup from a hill that had been in the trees for 15 years a couple of days earlier. That was interesting. I didn’t take the camera at the time but I wish I had because seeing the old pickup in the trees and what we went through to get off the hill and up the road to the house would have made an interesting post. His mother sold her farm so we had to get everything moved.

 

Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant) on 9-9-19.

Now, you have to visualize a shady hillside with a creek running along the side. The hillside is covered in trees with literally THOUSANDS of Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant). While I was waiting for my friend (Jay) and another helper (Jay Wagler, Ruth Wagler’s son from Wagler’s Greenhouse), to drive the cows up from somewhere, I waited on the hill. Of course, I had my camera that day so I took several photos of the Perilla frutescens.

 

Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant) flowers on 9-9-19.

I thought it was very interesting how the Perilla frutescens there were in full bloom when the plants behind my back pond were just budding.

After a while, the cows came so I had to forget about taking photos. I had to go up the hill from where I was then run down the hill as fast as I could, through all the Perilla, trees, vines, etc. toward the creek, then across the creek so the cows couldn’t go back to where they had come from. While I was running toward the creek, I almost tripped more than a few times. Anyway, as I was running I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going because I was looking at the plants. I spotted a plant I had never seen before but I didn’t have time to stop… By the time I made it to the creek, the cows were heading that direction. They crossed the creek and so did I.

Now, if you have ever driven cattle through a forest that have no idea why they are being herded in the first place, you will know they aren’t just casually walking. Some of them are calm and in no hurry while most of them have their ears up and are running full speed ahead. The calves were going in circles because they had no clue. Mama cows would run ahead then realize their kid wasn’t with them, so they would turn around. And, of course, there were always a few that just stand way behind the others that think they can get left behind. They try to sneak off while you are trying to get the runners to go where you want them and not where they want to go, which is back to where they were in the first place. The opening we needed them to go through was plain as day and right in front of them. What did they do? They stood there looking at the opening. The opening in the fence was to the pasture where the barn was… Ummm… Where the corral was. Now, if you are a cow that is used to a daily routine you would be wondering why you are being herded to the barn in the morning instead of being called to eat feed later in the afternoon. You would be thinking something is fishy. After a while, a few started toward me. Then the rest followed. As I waved at them they found another opening in the fence so they could circle around to the other opening to try and get away. Well, that didn’t work and finally, they went to the barn.

There is a little more to what happened next, but we did finally get them in the coral. All but a cow named Fuzzy who escaped.

Once the cows were in the trailer, I walked back to the creek. I had to go back up the hill to get the tractor I had left there but the tractor wasn’t on my mind. I had to find that weird plant!

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19.

I crossed the creek and started up the hill through all the vegetation. The hillside was nice and shady and I had to just stand for a minute to admire nature at its finest. There was so much life going on! The bugs were all busy feeding on flowers and each other, birds were flying around, butterflies flying from one flower to another. I found the plant I was looking for with no problem because there were a lot of them along the bottom of the hillside. It was sure a strange plant and I had never seen any quite like it. That evening I identified the plant as Elephantopus carolinianus (el-eh-fun-TOE-pus  kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-us). Common names include Elephant’s Foot, Carolina Elephant’s Foot, and Leafy Elephant’s Foot.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Reading the description of this plant on the Missouri Plants website can be pretty complicated.

Inflorescence – Capitate cluster (glomerule) of flower heads terminating stems. Peduncles to +10cm, antrorse appressed pubescent. Peduncles subtended by a single foliaceous bract. Flower clusters subtended by typically three foliaceous bracts to +/-4cm long. Bracts with antrorse appressed pubescence.

I think that means the stem ends in a cluster of flower heads that are compact or unusually compressed. Close to the top of the stem is a leaf with another 3 1/2-4″ of stem above it. Then there are 3 leaves (foliaceous bracts) which the flower clusters sit on. Bracts and peduncles have short hairs.

Involucre – Phyllaries loose, to -1cm long, 2mm broad, acute, green in upper 1/2, scarious below.

GEEZ! An involucre is a bract (phyllary) or set of bracts (phyllaries) that surround a flower or cluster of flowers. In this case, I believe there is something a little strange going on… Skip down to the photo after the next one…

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19.

The flowers are rather strange. Although this plant is a member of the Asteraceae (composite) family, the flowers are not “daisy-like”. They only have disc flowers.

“Disk flowers – Corolla lilac to whitish, irregularly 5-lobed. Corolla tube 5mm long, glabrous. Lobes to 5mm long, linear, glabrous. Stamens 5, adnate at base of corolla tube. Anthers connate around style, 2mm long, exserted. Style included. Achene (in flower) white, pubescent, 2mm long. Pappus of 5 bristles. Bristles to 5mm long, slightly flattened and expanded at base.”

Hmmm………………………………………. Something seems a bit odd.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Some of the plants have lavender-pink flowers. The above photo is somewhat easier to explain… The flower emerges from the phyllaries… WAIT A MINUTE! Take a closer look at that mass of petals… Something is weird! I think I need to jump the fence and have a closer look. How many flowers do you see? One? Count again… I see at least four.

So, using the above descriptions, each bract has a set of four loose phyllaries (actually 2 pairs of 2) in which 4-5 flowers emerge from. Have you ever seen a Fan Flower (Scaevola sp.) where the petals are on only on half the flower? I think that’s what is going on here…

It would have been better to have read the descriptions then searched for this plant so you will know what to look for. For sure you would have known what this plant is when you see it because there is none even similar.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Lower leaves are quite large and “spatula-like”. One website says these lower leaves are 5″ long, but just guessing, I would say they are closer to at least 8″.

Missouri Plants says: “Alternate, sessile, elliptic to oblanceolate or spatulate, acute to acuminate, shallow serrate to crenate-serrate, slightly scabrous and pubescent below, sparse pubescent and shiny dark green above, to -30cm long, -10cm broad, tapering to base.” That is about 11″ long by about 4″ wide and the leaves attach directly to the stem with no petiole (sessile).

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

The plant’s upper leaves are MUCH smaller and kind of oval in shape. Here you can see this leaf is what is meant when Missouri Plants says: “Peduncles subtended by a single foliaceous bract.” This leaf is where the “inflorescence” begins and is part of it as the “single foliaceous bract.” At least that is my opinion. Subtended means “under” so it makes sense.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Besides a camera, I also need to remember to take the magnifying glass, a small note pad and pen… A field guide would also be promising. I haven’t normally been one to bring plants home from other locations, but I am really tempted with this one. I saw this plant again while I was helping Jay at either his farm or in the back yard of his mothers (the one she sold). Apparently this plant is fairly common in that neck of the woods. I think I may need to check the creek behind here even though I don’t own that property. I normally only go there in the spring to hunt morels. No one will ever know… 🙂

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

I think I read somewhere that the bracts contain a single seed that doesn’t fall out. The whole bract falls off with the seed still inside.

Map from USDA Plant Database showing where Elephantopus carolinianus is native.

Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 23 species of Elephantopsis. Four are native to the United States including E. carolinianus, E. elatus, E. nudatus, and E. tomentosus. E. carolinianus most abundant from Kansas down to Texas and eastward to Pennsylvania and down to Florida and has been Introduced to Cuba. Most species are native to several countries in South America and several in a few countries in Africa. 

The cows were loaded into a trailer in the afternoon and taken to another pasture. As far as I know, Fuzzy is still at large.

I have been working on the post about the Persicaria species (Smartweeds) here and ran into a snag. Two species are very much alike and one is variable. One has longer leaves than the other and both have the same identifying features. I think many colonies could have both species which makes it complicated. I was measuring leaves in a very large colony and a few plants have 6″ long leaves while most are 3 1/2 to 4″. The rest of the species were fairly easy to identify. I am going to check out Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri on Monday at the library to see if they can help. The original was written by Julian Steyermark was published in 1963. In 1987, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri Department of Conservation decided to work together and revise and update the older book in a three-volume set. The first edition, written by Mr. Steyermark was published in 1999 and it is available at the local branch. Volume two was published in 2006 and volume 3 in 2013. Volume 2 and three were written by George Yatskievych. They are at another branch but can be delivered here or I can drive 18 miles to pick them up. Each volume has over 1,000 pages. The post is ready, but I need to make sure about the one (or two) species.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Be thankful and observant. Never know what you may will run across.

 

Delightful Dayflowers

Commelina erecta (Whitemouth Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. Now it is time to post about the Dayflowers. It has been interesting and there are three species of Dayflowers here on the farm. Two species are in a small shady and secluded area behind the chicken house. One of those is also in the back of the farm by the pond but their flowers were already wilted when I noticed that. Their flowers only last for one day but are mostly gone by late afternoon.

I took a few photos of Dayflowers last year but I didn’t really pay much attention to them at the time. When I was getting ready to write a page about them, I noticed something weird… I had all their photos labeled Commelina communis but when I did the research I realized none of the photos were that species… At that point, they hadn’t started flowering so I had to wait. After the hay was baled and I could mow the two lots I stored hay in behind the chicken house I noticed the Dayflowers had started blooming. I almost fell off the tractor. I took photos after I was finished mowing (since I happened to have the camera with me). That was on August 29.

I took photos for several days I concluded is Commelina erecta, commonly known as the Whitemouth Dayflower. I first thought it was surely Commelina communis because the bracts were open the entire length but there was something weird.

 

Commelina erecta on 8-29-19.

As you can see in the above photo, the bract, the odd-looking part the flower emerges from is entirely open from end to end (like a taco). That is one of the distinguishing features of Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower). But, there were a couple of problems with that diagnosis… For one, the color is lighter blue than the photos of Commelina communis online. The second problem is the staminodes of Commelina communis are supposed to have brownish-red dots. I looked at probably 100 flowers from August 29 through September 1. All their bracts were open and there were NO brownish-red dots.

Before I continue, figuring out what species of Commelina, or Dayflowers, you have growing is pretty easy. There are only four species found in Missouri. Two species have two blue upper petals and one lower white petal. One of those has brownish-red dots on their staminodes. One of those has fused bracts and one has open bracts. The one with the reddish-brown spots is supposed to have open bracts and the other has fused bracts.

Then, low and behold, Sunday afternoon a miracle happened… Well, maybe not a miracle, but you know what I mean…

 

Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

I had walked into the lot where the Dayflowers were, took a few photos, then on the way out I noticed these darker blue Dayflowers on the other side of the opening. I checked and HOLY MOLY there were spots on their staminodes!  As you can see, the flower in the above photo has darker blue upper petals and brownish-red spots on the staminodes…

BUT, there is a problem…

 

Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

All the flowers in this group have fused bracts when they are supposed to be open! I looked at all the flowers for a few days and they were always the same. I thought perhaps they would be closed earlier when the flower first emerges and open later when the flowers have almost run their course. But, the time didn’t matter.

 

Commelina communis on the left and Commelina erecta on the right on 9-1-19.

The above photo shows the darker blue Commelina communis with the spots on the staminodes on the left. Commelina erecta, on the right, has lighter blue upper petals and NO reddish-brown spots on the staminodes. All seems as it should… These are the only two species in Missouri with two upper blue petals and a very small lower white petal.

 

Commelina communis on the left and Commelina erecta on the right on 9-1-19.

But, the above photo clearly shows the Commelina communis with fused bracts and the Commelina erecta with open bracts. Hmmm… Just the opposite of what they are supposed to be. Every website I checked says the same thing.

So, tell me, what is the deal? Maye the fairies in this area didn’t get the memo… I need to check the plants by the pond in the back of the farm to see what they are doing…

But, there is also something else very interesting…

 

Commelina erecta (Whitemouth Dayflower) on 8-29-19.

Some of the Communis erecta have two flowers coming from the same bract. Typically, each bract produces more than one flower, sometimes three, but not usually on the same day.

 

Commelina erecta open bract on 8-29-19.

I opened one of the bracts of the Commelina erecta and you can see in the above photo this bract had produced two flowers in succession. It may have produced more, but I kind of ruined that possibility. The egg-like, umm… Are the fruit where the seeds are hiding.

I read the information on several websites for plant ID and for the heck of it. The Iowa Plants website has some very good photographs of the inside of the bracts (and many other good photos). I was going to include some of them in this post, but I don’t have permission. You can see them online when doing an image search as well.

 

Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

So, it is a little strange that the Commelina communis growing here have fused bracts when they are supposed to be open. But, nonetheless, they have to be Commelina communis because they have the brownish-red spots on their staminodes. No other species has that feature. And, I admit, it is a little odd the Commelina erecta have entirely wide open bracts when they are supposed to be closed. But, they have to be Commelina erecta because they have no spots and they are the only other Commelina species found in Missouri with two upper blue petals and a lower white petal.

One other interesting thing about the Commelina species is that they compete for pollinators… This is why you may rarely if ever find two species growing among each other. Although the photos I took of both species are in the same lot, they are not together. It makes me wonder if they have adapted over time and the Commelina erecta have found out open bracts are better for their survival and the Commelina communis decided the opposite is true for them. Who knows. But for whatever reason, they are doing something weird here.

 

NOW, for the third species…

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

This small colony of Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) is growing south of the big pond in the front pasture. They are in the low spot where the overflow runs out of the pond and the pasture drains.

 

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

I need to get more and better photos of this species. As you can see, this species has three blue petals. It is one of the two species found in Missouri with three blue petals. The other is Commelina virginica (Virginia Dayflower).

 

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

Commelina diffusa has smaller flowers than Commelina virginica. Hmmm… Isn’t it strange how you notice things in a photo you didn’t when taking the photo? What is the white thing below the lower petal?

 

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

Ahhh, there it is. Hmmm… I have no idea what it is. Another flower? Well, trying to find out blew another 30 minutes and I still have no clue.

 

Commelina diffusa on 9-1-19.

OH, I almost forgot! Another distinguishing feature is that the bracts of Commelina diffusa are open the entire length and Commelina virginica are basally fused. Hmmm… Like that helped with C. communis and C. erecta!

There is plenty of information about the Commelina species online. I will be including more information plus links for further reading when I get their own pages published. There will be many photos on their pages of their flowers, leaves (upper and lower, topside and underside), their stems, etc. I have found the Dayflowers to be very interesting and they seem so happy. They are also edible but I haven’t tried them.

Next, I will be posting about the Persicaria species (Smartweed) growing here. I have identified seven species and am still somewhat confused about the eighth. One species is highly variable but the key identifier says it all. One species here is VERY rare, but two key identifiers show they are alive and well here. Well, maybe not all that well since they are only in one small area (and very few plants) while most of the other species are quite abundant. Unlike the Dayflowers, the Smartweeds enjoy the company of their cousins.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and so on. Just do it, and do it well!

First L.g. ‘Thailand Giant’ and Ruellia simplex Flowers for 2019

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 9-3-19, #622-3.

Hello everyone! I took a photo of the first Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ flower on Tuesday but I hadn’t posted it yet. This morning, as I was starting to write the post, I thought I better check to see if it had a second one already.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ second flower on 9-6-19, #624-7.

Sure enough, it already has a second flower. I think the one I grew in 2017 produced twelve by the time it got ZAPPED in October.

As I was going up the steps to back inside, I noticed something else trying to hide…

 

Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) first flower on 9-6-19, #624-10.

The Ruellia simplex Mrs. Wagler gave me is FINALLY starting to flower. The Ruellia simplex I grew before were pink, so I am very glad these are blue.

 

Ruellia simplex buds on 6-9-19, #624-12.

More buds are a good sign of more flowers to come. Of course, I will keep you posted. 🙂

As usual, one photo led to another then another…

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 9-6-19, #624-3.

I still think these funky smaller leaves are weird. I am sure there is a proper name for these appendages but funky is good enough until I find out. NORMAL Colocasia esculenta do not do this so it is no telling what is in its bloodline. A little of this, a little of that… GEEZ! What kind of a monster will be lurking under the porch some morning? 🙂 For sure, this is not a “normal” Colocasia esculenta which is why the species name isn’t used…

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 9-6-19, #624-1.

I had to post another photo of the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ because she was waving her newest and largest leaf at me. I was joking around with her pretending I didn’t notice. Some Aroid experts have been trying to confuse each other by saying ‘Coffee Cups’ is a variety, form or whatever of Colocasia esculenta. It was originally found in the wild in Indonesia and looks nothing like any Colocasia esculenta. She is secretly whispering Colocasia fontanesii in my ear. 🙂

That’s it for now. I will be back very soon! Until then, you know the drill. Be safe, stay positive, and so on.

Monarch Butterfly Eggs?

Hello everyone! I’m not 100% sure, but these may be Monarch Butterfly eggs. I am, umm… How old am I anyway? I forget. Anyway, however old I am, I have not seen Monarch Butterfly eggs in person before. I have seen them online. After all, these eggs are on a Milkweed.

UPDATE!!! On Sunday, September 8, I realized the eggs are not from the Monarch Butterfly. They were APHID eggs and now have hatched!

 

It is strange, but I have been back here since 2013 and this is the first year there have been Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) or A. sullivantii (Prairie Milkweed) in the hayfield. They started popping up after the hay was baled in the big hayfield and in the back of the farm. I am not sure if these are the Common Milkweed or Prairie Milkweed at this stage. Just guessing, I would say they are the Common… A few of them came up by the lagoon this spring and I completely forgot about them until they started setting seed pods. My lawnmower had broken down so by the time I mowed in that area they had already flowered. GEEZ! Both species grow very similar but the Common Milkweed get MUCH taller and by that time you can also tell by the petioles and midribs… Just guessing… 🙂

 

There are always a lot of what I have been calling Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed). Of course, they could be A. hirtella or one of a couple of other “narrow-leaved” Milkweeds. This is the first year I have really gotten into wildflower ID, so I am still learning. I am a work in progress.

I am working on three posts at the same time but I had to make some positive ID’s before posting. I hope to post more since I have settled down a bit after having to ID so many new species this past summer. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking when I started this new project to identify the wildflower species here. By the end of last summer, I had identified maybe 20 species. Now I have over 100 on the list. It seems every time I go out to take more photos of what I have already identified I find one or two more…

Plants are one thing, but then I get stuck chasing butterflies. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is watching. Moths are weird, though. There was this one on a flower a couple of days ago I tried to photograph but it was vibrating to shake the pollen loose so all the photos were blurry. 🙂

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful and… Well, you know what to do by now.

Colocasia Looking Good!

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ at 64″ tall on 8-30-19.

Hello everyone! I trust this post finds you all well as summer starts to wind down (here anyway). We have had much cooler temps the past few days but it is supposed to be 90° F on Tuesday.

I wanted to share a few photos of the Colocasia and Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. They seemed to be growing slow then they went bizurk! The Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ in the above photo is NOW 64″ tall.

The cat in the photo isn’t my cat… Well, I am not so sure about that now because she has made herself at home. Nathan brought her home one night from a convenience store parking lot. She didn’t look like she was a stray to me and had a flea collar on. I told him he should take her back then he told me “after a week” that she had been in the parking lot for several days. GEEZ! When I came here in 2013, mom and dad had 20 cats. I got all the females and males spayed and neutered and after six years there were only five left. Nathan came and brought two more. Then Kevin gave me the little black kitten (GEEZ!) and now there is this one. Yes, it is a female and Nathan’s male cat Simba has taken a liking to her… I went behind the chicken house this morning to have a look at the Dayflowers and “you know who” followed me…

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ flowers on 8-30-19.

As I mentioned before, Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is the first black-leaved Colocasia I have grown since 2013. I was thinking about a ‘Black Magic’ but found this one at a local greenhouse. It is a Walters Gardens introduction.

It had been raining before (and after) I took these photos so all the leaves are wet.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ leaf on 8-20-19.

The leaves are pretty neat for sure but not as “puckered” as advertised. I am not complaining at all because this is a nice plant.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ leaf underside on 8-30-19.

The undersides of “Elephant Ear’ leaves are pretty neat and this one is really NEAT!

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ at 39″ on 8-30-19.

I must say the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ has done very well over the past month and is now 39″ tall.

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ leaf holding water on 8-30-19.

It’s always neat how the leaves hold water then dump it out once it gets heavy enough. It would make a nice little video.

 

Colocasia esculenta on the north side of the house on 8-30-19.

The Colocasia esculenta on the north side of the house and doing really well despite the apex of the rhizomes rotted before I set them out. The tallest plant is 65″ tall…

 

Cannas and Colocasia esculenta along the garage on 8-30-19.

Hmmm… Ignore the grass and weeds. It was a surprise when the Colocasia came up in the Canna bed this spring and more surprising how well they have done this summer. Well, most of them. The big one in the middle of the photo is 60″ tall. I planted them along the Cannas last spring because I had plenty extra. Instead of digging their rhizomes for the winter, I mulched them along with the Cannas and they all came back up this spring. Well, Cannas aren’t supposed to overwinter in the ground here either…

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ at 55 1/2″ tall on 8-30-19.

The Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ finally got with the program and is now 55 1/2″ tall. Hopefully, it will flower like the one did in 2017.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ leaf at 36″ long x 32″ wide on 8-30-18.

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ grow MUCH bigger in the south and in tropical climates than here but I am very pleased. We still have until sometime in October for it to grow bigger.

I have still been taking wildflower photos and even found a few new ones this past week. It is weird how I am still finding new plants after I have been here since 2013. I found a nice small white flower a couple of days ago I couldn’t ID then found out they are normally blue. So, let me see… How many wildflowers have I found this year whose flowers have been an unusual color? I think three or four. Then, the weird Dayflowers that have all the features of a particular species except one… That will be the next post. 🙂 Why don’t they have reddish-brown spots like they are supposed to have? OH, and in 2017, the Dayflower photos I took all have three blue petals. Now, where are they? Then there is a colony in the back of the farm near the swamp that is totally different that has not started flowering yet. Need flowers for a positive ID. I am 99% sure they are a species of Commelina (Dayflower) because of the veins on the leaves. Hmmm… Maybe they will have three blue petals. 🙂 Then I can say, “Ahhhh! There you are!”

Probably the hardest wildflowers (weeds) to make a positive ID here are the Persicaria (Smartweed) species… There are at least four species here that only one thing distinguishes them from similar species. I have been using the magnifying glass to try and figure them out. It seems I am looking for the “thing” that is missing to prove they “are or aren’t” particular species. Then this afternoon, I found the missing “thing” on two colonies growing separate from the other three species (or four)… There could also be another species around the back pond. I saw before… Any way, I have been working on their ID for a couple of years. OH, then there are the three colonies, in another location, that are the same species with different color stems. One has red stems, one has green stems with red nodes, and the other is in-between. Not only in color but location. They are all only a few feet from each other. I will be posting about them once I get them figured out, or at least when I convince myself I have made positive ID’s. Hopefully within a few days. (Scratching my head).

OK, I will close for now…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive and be thankful! Get dirty if you can because a little dirt is good for you.

Doing Well Even Though…

A few Alocasia doing GREAT!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. To say this summer has been ordinary would be quite misleading. I don’t have photos of well-maintained beds because there aren’t any here. I have managed to keep up with beds on the north side of the house and just so with the shade beds. The only deterrent with the shade beds has been the mosquitos because of grandmas old goldfish pool. It always has a little water in it which is a mosquito paradise so I have to work quickly and quietly.

The mole repeller has worked wonders in the shade bed and I have no complaints about it at all. The other one quit working a while back, but it did help for a while. I am supposed to write a review at some point, and the company was supposed to send their “upgraded” model to replace the one that stopped working. What I am wondering is how I write a new review on a model that has been replaced? Hmmm…

The Japanese Beetle traps have worked quite well with a few issues that I don’t think is any fault of the company. Most people don’t have as many beetles as there are here. They have slowed down now, but for a while, I was having to empty 2-3 traps about every day. I am not sure what kind of an impact the traps will have on next years population because even though I have eliminated many, there are still thousands that have probably managed to lay eggs. I even see Japanese Beetles when I am taking photos of wildflowers in the back of the farm and on Kevin’s farm. They eat flowers and leaves of quite a variety of plants.

 

Northeast front porch.

I took a lot of photos of the potted plants earlier but they didn’t make it on a post. I became involved with wildflower ID for a while which took a lot of time. The potted plants are all doing very well and are very easy to manage. The Alocasia are thriving as always and look great! The plants in the above photo were repotted last summer and are doing well on the front porch while the larger pots are next to the shade bed (in the first photo). I still haven’t figured out how offsets from Alocasia ‘Portora” and Mayan Mask’ come up in the same pot… One might think they are cross-pollinating when they flower but that is nearly impossible since they don’t flower at the same time if at all. Alocasia ‘Calidora’ flowers more but there have been no step-children showing up in their pots. Weird…

 

Billbergia nutans flower on 8-11-19.

The Queen’s Tears or Angel’s Tears (Billbergia nutans) has been flowering for a while and is always AWESOME. If you recall, I divided the HUGE POT last year and gave away many. I still have three pots to give away.

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 8-11-19.

Although the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ seemed to have gotten off a little slow, it is doing very well now. I really like the smaller dark cup-shaped leaves and dark stems. They have a little water in their leaves from somewhere most of the time. You would be surprised at how many insects I have seen drinking water from the leaves. If you haven’t tried Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’, I suggest you do.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 8-11-19.

I must say Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ has been pretty impressive. I planted one of these in a planter at a friends home and it was growing better than this one. I thought maybe it was because the planter was full of Miracle Grow Potting soil so I found the bag of fertilizer Mrs. Wagler had given me last year and mixed a little in the soil in this bed. Normally, I do not use commercial fertilizer but I decided to give it a shot. Well, you can see the results. It is now bigger than the one in the planter. 🙂 The leaves have become a little more “puckered” but not near as much as photos of this plant online. The leaves are also supposed to be much darker when grown in the sun, and this plant gets plenty of that. Whether or not this plant is even a Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is somewhat debatable. I have grown Colocasia ‘Black Magic’ in the past and their leaves have always been much darker even in the shade. I am not complaining because this is a really nice plant no matter what it really is.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ has been AWESOME as always.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is now flowering and doing very well. The Hosta in this bed are mainly under a large maple tree and are still doing very well. Except for Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ which has been struggling all summer. I really miss its awesomeness and it may not survive this winter.

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ is doing OK and has several buds. The plants in the corner shade bed are all doing OK because they still have good shade. The ones on the other side are a different because they are usually shaded by the elms whos leaves have been pretty much dissected by the Japanese Beetles.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 8-11-19.

Hmmm… While I am sure this is a Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ this year, it seems it should be much bigger. I am not sure how tall this one is, but the previous one was 54″ tall on 8-29-17. If you remember, the one I bought last spring turned out to be a Xsanthosoma robustum… The Leococasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ I had in 2017 grew HUGE but it was closer to the porch where the soil is better. Maybe a little of Mrs. Wagler’s fertilizer is on order. I was reserving the space closer to the porch for the Xanthosoma sagittifolium a friend was supposed to send me but it never arrived. The X. robustum from last year rotted. I had plans for this bed but…

 

Colocasia esculenta on 8-11-19.

The Colocasia esculenta are doing great as always even though not as large as usual. The top part of the rhizomes rotted before I set them out, which never happened before. As a result, I have many offsets with no main plant.

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) on 8-11-19.

The Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) is strutting its stuff now but the wind and rain knocked some of the plants over. It is flowering really well now, but something is a little weird…

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) flowers on 8-11-19.

Ummm… Its flowers are PINK! Normally, they look white with just a hint of pink. Some photos make them look pinker that you can see with your eye, which is a little strange. I remember taking photos before that turned out pink and I thought, “Why do they look pink? They aren’t pink!” Well, folks, this time around they are definitely pink!

Supposedly, the Obedient Plant gets its name from the flower stems staying where you put them if you bend them a little. I tried that and it didn’t work. I began to question whether or not this was actually an Obedient Plant but research proved they are definitely Physostegia virginiana. However, mine are disobedient.

 

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 8-11-19.

Well, the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm‘ are flowering up a storm now. It was strange how they didn’t spread that much until I moved a few to the northeast corner of the old foundation. Now they have gone banananananas.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but PREVIOUSLY Rudbeckia fulgida and Rudbeckia sullivantii were two separate species. PREVIOUSLY this cultivar was simply Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’.

 

Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) on 8-11-19.

The Mexican Petunia (Ruellia simplex) is doing really well here in the north bed by the steps. There are 2-3 more stems but they seem to be laying down on the job. I need to put a little more dirt around them so they will stand up and because their roots are showing. The one in the photo has a few buds and it will have blue flowers. The plants I had in Mississippi (and brought with me in 2013) had pink flowers, so I was glad Mrs. Wagler and the blue “variety” in her flower bed. HOPEFULLY, they will survive the winter. IF they produce offsets I am going to dig them up and overwinter them inside. They actually do well inside if they are small enough. It may be possible to grow these in pots and bring them inside although I haven’t tried it.

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 8-11-19.

The Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ have really been impressive. This is the first year I have had this cultivar and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

 

Zantedeschia sp.? cv. ? on 8-11-19.

There is always a lot going on here and sometimes I get caught up with this and that that I may neglect to notice something interesting. In June, the owner of Wildwood Greenhouse gave me this pot of Calla he had grown from seed. He had several pots and he couldn’t get them to grow or do much of anything. I brought this pot home, put it in fresh potting soil and it did nothing except not die. Every time I looked at it, it was the same. Then, when I was taking photos on the 11th, I noticed it had perked up! You just never know!

 

Before I close, I want to introduce to, ummm… OK, let me start from the beginning… This kitten showed up at Kevin’s, a friend I have been working for. You know, the guy I have been spraying and digging thistles on his farm, the farm I have taken a lot of wildflower photos on, the guy I have been taking care of his landscaping for him. Yeah, that guy. Anyway, this kitten showed up, obviously from being dumped. He saw it several times and one evening he saw it trying to catch bugs under a porch light so it could have something to eat. Kevin said he could tell it was doing its best to survive so he bought it some kitten food. Eventually, it began coming up to him so he put it in a bathroom so he could tame it down. Then, he attempted to get me to bring it home because his sister didn’t like cats and wouldn’t approve when she came for a visit. So, when she was going to come I told him I would take the cat home and see how it went. On the way home I stopped by the store and bought a litter box and cat litter. GEEZ!!! As soon as we got home, I filled the litter box, put the cat litter in it, then put the cat in the litter box. Even though she probably never saw a litter box, she automatically knew what it was for and she has never failed to use it.

For several days she hid behind my boots in the bathroom. I would reach down and pet her, but she wouldn’t come out when I was around. I told her if she came out I would allow her to come into the bedroom. I couldn’t let her in the rest of the house because Nathans two cats are here now. The next day, she came out and didn’t go hide like she understood what I had said. So, I opened the bathroom door and she came into the bedroom. BUT, she hid under the bed. The next day I told her she couldn’t be hiding under the bed because it was too hard to get her out. Apparently, she understood that, too, because she didn’t do it again.

She has been here several weeks now and last week I let her in the rest of the house. Jade, Nathans female cat, didn’t approve at first and would run from her. Simba, his male cat, has been staying outside. When he first saw her, she was in the hallway and he was in the kitchen watching her. He started talking to her and the kitten came into the kitchen. Simba just watched her and the kitten eventually came up to him. They smelled noses and neither one of them hissed or growled. The problem is, Simba is quite interested in her and would really like to play but he is very big… Once the kitten gets bigger, that may be OK… One of them is going to have to go to the vet, though. 🙂

It has been a long time since I had a kitten to bring up and she is a certainly a fur ball of energy. Everything that moves becomes her toy. When she isn’t playing or sleeping, she wants my attention. Trying to get on the desk where I am working is very annoying. Teaching her not to get on the table or swing on the curtains has been a challenge. Now, she knows better but still does it when I’m not looking. She likes watching me when I wash my hands and shave and darn near gets in the sink. Last week she came in when I was using the restroom and jumped in the toilet… Not kidding! How she thought the lid would have been shut when I am using the toilet is beyond me. She often jumps on the seat when I am at the sink, but never when I am in front of the toilet. I think we both learned a valuable lesson that time, and from now on I make sure I close the door behind me. Of course, when I leave my computer I have to make sure my keyboard is unavailable. Even though the knows I don’t want her on my desk when I leave the room the first place she goes is on the desk. One day she sent messages on Skype. Of course, it wasn’t actual words, but it was evidence that she had been there. Yesterday, I opened the refrigerator and she had to have a peek inside. I left the door open because I was taking items out. I told her NO several times, and she would always back out. She knows what that means but she is somewhat confused about it. Next thing I know, she is IN the refrigerator. She looks at me and meows like she is saying, “See, it is safe.” HMMM… NO to her means to try when no one is looking.

My computer desk is next to my bed where she likes to lay down after she gets worn out from playing. Next thing I know, I can see her out of the corner attempting to get on the desk. I will say “NO” and she backs up. After about the tenth try, she gets on the floor and starts rubbing on my legs. I put her back on the bed and tell her to lay down. After the third try at that, she then jumps on my lap. So, then we go through that ordeal a few times. GEEZ!!!

I am not sure how much stuff she has brought into my bedroom, or even where it all came from. When all is quiet and she isn’t in the bedroom playing with something, sleeping on the bed, or trying to get my attention, I have to wonder what she is doing. Then I go check and she follows me back into the bedroom to repeat the cycle all over again! 🙂

Hmmm… Wonder what she is doing now?

Well, that’s it for this post. It is sprinkling now and that is good and relaxing. Maybe I should go to bed. It is 1:42 AM…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful always and give some a big HUG!

Homo neglectus…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. We had a nice rain during the night receiving 3 8/10 inches. There were periods of strong wind with a lot of thunder and lightning. There was lightning all around us for several hours before it finally started raining here.

The above photo is the south bed which I have been tardy attending to. I enjoy reading many posts of bloggers that show photos of your well-maintained beds and gardens. Well, that is not the case here. I have fallen a little behind since the beginning of spring this year with mower issues and this and that. I feel fine but something is just a little off with my get-up-and-go. Maybe it is because getting behind mowing, trimming, picking up brush, weeds and so on became a little overwhelming. Maybe I have to much yard (at least 3 acres) to keep up with. That may not sound like a lot, but when one mower is broke down most of the time and the old one only works so so… I finally did figure out one of the major problems with the bigger mowers cutting issue and it works much better now (for now). The older John Deere mower is probably around 20 years old, but I am not sure. Dad didn’t remember when he bought it. A couple of years ago we decided we needed a new mower. We were at the repair shop and saw a bigger John Deere for sale. We checked it out and I drove it home. It had a few issues right off the bat and soon this and that needed to be repaired. After spending over $200 within the first month, dad was ready to get rid of it. This is the third season with it and, just guessing, I would say it has cost $400 in repairs and parts, which is what we paid for it in the first place. Of course, this mower new would have cost MUCH more than $400. You know what they say… “You get what you paid for.”

This mower did not come with a manual so when something was a little weird I would get online for answers. YouTube has been great. I had questions about the front height adjustment and could never figure out why this one, um, “rod” appeared to be backward. It was the height adjustment rod that fits into the mower deck. It was rubbing on the main belt pulley which just didn’t make sense at all. Plus, adjusting the height just didn’t have any effect. So, I checked with YouTube and saw the “bracket” the rod went through was bent forward toward the deck and it was supposed to be in the other direction. Then I found out it was broke and barely hanging on. So, I removed it, which wasn’t easy either. I had it welded back together, put it back on, then put the “rod” back in the right direction. Now the mower appears to be cutting like it is supposed to after all this time. GEEZ!

You may have remembered reading in several posts back when my son and a friend of his moved in with me. Trust me, it wasn’t my idea and I tried discouraging the situation. They promised to help out on the farm and the yard, and while that notion sounded good, I almost knew that was too good to be true. My son’s friend has mowed with the “older” mower a few times but not exactly up to my standards. For the life of me, I cannot figure out his concept of mowing but I don’t say anything because I am thankful to have a little help. I guess for me, mowing is more than just going back and forth or round in circles. The last time I was mowing the area in front of the chicken house he started mowing the main yard. Off and on I would look over at what he was doing and sometimes the mower would be sitting there without him anywhere around. When I was finished mowing, the mower he was using was sitting in the back yard by the fence. He had mowed quite a bit but there was something definitely wrong. Every strip he had mowed was uneven. Very short on one side and high on the other. So, I went over to see what the issue could be. Ummm… One of the rear tires was completely flat and he had been mowing this way the whole time! When I mentioned it to him, he said he noticed something was wrong from the start. I told him when he notices something is a little off, that is when you check to see what the problem is. GEEZ! Interestingly, my son has mentioned repeatedly how good “the other guy” is with a trimmer. Neither one of them has used it since they have been here.

Part of my problem was “waiting” to see what they would do. I have given them a list of things they could do around the yard but that was pretty much useless. While they are on their cell phones or playing games, running here and there, having friends over, etc., the list is nonexistent. Staying up all night and sleeping all day doesn’t help either. Nor does it help them find a job. I guess my frustration with them is that pretty much everything they said they would do before they came has not happened, or only in part.

My son had cut quite a few limbs off the trees that were hanging down. While I kind of liked the effect and would just dodge the lower limbs when I mowed, “the friend” found them particularly annoying. So, my son cut the lower branches off of the trees in the front yard and took them to the brush pile. Then, he cut them off a tree in the back yard and didn’t move them. He said he thought “we” could pick them up and put them in the back of the pickup. Then, instead of doing that, they went on a week-long road trip with friends. I reminded them before they left they needed to vacuum the floor, clean up their mess in the kitchen (basically clean up their messes) and move the branches. Hmmm… That didn’t happen. While they were away I needed to mow the yard. Instead of moving the limbs to the brush pile, I just piled them around the tree. I decided he needs to finish what he started. What would you do?

So many times we rely on others to do something before we can begin or finish what we are doing or want to do. How many times has that bit you in the butt? It is like getting involved with something that is supposed to be like a snowball effect. Several people contribute a little and the snowball gets bigger. My higher self reminded me that snow melts…

A while back I was talking to a good friend and he said my son was a lot like me. He said the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. Hmmm… For the life of me, I can’t even find the resemblance except for appearance… I have mulled what he said over in my mind and realize he knows me well but knows very little about my son. Possibly because of our determination to get what we want, which has been somewhat interesting. But with my son, it seems if he can’t have what he wants, he does nothing. If I complain about how he does something, he does nothing. So, I just ignore him the best I can and give advice when he asks. I think possibly one of my issues is if I don’t have the tools (or whatever) to complete a task and do it well, I don’t even start. I don’t like half-doing anything or starting something I can’t finish. There are many things I can do well from start to finish. But then again, weeding and mowing is a season-long work in progress. Hmmm… Life, in general, is a work in progress.

So, with less than $20 to my name, no income, two months behind in utilities, and not being able to find a job… They are going to leave which is another story in itself. I spent several thousand dollars since they have been here, of which partly wasn’t mine to spend.

Oh yes… I am supposed to be thankful and be on a new spiritual journey. That is still onward and upward and has been a great experience. We all go through issues and have hills and valleys we have to face. I read somewhere if you don’t answer your calling, you will get dragged through life. Of all the positive affirmations I have listed to, the being thankful for everything, meditation, and so on, that still pops into my head. Sometimes we feel we are doing all we can to stay positive and raise our vibration but then others come into our life that brings negative situations. Maybe we feel their negativity affects our positivity. Maybe it is an excuse we use not to accomplish what we need to get done. Maybe we have to be all the way down to appreciate our blessings. Maybe we have to be all the way down in order to surrender and actually ask for help. Our ego has to be put aside to realize our great potential. After all, we are spiritual beings living a human experience not the other way around.

Personally, I think waiting for others to do what they are supposed to, when they are quite capable, has been a serious waste of my time and energy. No amount of praying, meditating, being positive and so on will accomplish anything unless you (I) take the first step in the right direction. Once you take that first step, the Universe (God and the rest of the divine beings) will be right there behind you, in front of you, and all around you to guide and direct you in whatever you are doing. Your hearts desires are also their hearts desires for you. You have to “order, thank, and believe.” You have to provide the physical part of the work and “commit to you”.

As I am writing this, I am waiting for a friend to come by with a load of feed so I can go to his house to unload it for him. He just had hernia surgery and can’t lift anything that heavy yet. Ummm… I have been waiting for him for several hours and it is almost 3:30. I have things to do that I am putting off doing. OK, so he isn’t capable right now and I go to his farm early every evening and help with his chores. This is a little different than waiting for people who are fully capable. But still, waiting interferes with what I need to do like taking a nap. Waiting is very tiring you know.

I went outside to take a few photos for this post which led to me pulling a few weeds. Then I went back inside and finished the post without taking additional photos. I took photos on Sunday but have yet to write a post to go along with them. I am waiting…

Until next time, be safe, be well, stay positive and always be thankful for your blessings and of life around you.