Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Sunday afternoon I was writing a post and then I decided I wanted to check the progress of the Hosta and Heuchera in the shade bed. Honestly, I was writing a post that was pointing the finger at myself for procrastinating… Who wants to do that? At 61, I think I am allowed to procrastinate a little, then go take a nap.
On March 20, I walked around the house to check on the perennials, which didn’t take long… A few plants had started coming up and the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ was already in full swing. Even the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ that I didn’t cover up for the winter has a few new leaves. I went to the shade bed to check on the Hosta and they hadn’t started sprouting yet. I was hoping they didn’t fizzle out over the weird winter temps. Previously, I thought I had noticed the Baptisia sprouting, but on the 20th they weren’t there. Either I was hallucinating or “something” ate them. They are up now for sure and so is the Spearmint I planted in 2021… Which spread. Well, other plants have come up now so I will have to take more photos for another post. I can delay the other post I was working on… 🙂
The photos are as I took them instead of in alphabetical order. You can click on the plant’s name to go to their own pages even though I haven’t added these photos.
The top photo is the Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’. I was glad to see it has started coming up. I was wondering about it since the deer (one particular doe in general) completely destroyed it early and kept eating it all summer. But, as you can see, there is hole in the center where the main plant used to be. GEEZ! It had gotten so big before!
While I was digging around and pulling up chickweed (GEEZ!!!) around the H. ‘Potomac Pride’, I found this Morchella esculenta (White Morel)! Well, I went blank for a few seconds. Of course, that triggered a desire to completely forget about the Hosta and go hunting. But, I left it alone and continued looking for Hosta. Well, kind of. I dug around in the chickweed on the way to the next one… I have never found Morels in this area.
Surprise, surprise! Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is alive and well, too! What a relief! Two down and 9 to go. It seems like it has only been a couple of years since I brought this Hosta home, but it is working on its fifth summer already!
Then, I found morel #2…
NICE! The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is up. What would life be without guacamole? Well, I guess that depends… This one had mole issues a few years ago. They like burrowing under their roots over the winter which pushes them up. That’s not good! The mole repeller has helped A LOT…
The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ made it through the winter wherever it is growing. It seems to spread during the winter and this photo is one that is completely out of place. Well, I just let them grow wherever they want because you never know. One of the main (oldest), umm, clusters is getting too thick and needs some thinning out. They can have issues if they are too thick. I like this cultivar better than some of the others because of its smaller, dark leaves.
I moved over to the corner shade area next to the end of the old goldfish pool. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’… Just a small indentation in the soil where it is supposed to be…
The Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ (Coral Bells) is off to a good start with a few new leaves. Coral Bells are great plants that come in a wide variety of leaf colors. They prefer a fairly shady spot, although there are new cultivars that will grow in full sun.
I disturbed an earthworm while pulling chickweed. It’s funny how they stretch out so long and then shrink for a few seconds when you pick them up.
Then while digging through the chickweed, I found this TINY morel. I have never seen one that small before. There are plenty of myths surrounding morels including one that I was told when I was a kid about them popping up full-grown. That would mean they grow underground then just pop up all at once. I think people thought that because they would hunt over a spot then come back later and find a few more. Supposedly thinking that walking over an area would cause them to magically appear. That obviously is not the case…
I have them labeled as Morchella esculenta, but I am somewhat confused about the species name ordeal. It has been an ordeal for a long time and even taxonomists are confused. Testing has solved a lot of the confusion which led to A LOT of species becoming synonyms. Of course, it added a few new species of morels. When I submitted the first morel photo on iNaturalist, it suggested Morchella americana and said the common name was White Morel. Hmmm… I looked up Morchella americana and one website said Morchella esculenta was a synonym. I thought that was nuts, so I did some further investigating and found out that was incorrect. Morchella esculentoides is a synonym of M. americana... Morchella esculenta is alive and well and its common names include True Morel, Morel, Yellow Morel, Morel Mushroom, and Sponge Morel (from Wikipedia), and who knows how many more. The “official” common name is apparently Yellow Morel. Morchella americana was “new” to science in 2012 and its “official” common name is White Morel. I got a kick out of the article saying it was “NEW” to science in 2012. No doubt before that, everyone thought they were M. esculenta. I apologize for blabbing so much about the morels but I could continue.
When new species are named and a document about them is submitted, it goes through a long process of evaluation. It takes YEARS. Just think about how many words are written describing a species whose name changed a few years before but was unknown by the author.
One more thing… Species in the Morchella genus, and probably other fungi, are HIGHLY variable. The grays come up first, then the ones that are more white, the yellows. So, no matter what your morels look like or when they come up, they could be (and probably are) the same species. Until now, I have not found the color variation I would assume are what people call greys (grays).
That took three days off and on…
I found one spot out of three where I planted the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ but I was so excited about the morel I forgot to take its photo. I took it the next day. OOPS! I accidentally broke off the baby morel! I will look for the other ‘Krossa Regal’ in a few days.
Then I moved around to the other side of the pool.
The Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ is putting out a few new leaves. This one seems to be a little slower coming around in the spring. It is also smaller than the other two.
Heuchera ‘Venus’ has been growing new leaves for a while. This one is certainly semi-evergreen and doesn’t hide even during very cold temps. Heat and dry soil don’t bother it as much as some either. The deer have never bothered it like they have H. ‘Obsidian’.
As you can tell, Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ has been growing new leaves for a while as well. I thought it was kind of fragile at first, but it can take cold temps very well. The heat is sometimes a different story…
I thought the Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ was a goner a few weeks ago. This one heaves quite a lot over the winter and even in the spring. I usually bury it a little deeper in the spring because its roots will start showing. But, this winter it didn’t heave and there is a low spot where the main roots are/were. Hmmm… Maybe the moral of the story is to put soil around it instead of burying it deeper. I was very happy to see it sprouting.
Being the second oldest Hosta in my collection (2010), it is always GREAT to see the H. ‘Red October’ return in the spring. We have had our difficulties with moles in the past, but it has survived.
I still haven’t found Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’, ‘Whirlwind’, ‘Dancing Queen’, or the small unnamed one that was labeled ‘Blue Angel’… I may have to dig for them like before. I have lost a few along the way that haven’t been replaced yet…
I went for a walk to the back of the farm afterward but I decided to make another post about that adventure.
Until next time, be safe, stay positive and always be thankful. GET DIRTY if you can!