Homo neglectus Part 2: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. All is well here… Well, kind of. When I went to bed the weather forecast said there was a 30% chance of rain. It said “less than one-tenth of an inch possible with higher amounts during thunderstorms.” Well, early in the morning the wind started blowing and it started pouring. I thought, “GEEZ! The corn will blow over.” Then I went to sleep after not being able to sleep all night. Sure enough, it did as you can see from the Wordless Wednesday photo… Anyway, I started this Homo neglectus Part 2, so I will finish it then write about the sweet corn blowing over.

The original shade bed is doing well as always but the lilac bush next to it some trimming. To the left of this bed is a concrete slab where a metal storage shed was many years ago. The slab gets covered with weeds, Carolina Creeper, and small trees that come up in the cracks. It is a yearly task cleaning it off. I have an idea to tie some pallets together and make a compost pile on the slab…

 

The corner shade bed, as I call it, is looking great as well. The Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ (left) is flowering but ‘Krossa Regal’ (right) hasn’t started. The Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’, in the front, is doing good and already flowered.

 

Ummm… I know it looks like a mess, but this newest addition to the shade garden is doing fine. It just needs some weeding. Being next to the old goldfish pool there is A LOT of mosquitos to deal with when weeding. Sometimes if I am very quiet it takes them a while to know I am there. 🙂

 

With the mole repeller in the garden, the moles have returned the area next to the shade bed and in the yard in front f the chicken house. GEEZ! When I was mowing I saw one of those dirt piles is not from a mole. It has a good-sized hole. DOUBLE GEEZ!

 

I have almost completely gotten rid of the poison ivy that was growing in and around the shade bed but this one still lingers.

 

As I was walking by the old bird feeder I noticed ther was some grass in it. Hmmm… It appears Mr. Wren thought a female might like a nest inside but so far no takers. He completely ignores the wren house and so does the females that come… A few years ago a female was screaming at me and she kept going to the wren house but would not go inside. Then she would come back to where I was and scream some more. So, I went to have a look and there was a HUGE paper wasp nest blocking the entry. I cleaned it out and moved the house to the eve on the north side of the chicken house. I moved it because it was hanging next to the bird feeder and was pretty low. Apparently, she didn’t like my decision. Instead, she made a nest somewhere behind the chicken house… I really like House Wrens and they are certainly entertaining.

Now, let’s go to the south side of the house… In the “other yard”… Where the house is…

Baptisia australis cv. ?.

The Baptisia australis cv. ‘?’ (Wild Blue Indigo, False Indigo) at the southwest corner flowered very well this year and now has seed pods. This is the one I bought a few years ago that was supposed to be ‘Lunar Eclipse’ that turned out not to be… It has grown A LOT and seems to keep getting bigger every year. Good thing I moved the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ to the other corner… It is a hybrid, of course, so maybe a better caption would be Baptisia Hybrid cv. ‘?’. I AM SO CONFUSED!

 

South bed…

I am always a little embarrassed to show the south bed in this condition. So many of you have great looking flower beds and I wish my back yard and beds were so well kept. The Elephant Garlic has done very well this year but the wind had played havoc with them.

 

Celosia argentea ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ on 6-26-20, #714-8.

One of the main reasons I neglect the south bed so long is because I have to wait for the Celosia ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ seedlings to come up. I am not even going to write the species name because that will lead to venting. 🙂 I sent seeds to Raphael Goverts, Senior Content Editor of Kew (Royal Botanical Gardens-Kew, Plants of the World Online, ETC., ETC.) and was happy to see there are photos posted of them on Plants of the World Online. I am hoping whoever is in charge of plant names will start using infraspecific names (var., subsp. or whatever) instead of putting the many “types” in groups. Oh, crap. I still vented a bit…

 

Torilis arvensis/Torilis japonica (Hedge Parsley).

Someday I would like to be free of stick tights altogether. I do need better photos of the flowers, leaves, and stems of Torilis arvense (Common Hedge Parsley, Spreading Hedge Parsley, Field Hedge Parsley) or Torilis japonica (Common Hedge Parsley, Erect Hedge Parsley, Japanese Hedge Parsley) for correct ID. Not that it matters for such a pain in the neck to be correctly identified. Missouri Plants says Torilis arvensis is a synonym of Torilis japonica, and it may have been for a while. However, there is apparently an agreement they are separate and distinct species now… Most also seem to agree, depending on location probably, that Torilis arvensis is the most prevalent. SO, I suppose the ones here are likely T. arvensis… The problem with getting good photos is that I am always pulling them up. I did get some good photos for ID before they flowered from the pasture. They are actually a neat, ferny plant before they set seed… GEEZ!

 

Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar).

There are usually LOADS of Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) seedlings to transplant along the front of the south bed but so far only this one came up. I didn’t even deadhead them last summer to keep hundreds of seedlings from coming up. I think the seeds are good for several years in the ground because I had them coming up in the old cast iron planter last yere where I didn’t have any plants for several years. Just think, with only one coming up this year, I could have lost it completely… These plants are another reason I don’t do anything with the south bed until its seedlings come up.

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ on 6-26-20, #714-25.

The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is doing pretty good in its new location for the second year. It doesn’t seem to be mad at me anymore especially since I do try to keep the weeds from growing around it. It is one of my favorite perennials so it does get pampered for fear of losing it. I have had it since 2013…

 

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) on 6-26-20, #714-34.

The Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) completely died ate last summer so I was happy to see it return a little farther from where it was. That was a good surprise. I guess it didn’t like it to close to the wall of the basement steps or perhaps it didn’t like the Elephant Garlic next to it…

 

Hmmm…

OK, I am sorry the roses look like this. I know well-kept roses are beautiful but I am just not a fan. I took care of the beds for a lady in Mississippi, including her roses, so it isn’t like I don’t know how to manage them. I just despise the thorns. Mom liked roses and these came from Publisher’s Clearing House. GEEZ!!! When they came in 2014 or 15, before I convinced dad to stop fooling with PCH, he wanted me to plant them along the right side of the basement steps. Before, I had a Zinnia bed here. SOOOO… Since mom and dad have passed, guess what is going to happen here? In the next few weeks you will find out. 🙂 I kind of rate roses up there with Poison Ivy, getting stuck, flat tires, molehills, Japanese Beetles, and dead batteries. I am sure there are a few others that are fighting for number one on the list or maybe at least a space in the top ten. The list does fluctuate depending on the time of the year…

 

Alocasia on 6-26-20, #714-1.

TRIPLE, MAYBE QUADRUPLE GEEZ! I needed to do a lot of work and replant/repot the Alocasia before taking them to the area next to the shade bed. I always put them on the concrete slab around the barrel that covers the old well. SO, when I brought them from the basement (where they overwinter) I put them on the back porch. I have only got five pots finished… There are a few on the front porch, too. You can’t tell from this photo, but one of the Alocasia ‘Calidora’ is already almost over 8′ tall (including the pot).

 

Zantedeschia elliottiana (Golden Calla Lily) on 6-26-20, #714-38.

HOLY CRAP! The Japanese Beetles didn’t bother the Calla on the back porch last year but they found it this year already. They love the roses next to the porch. They like the Zantedeschia elliottiana but do not bother the Zantedeschia aethiopica next to it. I have had the Zantedeschia elliottiana for several years but somehow lost several bulbs over the winter. It was AWESOME last year!

 

Zantedeschia aethiopica (the white Calla) on 6-26-20, #714-39.

The Zantedeschia aethiopica went dormant in January in the house but I was hoping it wouldn’t. This is the Calla the owner of Wildwood Greenhouse gave me last June that he grew from seed. He said he couldn’t get them to grow or do anything. The plants were healthy but kind of droopy. They just grew to a point then stopped. So, I brought this pot home and repotted it in Miracle Grow Potting Soil and it continued to just sit there. Then, low and behold, in August they kind of perked up and started growing. They kept growing and getting taller even after I brought them inside. Then I think in January they started going dormant… I managed to keep the bulbs from rotting and they came back up again… There are many species of Calla native to different parts of Africa. Some are winter dormant and some are summer dormant because of their rainy seasons. Then there are the hybrids…

When you buy a pot of Calla that is beautiful and flowering they have been growing in a controlled environment. Trying to overwinter them so they will come up and flower is a bit tricky. Zantedeschia aethiopica is a species from South Africa that “can be” evergreen in the wild if they get enough rain… They can also flower in the spring, summer, and fall… Zantedeschia aethiopica can also be used along ponds (fish pools) so it seems to do well in moist conditions. I am just learning about this plant and I do love Calla!

 

Lavender and Rosemary on 6-26-20, #714-18.

I bought a pot of Lavender and Rosemary way back in, ummm, maybe April but I neglected to put them in the ground somewhere. One of those impulse buys from Wal-Mart. They were fine until we had a hot dry spell and I was busy in the garden and didn’t get them watered… I wonder if I can take them back to Wal-Mart and say I need a refund because they died. 🙂

 

Back of the house on 6-26-20, #714-4.

OK, so I need to do some trimming… The Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is in the corner next to the AC. It is blooming up a storm right now and will do so all summer. The Malva neglecta (Common Mallow) has always been growing around the AC and along the foundation and is also now blooming. It thinks I like it so it does really good here. Hmmm… It’s basically a weed but I do suppose I like it for its lush foliage. The Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Knotweed) and Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) also think I like it since I did a post about Persicaria last summer. GEEZ! I have news for them as well…

 

Canna bed.

I have to admit how I screwed up the Canna bed. The Cannas were getting so thick AGAIN it wasn’t funny. I decided not to mulch the bed last fall or even remove the old stalks after the “F”. I knew by doing that I may lose some of them but I thought that would be a good idea to thin them out. Unfortunately, now there are bare spots. What is weird, though, even without mulching the Colocasia esculenta survived the winter. Don’t ask me how that happened…

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 6-26-20, #714-10.

DOUBLE GEEZ! I managed to overwinter the Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ rhizome and I knew it also had an offset. I kept the rhizomes separate over the winter but they kind of got mixed up when I got ready to plant them. So, I panted both the larger rhizome and what I thought was its offset together. Well, apparently the offset I planted was a Colocasia esculenta so now I have to dig it up and relocate it. Most of the photos on this post were taken on June 26 and I noticed today the Colocasia esculenta has GROWN A LOT since the above photo was taken. I need to move it ASAP!!!

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 6-26-20, #714-29.

I was very surprised the Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ returned this spring because I have problems with perennials overwintering in this spot. The Conoclinum coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum) used to reseed here every year but apparently didn’t approve of me putting other plants here and fizzled out. There a couple of plants came up on the other side of the steps but I accidentally pulled one up. GEEZ!

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 6-26-20, #714-9.

I attempted to overwinter the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ from last year but was unsuccessful. I was glad Muddy Creek Greenhouse had more this spring.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 6-26-20, #714-15.

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ just keeps getting bigger. The clump is now 32″ tall x 60″ wide and the flower stem is 52″ tall. Not bad, huh? The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ thinks I screwed up and planted it to close. Hmmm… It is right so I have to move it somewhat next spring. It doesn’t mind being planted next to royalty, but as with some of the elite, they can be a bit pushy.

 

Forsythia…

I couldn’t stand it anymore so I gave the Forsythia a good haircut. It went from an afro to a crew cut…

 

The north bed has been weird… I will get rid of those trees ASAP and dab the stems with Tordon so maybe they will stop coming up. I put four Colocasia esculenta rhizomes in the bed and only one has come up and did well. The others are STILL in the sprouting phase. That never happened before and they always do so great here. I still have several I haven’t planted so I think I will just line them all up here. GEEZ AGAIN!

Now that we had 2″ of rain, and maybe still more to come, I need to mow. The garden is to wet and I have to see how much of the corn stands back up on its own… I did a post in 2017 about corn standing back up and only had 13 views. The post was titled How Does Corn Stand Back Up. There were 7 views in 2018 and 185 in 2019. A few weeks ago I noticed the post was getting a lot of views so I checked and it has got 327 views so far in 2020, 207 in June alone. LOL! SO, I think I will write a new post about the corn since it blew over so bad… The reason I hilled up the corn apparently has nothing to do keeping it from falling over. There are multiple reasons… I will write a new post about the corn and maybe be a little more entertaining and explain the reason for hilling, removing the suckers, and so on. Last night I noticed there were aphids on the tassels of two stalks and, of course, the ants farming them. There were also Ladybugs feeding on the aphids. 🙂

So, until next time… Be safe, stay positive, stay well, and always be thankful. Take care and GET DIRTY!

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!

June 22 Garden Update & Tomato Trellising

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The garden continues to do well and the sweet corn is still weird. We finally received 1 2/10″ of rain from Friday afternoon and overnight. I came back home Friday afternoon from helping a friend and it had been raining a little off and on. The rain gauge said 2/10″ of an inch at the time… I took a nap then went to the garden around 6:30 and saw a lot of the taller corn had blown over so I had to stand it back up. I had watered on Thursday so the ground was was fairly wet. While I was at it I removed the suckers from more of the corn and hilled it up pretty good as I went. During the night another storm came in and the wind blew a lot. I thought surely the corn would blow over again but it didn’t. There was a total of 1 2/10″ in the rain gauge.

OH, earlier in the week I bought a new hose because I couldn’t get inside the garden with the 150′ I had. I needed to water the smaller corn and what I had transplanted and I was using a watering can… Anyway, a friend told me he had a lot of extra hose so he gave me 100′. Then another friend also gave me 50′. All of it is very good heavy hose so I took back what I had bought. Now I have enough to get into the garden and replace the old hose that is about shot. I can use the old hose on the faucet behind the house or the last 50′ from a friend. Either way, I can definitely stop using the weird expanding hose dad bought from Publisher’s Clearing House.

 

I had already removed the suckers and hilled some of the corn but not all. The reason I hadn’t hilled it all yet was because some of the corn was still very small… As I mentioned in a previous post, the seeder did not plant very well the first time so I replanted what didn’t come up. Then the moles ate a lot of that even with the mole repeller in the center of the garden. SO, I replanted again and moved the mole gizmo between the two sections of corn. That time the moles didn’t seem to bother it. Maybe the mole repeller doesn’t work well in tilled soil… Hmmm…  Believe it or not, there is not that much difference in age between the tallest corn and she shortest. The first planting grew quickly and the last planting very slow because of lack of moisture.

Ummm… I know what dad would say… I didn’t get an almanac and plant by the sign. He always said if you plant in the sign it will grow whether it rains or not. I just don’t like it because the corn is next to the street where everyone can see it. 🙂

 

‘Incredible’ from the north side. I always like growing sweet corn probably because it is one of my favorite vegetables. But, as always, there are a few hiccups along the way by the time it is harvested. I knew there will be mole issues and wind that will blow it over (more than once or twice) because it always happens. Despite the issues, it is well worth it…

 

I usually don’t have to worry that much about suckers but this year has been terrible. I have never had corn sucker so much before. Half of the corn is ‘Incredible’ and the other half is ‘Peaches and Cream’. I have grown ‘Incredible for several years but this is the first time I have planted ‘Peaches and Cream’ unless it was MANY years ago (early 1980’s).

 

Now, that is the way it should all look… Well, perhaps the stalks are a little close together for the “experts” but if your soil is AWESOME I think it is OK to plant a little close. Sometimes 2-3 seeds came out together and they all came up and looked good. I have to choose which ones to thin out and sometimes I may leave two if they are big and growing well. Most of the time that happens one will be bigger than the other and the smaller one should be removed. Truthfully, our corn has been much closer without thinning or suckering and we had such a bumper crop it lasted me four years in the freezer.

From now on I am going to plant the corn without using the seeder. Even though information suggests to plant 2-3 seeds (per hill) 3-4 inches apart and then thin to one plant 10-12″ (or 8-10″). Experience is the best teacher and I think planting 2-3 seeds 2-4″ apart and thinning is a complete waste of seed and plants (and energy). BUT, you do need to remove the suckers from your corn. Suckers take energy from the main stalk that needs to be used to produce corn.

I was going to write a post about seeders but that time kind of past. Most seeders have the seed plate that fits vertically on the side of the hopper with a series of holes in it. There is a small cup that scoops up the seed and as the wheel turns it comes to a hole where the seed falls out. MOST all seeders available are exactly alike except one that I know of. Hoss Tools make one where the seed plate sits horizontally at the bottom of the hopper so the seed can’t fall out. They make wheel hoes and a variety of attachments that are very well made. They are a bit pricey but well worth the money if you have a lot of planting to do. They also offer other tools, garden seeds, supplies for drip irrigation, pest control, fertilizer, and food preservation.

 

The remaining two “clumps” of asparagus has done really well this year and expanded very nicely. I had a HUGE bed in Mississippi and brought all the crowns with me but most died out over a few years. GEEZ! I love asparagus!

 

The ‘Sugar Ann’ Snap Peas are doing very good and are beginning to flower.

 

The kale has really taken off this past week as well. I bought new seed from the Green Street Market in Clinton but I don’t know what kind I bought. I told the owner I wanted kale seed and she put a scoop or two on an envelope and didn’t write down what kind it was. I had leftover ‘Red Russian’ and ‘Dwarf Blue’ from 2017 so I mixed them all together. I later found a package of ‘Siberian’ from 2016 which I didn’t use…

 

The ‘Broad Windsor’ Fava Beans also started flowering this week and are looking great.

 

The ‘Black Diamond’ Watermelons have also taken off this past week. I gave them plenty of space but I know they will eventually take most of the garden. One year I planted white sweet potatoes and they took the garden. They were great though! I thought about ordering some bush sweet potatoes but I didn’t…

Now for the tomatoes…

I managed to get all the tomato plants mulched with old hay this past week. They are all doing GREAT. I experimented with my own version of trellising in 2017 so I did it again this year. I put a steel fence post next to each plant and run balers twine along the top of each post. You only have to tie it to the first and last post and wrap it around the others. Get it as tight as you can… Unless it is very (VERY) old it won’t break. I always use a level when I am setting the posts because a something that isn’t straight drives me NUTS. They used to call it being a perfectionist now they say it is OCD. LOL! If I had OCD I wouldn’t be living on a 40-acre farm.

People who enjoy growing their own tomatoes typically have their favorite cultivars and their own particular way of growing them. There is plenty of good advice online when it comes to growing tomatoes. Some people use Epsom Salt on their tomatoes for a variety of reasons and I thought I might try it. But, I found out Epsom Salt is magnesium and sulfur and unless your soil is deficient in those micronutrients it doesn’t really help. Some say it prevents blossom end rot but that isn’t true either. Too much magnesium inhibits the proper uptake of calcium and one cause of blossom end rot is the inability for the plants to absorb enough calcium. Another cause is fluctuations in soil moisture which is one reason I added the mulch…

 

It seems once the tomatoes form their first set of branches you have to be on your toes. This is where the plants fork out and form two branches. Once the two branches get big enough, I tie a piece of twine on the post for each branch.

Some information says you need to remove the suckers and leaves below this fork. I remove the suckers but leave the leaves until they turn yellow.

 

Once I tie the twine to post I wrap it loosely around the branch once or twice, depending on how long the branch is, then I tie the other end to the twine running along the top of the posts. I tie it as perfectly in the middle as I can very tight and overlap the two so they won’t move around. You will also need space for tying up secondary branches between the post and center knots… You don’t need to make the twine holding the branches very tight. In fact, it is a good idea if it is fairly loose. It will tighten up as the branches get heavy and you may even have to loosen it up a bit.

Normally, I use jute twine to tie the tomatoes and wrap the branches but I ran out… I need more but I keep forgetting. I ripped some material into strips to tie the stems to the steel post and it may be an option to use it instead of the twine to wrap the branches. Balers twine and string can cut into the branches so you need to use something softer and thicker. Just experiment and watch for whatever you are tying and wrapping with to make sure it doesn’t get to tight as stems get thicker.

If I see the balers twine causing harm I will replace it with strips of material. Hmmm… I could use different colors for each plant or maybe for each variety. Well, since I don’t have a privacy fence I think I better rethink that. Trellising the tomatoes like this already makes some people think I am a bit whacky.

 

This photo shows a second fork on this ‘Goliath’. This is not a sucker… I will tie another piece of twine to the post at this point, wrap it around the branch, then tie the other end between the knot and the post at the top.

 

I bent a couple of electric fence posts to use on the ends. It works but they move around a bit. 🙂

 

It seems no matter how much time you spend with your tomatoes removing small suckers, there are always a few that. I noticed while taking photos I had missed several like this one. GEEZ!

Typically you want to remove suckers that form above the leaf nodes when they are very small for several reasons. You can just pinch them off easily with your fingers. Some information online says once suckers get bigger than the size of a pencil, removing them can cause damage to the plant. Well, folks, I didn’t read that until this year so I have been removing them at any size. I have noticed in the past removing large suckers has effected some of the plants, kind of like a shock. Once fruit starts growing and it gets very hot, removing large suckers can also remove leaves that are providing shade for the tomatoes. If you leave large suckers, just pinch off after the first or second leaf. You can also just remove tips of larger suckers and leave the larger leaves for shade. The other problem with missing larger suckers is that they will, sooner or later, flower and then you won’t want to remove them. Best to do it before that happens so it won’t keep you awake at night. 🙂

It is always best to remove any leaves once they start turning yellow, especially lower leaves. Any leaves or suckers that have been removed need to be taken from the area for disease control.

Many people I know never remove suckers from their plants and use tomato cages. They get along just fine and have LOADS of NICE tomatoes. I was brought up staking and pruning and kind of sort of learned from my dad. If I remember, he used to prune and leave one single stem but as he got older he didn’t worry about it.

 

‘Rutgers’

This ‘Rutgers’ plant has a cluster of tomatoes where the plant is forking then lots of flower clusters in the upper portion of the branches. The other two have smaller tomatoes than this one. They are more open growing and haven’t had that many suckers to deal with. Rutgers is an OLD variety and my dad used to grow them when I was a kid. I have three of these because there were only three in the pack and they are all growing exactly the same.

 

‘Goliath’… Hmmm… With a big sucker… 

I have grown ‘Goliath’ several times and I always like them. The plants have plenty of leaf cover for shade and the leaves get very long. They seem to form secondary branches very quickly and they sucker A LOT!

 

A cluster of tomatoes on a ‘Goliath’.

They produce fairly large and tasty tomatoes.

 

Tomatoes on a ‘Mortgage Lifter’.

The ‘Mortgage Lifter’ plants grow similar to ‘Goliath’ and produce LOTS of good leaf cover. Right now, this ‘Mortgage Lifter’ has more  and larger tomatoes than any other plant. There are five of this variety because one cell had two plants. It makes up for the one missing from the ‘Rutgers’ pack. I have grown this variety several times and they have always done well.

 

‘Cherokee Purple’

There are four ‘Cherokee Purple’ on the north end of the row. They are doing very good although they are MUCH smaller in comparison to the other varieties. I have not grown this variety before but I did grow ‘Black Krim’ in 2017. Very interesting and dad didn’t like them…

 

‘Cherokee Purple’

I noticed I need to loosen this plant up a little because a couple of tomatoes are tight up against the post.

I was thinking about trying ‘Pineapple’ also but I decided 16 plants was enough. I will have plenty to eat, maybe can, and give away. I grew over 20 plants in 2017 but a lot of the tomatoes were weird. ‘Celebrity’ and ‘Goliath’ were the best and best looking in 2017 but I didn’t find any ‘Celebrity’ this year.

 

I got up one morning and when I fed the cats on the back porch I noticed “something” or “someone” had dug up two packs of the okra on the plan table. HMMM… I planted the seed in the packs instead of the garden so the moles would not eat the seed and then that happened! GEEZ! So, I had to put the plants that were dug up back in the packs. I asked the cats who did that and they didn’t seem to have a clue. I have my suspicions, though… I moved the okra to the bedroom window. I planted 20 seeds and 19 came up. On plant started being weird and after the disaster, there are two more that are iffy.

 

I was a little hesitant to move the okra to the garden because a few storms were in the forecast. I decided to just transplant a few Saturday evening to see how they would do but then went ahead and did them all.

 

I have noticed a few Japanese Beetles here and there but Saturday there were A LOT on this American Elm sprout along the north side of the house. I didn’t notice them on American Elm last year but they strip the Chinese Elms. Then Sunday I saw several on the asparagus in the garden. They didn’t appear to be eating it but they were hanging out for sure. I still hve the traps from last year so I better clean them out and add new attractant. There are few things I really don’t like, and Japanese Beetles are close to the top of the list.

Last Sunday, the 14th, I went on a walk to the back of the farm and took quite a few photos. I even identified a few new species again. Anyway, I have been working on that post all week when I had the time and wasn’t too tired to focus. It still isn’t ready and I think it will be too long.

Now I better stop or I won’t get this one finished.

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

 

Sunday Update-Just Checking In

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. We had another storm on June 5, a month to the day since the last one. Like before, this one did quite a bit of damage in town with trees and limbs falling. Then another one popped in the next night. I didn’t have any major issues in the yard like last time and I didn’t go to the back of the farm to see if there was any damage this time. The grass in the hayfield is getting so tall and thick it is hard to walk through. We have more rain and thunderstorms in the forecast beginning Monday night after 10 PM. We’ll see if the forecast is right… At least 2-3 more inches coming.

I managed to get the garden tilled and pretty much weeded before the rain came because I knew it would be a few days before I could get in it again. After a couple of 90° F days the top has dried out pretty well.

 

Hmmm… Everything has managed to come up and do pretty well except the sweet corn. I hadn’t planted a garden since 2017, so I had forgotten the issue with planting sweet corn with the seeder. You have to angle it slightly so the seed won’t fall out of the hole. SO, I had to replant a lot of seed. The second planting didn’t do well because the moles ate a lot of that seed even though I had ut the mole repeller in the middle of the garden right from the start. SO, I planted the third time and put the mole repeller between the two sections of corn. The third time I think it all came up. I also transplanted some of the seedlings. The other reason I don’t like planting corn with the seeder is because it plants the seed, what does get planted, to close together. I could never figure out why you should plant 2-3 seeds a few inches apart and thin to one plant 10-12 inches apart. Why not just plant one seed 10-12 inches apart so you don’t have to thin? I did that in Mississippi and it worked fine. Next time I am not planting corn with the seeder unless I am fortunate enough to buy a Hoss Seeder. That would be AWESOME!

 

The ‘Black Diamond’ Watermelon seedlings are doing well. I can hardly wait to sink my teeth into a ripe, red, sweet, juicy watermelon!

 

The east side of the garden is doing good. On the right of this photo is the ‘Broad Windsor’ Fava Beans. I bought the seed in 2017 but didn’t plant it. I decided I would plant some of the seed to see if they would come up. YEP… Every seed I planted came up. I left room in that row for the Okra seed. The center row, about half, I planted kale. I bought new seed from the Green Street Market in Clinton even though I had two other varieties from before. I decided I would mix all the seeds together. It came up pretty well but we had a rain afterward and I think some of the seed got covered too deeply. The other half of the row is ‘Sugar Ann’ Snap Peas. It came up pretty well and is doing very good. Then the tomatoes… ‘Rutgers’, ‘Goliath, ‘Mortgage Lifter’, and ‘Cherokee Purple’. There is still a little short grass between the tomatoes I didn’t have time to remove yet. I did manage to get them staked. I had spent every evening in the garden until I could see. Then it rained… I plan on mulching the tomatoes with old hay.

 

With the mole issues in the garden, I decided I would plant the okra in 4-packs. I have wanted to try ‘Jing Orange’ for several years but they was always sold out before. I found a seller on Ebay so I bought a package of 10 seeds. Hmmm… When I opened the package there were 20 seeds so, I planted all of them. All but one have come up or sprouted… You just never know…

 

Deutzia scabra on 6-7-20.

The Deutzia scabra is flowering full swing again. I cut it way back a couple of years ago and it is almost as tall as before. It was 14′ tall…

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 6-7-20.

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is STILL growing and now it has buds.

 

Amorphophallus sp. and Oxalis on 6-7-20, #708-1.

Hmmm… Last year I said I was going to remove and separate the two Amorphophallus in this pot and leave it for the Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae (False Shamrock). Well, as you can see that didn’t happen again (yet). Now there are a few Amporphallus offsets as well. A few springs ago 12 came up…

 

Amorphophallus sp. and Oxalis on 6-7-20, #708-2.

Hmmm… One of the Amorhphallus kids is going to be a joker. It said to take a photo of it with the flower to make you think it bloomed. I assured him my readers were smart enough not to fall for that…

 

Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae on 6-7-20, #708-11.

The Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae in this pot loves to bloom inside during the winter and outside in the summer. The salmon-pink flower is from the Oxalis tetraphylla.

 

Oxalis tetraphylla (Iron Cross) on 6-7-20, #708-10.

The Oxalis tetraphylla (Iron Cross) had a few flowers when I brought it home but they have just about fizzled out. It does have several new clusters, though. My other pot of Oxalis tetraphylla didn’t come up so I had to bring home another…

Well, that’s all I have to talk about for now. Until next time, have a great week. Be safe, well, stay positive, and always be thankful. Don’t forget to GET DIRTY!

Not A Silent Sunday-May 15 Update on the 17th

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 5-15-20.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I thought I would do an update about what is going on and growing. Friday afternoon I started pulling the chickweed out of the north bed, the south bed, and shade beds. I already did it in the bed behind the old foundation and corner bed but there is still plenty to be done… I have no “to-do list” because it changes with the weather.

I decided to walk around the house, go to the garden, then around the shade beds and take a few photos. The photos are in the way they were taken and not alphabetical order this time. The names of the plants are linked to take you to their page although they may not be updated with 2020 photos. I am a little behind but that’s OK since we are a continual work in progress…

The first photo is the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. Information says it will reach maturity in five years and this will be its fourth summer. I haven’t measured it yet, but at maturity, the clump can grow to 4-5′ tall x 6-8′ wide. I moved it farther from the corner in 2018 to allow for that but I forgot something…

 

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’.

When I brought home the Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ in 2018 I planted it to close to the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. The Astilbe has really spread out all by itself and I forgot to consider that as well. The other Astilbe, that I forgot to photograph, has always remained small and really should be moved. I would really like a bigger bed on the north side but I would have to build a bigger house.

 

Stellaria media (Chickweed).

I don’t know if you have to deal with Chickweed like I do, but I am beginning to despise the stuff… I know it is good for this and that but I could easily do without it. To make it worse, I just spread the seed when I pull it up. I can’t complain, though, because I guess it does protect the soil from erosion and other harder to pull weeds would be growing in its place. I could use a mulch to keep it from growing but that would also interfere with the…

 

Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill).

The Geranium sanguineum is on the move this spring. It has all but died out on the left side of the bed but is trying to regain ground more in the center of the bed. The north bed is actually a little wet for it and I think that is one of its problems. Dad didn’t realize it needs more sun and better drainage when he moved it from the bed behind the old foundation. It is a survivor, though, as it has been here since I first bought it from Bluestone Perennials and put in the bed behind my grandparent’s old house in the early 1980’s (when I lived there). I moved in 1987 and my parents moved their new manufactured home here in 1996. Then, a few years later, the old house was torn down… Now that mom and dad have passed I am here by myself. Well, not actually by myself. I have the darn cats, chickens, and plants…

Now, going around the house to the front porch…

A few of the plants on the front porch.

Hmmm… I moved them outside then back in again since we had a frost warning on, um, whatever day it was. Now they are back outside again because they were beginning to give me dirty looks. With this many plants in temporary housing in the living room, I was worried they might start a mutiny or something. I had to start sleeping with one eye open. Anyway, most of them made it through the winter very well. There are a few exceptions but some even grew and flowered for the first time.

Now to the south bed…

Baptisia australis ? cv ?.

The Baptisia australis ‘whatever you call it’ is starting to flower and is looking really good. If you remember this is the plant I bought that was supposed to be ‘Lunar Eclipse’ a few years ago as a first-year plant. As you may know, they flower their second year so I didn’t know it was labeled wrong. Probably the person who put the label in the pot didn’t know either. Anyway, even though it isn’t a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ it is still a nice plant…

I haven’t taken any photos of the Iris yet…

 

Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic).

The Elephant Garlic is doing great as always in several spots in the south bed. My neighbor gave me a start when I lived in Mississippi so I have been growing it for around ten years. I really enjoy the flowers and it is great for cooking as well.

 

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ on 5-15-20, #700-24.

The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ (‘May Night’) has been here in this spot since I planted it in 2014. The clump has barely gotten bigger for all these years. Then, when I was pulling up the Chickweed, I was surprised to see one had come up about 2 feet from the main clump. I have had some interesting conversations with this ‘Mainacht’, particularly about its size. I bought a large pot from the clearance rack at Lowe’s in 2012 when I was living at the mansion in Mississippi that was a much larger plant with larger leaves. This one, I bought at Lowe’s in 2014 when I moved back here and it has always been so much smaller. So, I question this plant about the issue and remind it that no matter what it is still AWESOME. The plant always tells me it is because of the Elephant Garlic invading its space and would like me to move it. I did remove the garlic once but I guess several bulbules were left behind because it continues to come up. I have said many times if some plants don’t like where they are they will move with or without your help… Apparently, ‘Mainacht’ has decided to take matters in its own hands and is showing me a thing or two. As you can tell, the new plant is much bigger and even already flowering. Hmmm…

I have grown MANY Salvia over the years and this one has survived where most of the others have failed. The Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ is barely hanging in there and I didn’t take its photo. Interestingly, it has the same issue with the Elephant Garlic in the other end of the bed.

I kind of upset the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ because I didn’t take its photo this go around. I told him his photo has been taken more than any other perennial and right now he wasn’t doing anything exciting. I am also trying to encourage him to flower which would be well worth photographing…

So, let’s move around the corner to the back porch…

 

Most of the cactus collection on the back porch on 5-15-20, #700-4.

Most of the cactus collection are on this table on the back porch. There are a few on the front porch that seem to prefer less than full sun (at least for the moment). I only lost one cactus over the winter, the Echinopsis mirabilis, which flowered itself to death last summer. Man, that was AWESOME. If you missed it, click HERE for its page. I also lost the big Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) so I brought home a new one from Wagler’s a few weeks ago. Strange how small they look in this photo.

On to the northeast corner bed by the steps kind of where we started. Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is on the other side of the steps…

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 5-15-20, #700-23.

Last spring I put three Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ in the northeast corner bed. They went berserk and I soon realized I only needed one. I was very surprised when they all three started coming up this spring because hardly anything I plant here ever comes up the second year. HMMM… I do not seem to have a page for this one…

Now, let’s head to “the other yard”.

Garden 2020.

I am thankful I was able to buy a new motor for dad’s old Troy Bilt tiller. The last time I had a garden was 2017. I didn’t plant one in 2018 because I canned plenty of green beans and froze a lot of sweet corn from 2017. I was going to plant a garden last year but when I started the tiller it threw a rod after about 15 minutes. It also needed new tires because they had dry rot pretty bad. One of them was so bad I had to take the air tank to the garden and keep airing the tire up. It was full of slime and it started oozing out and the tire would then cake with dirt. Dad got a kick out of it but I really didn’t think it was that funny at the time.

There is still plenty of jars of green beans so I didn’t plant any. I used to eat a lot of green beans but then I got burned out. Dad didn’t eat them either. The sweet corn in the freezer is almost gone now so I planted plenty… Four double rows about 50 feet long. I planted half Peaches and Cream bi-color and half Incredible. There are 16 tomato plants, kale (three varieties mixed together), Sugar Ann snap peas, Black Diamond watermelon, some old fava bean seeds (which I bought and didn’t plant in 2017). I still have to plant the okra but it needs to be warmer and stay that way with no rain in the forecast or the seeds will rot. I am going to try ‘Jing Orange’ this year. I like experimenting a lot, especially with okra and tomatoes. For tomatoes, I bought Goliath, Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, and Rutgers. There were no Celebrity which I had good luck with in 2017. When I was a kid dad always liked Rutgers then he switched to Beefsteak which I didn’t like. I prefer Goliath as a beefsteak type so far. I wanted some sweet pepper plants but I didn’t find any.

OH, I put the mole repeller in the middle of the garden because I have had issues with moles eating seed in the past. It did a wonderful job in the shade beds and kept the moles out, even within 40-60 feet all around it.

 

Dad and the Troy Built on April 23, 2015.

I had to include this photo of my dad next to the Troy Built Horse from April 23, 2015. He was 84 when I took the photo. He bought this Troy Built Horse new in 1978 after his brother bought one. He passed away in 2019 but his memories are still here. He would be very happy the tiller has a new motor, which is its third one, and two new tires.

I lost this pruner when I was working on the tomatoes in 2017. I knew where I lost it but I could never find it. Sometimes when you lose something you can’t find it no matter what. I finally had to stop looking and figured the Troy Built would find it eventually. Well, it did… After being without it all this time. This pruner was in Suzanne’s stuff in Mississippi and I found it in 2009. I really love it.

Now to the shade bed…

Hosta ‘Guacamole’.

Hosta has always been my favorite shade perennial and I started growing them in 1981 when I moved in my grandparent’s house after grandpa died in 1981. The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is looking great. I brought this plant home in 2014 so this will be its 7th season.

The Iris you see behind the Hosta are some I had bought in the early 1980’s. Believe it or not, they have survived in this area even after being mowed off for MANY years. Since I came back in 2013 and started taking better care of them they have really multiplied.

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’.

The Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ was a bright addition to the shade bed in 2018 and is looking very good. This Hosta was developed in 1980 and there are at least 55 registered sports from Hosta ’Sum and Substance’ and 38 cultivars with it as a parent.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’.

The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ has always been a great performer and spreads very well. I bought it 2009, I think, while in Mississippi and brought it with me when I returned to the family farm in 2013. So, I have had this beauty as a companion for 12 seasons now… As usual, and for some strange reason, the deer sampled a few of its leaves again this spring. It is weird how they do that and never bother it or any other Hosta the rest of the summer…

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ was registered by Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery with the American Hosta Society in 1995. It was selected as AHS convention plant also in 1995. It is the offspring of Hosta ‘Blue Umbrellas’ as the pollen parent and Hosta yingeri ‘Treasure Island’ as the pod parent.

Across from Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is a small area next to grandma’s old goldfish pool. I put a brick sidewalk around the pool in 1981 which I partially removed to dig a spot for the ailing Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ and the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ in 2017.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ has always been a favorite and I bought my first from Bluestone Perennials in 1981. This one is another Hosta I bought while iving at the mansion in Mississippi in 2009 and brought with me in 2013. We had some issues in 2016 so I moved it and it has done great since. This is an amazing cultivar that was registered in 1980 that has won numerous awards. It has over 23 registered sports. It’s most famous sport is Hosta ‘Regal Splendor’ which was registered in 1987 and became the American Hosta Growers Association Hosta of the Year in 2003.

 

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’.

Put on your sunglasses because Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ is a bright one! Even from a great distance, this Hosta stands out in the shade bed. I brought it home from Muddy Creek Greenhouse in 2017 and it was my first yellow/gold leaved Hosta. It is a 2005 introduction from Kent Terpening and Alttara Scheer. It is a cross between Hosta ’Split Personality’ as the seed parent and an unknown cultivar as the pollen parent.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’.

Hmmm…. I had doubts this Hosta is actually Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ when I bought it from Mast’s Greenhouse in 2019 because that cultivar gets pretty good sized. This plant seemed to be a miniature because it has remained so small. When I was at Wagler’s a few weeks ago I noticed several pots labeled ‘Blue Angel’ which were also very small. I mentioned to Ruth I had bought this plant from Mast’s last year and it is so small compared to what ‘Ble Angel’ is supposed to be. She said when they bought the rhizomes the “Blue Angel’ were very small in comparison to the other cultivars. So, I suppose it is possible it is a Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ after all but it sure has some growing to do… Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ is supposed to eventually mature at 36″ tall x 48″ wide with 18″ x 12″ leaves… It certainly doesn’t look like photos online. Information online says it is one of the fastest growing of the blue Hosta and multiples more rapidly. Hmmm…

Also in 2017 I dug an area along the back of the goldfish pool and added several more Hosta Heuchera. Later I put some of the Iris from the other bed along the fish pool.

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’.

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is one of several Hosta I brought home when I made the second shade bed in this area in 2017. Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is a tetraploid form of Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’ introduced by M. & J. Fransen with thicker leaves and wider margins. It was a weird grower at first but did very well in 2019.

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ on 5-15-20, #700-10.

If you are a Hosta collector you shouldn’t be without Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’. I really like its corrugated and severely puckered leaves which gives them the cup-shape. This cultivar originated by Dr. Charles Purtymun at Walden West Nursery in Oregon. He registered it in 1989 as a hybrid of H.‘Tokudama’ × H. ‘Sieboldiana’. Since its introduction, it has set the standard for all other cup-shaped Hosta.

 

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on 5-15-20, #700-20.

I found this Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ at Lowe’s in 2017 and have really enjoyed watching it grow. Its leaves are kind of twisted and they change color somewhat over the season. Not only did it win the AHS Benedict Garden Performance Medal in 2007, but it has also been given Royal Horticultural Societies Award of Garden Merit. Since its registration in 1989, 17 other Hosta cultivars have been registered from it.

 

Hosta ‘Red October’ on 5-15-20, #700-18.

I am very happy Hosta ‘Red October’ is once again doing so well. This is another Hosta I bought in 2009 while I was in Mississippi and brought with me in 2013. It was in the original bed where H. ‘Guacamole’ or ‘Sum and Substance’ are now. It had issues in the spring of 2018 and I found out moles had tunneled under it over the winter. I dug it up and moved two parts of it next to two elm trees then put them back together in 2019. Hopefully, it will do well in 2020.

This Hosta was introduced by Roy Herold in 1995, although I think it was discovered in 1988. It was registered by Kevin Walek on Mr. Herold’s behalf in 2009. It is regarded as one of the best red-stemmed Hosta available.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on 5-15-20, #700-12.

The smallest of the Hosta in my collection is Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’. It was my first and only (so far) miniature Hosta. Hosta ‘Bue Mouse Ears’ has at least 24 registered sports and 2 seedlings where it is one of the parents. It is believed that another 28 cultivars have been registered from its sports. It is a MULTIPLE award winner.

Now for the Heuchera

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’.

Sadly, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ didn’t want its photo taken on the 15th because a lot of its leaves were missing. I think possibly I must have accidentally pulled them off when I was removing the chickweed. I decided I couldn’t do this post without a photo of it so I snuck up on it this morning and took a photo. Even though this photo was taken two days after the rest I put it in order where it should be (or would have been). I purchased Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ from Lowe’s in the spring of 2014 and put it in front of the Hosta bed. It had issues during 2016 so I moved it to the newly dug bed with the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ in 2017. I also had issues with H. ‘Southern Comfort’ which I also moved to the same area but it decided to completely fizzle out. When I first wrote the page for Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ information online said it was the most popular Heuchera for 20 years straight… It was the Perennial Plant Association’s Perennial of the Year in 2007.

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ on 5-15-20, #700-8.

I bought this Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ from Lowe’s in 2017. It was introduced from Terra Nova in 2004 and is considered the “black standard”. Some websites say it is the darkest of any black-leaved Heuchera and the color holds up without fading. Information says this cultivar grows 8-10″ tall with flower stems to 24″ but that hasn’t happened. It is a great performer, though, even during the Japanese Beetle invasion when the bed turns from shade to part sun.

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’ on 5-15-20, #700-9.

The Heuchera ‘Venus’ is definitely a show stopper and it knows it. It is a very vigorous grower despite the conditions and gets quite large. The flower stems also get very tall. It is a great overall specimen and I am glad I brought it home in 2017.

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ on 5-15-20, #700-7.

Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ is an awesome looking with bright chartreuse-green and ruffled leaves. It is on the smaller side and even its flowers are very dainty. It seemed to struggle somewhat earlier but it appears to have snapped out of it. It doesn’t seem to care for bright light and doesn’t like it when the Japanese Beetles eat the leaves off of the Chinese Elm that shades it…

Well, that’s it for this post. I better stop anyway of this post will get much bigger. I feel like I have written a book already.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, be thankful always, and GET DIRTY if you can.

 

 

 

Shhh… Is Anyone Looking?

Morchella esculenta (Yellow Morel) on… Hmmm…

Hello everyone. I hope this post finds you well. Ummm… A few days ago I went back to the location I was at in the previous post only on the other side of the highway. I did find a few more wildflower species which I will write about next. I did find one more White Morel suitable to bring home and one I left behind because it was very small. ANYWAY… When I came back home after being in the woods for about 3 hours, I went to the area by the chicken house to see if I could find any Morels there. None AGAIN! So out of curiosity, I went to the brushy area along the fence. I never find anything there but you never know. I stepped through an opening where a fence had once been YEARS AGO. Grandpa had another fenced-in area here about 40′ x 150′. Anyway, it is all grown up and full of Vinca minor, gooseberry bushes, grapevines, poison ivy and so on.  I walked to the corner, covered in Vinca, and HOLY CRAP there were two HUGE Yellow Morels (Morchella esculenta). I looked across the fence and there were more. Forget I said across the fence. I didn’t say I crossed the fence but there were 19 more and some were partly covered and entangled in the Vinca. Now you are probably wondering how I knew there were 19?

OK, so here I was in a bit of a situation. The area along the fence is an overgrown mess between this property and the church next door. No one was at the church but there are neighbors across the street and a trailer park across from the church. Plus people were driving by on the street. Any other time of the year I would have just walked around the fence with no problem whether or not anyone was watching. BUT, this was NOT just any time of the year. This time of the year if you see people walking in the woods or somewhere weird, like an overgrown fence row full of vines, thorns, poison ivy (you get the picture) you know why they are there. Not that anyone is going to be looking but you still get a little paranoid. You have to keep these spots a secret even though they are right out in the open. I mean, this is not a place in a secluded woods.

I checked the fence and it was not a good place to cross. So, I went down a little farther and found a spot I could squeeze through. So I went through the fence so I could “rescue” the Morels from the Vinca. That sounds much better, but we still need to keep it quiet.

Of the 21 I found, several were beyond saving and taking to dinner. Who would have thought in such a ridiculous spot there would have been Morels. In fact, if they had been White Morels (Morchella americana) it is likely I would never have sen them. For those of you who may not know what Vinca minor is… For one, it is (or has been) popular as a groundcover that has escaped and went haywire wherever it is allowed or unnoticed. I don’t remember my grandparents every having it but somehow it has managed to go flourish in this area (and a few others). They make long semi-woody vines that go everywhere and are evergreen. Somehow, these Yellow Morels managed to grow through the mess of vines even though some were pretty distorted.

The color of these was them crying out, “SAVE ME!” So, I did.

I didn’t take any photos of them the day I found them because I wasn’t thinking about taking photos. I was in a panic situation seeing them all tangled in the Vinca. I went back today to take these photos. I am sure you are thinking I went back to see if there were any new ones…

Morchella americana (White Morel) on 4-15-20.

The one in the above photo is the White Morel (Morchella americana) I found on April 15. It is pretty good sized for a White Morel and they are usually somewhat smaller. I have found larger, though, but normally White Morels usually grow to less than 4″. Information suggests the earlier ones are larger. In 2013, I photographed a HUGE one under a Chinese Elm in February. I took a photo with my cell phone and sent it to a few friends because no one would have ever believed it. That was shortly after I moved back here and had a cell phone… I couldn’t figure out how to get the photo on my computer so it is lost and gone forever.

White Morels from April 21, 2019. As you can tell, they aren’t that large.

I am no Morel hunting expert and definitely not a fungi guy. 🙂 GEEZ! ANYWAY, Morels are pretty easy to spot as long as they are there. I started hunting with my grandpa when I was a little kid so it has just become a spring thing to go mushroom hunting.

Over the years I have heard a lot of stories about Morels that may or may not be true. I always heard they just pop up the size they are when you find them. I am not sure about that but I have gone through areas and found none and then go back a few minutes later and found them. Like walking on the ground caused them to “pop” up.

Supposedly, different species prefer growing under different trees. In my experience, that really hasn’t mattered that much. They do have preferred conditions, but at times, that hasn’t mattered much either… One year I went hunting in the back of the farm along the creek several times and found none, like usual, and came back and found quite a few in the open in the back yard. They haven’t come up again in that spot. Many years ago I found several in the apple orchard. Never again… I heard you can take the water you clean them in and throw it out and they will come up here the next spring. That may happen if there are spores, but I think very fresh mushrooms aren’t likely to have spores. NOW, I did see spores in some of the older yellows I found. I threw them along the north side of the house. 🙂

Yep. Morels in the skillet in 2019.

There are more than one species of Morels and many people get them mixed up. That is because their seasons overlap somewhat and there are various shades of each. Even on iNaturalist with several identifiers, if you look through the photos uploaded from others you will see some are possibly misidentified. Many members upload photos and say “Morchella species” without claiming a species name. Of course, I had to use species names because I don’t know any better and want people to think I do. 🙂

Then we come to the subject of the False or RED Morel. A few years ago when I was in the woods along the creek I spotted this odd creature. It looked kind of like a Morel but then again it didn’t. It was sort of a dark reddish-brown and pretty good sized. It was, for lack of a better word, weird. I took a photo with my cell phone (this was 2013 when I had one) and then brought it to the house. I showed dad and his response was, “I don’t know about that. I wouldn’t eat it.” Dad never ate mushrooms of any kind that I am aware of… Not even on pizza. False Morels are considered poisonous but some have eaten them with no side effects. Probably they didn’t know at the time they were poisonous. Even if you don’t get sick and die, they apparently have a carcinogenic chemical… I recommend not trying them.

NICE! The bad thing was that I wasn’t alone. I had to share with four other people! This year I am alone and I did not have to share. 🙂

Back then I thought all Morels were the same. I didn’t know there were different species and barely had heard of the False Morel. So, I didn’t really investigate that weird mushroom. I took dad’s advice and threw it out the door. For the most part, Morels are hollow white the False Morels are not.

Morchella species are found in many countries and several species are endemic to more than one. In the past several years more study has been done. I have read more about them this past week because curiosity got the best of me. Below are just a few of the MANY sites online that provide a wealth of information. There are also plenty of YouTube videos.

Wikipedia

The Great Morel homepage and Morel varieties gallery

The Morchellaceae: True Morels and Verpas (MushroomExpert.Com

MushroomExpert’s homepage is quite exhausting…

iNaturalist

I think I will stop for now…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay well and always be thankful. Get as dirty as you can if the weather is nice.

 

Blew it AGAIN… Six on Saturday? Are You Kidding?

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ on 4-11-20.

Hello everyone! I hope this Sx On Saturday post finds you all doing well. I went outside to take photos for this post and came back inside with 34 photos. What can I say? One leads to another and this is not the time of the year for only six photos. Hmmm… My higher self says, “It is never time for only six photos for you.” I could say I tried but that wouldn’t be true. Perhaps I should post only six photos and save the rest for a Sunday post. That wouldn’t work though, because tomorrow is Silent Sunday and being silent is too hard. Enough blabbing…

I did narrow this post down to six after cheating and squeezing until I had a big surprise. Then I had to make a change…

#1) The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ are starting to flower up a storm now. They are very happy rambling plants and it is their job to go anywhere they choose.

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ close-up.

You know, I really hadn’t taken a close-up of their flowers until now. Interesting…

<<<<(+)>>>>

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 4-11-20.

#2) Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ has really grown in the past few days. It has to grow fast to get so HUGE.

<<<<(+)>>>>

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) on 4-11-20.

#3) Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) has been flowering AGAIN for several weeks. All the plants are wanting to get outside for the summer. I can hear them muttering behind my back and it is getting annoying…

<<<<(+)>>>>

Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ on 4-11-20.

#4) The Catmint, Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ is looking great and will soon be flowering.

<<<<(+)>>>>

Lilac #1 on 4-11-20.

#5.1) Syringa sp. ?, cv. ?The Lilacs are at it and beginning to fill the air with their undeniable scent. There are three so I will cheat a bit an include them all in #5… The white one is usually the first to leaf out, bud, and flower and is the tallest of the three.

Lilac #2 on 4-11-20.

#5.2… This one is normally second in line, but this time it is not… It is dragging a little behind #3. So, why didn’t I call it #3 since it is the last to flower? Because its name is #2 and it didn’t want to go through the process to change it. I think it just doesn’t want to be last since it is is the biggest (in circumference) bush and thinks it should be #1.

Lilac #3 on 4-11-20.

#5.3… This Lilac is the baby of the bunch. When I came back here in 2013 the Lilac’s were overgrown with a lot of dead limbs. After I cleaned them up I noticed this one was a little different. The leaves are smaller and the bush doesn’t grow as tall. There was another one but I killed it by accident… There was Poison Ivy growing in it and I “carefully” applied “you know what” to some of the leaves. Next thing I know not only was the Poison Iv Dead, but also the Lilac… Hmmm…

Now for #6… I had to leave out a few plants to post six, ignoring there being three Lilacs. Then, I went to the back bedroom where the succulents are and was…

SHOCKED AND SURPRISED!!!

So, I had to leave out the tulips…

Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ on 4-11-20.

#6) Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’IT IS BLOOMING!!! I don’t go into the back bedroom that often unless I have good news. I am not saying something good doesn’t happen every day, but for the succulents that doesn’t include what I would call good. For them, a good thing right now would be going outside and it is just not quite time. Maybe next week..

Anyway, this is the second time over the past few months I have been surprised with unexpected flowers in the back bedroom. The first time was the Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands) and now the Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ has two clusters. It has not flowered before… It has maybe been a week (or so) since I was in the bedroom looking at the succulents making sure certain ones aren’t desperately needing water and I didn’t notice anything unusual then. I have had Sedum adolphii, the other one, longer and it never flowered.I had one before that for several years and it never flowered. I have only had ‘Firestorm’ since 2018 and it flowered!

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post I went outside to take photos for a Six on Saturday and came back with 34 photos. After going through them, I wound up with 16 photos. Then, late this afternoon I walked to the back of the farm and took 138 more. 🙂 I found several new species to ID and I was able to walk back into the swamp… NICE!

Now I am feeling a bit guilty not posting the Tulips as #6…

 

The Tulips on 4-11-20.

BONUS! These Tulips have been opened up all week but I just now took their photo. They were waiting for a a spot on Six On Saturday but next Saturday they will be gone. It is bad enough they would be last on the list, but to be left clear out would have been very disappointing for them.

Well, that’s all for now. I have to get busy working on the 138 photos I just took for a wildflower post maybe on Sunday. First, I have to eat dinner… It’s 8 PM already!

If you wish to participate in Six on Saturday posts, be sure to read the Six On Saturday-a participants guide from The Propagator.

Until next time, be safe, stay well and positive.

 

2020 Spring Update: What Is Coming Up?

Anaxyrus americanus (American Toad)

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I thought it was a good time to post about the perennials coming up. A few plants have not come up yet that are somewhat slower and several may not come up at all. You just never know… I forgot to photograph the Achillea millefolium but they have been up for a while.

I mowed part of the yard then saw the toad while I walking from the barn to the house. I only saw a few babies last summer so I was glad to see this whopper. I was also glad I didn’t run over it with the mower. While I had the camera out I went for a shooting spree.

In alphabetical order (except for the toad)…

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’

The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ (Bugleweed) made it through the winter without any dying out like last year. Of course, that means there is A LOT more than before. It is a spreader.

 

Armoracia rusticana (Horseradish)

The Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) growing in the corner bed behind the old foundation spreads a little more each year.

 

Astilbe ‘Fanal’

The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ just started coming up last week and has grown A LOT! I brought this plant home from Muddy Creek Greenhouse in 2018 so this will be its third season.

 

Astilbe cv. ?

The smaller Astilbe cv. ? I brought home from Lowe’s in Sedalia in 2014 is still alive and kicking. The label in its pot was not Astilbe but I didn’t realize it until I got home. It is virtually impossible to figure out the cultivar name at this point… I have narrowed it down to a few. This will be its seventh season.

 

Baptisia australis cv. ?

The Baptisia australis cv. ? (Blue False Indigo) I brought home in 2017 made it through another winter. If you remember, it was supposed to be a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ that was incorrectly labeled which I didn’t know until it flowered in 2018. I know… La dee dah… This will be its fourth season.

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla).

The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) was actually nice while I was removing some Chickweed around it. It usually grabs me a few times but this time I didn’t get stuck once. It is already growing a few new appendages. I asked it if it were going to flower this year and the answer was “NO”. GEEZ! I was hoping for a “YES” or even a “MAYBE” since this will be its 6th summer.

 

Echinacea purpurea cv. ? (Purple Coneflower)

Another “cv. ?”, the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) I brought home from the business up the street is all coming up. It is possibly the cultivar named ‘Magnus’. The plants I transplanted in the raised bed behind the old foundation in “the other yard” are all doing well, too.

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’

The Heuchera (Coral Bells) started growing new leaves a while back but H. ‘Lime Rickey’ seems to be having some issues. Actually, is started struggling late last summer but so far it has survived. Maybe it seeds some fertilizer and/or some of the “Good Stuff” (composted cow manure). I am not sure what its issue is… This will be its 3rd season.

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’

Even though much smaller than the others, Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ is alive and well. This will be its 4th summer.

 

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’

The Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ is in its 7th season now and is doing very well. Even the smaller one is strutting its stuff!

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’

Heuchera ‘Venus’ is definitely one of the top performers no matter the conditions. The way its leaves change color is pretty neat. This is also its 4th season.

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ appears to have spread quite a lot. Spring is a great time of the year to tell how well your Hosta are doing as the new sprouts come up. This is its 4th season.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’

The roots of Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ normally heave up during the winter, but this time it sunk like the plants on the opposite side of the bed. One reason is because there are no moles in the bed (which you will find out why later). This is its 4th season.

 

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’

NICE! Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ is up and has spread very well. This is its 4th season. This is the brightest Hosta in my small collection.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’

I had begun to wonder about the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. Early last week there was no visible sign of it while the others had been sprouting for a long time. This is its 4th season and it should reach its mature size in the 5th. It will definitely be worth watching.

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’

I only two sprouts for the Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ so I did a little poking around and uncovered a few more. This is its 4th season.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ back in action for its 7th season… No moles to bother it like they did last winter. It was almost a goner.

 

Hosta ‘Hmmm’

What can I say? Remember this one? It is the one I brought home from Mast’s Greenhouse in 2018 that was labeled Hosta ‘Blue Angel’. It was weird buying a plant that was supposed to be a giant and turned out to be a miniature. You never know… Maybe the supplier used too much growth regulator and it will have worn off by now. Maybe it will grow and be ‘Blue Angel’ after all. Hmmm… That’s why I call it that now. Seriously, when I first saw it at the greenhouse, it looked like a miniature clump that was several years old but the tag said otherwise. While I do want more miniature Hosta, I was in the market for a big one for a certain spot. So, since the tag said Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ I put it in a spot behind other Hosta where it can grow and spread. If it continues to be a miniature it is completely in the wrong spot. Hosta ‘Hmmm’

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’

There are three clumps of the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ since I moved and divided them in 2017. They have done very well since then and this will make its 12th season. I bought this one in 2009 when I lived at the mansion in Mississippi and brought with me when I moved here in 2013.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’

Once it starts there is no stopping the Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’. I noticed it started sprouting the last of January when I peeked but didn’t start growing until it warmed up. I normally don’t check the Hosta until later but since we had a mild winter I was curious. I was surprised! This is another one I brought with me from Mississippi and it will also be its 12th season.

 

Hosta ‘Red October’

I had some difficulty locating Hosta ‘Red October’ at first in the Chickweed but finally found it among a few clumps of Common Violets (Viola sororia). I tried to pull up the violets but that didn’t work so well and wound up just pulling the leaves and stems off. I will have to dig up the Hosta and remove the violets. Believe me, there are plenty of violets. Hosta ‘Red October’ is now in its 12th season, starting out in Mississippi in 2009. We have had our ups and downs and the clump looked great until the spring of 2018 when I discovered a mole had almost killed it over the winter (from tunneling under it). Last spring I put the two clumps back together.

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’

Ahhh, yes… Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’… I am so glad this one returned because it will make a bright and lovely specimen. It has doubled in size, sprout wise, since last year. I brought this one home last year so this is its 2nd season.

Hosta grow so fast this time of the year as temperatures cooperate.

 

Phedimus kamtschaticus ‘Variegata’

Last summer the Phedimus kamtschaticus” ‘Variegata’ flowered up a storm then darn near fizzled out afterward. I was glad to see it showing signs of life. We have had our ups and downs over the past nine seasons since I brought it home from Lowe’s in 2012 when I was still in Mississippi. The scientific name of this species has been jumping from Sedum kamtschaticum to Phedimus kamtschaticus and back again several times. I checked again before writing this post and it is still in the Phedimus genus since, ummm, sometime last year. I’m sure the Phedimus people appreciate the acknowledgment since they didn’t appreciate several species being moved back into the Sedum genera (back and forth). Several genera besides Phedimus have gone through the same battles. Crassulaceae is definitely a complex family.

 

Phedimus kamtschaticus

The Phedimus kamtschaticus, the non-variegated one, has spread somewhat the past couple of years. I have been wondering for a while if one or the other is actually a Phedimus kamtschaticus. Maybe this one is Phedimus aizoon… The reason I have been wondering is because of their growth habit. This one is more of a clumper and then it sprawls. The variegated one doesn’t do that. Phedimus aizoon leaves are larger and this one’s leaves are bigger than the variegated one, too. Also, they don’t flower at the same time. I think I need to do some more investigating. I think I bought it from Mast’s Greenhouse in 2016 when I was temporarily without a camera and it was unlabeled… So, this is its 6th season.

 

Phedimus spurius ‘Dragon’s Blood’ ?

This one is another one that mystifies me as far as the actual cultivar name goes. I believe it came from Wagler’s Greenhouse, unlabeled, in 2015. All I know for sure is that it is a Sedum spurium, I mean Phedimus spurius, and it is likely the cultivar called ‘Dragon’s Blood’. Hmmm… I need to update the name on its page.

 

Phedimus spurius ‘John Creech’

Hmmm… The Phedimus spurius ‘John Creech’ is trying to conquer more territory all the time. It is having a population explosion but it had a plan. It had started spreading into the cast iron planter and is using the Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) for protection. GEEZ! This is its 4th season.

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ made it through the winter and is looking OK. He still thinks I am overprotective of him during the winter but I tell him to get over it. I know I say it every spring but I will say it AGAIN… “I HOPE it flowers this year.” This is its 8th season…

 

Rheum x hybridum (Rhubarb)

Usually, only one clump of the Rhubarb does well, but this spring two of them are pretty big already.

 

Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’

I was REALLY glad to see the Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ coming back up since it almost died last summer. This will be its 4th summer.

 

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’/’May Night’

The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ or ‘May Night’, whichever you prefer, is looking good as usual. It is always one of the first perennials to come up and this will be its 7th season.

 

Sempervivum ‘Killer’

The Sempervivum ‘Killer’ looks like it is getting off to a good start. Hopefully, none of them will flower this summer because they just die afterward then the colony goes to crap. This will be our 4th summer but is seems longer…

 

Mole repeller ‘Thor’

Before I end this post I need to tell you about this gizmo. Last spring I saw a message in the spam comments from Steven Liu, a pest repeller company from China, who asked me to test a mole repeller. He said he would send two for me to try out if I would write a review. Well, there were two areas I had in mind that would be perfect so I agreed. They arrived and put one in the shade bed where the newer Hosta are and one on the east side of the north porch. The moles in both areas drove me nuts. Well, the one next to the porch stopped working after a couple of months but the one in the shade bed has been performing nonstop. All summer, through the fall and winter, and it is STILL working. Not only are there no moles in the bed where it is, but there are also none clear around the other side of the old goldfish pool in the other Hosta bed. The chicken house is a good 60 feet away and that area always had a lot of moles… There are none! There are no moles in the yard between the shade bed and the garden and that whole is mole free. So, does it work? This area WAS mole heaven because of the elm trees that attract the Japanese Beetles who lay their eggs in the yard. When I put the Japanese Beetle traps up, the beetles would swarm from the grass. So, Thor really does work. The company, Shenzhen Visson Technology Co., Ltd., makes a lot of different types of ultra-sonic pest repellers that are solar-powered. Now I suppose I better write a proper review since I know how well it works. You can buy direct from the company, but I also noticed their products on Ebay. The mole repellants have been upgraded so Thor is not available. Maybe he will send a few more for me to try out. I could use 10. 🙂

Well, that’s it for this post. I hope you are all doing well and learning to cope with the restrictions because of COVID-19. We are still doing well in this area but you never know what lies ahead. Just hang in there and be safe and stay positive.

 

 

 

 

Wagler Accident Update.

I went to visit Mrs. Wagler at the greenhouse today to get an update on her son and the grandkids. The kids are progressing including the oldest girl. She said the oldest daughter was in an induced coma until she could handle the surgery. Overnight, however, she had a stroke but they went ahead with the surgery. She has a blood clot below the brain stem but new veins are growing around it to bypass the clot. The clot isn’t moving which is also a good thing. She mentioned other problems with her shoulder or arms. The doctors said they believed she would be OK. The father, Jay, had to have blood yesterday and today he had to have blood again. I also want to make a correction. The two oldest kids in the wreck are girls and the youngest is a boy. I had first thought the middle one was the boy. I was told yesterday the two youngest may come home today, but that was not the case. 

I wanted to talk to her instead of hearing about them from other sources. Sometimes when we hear about such traumatic experiences the shock of it tends to overwhelm us and information gets misinterpreted. 

Purple Martin Scout Arrives In A Stunned Country

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This afternoon I thought I heard a Martin and within a few minutes, he landed on the wire above the Martin house. I wonder if he is curious why there is not much activity among humans…

Spring is definitely here and the early spring wildflowers are now blooming (Henbit, Deadnettle, and Speedwell).

I apologize for my absence of late but I have been busy working on wildflower pages. I had hoped to get them finished before spring but that didn’t happen. GEEZ! I am alive and well.

I suppose the past few weeks have left many of us stunned because of COVID-19. Being in a small rural community in Missouri, the impact hasn’t sunk in for many residents. So many people think it is a joke or maybe it will fizzle out before it gets to us. Henry County had one girl test positive, I think she was the third one in Missouri at the time. Apparently, she hasn’t recovered because Missouri still hasn’t listed anyone who has recovered. Now, Missouri has 670 cases and 9 deaths (as of March 27 at 10:28 PM). The U.S. is now #1 on the list.

I check the COVID-19 update several times a day on worldmeter.info. It changes often and you can check by country and state. It gives links to the sources for their information.

So, while most of us here are doing our best to follow the rules, others are taking it very lightly. Mostly, those people aren’t paying attention to what is happening in the larger cities. For someone who usually doesn’t read newspapers or the news online, I am paying attention to what is happening with the virus.

Most churches are not having services and all other activities and meetings have basically been put on hold. Schools are not having classes and many businesses have reduced their hours of operation. Most fast-food restaurants have closed their doors and are now just serving at the drive-up window. Even funerals have changed and we are just having small grave-side services.

Of course, there are those with their conspiracy theories which I completely ignore.

Trying to get motivated this spring after a lazy winter has been difficult. The up and down temps, the rain and snow… Now a lot of mud to deal with. I have been doing a friend’s chores after he had neck surgery and there is just a lot of mud… More rain is on the way. I think about writing posts, and have taken photos, but the words just won’t come… Writer’s block? I don’t know but that seems impossible for me. I think my brain is in shock.

I am not complaining in the least and I have a lot to be thankful for.

But, this past week, there was also a tragedy. One of the greenhouses I have mentioned numerous times, Wagler’s, had a family crisis. They are Amish if you remember. Anyway, one of Ruth Wagler’s sons and three of his children were involved in an accident on the highway not far from their home. A truck came over the hill driven by a 17-year-old driving to fast. The pickup struck the buggy seriously injuring Jay and his three children that were with him. The father was taken to the Regional Medical Center in Kansas City. The 8-year-old was flown to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas Cty by Air Evac. The 9 and 13-year-old were flown to the same hospital by Lifelight Eagle. From talking to several of the Amish I learned the father had previous issues of his legs and the other was broken in the accdent. I think there are blood clots he was dealing with. The nine-year-old is a boy and one report says both his legs were broken and a broken pelvis. The youngest I think is a girl and I am not sure what her injuroes are. The oldest I think has some spine issues and needs surgery but hasn’t regained consciousness. This afternoon, I was told the two youngest kids may be discharged on Saturday.

Read More: Truck Strikes Horse-drawn Buggy in Henry County | https://ksisradio.com/truck-strikes-horse-drawn-buggy-in-henry-county/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral.

I am thinking about going to Wagler’s Greenhouse and get an update.

You just never know what can happen. All we can do is hang in there and do the best we can. It’s like everything seems fine then something weird comes up leaving you wondering what will happen next.

COVID-19 is something that will affect everyone in one way or another and its effects will be long-lasting. Even if the virus magically disappears…

So, just hang in there. Stay positive and think of all we do have to be thankful for. What are you doing now and how are you doing? Are you OK?

Visit With Daughter and Family

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. My daughter and her family came up for a visit this afternoon (Saturday). I finally got to see my new granddaughter, Allison, in person. This first photo is priceless. It is like she is saying, “Who is that old fart?”

 

As I suspected would happen, Melissa wanted me to hold the baby… It doesn’t look like she was any too happy to meet grandpa.

 

Melissa thought I should smile, so I did my best. Allison is thinking I am faking it…

 

I am thinking I should have cut my hair so we would both be bald. To early to tell if she has Miller ears… Melissa does but she is covering them up. Her brother, Nathan, is balder than I am, but he also has Miller ears. He is in Indiana now.

 

There was another photo, but by then Allison had enough and was beginning to get somewhat squirmy. She got this weird look on her face and I wasn’t sure if she was going to poop or cry.

I intended to take photos of Paul and his two daughters, Starr and Lakendra, but I forgot.

Jade, the cat that occupies the house, hid and was nowhere to be found. BUT the little black tom kitten (with no name) eagerly accepted Lakendra’s friendship and came in the house to play. I thought that was odd since he isn’t hardly ever around anyone but me but he took up with the little girl… He even let her pick him up and carry him around. I was to busy watching and didn’t take photos… GEEZ!

Little Bit was down at the barn but came up later when I filled the food pans. She was not interested in strangers at all. Then I took the piece of bamboo with yarn tied to it to try and get her to come in. While she did want the toy, she didn’t want to come into a house with strangers. She said, “the last stranger you took me to a few days ago ended up with me getting spayed.”

After they left, Jade was still MIA. I looked everywhere for her and could not find her. I couldn’t imagine where such a large cat could be hiding since all the bedroom doors were closed. Finally, I looked under my bed and there she was. She must have been in my bedroom before they came and then hid so I wouldn’t bring her out to meet the family. She still didn’t come out until I was eating dinner then she had to look the place over to make sure the coast was clear.

Well, that’s it for this post. I couldn’t very well use it for a Silent Sunday and I already did the Six On Saturday. I wonder what I will come up with for Silent Sunday?

Until next time, continue to stay positive, being safe, and always finding things to be thankful for.

 

Six On Saturday-Signs of Spring

Chaenomeles sp. (Flowering Quince) on 2-8-20.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I woke up early this morning for a Saturday and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had taking photos for a Six On Saturday post on my mind so I got out of bed at 9. I got up, made coffee, fed the cats, and checked to see what the temperature was. 23°F. The sun is shining bright today and it looked GREAT! I went outside to take photos and it sure didn’t feel like 23°. By noon the National Weather Service says it was 35° and AccuWeather says 31. I always check several sites to see which one I like the best.

Here we go…

#1-Chaenomeles sp. (Flowering Quince).

Yesterday I went to a friend’s house to put a new battery in her smoke detector upstairs and noticed the Quince in her yard has started to leaf out. That triggered a Six On Saturday post right then. So, this morning I went right to the Quince in my yard to see what it was doing. Unfortunately, it hadn’t leafed out near as much as the one in Connie’s yard and all the close-up photos were not presentable. There are several species of Quince that might grow here and I have not figured this one out yet. It is a very old bush, likely planted by my grandparents in the 1960’s. Many older homes in town have Quince bushes in their yards.

*UPDATE: Thanks to Tony Tomeo I now know the Flowering Quince is a Chaenomeles species and not Cydonia. Cydonia species are fruiting Quince and Chaenomeles species are flowering Quince. I changed the name already… 

I also noticed one of the Lilac bushes was really getting with it.

 

Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) or Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle) on 2-8-20.

#2) Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) or Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle).

I am not sure which of the two species this photo is of since they are both everywhere and growing together (for the most part). Their early leaves look so much alike you really can’t tell them apart. Truthfully, the Lamium started growing quite a while back so I am not sure if this counts as a sign of spring…

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ under the pot on 2-8-20.

#3-Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’.

Of course, I had to look under the pot covering the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’. Hmmm… It didn’t even turn brown this winter. I covered it a while back because of paranoia. I am going to say it again… “I HOPE IT FLOWERS THIS YEAR.”

 

Achillea millefolium by the chicken house on 2-8-20.

#4) Achillea millefolium (Yarrow).

Of course, the Achillea millefolium are growing new leaves. Only very cold temps make them completely disappear and as soon as they get a chance they send up new leaves to see if the coast is clear.

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’ on 2-8-20.

#5-Heuchera (Coral Bells).

Well, what can I say? I got excited when I saw the Heuchera growing new leaves. They had been covered with snow off and on so I hadn’t checked them earlier. Heuchera are another perennial that will start growing earlier than you might expect during a mild winter. I had to take photos of all of the Heuchera which would completely screw up Six On Saturday. So, I numbered them 5.1-5.4. I hope you don’t mind. 🙂 It’s just when the snow melts to reveal signs of life I get somewhat trigger happy with the camera.

#5.1-Heuchera ‘Venus’.

The above photo is the Heuchera ‘Venus’. Its new leaves have a completely different color than when they mature to a silvery-green with darker green veins.

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ on 2-8-20.

#5.2-Heuchera ‘Obsidian’.

The Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ reportedly has the darkest leaves of the Heuchera cultivars but that depends a lot on the light. Oh, the Chickweed is also growing, which is definitely a sign of spring…

 

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ on 2-8-20.

#5.3-Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’.

The Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ is ready for spring. Its leaves are nearly as dark as ‘Obsidian’ during the summer and the plant and leaves get much larger.

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ on 2-8-20.

#5.4-Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’.

I really like the chartreuse leaves of the Heuchera ‘Like Rickey’ and it is very good to see it growing new leaves. It is such a great plant to brighten up a shady bed.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ on 2-8-20.

#6-Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’.

While I was photographing the Heuchera I looked under the leaves to see what the Hosta were doing. While I expected to see nothing, I was pleasantly surprised. I first checked the Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ and saw a sprout but I didn’t take a photo. Then I checked Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ and had to take a photo. I didn’t check the rest because I knew that would lead to more photos and this Six On Saturday post would be all out of whack. Seeing the Hosta sprouting so early is definitely weird…

 

Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands) on 2-8-20.

BONUS-Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands).

Hmmm… Let me explain myself. First, I took a photo of this Kalanchoe before I went outside thinking I would use it for this post. By the time I was finished outside, I had too many photos. Since I already went overboard and sort of broke the rules with the Heuchera, I thought I just as well add a bonus photo.

I have been checking the buds on this Kalanchoe daigremontiana almost every day to see if the flowers have opened. I first noticed the buds on January 20 and since then they have grown but not opened. GEEZ! There are also more buds at the two upper stem nodes. I would say leaf nodes, but some experts say its leaves aren’t really leaves (since leaves don’t produce offsets from its margins). Anyway, I am patiently waiting…

That’s all I have to talk about at the moment, or at least it is time to stop. If you wish to participate in Six on Saturday posts, be sure to read the Six On Saturday-a participants guide from The Propagator.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Your comments and “likes” are always appreciated.

 

New Granddaughter

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I just wanted to let you know my daughter has her first baby.

 

Meet Allison Marie. She was born at 12:30 PM (Jan. 28). She weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19 inches long. I had to get out the tape measure for that one… I think she looks like grandpa already.

I think I have four step grandkids (1 boy and 3 girls) but this is my first from my gene pool.

That’s all I have to say for now. I have to get back to work updating pages and writing new ones for the wildflowers I identified over the summer. I still have about 120 new pages to write. I had to check out Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri again (all three volumes).

OH, one more thing. I had an enormous spike in stats today. 490 views! Usually about 60-110, more or less, from about as many visitors. Today, only 42 visitors but 490 views. What is really strange is that 438 views were from the Philippines… No comments or like’s so I have no clue who the culprit is/was. I am sure tomorrow will be back to normal but it would be interesting to have stats that good every day.

I’m finished now.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

Sunday Stroll

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. It is a nice day with the sun shining and the temperature is 43° F. I decided a walk to the back of the farm was in order.

The first photo was taken where one of the ponds drain into the creek about 40 or so feet away. The water was slowly moving.

 

This is the pond… The melted area is where the water is draining into the first photo… Maybe I should have taken this one first, huh. I just added the photos in the order I took them.

There are two ponds, one right next to the other, in the back of the farm. I always thought it was strange how grandpa dus a new pond next to the old one instead of just making the old one bigger. I imagine the old pond, the one in the photo, is spring-fed. Neither pond is very big so maybe even the newer part was never finished. That happens when water starts coming in before you are finished as with the smaller pond in the front pasture. The dozer man left for lunch and the pond was full of water when he returned.

 

After I left the area behind the pond(s) I looked toward the southeast pasture. You can see the Farrington Park lake with all the leaves off the trees. I could hear a Barred Owl along the trail toward the west and squirrels barking by the swamp ahead.

 

This is the only time of the year when you can see the swamp. I suppose it isn’t really a swamp, but that’s what I call it. This area completely grows up mainly with Broad-Leaved Panic Grass (Dichanthelium latifolium) and Jewel Weed (Impatiens capensis) during the summer months. Other weeds grow between this area and where the electric fence is which is where I identified several new species of wildflowers in 2019. It is almost impossible to get to this area late in the summer. You will come out covered with several species of stick-tights and beggarticks.

I was kind of amazed there were very few birds out and about. I only saw a few sparrows, Cardinals, and Blue Jays. I could hear a Nuthatch but I could never spot it.

 

From the top of the hill looking toward the house, the sky was a beautiful blue with a few clouds.

 

The forecast for the week looks pretty good…

That’s all I have to say for now. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

AGAIN WITH THE SNOW

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Last night I looked ut the door at 1 AM and it was snowing and had already accumulated a little. It snowed all night so when I got up there was plenty. I drove to Kevin’s house to get his truck so I could go feed his cows 12 miles or so out of town. As usual, I couldn’t make it up the hill to his house so I backed down the hill and parked. Then I had to walk up the hill to get the truck. His truck is a 4 wheel drive flatbed so it has no problems.

The highways were cleared off so getting to where I was going was no problem. I fed the cows then came back home safe and sound.

I don’t complain that much about the snow here after spending a winter in Minnesota. All is well.

I read posts on other blogs about harvesting tomatoes and onions in Australia and New Zealand because they are on the opposite side of the planet. For me, I am longing for a tropical climate like the Philippines. 🙂

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

Raising Monarch butterflies — Petals and Wings

I reblogged this post from Petals and Wings. The post includes a video you will also want to watch.

We had a very productive last summer. We raised and released 48 Monarch butterflies. We took in 50 eggs but only 48 made it to butterflies. The whole process was much more time consuming than beekeeping. To prevent disease, we changed Milkweed leaves and cleaned the nursery tanks daily. Once the last butterfly fluffed it […]

via Raising Monarch butterflies — Petals and Wings

More Snow, Chickens, Random Photos, and a Miracle Inside!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well! Well, the temperature dropped to 9 or 10° F but was 16° by the time I got up (which is supposed to be the high for the day). It wasn’t snowing when I got up but it soon started… The birds weren’t very active over the weekend and the feeder remained about 3/4 full. This morning, however, they had been busy and pretty much emptied the feeder so I had to refill it.

I decided I would take some random photos when I went outside…

 

I went to the chicken house to remove the ice from their waterers and give them fresh water. The Old English Game Bantams (three hens and a rooster) are always happy to see me.

 

The bigger chickens were also glad to see me but some are camera shy. Most of them come to me but when I pull out the camera they run. Pictured above is the While Chantecler rooster and one of the three hens. The White Chantecler hens are very sweet and well mannered.

 

The Delawares are friendly unless they are on the nest. If one of them is in the nest I pass her by because they are very protective… I took a photo of one of the black sex-links but for some reason, it wasn’t there when I uploaded the photos. They are very good chickens and great layers and friendly on the nest. Right now they are on vacation from laying…

 

Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail)

The Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) always lays down on the job during the winter. They will mostly stand back up when temps warm up in the spring…

 

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)

The old Achillea millefolium flowers are great snow catchers. They are pretty much dormant over the winter but when temps stay mild they regrow new leaves. Since we had a fairly mild January, some new leaves have already appeared.

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata Tree Cholla)

The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) is very hardy here but not particularly fond of the cold. It turns a maroonish color and kind of shrivels up…

 

Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’

The Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ has been really weird this winter. The leaves have stayed green!

 

Allium ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic)

The Elephant Garlic stays green and grows all winter.

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’

Yep! Under the pot is Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’. It doesn’t particularly like to be covered but I like it better this way even though it thinks I am a bit nuts and overprotective.

 

Allium sp. ?

There are many clumps of some kind of Allium species. I have not been able to identify the species but it is some kind of wild onion… I usually mow around this clump during the summer because they have very interesting flowers…

 

No comment!

 

I think this cat is a bit… Ummm… Maybe I shouldn’t call him retarded but that is certainly the word that comes into my mind. He usually sleeps in the wooden box, kind of like a doghouse, on the porch but he has been particularly weird lately. Last week when it was raining he was right out in it and was soaking wet. Now, this morning, he was right out in the snow.

Maybe he is mourning… Thursday morning his brother wasn’t feeling well and growled at me while I was feeding the cats. He has never been friendly and has only recently allowed me to get close to him as long as I didn’t try to touch him. Thursday evening he was lying under a table on a potting soil bag and he growled at me again and was kind of slobbering. Friday morning he didn’t come to eat and I found him dead next to the basement steps…

 

Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)

Now for the miracle… I have had this particular Kalanchoe daigremontiana since June 2015 and have regrown it many times. That sounds weird… Anyway, it can get quite tall, so you have to cut the stem below the leaves and regrow it on occasion. If not, the leaves grow smaller and it is much better looking with HUGE leaves. Over the years it has produced countless thousands of plantlets that can’t resist taking root in the pots of its neighbors. I am in and out of the back bedroom every day but this morning I went to see if I could get a photo of the shelf with all the plants. Well, the light was no good but then I noticed something different with this plant… IT IS FLOWERING FOR THE FIRST TIME!

SO, even though this plant is not so exciting and dealing with the plantlets make it even less so on occasion, it really surprised me with flowers. You never know when a new experience will come along. I have several different Kalanchoe species and this is the first one that has flowered. Well, that’s not counting the plants I bought when I lived in California in 2008 that were already flowering. Since 2009, this is the first… I am excited!

It is now about 2 PM and it has stopped snowing for now. It is, of course, still 16° F and tomorrow it is supposed to be 36.

The National Weather Service says it is 14° F but what’s a couple of degrees? It is cold. The forecast from Tuesday evening through Friday doesn’t look that great but we will survive. Spring is right around the corner. 🙂

That’s all I have to say for now. Until next time, be safe and stay positive. There is always plenty to be thankful for.

 

Stint Removal & Doctors Kidney Stone Prevention Diet

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing well. Today was the trip to the urologists to have the stint removed that was put in place when I had the laser surgery on January 2. I am not going to go into the details. Well, maybe kind of…

I want to say I have changed my diet somewhat over the past month. I have cooked most of my own food, eating mainly fish and steamed vegetables for dinner. Instead of chips, I have switched to grapes, apples, pineapple, and blueberries (since I have so many in the freezer). I have cut down ice cream to almost none and very little cheese. Even eating before bed was stopped until this past week (I had a bowl or grapes and pineapple a few evenings before bed). I noticed a big difference in the way I slept during the night and with heartburn. No heartburn or indigestion for weeks now.

One of the nurses was in training and as they were preparing to get me ready, I said I bet she is thinking “the things I have seen today.” I was thinking about other things. I have only been in two relationships before and here are two women at once looking at… You know what I mean. The nurse explained what to do with “it” to the other nurse then inserted a syringe or something into my “you know what” to put the stuff in to help numb the urethra. Then she put a clamp on it so the stuff wouldn’t run out. She explained what she was doing and what everything was properly called, but who could remember.

The nurse told me I could watch what the doctor was doing on a screen next to the bed. I first told the nurses I didn’t think I wanted to watch. Once the doctor came in and I saw the size of the “tools”, I knew I didn’t want to watch that either. I opted for the screen…

 

The doctor ran a probe, or whatever you call it, up through the urethra, the bladder, prostate, ureter, and then inside the kidney. A light and camera were on the probe so I could clearly see what was going on. I was amazed at how fast the doctor was moving through everything. But, I was thankful it was going as fast and smoothly as it was. Then another gizmo was ran inside the tube to grab the stint and pull it out. The nurses in training was the one the doctor selected to open the “grabber.” When the doctor asked her to do it, she said, “You want me to do it?”

While I was watching the screen, she opened it up. I was thinking I hope they don’t grab the wrong thing. They looked around for the stint then finally found it. I thought, “HOLY S–T!” IT LOOKED SO BIG! They grabbed it and pulled out. As far as what it felt like… Let’s just say it was very uncomfortable. Toe-curling uncomfortable…

I asked the doctor if I could have the stint and he said, “sure.” As you can see, it is 12″ long! The loops on the end are to keep one end in the bladder and one end in the kidney.

Then came the doctor’s list titled “Kidney Stone Prevention Diet”.

Avoid milk and milk products at all times other than allowed. Only have 1/2 pint daily.

Avoid cheeses, creams soups (made with milk), ice cream and eggs. Avoid products containing amounts of egg yolks.

Avoid dried legumes of all kinds: lentils, beans, peas, and soybeans.

Avoid dried fruit, figs, prunes, peaches, apricots and raisins.

Avoid the following vegetables: cabbage, dandelions, kale, mustard greens, turnips, turnip greens, watercress, and collards.

Rarely eat: almonds, hazelnuts, molasses, maple syrup, clams, canned salmon, bran cereal, bran bread, custard-filled pies, pastries with whipped cream, dried fish and dried meats or oysters.

Reduce tea, dark colas and salt.

To maintain healthy kidney function, an adequate urine output is important, therefore, it is necessary to drink at least 6to 8 glasses water daily. Add a slice of lemon or lemon juice when possible.

It is important to maintain good vitamin intake, especially vitamin “A” and ”C” but eliminate vitamin ”D” from the diet entirely by not eating cod liver oil and codfish.

On the way out, the doctor said that should take care of me for 10-20 years. I am thinking I have 10-20 years to eat differently. LOL!

Seriously, the diet plan won’t be that hard. I drink very little milk unless I use it in cooking. Not eating eggs won’t be hard because I don’t normally eat eggs unless it is in a recipe. I only use dried beans when I make vegetable soup. Avoiding dried fruit is no problem because I eat fresh fruit.

I do like cabbage, kale, and turnips and I suppose this list should include other brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc. All contain calcium oxalite but they are not all on the list. I think “moderation” is called for but I can survive without.

I am not particularly fond of almonds and hazelnuts but I often buy cans of mixed nuts and save them for last. You can buy cans without peanuts but not without almonds. I always wondered why they put in so many almonds in the first place. Pecans, pistachios, and cashews are my favorite.

Avoiding cheese and ice cream would be very tough as I love both. I think maybe to cut down would be better than doing without.

I drink one glass of iced green tea at dinner are rarely drink colas. I wonder why coffee isn’t on the list? I drink 1/2-2 cups in the morning.

Now that the stint is gone I can happily drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. It was very uncomfortable emptying my bladder with the stint inside… I knew I needed to drink more water, but the pain involved when urinating made me not want to.

So, now life is back to normal. The ordeal was quite an experience and I hope not to relive it again. I am very thankful for all the staff and doctors at the Golden Valley Memorial Hospital for their care and expertise. I am thankful for medical technology. I am also thankful for everyone’s prayers and the Angels and guides that watched over the entire ordeal. We are never alone.

Until next time, take care, be safe and give thanks always!

And AGAIN With The Snow

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. It is easy for me to say I hope you are all staying warm because it is cold here. Currently, at 2:35 PM it is 21° outside. Ummm… That is -6.1° C I think.

The rain was in the forecast as was a winter storm but the rain was a day late. I got up early on Thursday and Friday morning to feed the cows because of the possibility of rain. As I headed back to town on Friday morning the rain started. It rained most of the day yesterday, which is an understatement. Many times it literally POURED. It rained most of then night then froze. All was calm when I got up and fed the cats and it wasn’t snowing. I looked outside at 11 AM and it had started…

The above photo was taken at 12:12 PM so I thought I would take a few more shots while I was at it…

 

The birds have been weird this winter because we have had fairly mild weather. The migratory birds were slow to arrive compared to last winter and especially the winter before. The first week in January 2018 saw temperatures of-10° F!

 

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is trying his hand at the feeder. Maybe I should say “his beak”. It could be the same one that used to look in m bedroom window. In November I photographed a Downey Woodpecker taking seeds from the feeder and hiding them in the fork of this tree.

 

The photo above is the Red-Bellied Woodpecker looking at me through the back bedroom window on December 26, 2017. I moved to the back bedroom after mom passed away and I could really watch the birds. I have moved to the front bedroom since then (after dad passed) so I now feed the birds at one of the Maple trees in the front yard. They have gotten used to the traffic from the street.

 

The Cardinals and sparrows enjoy the feeder the most and occasionally I see a Dark-Eyed Junco feeding from it. A few days ago I spotted a Purple Finch at the feeder. Good thing I bought a six-holer.

 

There are at least three species of Sparrows that come during the winter.

 

At about 2 PM I looked outside and saw the young tomcat hiding behind a feeder that blew over during the night. I think the feeder may have had some help falling over from deer. A few nights ago I was awakened by a loud racket on the front porch which followed by Jade being in a panic state in the living room. I looked out the window but saw nothing but I think a deer may have walked up the steps and onto the porch…

 

It was funny to watch the cat as he thought he was unnoticed. I think the birds were well aware of his presence but they had no fear of a young kitten. It seemed he would get ready to jump but the bird he had his eye on would move. He stayed there for about 20 minutes and his back became snow-covered. Once in a while, a bird would get pretty close on the other side of the feeder but he didn’t notice.

 

Later, a female Cardinal was at the feeder…

 

The above shot was taken at 2 PM from the back door…

 

What is really strange is that the House Sparrows have not bothered the Martin house this winter. Last winter they took it over fairly early.

 

The cactus at the siding door are glad they are inside. They are not complaining one bit.

 

Every window I look out I see snow. I was hoping to view a tropical paradise from the south window.

 

Jade wants no part of it… She refuses to look out of the window. I took her to the bedroom window where last month she enjoyed laying on the windowsill. She still refused and jumped on the foot of the bed and turned her back to the window.

I noticed the snow had lightened up to fine flakes a little after 2 PM.

 

At 3:25 PM were several Cardinals in the tree and birds started flying in from all directions.

 

Hmmm… I just noticed the time on my photos is an hour ahead! No wonder I thought something was whacky when I looked at the time. I think I noticed that before but the settings in the camera are correct. I will check again.

 

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker didn’t like the company and spent more time trying to defend the feeder than getting seed. He soon tired of that and flew off.

 

The birds started flying in from all directions for a moment then flew off almost as soon as they landed. Every time I look out the window the scene changes. In one second the feeder is loaded and I want a shot then the next second they fly off. LOL!

SO, at 3:45 I will end this post. GEEZ! An hour has passed already! The forecast says it will get down to 17° tonight and currently it is 19. What’s a few more degrees. 🙂  Tomorrow will be in the 40’s and up to 54 on Monday and in the 50’s on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Be sure to keep Australia in your thoughts and prayers!!!

Until next time, stay well, be safe, stay positive and give thanks.

 

Harrowing footage of kangaroo carcasses as a billion animals feared dead in bushfires – World News – Mirror Online — Arthur in the Garden.

WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES: Experts believe a billion animals have been killed in the fires and fear some species, including the Western ground parrot, could be on the brink of extinction — Read on http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/harrowing-footage-kangaroo-carcasses-billion-21218397

via Harrowing footage of kangaroo carcasses as a billion animals feared dead in bushfires – World News – Mirror Online — Arthur in the Garden.

Successful Surgery

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I went for surgery Thursday morning and everything went smoothly. All the staff was friendly, professional, and knew what they were doing. They worked efficiently together as a team.

When I was taken to the operating room, the anesthesiologist but the cup over my face and told me to take a few deep breaths. Then he put pain medication in the IV and said my head would feel funny which happened within seconds. Seconds later, I hear a voice saying “Lonnie, Lonnie wake up. Surgery is over. You are in recovery.” It took only 25 minutes for the surgery…

My sister came from Raytown to stay with me in case I needed help. I am grateful for that because neither one of us knew what I might need afterward.

The urologist put a stint in from my bladder, through the left ureter to the kidney in case of the possibility of the ureter collapsing. The nurse told me if I happen to see a “string” coming out to call them. She said it would be the stint trying to come out. She said the doctor may want me to just pull it out. Otherwise, he will remove it on the 16th in his office.

Each time I urinated, the pain was horrific at first as clots and small pieces of stones passed. The pain always subsided and I would be fine until the next time. The urine was always a reddish-orange from the dye they used during surgery. Several times the urine flow wild stop as a good-sized clot passed through the urethra. Then around 8 PM, a HUGE clot passed which was a very weird feeling. After that, no more clots passed and the pain wasn’t so bad during urination.

I got up to use the restroom a few times during the night, but I did sleep well. This morning I feel normal and all is well.

I just thought I would let you know how the surgery went and that I am still alive and kicking.

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

Trip To The ER

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The snow is finally almost gone and today was a lovely day. Couldn’t have been much better

Tuesday was not so good and ended with a trip to the ER. I had this weird pain in my lower left groin area off and on for several months. Tuesday I woke up with kind of a nauseous feeling on top of the pain. I tried this and that and nothing relieved the symptoms. I had two kidney stones back in the 1990’s but this didn’t seem like that. They pretty much hit me att at once. So, around 7:45 PM I decided I better go to the ER. It was an 18-mile trip and I drove myself. Luckily the ER wasn’t busy and I got right in. By the time I was finished talking with the doctor it seemed more like a kidney stone and we were in agreement… Even though it seemed like a long time, they hooked up a bag of fluid and gave me a dose of morphine. They no sooner got me hooked up when the guy came and took me for a scan. GEEZ! Then they finally took me back to the room and hooked me back up again. Even though that process took only maybe 15 minutes, it just as well have been hours.

When the results of the scan came back it was confirmed I had a 6 mm stone in my ureter. Ummm… That’s between the kidney and bladder.

My urine flow was perfectly fine STILL with no pain. But there was still pain in my left groin area and stomach plus nausea. SO, they gave me another dose of morphine and a pill for nausea. At about 12:30 there was hardly any pain but they wanted to give me another dose of pain reliever before they discharged me. The problem was they wouldn’t allow me to drive. I told them I could drive to a friend’s house and he could either let me spend the night or drive me home.

Well, they were very persistent that I not drive… So, I gave the nurse my friend’s number, who is also the minister at church. He came and took me home. It is seriously a good thing because about halfway home I could not keep my eyes open. By the time I was inside I could barely walk. I fumbled around a bit because I thought I had other things to do before I got in bed… I had never been in a situation where I could barely function and it was very weird…

The next morning I got up feeling like a new man. I had no pain and I was wide awake and full of energy. I was supposed to call the urologist and get three prescriptions filled. At that point, I was thinking I would be perfectly fine… Well, by about 10:15 I was getting nauseous again and somewhat uncomfortable. SO, I decided maybe I should go ahead and call the urologist. I have an appointment for Monday at 3:45.

Then I went to the pharmacy and got the prescriptions filled, came back home and took the drugs. One is hydrocodone for pain. One is a tiny pill for nausea. One is Tamsulosin (Flomax)… I am supposed to take the pain and nausea pills only of I need one but the Flomax I am supposed to take once per day. I haven’t taken a pain pill since noon on Wednesday. I took a Flomax and nausea pill at noon whch seems to be my regular schedule.

It is a little strange for me to go to the doctor and certainly not like me to take prescription drugs. If I had have known I had a kidney stone earlier I could have gotten rid of it myself. But, the symptoms I have been having for a while were not like before. So, I didn’t know.

When I had the kidney stones before I guess they were already in the urethra which was why it was a sudden thing. This one may be close to the bladder on the left side which is why there is pain there.

They always say a man having a kidney stone is like a woman going into labor. All I know is that I don’t want another ordeal with a kidney stone. If I were a woman and had a baby, the first would have been the last. LOL!

I have read this and that about what foods and beverages to avoid when it comes to kidney stones. Very seldom do I drink soft drinks anymore. I usually drink 1/2-1 cup of coffee in the morning and have a glass of green tea for dinner. I drink plenty of water the rest of the time. I pretty much eat a healthy diet, just in a weird way. I don’t eat until dinner and I eat a big meal. At almost 59, I think my diet needs to change somewhat and I have been saying that for a while…

I went to the chiropractor on Friday and he is pretty good when it comes to nutrition. He is an older man with a lot of experience and even used to train chiropractors. He asked me about my diet and I told him I ate one meal a day. He looked at me a bit strangely. But, you know, there is a diet plan called OMAD (one meal a day) that I found out about after I had been doing it. The benefits are good but you need to eat healthy all the same. It is kind of like fasting…

He asked if I cooked my own meals and I said yes. He said, “Ahhh, that’s why you only eat one meal a day.” Well, ummm… That may be partly true to some degree. I have never been a big fan of breakfast and it is easy to skip lunch when you get up at 9-10 AM. Just a little coffee and I am good to go. Then 6 PM comes around I am ready for dinner. The problem is not dinner, it is afterward. I snack from then until I go to bed. While do do snack on fruit, there is also the chips, popcorn, nuts, and of course ice cream… Don’t forget the cheese. I don’t think any one meal a day plan or fasting includes junk food eating for several hours before going to bed.

I feel a little hypocritical at times because I advocate health foods, natural supplements, no GMO’s, etc. while I occasionally revert back to my old habits… I really do prefer cooking my own meals, and I enjoy cooking. But sometimes, I do order Chinese, pizza, something from Subway, Sonic, and so on. There is a new cafe in town that makes a great Ruben. 🙂 When you are by yourself, it is very convenient to throw a frozen pizza into the oven or microwave Stauffer’s Lasagna, or even a potpie…

While eating bad foods may not affect you initially, like when you are young, it will catch up with you sooner or later.

So, while my spiritual life is getting better I also need to eat better… I need to commit to me, not just spiritually and emotionally, but also physically. Our cells can heal our bodies, but we need to feed them properly. We can listen to and repeat all kinds of positive affirmations, learn and practice the Law of Attraction, listen to music at certain levels of frequency for this and that… But, we STILL have to commit eating a healthy diet… We can reprogram our subconscious mind and accomplish amazing things but we are still in part what we eat not just what or how we think.

Part of being the amazing creatures we are and having so many abilities is also the ability to choose. To choose a diet for and of life.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

The Snow…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. We had more snow yesterday which didn’t impress me that much. It was 21° F when I took these photos at about 11:30 AM but it is supposed to warm up to 32 by the afternoon.

That’s the forecast through Sunday…

 

 

The Junco’s and several sparrows were enjoying the birdseed on the ground.

 

While a female Cardinal and a sparrow were at the feeder. I put the feeder in the tree in the front yard to I can watch them from my bedroom window. They are always very alert and seem to spend more time flying off than eating. They are more content feeding in the back yard but I haven’t set up the trough feeder yet.

That’s all I have to say at the moment. The snow kind of leaves me at a loss for words…

Take care, be safe and stay positive!

A Snowy Sunday Leading To A Rambling Post…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. This morning I had the alarm set for 9 AM so I could eventually get up and get to church by 10:40. I am not an early riser and it usually seems I have to have a good reason to get up by 10. On occasion, I have to get up much earlier which I don’t mind. I can easily get up at 6 or 7 AM if I need to.

So, this morning the alarm goes off at 9 and I let it beep for a few minutes before turning it off. Well, I went back to sleep and didn’t wake up until a little after 10.

I sprang into action after naming three things to be thankful for. Normally I mainly say thank you for good night sleep and for the day ahead. I then went in to get a cup of coffee and to feed the cats on the back porch. Even though the forecast said there was a chance of snow, I was surprised to see what was waiting outside. There wasn’t much, but it was still there.

I looked out the side door and saw the vehicle’s windows covered with snow. At that point, I may have easily closed the door and decided not to go to church. Except there was a problem… The minister’s grandson from Nebraska was here to be baptized. SO, I decided maybe I should go.

I had cleaned out the baptismal tank on Friday and a few of us guys met at the church on Saturday to start filling it. For a long time, one of the men from church had been doing it but he decided to show me how to do it a couple of years ago. This year he decided a few others needed to learn the tricks as well. It’s a process of turning a few valves on or off depending where they lead to. Then, once the water gets so high, it is recirculated from baptismal through the hot water heater. It’s not complicated and there are written instructions. You can see the pipes hanging from the ceiling in a hallway by the hot water heater and explain where every pipe goes and comes from. Like the wiring in the church, it makes one wonder how it ever works. But, it does work…

Oh, yeah. Lynn turned down the temperature on the water heater because the last time it became too hot in the baptismal. LOL! Luckily he was at church early enough that time to turn it down so the temp was a bit cooler for the baptism. That would have been a shock to step into hot water. Stepping into freezing cold water would also have been a shock.

SO, I went to church and made it on time. Our minister is a retired mortician and I will never forget his first baptism. A week or so after the baptism he presented the certificate of baptism to the girl that was baptized. He said, “I am pleased to present you with your certificate of death.” He was so embarrassed and everyone got a good laugh.

We have fond memories that we carry with us that we like to share with others along the way. Sometimes we have to share not so fond memories to let others know that they are not alone in a particular situation. Then sometimes we find out sharing the situation wasn’t a good idea because they tell others or our experience instead of theirs. We are human and we all do through a lot of different circumstances as we grow up. It is part of our learning process. But it isn’t just our learning process. The divine realm(s) also learn from our experiences…

I deleted MANY paragraphs… I started rambling about my opinion about religion. GEEZ! And to think I am now an elder.

Anyway, Saturday afternoon as I was cleaning the church, one of the minister’s son’s brought a pan of food and put it in the refrigerator. As I left, I saw the minister heading toward the church in his van with some of his family. Later I went back to the church to check the water in the baptismal and there was A LOT of food in the refrigerator. Then after the service, he told me that they were having lunch and invited me to stay. He said there were BBQ ribs. We also had a board meeting…

Well, who can resist BBQ ribs? There was also a pan of coleslaw and potatoes of some kind that was all delicious. Some of the ribs were from Bandanas! One of the furnaces wasn’t working so the fellowship hall was very cold. Then, they had ice cream and homemade cookies. By the time I left, I was stuffed and freezing!

When I left, it was snowing AGAIN. It looked like little styrofoam balls flying around in the air. When I arrived home I noticed a lot of birds looking for food under the feeders. The Juncos and migrating sparrows had finally arrived this past week. I went inside to warm up a bit then went outside to fill the feeders and sprinkle a little on the ground. I checked on the chickens and filled their feeders and made sure they had plenty of water. Even if it is very cold, the water in the chicken house doesn’t freeze unless it gets down to 20° F for several hours. Eventually, I took a little nap.

In all, it was a good day despite the snow and cold temperatures. It is going to be cold all week…

I forgot to post Six on Saturday yesterday because I was busy. Today I thought about taking a snow photo for Silent Sunday but then it became too dark to take a photo. So, I decided to just write a post without photos.

I had been doing good about reading your posts every day in the Reader then got busy updating pages on the blog. So, I became somewhat tardy in reading your posts.

Then one day I received a message on the Goeppertia ornata page. A man from Florida asked me how to pronounce Goeppertia. Normally, I include the pronunciation of the genus and species if it is available on Dave’s Garden. In this case, Geoppertia ornata had no pronunciation. The reason is that Geoppertia ornata became a synonym of Calathea ornata in 1858. At some point, maybe then, the entire Geoppertia genus became invalid. Well, truthfully the same guy published the description in 1858 and 1860 and iPNI has both. PREVIOUSLY, the 1860 date was accepted now the 1858 description is accepted. Hmmm… The reason I know is because my first notes say 1860 with the publication but my page says 1858 with the publication title. I thought I screwed up so I wasted 30 minutes or so to figure that out. Anyway, the latest version of The Plant List (2013) says Calathea ornata was the accepted name but when the NEW Plants of the World Online came out in 2018, the name had changed back to Geoppertia ornata. Apparently in 2012, after 154 years of not being a genus, a lady decided it needed to be resurrected. So, 254 species were moved back into the Goeppertia genus making it the largest in the family. I found that out from Phytotaxa via ResearchGate. So, the guy and I exchanged a few emails. (I first confused him by guessing the pronunciation for Geoppertia instead of Goeppertia). Then I find out this guy’s family owns a large wholesale nursery in Florida and one of their specialties is Calathea species and cultivars (A LOT). So, apparently, he is trying to figure out how to pronounce Goeppertia… Well, I certainly applaud him for that. It would be bad to change the names of plants and not being able to pronunce them. My only guess is that it is pronounced go-PER-tia but that really doesn’t sound right either… There are two P’s”. Maybe gop-PER-tia… I have studdied Latin in reference to plant names but it still is somewhat confusing. So, if you have any ideas, I would love to hear it. I hate to tell someone “I don’t know”. I wound up sending an email to Rafael Goverts from Kew to quiz him about the pronunciation. Then I noticed he didn’t approve the name change. Well, I am sure he will get a good laugh and I will be thankful for brightening up his day. It has been a while since I sent him an email asking how the Celosia argentea ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ was doing. I sent him seeds at his request and his reply then was that they were starting to flower. Of course, I am trying to get his approval to use Celosia argentea var. spicata name instead of merely Celosia argentea on Plants of the World Online. Doubt that will happen though. 🙂 Well, Celosia argentea is supposed to be, in part, native to Africa and ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ were discovered in Peru… Now I have to recheck where Celosia argentea were/are native. Celosia spicata became a synonym of Deeringia spicata which is a shrub in Australia. I don’t get the connection or even how an herbaceous plant was confused with a shrub in the first place.

I seemed to have gotten off subject while writing the above paragraph but decided not to delete it. I already deleted a half hour on pharagraphs earlier. What was the subject anyway? Oh yeah, my apology for not reading your posts this past week. Well, there was an attempt a couple of nights.

So, I guess I better stop writing this post and get to work. Either reading your posts or working on updates. Otherwise, by the time I am finished, it will be Monday already.

So, have a great week ahead! Be safe, well, and stay positive! Keep warm or cool depending on where you may be!

 

 

 

Holiday Cactus & Wagler’s Greenhouse Visit…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I know the flowers of the Schlumbergera tuncata are really neat, but I have mixed feelings about it.

 

Schlumbergera truncata on 9-13-18, #507-15.

I brought this plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in September last year and the tag clearly says “peach”. She had a lot that she buys from somewhere. Last winter it had a few buds, but because of neglect, they fell off. Hmmm… It was with other plants that don’t require attention during the winter. So, this year I put the plant in the kitchen windowsill where I would be sure to see it every day and water as needed.

Then it grew buds… Then it flowered, as you can tell, but the flowers are PINK not PEACH. So, since I had a little time this afternoon, I went to Wagler’s to see if Ruth had any that were actually peach, or white, or any color besides pink. I also had a few cuttings of Stapelia gigantea to give to her. We trade a lot of plants. 🙂

She wasn’t in the greenhouse so I knocked on her door. She came and I told her I had a present for her and her face lit up as I handed her the cuttings. She said she had some new plants to show me so we went to the greenhouse. OK, I haven’t been there for several months because I know what always happens…

 

I think when I was there last fall a lady brought her several Bromeliads from a grower in Florida. Well, some of them produced offsets and even flowered. She handed me one and said I could have it if I wanted. Hmmm… Of course, my hands just automatically responded. I looked at several of the others and the one that always caught my eye was solid green. Fortunately, it hadn’t flowered or produced any offsets. Then she handed me another pot of a different Bromeliad and said I could have it, too. Oddly, I declined. I told her I needed to see how the one she gave me already would do before I brought home more. I was quite proud of myself.

Then she showed me a new succulent she had and asked if I had these two particular cactus. Fortunately, the two cactus in question were the Acanthocereus tetragonus and Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis. I told her I had those already and they came from her.

 

The succulent was a different story… She asked what it was and I told her it appeared to be a species of Euphorbia. She asked her if I had one and I told her no. She said, “You can have one.” AGAIN, my hand just reached out and took one like it was an automatic reflex! It is 2 3/8″ tall without the leaves.

Then she said if I saw any other plants I wanted I could have them. GEEZ! There are a few but I have to wait until she has cuttings or plants of them…

She has A LOT succulents that are unnamed that would be a nightmare for me. They are Sedum, Echeveria, etc. hybrids like x Graptovera, x Graptosedum, and so on. Unnamed and many leaf colors, shapes and cultivars that look so much alike. They need bright light in the winter which I don’t have much of at the moment. I have one window that faces south and it is full with three shelves of plants. She still has offspring of plants I gave to her but she doesn’t write their names on the labels. LOL! When she asks me the name of plants and I tell her she says she doesn’t see how I remember all the names. Well, first you have to write their names down on the labels so when you look at the plant you see the label. It’s a way to help subconsciously remember. I have pretty well memorized what I have grown but when I bring home several different cactus it sometimes takes a while to memorize. I have a list handy and the photo folders to help me remember. I have to keep rewriting the labels because the permanent marker is not so permanent. Some genera of cactus and succulents, like any other plants, have certain characteristics that only they have.

Oh yeah! I did ask Mrs. Wagler if she had any more of the Holiday Cactus. I told her the one I brought home that was supposed to be peach turned out pink. She laughed and said that happens if the tags get mixed up. Hmmm… Unfortunately, a man came several times and bought most of the Holiday Cactus so she didn’t have any more available. GEEZ!!! She said she would see if she could get more. Then she said the ones labeled orange look more peach. OK, I might take a few different colors as long as they aren’t pink…

So, now I have a bromeliad and Euphorbia to find the name for. At least I think it is a Euphorbia… 🙂

****UPDATE****

This plant is an Austrocylindropuntia subulata commonly known as Eve’s Needle. I had one before that was a monstrose form… 

 

Schlumbergera truncata on 12-9-12, #135-2.

The above photo is the Schlumbergera truncata that a friend gave me when I lived at the mansion in Mississippi. One of HUNDREDS of plants I gave up when I moved back to Missouri in February 2013.

That’s all for now, but I do need to post photos of the Mammillaria karwinskiana. It has more flowers and they have all been open for a few days. Still growing more buds, too.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Be thankful, open-minded, and allow the Universe to shower you with abundance. Get dirty if you can, something I have no trouble doing.

 

Cactus Repotting & Lessons Learned

Parodia magnifica on 11-13-19, #649-17.

Hello everyone! I hope tis post finds you well. There were a few cactus and succulents that needed repotting because they needed larger pots. Then, there were a couple that I needed to investigate. I think repotting in the fall is a good time so the potting mix stays nice and loose over the winter. Since I use mainly Miracle Grow Potting soil with a lot of peat, sometimes it can become kind of hard during the winter when I am not watering my cactus and succulents. If this happens, I remove the plant from the pot, remove the old mix and add fresh. Since I switched from using 2 parts potting soil with 1 perlite and 1 part chicken grit to using about 50% potting soil and 50% pumice it seems the mix has remained looser. I know many cactus and succulent enthusiasts say peat is a no no, but it has worked fine for me.

In the above photo, the Parodia magnifica has a nice set of roots. It gets to be the first example

 

Parodia magnifica on 11-13-19, #649-18.

Some cactus don’t grow a large root system but they still need repotting as the “stem” starts to fill the pot. There was still plenty of soil in the bottom of the pot with this Parodia magnifica but the stem had become almost as large as the pot.

 

Parodia magnifica on 11-13-19, #649-19.

In years past I would just take the plant from one pot and put it in another without doing anything with the roots. Then later, when I repotted again, sometimes I found the roots still tightly packed in its original wad. So, I started loosening the roots before repotting and sometimes trimming off a few on the bottom. They grow new roots and a little trimming doesn’t bother them. Sometimes you may find rotten or dried roots that need to be trimmed as well.

 

Parodia magnifica on 11-13-19, #649-20.

Then I always make sure the plants are centered in the new pot.

 

Parodia magnifica in its new pot on 11-13-19, #649-21.

Here the Parodia magnifica is happy in its new pot… Normally, I only increase the pot size by 1 inch but sometimes I can’t find the right size of pot. I have LOTS of smaller pots so there is always a good selection. You can find pots in quantity on Ebay and Amazon. Of course, you may want a nicer pot…

 

Mammillaria plumosa on 11-13-19, #649-16.

The Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) asked for a new pot because she had no more room to grow…

 

Mammillaria decipiens in its new pot on 11-13-19, #649-13.

I know this pot seems a little large for the Mammillaria decipiens, but I am expecting another growth spurt. After repotting, I read this species of Mammillaria should not be planted in a peaty mix because it grows naturally in canyons and hills generally in volcanic soils… Llifle says “It likes very porous mineral substratum and avoid the use of peat or other humus sources in the potting mixture.” Hmmm… I read that when I was updating its page last week. Llifle also says, “Outside filtered sunlight or afternoon shade, inside it needs bright light, and some direct sun. Subject to sunburn if exposed to direct sun for too long. Does better than most species in lower levels of light, but still prefers bright light or morning sun.” Well, it was growing on the back porch in full sun and did awesomely well. I am wondering, though, if I should have added more pumice to its mix… Maybe some chicken grit as well.

 

Echinopsis mirabilis in its new pot on 11-13-19, #649-8.

I finally decided to increase the pot size for the Echinipsos mirabilis since it was still in the tiny pot it came in. According to information, this species may be short-lived but only time will tell. It is also said, that although short-lived, it leaves behind many seeds that will come up. Well, I kind of screwed that possibility when I repotted, huh?

 

Agave (syn. x Mangave) ‘Pineapple Express’ in its new pot on 11-13-19, #649-2.

I figured since the Agave (x Mangave) ‘Pineapple Express’ was an Agave it might have a lot of roots by now. I was right… It also has several pups. NICE!

 

x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ in its new pot on 11-13-19, #649-3.

The x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ grew a lot since I last repotted it, so I thought I would upgrade it again. But, I forgot something which I didn’t think about until after I repotted the Haworthioposis limifolia… It came from Wildwood Greenhouse and he buys a lot of plants in plugs. I forgot to check to see if there were remains of the netting from a plug.

 

Aristaloe aristata in its new pot on 11-13-19, #649-4.

The Aristaloe aristata (Lace Aloe) was giving me the “look” so I wouldn’t forget about her. I told her I repotted her before but she said it was time again. Sooo… Now she has a larger pot.

 

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ on 11-13-19, #649-7.

What can I say? I may have gone a little overboard with this one but she said she needed to wean her kids. She said she was tired of them clinging to her. I said OK if she promised to give me a flower. I think she is crossing her fingers and toes.

 

Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ on 11-13-19, #649-5.

Hmmm… I hate to tell you, but I severely neglected the Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’. I knew from the previous and much larger plants I had for several years that they don’t have a very large root system and they grow VERY SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWWLLLLYYYY. So I didn’t repot since I brought it home in a tiny pot from Wal-Mart in, ummm… GEEZ! It has been since 2016! It is STILL the same width as when I bought it home at 3 1/2″ wide. It has grown 1/2″ taller to 3 1/2″.

 

Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ in its new pot on 11-13-19, #649-6.

Its soil was very hard and dry so I replaced it then put the cactus back in the same pot. Maybe it will grow now. 🙂

 

Gasteria sp./Hybrid ? on 11-13-19, #649-9.

I decided the Gasteria twins with no name should be in another larger pot. This is its second upgrade. I noticed something weird when I removed it from its pot that I have never seen before.

 

Gasteria sp./Hybrid ? on 11-13-19, #649-10.

A few weeks ago I saw a post on Succulent Dreamers where a member had posted about the beneficial bacteria (of some sort) growing on the roots of his plant. I thought that was pretty neat and had not seen it before in pots. Actually, it is mycelium which is a “friendly” fungus. Come to think of it, this is the first year I haven’t had ants in at least one pot. I think that is because the pots were on the porches.

 

Gasteria sp./Hybrid ? on 11-13-19, #649-11.

Now we’ll see how much larger they get in their new pot…

 

Gasteria sp./Hybrid ? on 11-13-19, #649-12.

With their new child. 🙂

 

Plants repotted on 11-13-19, #649-1.

This is a group photo of the plants I repotted on November 13. But, I wasn’t quite finished…

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 11-16-19, #651-2.

On the 16th I decided it was high time I worked on the Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’.

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 11-16-19, #651-3.

I posted before how several of the plants in the colony had died… The ones that were nearly all white.

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 11-16-19, #651-4.

After removing the clump from the pot I had to remove the dead…

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ repotted on 11-16-19, #651-5.

Then I kind of centered the live plants around the larger cluster.

 

Dead Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 11-16-19, #651-6.

This is part of the dead plants. I had discarded a few earlier in the summer.

 

Haworthiopsis limifolia on 11-17-19, #652-1.

Then I checked the Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairy Washboard, ETC.) to check to see if it had been in a plug like the Haworthia ‘Little Warty’. Sure enough there it was… While a few roots did poke through, you can see how many roots were tightly packed inside the plug wrapping. Most of this plants roots had grown out the bottom and up the side.

 

Haworthiopsis limifolia on 11-17-19, #652-2.

I gently peeled away the netting and from around the roots that grown through it. That’s when I remembered the x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ could also have this same issue since all three plants came from Wildwood… I have to quiz Mr. Yoder abut removing the netting from the plug when they repot.

 

Haworthiopsis limifolia repotted on 11-17-19, #652-3.

Now, it is happy…

 

Hmmm… The island in the kitchen made a great potting table but now I have to clean up the mess… You may be wondering what the drill is for? If I use pots from Dollar General, like with the x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’, I have to drill holes in the bottom.

I think that’s it for repotting for a while until I check the x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ for the plug. I hope all is well with you. Until next time, take care, be safe, and stay warm or cool depending on where you live.

Ummm… Another “S”!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well! I woke up this morning and “you know what” was going on outside! Second time so far this “winter”. When I was a kid we would get “S” before January 1, but then for many years it rarely ever did that and sometimes not until March. I prefer it to do this while I am in bed and be gone by the time I get up. I am not a fan of cold temperatures and would do very well in a tropical or subtropical climate. Growing a garden 12 months a year and not having to bring plants inside for the winter would be great. I know there would be other weather challenges but it wouldn’t involve snow and ice. Just thinking about all the Aroids I can grow gives me goosebumps. Well, maybe the goosebumps are from just coming in from outside.

The above photo was taken at 1:19 in the afternoon and it was snowing every time I looked outside until 3:20. It had stopped.

 

The only time this thermometer is close to correct is during the winter. It was 21° F when this photo was taken and at 3:30 in the afternoon the internet says it is STILL the same temperature. Every time I look at the weather forecast it gets worse. Now the National Weather Service says it “may” get down to 9° F during the night. I checked other websites to check if there is a more agreeable forecast and they all say about the same thing…

I did cover the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles” before I went to bed last night…

 

A few of the cats like the box on the back porch, but the rest don’t seem to like crowded conditions and usually go to the barn. There are probably three cats in this box and it is weird the darker yellow and white fuzzy cat is here. Normally he stays in the barn when it is cold. He has been tamer the last few months for some reason but I still can’t pet him. His brother, the one you can’t see, is just the opposite. If you touch him he won’t leave you alone. The one mom and dad called The Barn Cat and Susie are no doubt in the barn. The two kittens are snuggled under a table on a bag of potting soil. I would let them in but they find too many things to play with. The younger one doesn’t use the litter box either. Simba wants in but I think that would be unfair to let him in when the others are outside. Of course, Jade is sleeping on my bed. Hmmm…

 

The plants in my bedroom seem to be adapting to being inside so far. The Alocasia gageana would prefer the front porch but she is not objecting since she can see the “S”. There are five pots of Alocasia gageana but only one has made it to the basement (where they overwinter). The other three are on the dining room table. When I brought the plants inside for the winter I was excited to see the Stapelia gigantea had buds. Unfortunately, it appears they all fell off! They appear to be growing new buds but I’m not 100% sure what it is doing but the flowers will be HUGE. I purchased the cuttings in October 2018 and they grew like crazy all summer. It is the pot on the left side by the window. I noticed a few mealybugs on it a few days ago which I quickly removed. I haven’t had bugs on my plants for MANY years…

 

The Tradescantia ‘Pale Puma’ looks amazing! Most of the other Tradescantia are in the other front bedroom with the Begonias and Oxalis. I am not sure if the ‘Pale Puma’ will continue to look good or if it will stretch. Time will tell.

 

I didn’t get a good photo of the plants in the kitchen windowsill because of the light from outside. The Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus, False Christmas Cactus, etc.) has a few buds again. It tried last year but the buds fell off because I didn’t give it enough water. This year it is in the kitchen windowsill so I can keep an eye on it. I tried getting a photo of its buds but it would cooperate. The only good photo didn’t seem appropriate… OH, what the heck…

 

ANYWAY………….. The flowers will be a peach color. Common names include False Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus, Zygocactus, Lobster Cactus, Claw Cactus, Holiday Cactus, Linkleaf, Yoke Cactus, Crab’s Claw Cactus, Easter Cactus… After that photo, I can think of a few others.

Interestingly, it is a true cactus species and is in the Cactaceae family to prove it. A native of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro (Serra do Mar and Serra dos Orgãos).

 

I didn’t notice buds on the Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) when I brought the plants inside for the winter because of all the wool. A few days ago I noticed buds peeking through and now they are beginning to open. This is pretty exciting because these are its first flowers.

 

The Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is loaded with buds and a few flowers. This is nothing new for her as she started flowering in October 2017. Ummm… She also flowered this past July.

 

I need to do some further research about the Zantedeschia species because this one is weird… The other Calla I have is possibly Zantedeschia elliottiana (Golden Calla Lily) (which I have been incorrectly calling Z. aethiopica) because it has spotted leaves and Yellow flowers. It comes up in the spring and is already dormant. It’s label just says “Calla”. This one was given to me by the owner of Wildwood Greenhouse. I mentioned it in several previous posts but I will recap again in case you didn’t see it.  One of several times I was at Wildwood, there were several pots of really terrible looking plants on the floor next to the counter. The owner, I forget his first name, said he had bought seeds of these Calla Lilies and planted them “outside” (the year before if I am not mistaken) and they came up. He put them in pots and they just kind of always looked terrible. Kind of limp and lifeless. He gave me a pot on Jue 13 to see if I would have any luck with it. I didn’t do anything with it for a week or so and it continued looking weird. Just kind of limp and non-energetic although it continued to live. So, I decided to take it out of the pot, shake off all the old soil and put it fresh Miracle Grow Potting Soil. It still did nothing. I moved it to the front porch and then one day in August when I was watering I saw its leaves were standing up! It was like it was a completely different plant. When I brought the plants inside on October 11, it was just amazing so I put it in my bedroom in front of the window. Apparently, it didn’t like it and the older leaves began to die. SO, I took it to the kitchen and trimmed off the dead leaves… Now, what in the heck is going on with this plant? Why didn’t it go dormant like the other Calla? This particular species is likely Zantedeschia aethiopica, but again, I am not 100% sure. The owner of Wildwood didn’t know either. I do know I will need to dig it up at some point and make sure the bulbs, if it has any, are sticking out of the soil. Anyway, when you plant dormant Calla bulbs, you need to make sure they are sticking out of the soil… Well, some websites say to plant six inches deep BUT don’t do that! The other one didn’t flower until I left the bulbs, or rhizomes, or whatever you call them sticking out of the soil about halfway. Hmmm… But these plants aren’t dormant… Am I supposed to force them to go dormant? I don’t know yet. For now, I will just let them grow and see what happens…

What else? Oh yeah, I almost forgot…

 

The Callisia repens (Bolivian Jew) is doing great although there are a lot of dead leaves. It was like that when I brought it inside. At some point, I have to work it over, give it a hair cut, remove the dead leaves, or something. This plant is incorrectly labeled Callisia nutans with a photo of Callisia repens. So, if you happen to have one of these labeled Callisia nutans, you know that is the wrong name. The Bolivian Jew is Callisia repens… 🙂

The succulents and a few more cactus in the back bedroom are doing great but I couldn’t get a good photo.

That’s it for this post. I should have finished it earlier because it will be the 12th and the day after the first “S” before you know it. HOPEFULLY, the cactus and succulent update #3 will be ready soon! It is almost finished… It was almost finished three days ago.

Currently, at 10:35 PM, it is 18° F and falling…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive.

 

 

Walking through fire — talltalesfromchiconia

Hello everyone! I wanted to share this post from Kate about the fires burning in Australia. I know in the US we don’t always know what is going on in other parts of the world. I don’t even watch the news. Keep the residents of Australia in your thoughts and prayers.

“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.” Carl Jung Sometimes, it is only in the fire that a person’s qualities become apparent. We’re seeing a lot of that right now. The east coast of Australia is largely ablaze. Communities are being razed to smoking […]

via Walking through fire — talltalesfromchiconia

How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Immune Health — Good Witches Homestead

I read the post and watched the video. I use Elderberry capsules all winter and have always wondered about making my own remedies. This blog is GREAT! So, I reblogged to share it with you.

Each year as winter approaches, I reliably find my patients asking me about the best herbal remedies to use during the cold weather months. One of the most common questions I encounter is, “What nutritional preparations can I use to help keep my family strong and healthy throughout the sniffle season?”. There’s a wide array […]

via How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Immune Health — Good Witches Homestead

Cactus & Succulent Update Part 2

Plants mentioned in Cactus and Succulent Update Part 2 on 10-26-19, #645-1. On the railing, from left to right, Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’, Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’, and Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus. The large pot in the center is Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora ?). Plants to the left of the big pot are Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm'(rear) and Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’. To the right of the big pot are Crassula tetragona (rear) and Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’. In front are the twin Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus ?), Echinopsis mirabilis (small pot), and Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora ?) on the right.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This is part 2 of the cactus and succulent update. After the light “F” we had during the night on October 11, it warmed up again. The plants were giving me crazy looks and probably talking behind my back. I know this because they would get very quiet when I walked in the room and start looking at each other. They had that guilty look… Then sometimes they would be staring out the window with a bit of drool funning down their chin, or a tear in their eyes. ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH, so I put them back outside for a few days. This time, the temps were chilly, it was cloudy and the wind blew every day. I was going to make sure they were ready to come inside and knew “W” was on the way. Even though another “F” wasn’t isn’t in the forecast for a few days, the temperature was going to get below 40 on Thursday night (by morning), so I brought them back inside. This time, they were ready and thankful.

I am continually updating, so if you click on their pages they may or may not be updated with these current photos.

Here we go…

 

Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ at 2 1/4″ tall x 3 1/2″wide on 10-11-19, #639-13.

The last Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing‘ I bought from Wal-Mart in February 2016 is definitely taking its time growing. I suppose that is petty normal when it started out so small in the first place. It has only grown 1/4″ taller since I brought it home and is now at 2 1/4″. The width is the same at 3 1/2″. It is scarred for life from the crickets in 2016… It has no good side… Maybe the crickets stunted its growth. My complete history with Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ from 2009 to present can be seen by clicking HERE.

 

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles) at 6 1/2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 6-11-19, #639-14.

The Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles) is one of very few cactus companions I have whose name has not changed or isn’t controversial. I write that while laughing because there are 27 synonyms associated with this species. At least it hasn’t changed since I brought it home from Wal-Mart in January 2016. This subspecies is also an accepted name because it pretty much only grows in Uruguay (Syn. Cereus uruguayanus). Growing this plant has definitely been an interesting experience from the start. It looked pretty good when I brought it home but it was sopping wet. Then it was nibbled on by crickets in 2016. It turned pale instead of remaining nice and green and I thought it would die. Well, it didn’t die and many of the offsets are almost as tall as the original main stem. Any new offsets don’t seem to be coming from around the plant but within it. Damaged stems produce new growth that sometimes falls off. Since it seemed to sunburn even in light shade, I tried growing it in more shade to see if the color would get better. Well, that didn’t help. So, this year I kept it in full sun on the back porch. Nothing changed one way or the other. It still looks rather odd to me and it is definitely not a showstopper (unless you are a cricket). On the back porch, which is actually a deck 4′ above the ground, there are no cricket issues… I always measure the cactus from soil level to the top of the plant. This one shrunk because the top of the oldest and tallest trunk was damaged and the new growth fell off. Last October it was 7 1/4″ tall and now it is 6 1/2″ tall. It is still the same width as last year at 4 1/2″.

You can view this plant’s own page by clicking HERE

 

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ at 8″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-15.

The Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ hasn’t been fooling around! It was 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart in March 2018. It had grown to 6 7/8″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide by the time I brought the plants inside in October. Now it measures 8″ tall but it is still 3 3/4″ wide. I bought my first Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Ming Thing’ in 2010 when I lived in Mississippi and it didn’t look anything like this one. As with all monstrose forms in any species, no two are alike. 

 

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ from the top on 10-11-19, #639-16.

I really like this plant’s growth habit and reddish-brown spines. It is interesting anywhere you look at it.

If you have or encounter a cactus that says Cereus peruvianus f. monstrose ‘Rojo’, it is the same. Cereus peruvianus has been a synonym of Cereus repandus for quite a while but the industry is still using the same old name. The infraspecific name is not an accepted scientific name. Monstruosus forms appear in nature as well as cultivation.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE

 

Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ on 10-26-19, #645-2.

“I saw her before with her silvery glow, tempting me to bring her home. Not just for the evening, but for much longer, maybe a lifetime. Maybe not mine. For I knew parasites may soon come and take her away… So, I hesitated, then went home without her. She haunted me from far away until I returned and gave in. Now she is here with me, her flesh now loaded with brown scale.”

Ummm… While most of the plants are doing well, the Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ (Pig’s Ear, etc.) is not. For those of you who may have a Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ that is healthy and growing well, I congratulate you! When I first saw several of these at Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2017, they were AWESOME. Every year they have a few and they have big, beautiful, silver leaves are so amazing. However, although I haven’t asked, I think they purchase them every year. Commercial growers sell to retailers that are unaware of what lurks yet to be seen. The problem is, local greenhouses have a clientele that come often and soon learn to avoid certain plants.  After a few years, they can’t sell certain plants unless they sell them to new customers. This plant, in particular, can lead to frustration because of what happens next. Being very prone to brown scale, and likely invisible when buying, they soon develop these brown spots and the plant starts ailing.

 

Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ with a big problem…

I have had only a few plants that have had issues with brown scale. One was the HUGE Crassula ovata (Jade Plant) that always has a few brown scale that I could easily remove with my fingernail. They never became an issue. Then there was the Crassula arborescens ssp. undulatifolia (Ripple Jade Plant) that I brought home from Pleasant Acres Nursery while living in Leland, Mississippi. It looked great when I brought it home, but soon the brown scale started appearing in greater numbers I could remove with my fingernail. I treated the plant with Garden Safe Fungicide 3 (fungicide, insecticide, miticide) which is OMRI listed. I went to the nursery and the plants she had were completely infested as well and MUCH WORSE than mine. The spray helped a lot but the plant was never the same. I brought the plant with me when I moved back here and after a while I ran out of spray. I went to the local hardware store and found a similar product but it wasn’t OMRI listed and smelled of alcohol. It killed the plant within a few days.

To me, I don’t even think the Cotyledon has brown scale. It is something else. I posted the photos on the group Succulent Infatuation on Facebook to see if I can get some answers. I hate to discard this plant because it wants to survive. Last fall I was tempted to leave it outside, but my conscious wouldn’t allow it. Last August I have it a good trim and took several cuttings. Once it regrew the same issues came back as well. I was busy over the summer and somehow I don’t remember what happened with the cuttings.

I hadn’t taken photos of this plant for A LONG TIME because I was wither embarrassed or ashamed. Not sure which… So much for my “green thumb” status. LOL!

To view the Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ page click HERE. You can see what it looked like when I first brought it home.

 

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ at 7 1/2″ tall x 9 1/4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-20.

I brought this Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ (Jade Plant ‘Gollum’) home from the Kuntry Bulk Grocery (one of the local Amish stores) last May. It was unlabeled and I originally thought it was a Crassula ovata ‘Ladyfingers’ like the one I had previously. The more it grew the more “Gollamy” it appeared. I like rolled-up leaves and tree-like growth habit. Somehow I didn’t measure this plant when I brought it home, but it is currently 7 1/2″ tall x 9 1/4″ wide.

Click HERE to view the page for the Crassula ovata ‘Ladyfingers’. Hmmm… I put the photos of the current plant on this page because I thought it was ‘Ladyfingers’ at first. I suppose I either need to change the name of the title or add a separate page for this plant.

 

Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) at 16 1/2″ tall on 10-28-19, #645-4..

Hmmm… I forgot to take photos of this plant on October 11 and didn’t realize it until I went to write about it. There were no photos! The Crassula tetragona, Miniature Pine Tree, has changed quite a lot since I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse last September. For one, it has grown from 11 1/4″ tall to 16 1/2″ tall. It lost A LOT of leaves while it was inside last winter making me wonder if it needs a little more water than other Crassula species over the winter. In their native South African habitat, this species grows in both areas with summer rainfall and areas with winter rainfall. I put the Crassula tetragona on the back porch for the summer with the cactus and it did very well. It was first on the north side of the porch, but as the cats jumped from the raining to the table they kept knocking off the tops of the stems. So, I moved it to the potting table on the south side of the porch.

 

Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) on 10-26-19, #645-5.

Even though the leaves are now concentrated to the top of the plant, I think it looks pretty neat.

 

Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) on 10-26-19, #645-5.

Every time I found a broken stem I put them in the pot. Soon there will be a forest in the pot.

According to information online, the Crassula tetragona is reliably cold hardy down to 28° F or even colder for short periods. They are also popular as bonsai candidates.

Click HERE to view the page for the Crassula tetragona page.

 

Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus ?) on 10-11-19, #639-21.

The twin Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus ?), commonly known as the Golden Barrel Cactus, are both doing quite well. As always, they are the comedians of my cactus companions. I had named them Greater and Lesser because one is a little taller and narrower than the other. Greater is taller and narrower while Lessor is a little shorter but wider. They always try to confuse me when I am measuring them. Occasionally, Lessor will stand on its toes and Greater will puff out its stomach. Their long thorns don’t make it any easier. Since last October, Greater has grown from 2 7/8″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide to 3″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. It was 2 1/2″ tall x 2″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart in February 2016. Lessor has grown from 2 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide last October to 2 7/8″ tall x 3″ wide. It was 2 1/8″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide when I brought it home the same day as Greater. Those measurements are without the spines…

To view Greater and Lesser’s own page click HERE.

 

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ at 3 3/8″ tall x 6″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-22.

The Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ (Syn. x Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’) has grown A LOT this past summer and so have its kids! The parent is now 3 3/8 ” tall and the whole cluster is 6″ wide. That is 3/8″ taller and 1″ wider than last October. The real change has been the size size of the offsets which you don’t notice by measuring the whole cluster. It was only 2 1/4” T x 3 1/2” W when I brought it home from Wal-Mart in February 2016.

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ was an intergeneric hybrid between Echinopsis and Lobivia species (or cultivars). That was until Lobivia became a synonym of Echinopsis. Actually, species of Lobivia were moved to several different genera. They are known for their AWESOME flowers and I am STILL waiting…

Click HERE to view the Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ page.

 

Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora) at 3 1/2” tall x 2 1/2” wide on 10-11-19, #639-23.

ALL of the Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora) are doing very well. Common names include Red Torch Cactus and Desert’s Blooming Jewel. Hard to imagine, but this plant, according to Plants of the World Online, has 42 synonyms and has been in 8 different genera!

 

Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora) on 10-11-19, #639-24.

Ummm… How did I wind up with this many Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora)? Well, I wrote about this before, but I will do it again. I was at Lowe’s looking at cactus on September 12 last year and noticed several cactus on a rack I didn’t have. One of those plants was the one pictured above the above photo. When I was walking around the garden center, I spotted a bigger pot with a very large dead cactus in the middle surrounded by 6 offsets. The pot was on clearance for $5.00 and I figured I could repot them. SO, I put the pot in the cart. When I got home I started taking photos, writing the names down and measuring the new companions. Hmmm… I brought home several plants that day… Anyway, I kind of slipped (AGAIN) and wound up with two pots labeled Trichocereus grandiflorus Hybrids. As it turns out, Trichocereus grandiflorus is a synonym of Echinopsis huascha which looks more like photos of the variety Echinopsis huascha var. grandiflora. Well, the later infraspecific is neither approved or listed as a synonym… Anyway, that’s how I came up with seven of these plants. 🙂 I am waiting for their AWESOME flowers!

When I brought home these plants, the one in the pot by itself measured 3″ tall x 2″ wide. It now measures 3 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. The largest plant in the center of the pot of six now measures 4 3/4” tall x 3 1/8” wide. It was 3″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide when I brought them home.

Click HERE to view the Echinopsis huascha var. grandiflora page.

 

LAST ON THE POST

BUT CERTAINLY NOT THE LEAST!

Echinopsis mirabilis (Flower of Prayer) at 3 1/2″ tall on 10-11-19, #639-25.

I have and have had some of the neatest plant companions and will certainly have more to come. I have identified more wildflowers this past summer and some have been really neat. I may never see another pink-flowered Achillea millefolium in nature like I did this past summer. Even so, I would have to say the highlight of this past summer was when the Echinopsis mirabilis started flowering.

Watching and waiting for the bud to open when the flowers only last one night is is quite an ordeal. Especially when I missed the first one. I saw the second and then missed the third. Then the fourth was the day after the third which I did photograph as well. The flowers are AWESOME and worth the anticipation. Like my cousins Cereus, they are night bloomers…

Even though it looks like the plant hasn’t grown to me, it has. When I brought it home, it measured 2 5/8″ tall x 1 1/8″ wide. It now measures 3 1/2″ tall. It needs a new pot…

To view this plant’s own page with the flowers, click HERE!

Now I am finished with part 2. Part 3 and 4, maybe 5 or 6, are coming up. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this update as much as I enjoy sharing it. Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Make a comment or click like if you can because I really enjoy hearing from you.

Weird WordPress Mystery Solved…

My site showing not logged in… No black bar across the top and the follow button at the bottom right-hand corner.

Hello everyone! Yesterday I went through every blog I follow and clicked “visit site” on each of them to see what would happen. I had gone to system preferences and removed all website data then restarted the computer. Before i did that, I had somehow managed to log in to my blog’s site instead of just on my dashboard. I hope this makes sense because I am almost confusing myself trying to explain. 🙂 Anyway, after I did that and signed back in I could not log back into my site. You know, when you go to your site, the back bar across the top says

Out of 144 blogs, 64 said “following, 64 said “follow” and 10 didn’t give an option. I tried signing in a multitude of times and nothing changed.

What was really weird is that the blog was still behaving normally on the old iMac. The black bar appeared across the top as always. I could get on the reader and when I went to the website of followed blogs that say “follow”, I could click on follow and it then changed to “follow”. That is still a bit odd that blogs I am following already would say “follow”. Once I clicked “follow” it said that their posts would appear in my reader. Hmmm… They are already appearing in my reader otherwise I would have clicked on the site in the first place. Anyway, at least it worked.

Hmmm… Maybe I lost you somewhere. The old iMac is a 2007 model that I bought in 2013. The hard drive needed to be replaced about every year so last year I decided to get a newer model. The new one is a 2013 model with many updated features, bigger screen, and so on. I had reached the point where the old one couldn’t be updated any further. The newer one actually cost me less than the old one did six years ago.

I had compared the setting from one computer to another to make sure they were the same.

Today I contacted WordPress customer support about the ongoing issue because the last guy had no clue. This time I got results…

The rep asked if I was using Safari and I told him I was. He said sometimes different versions of Safari work differently. He suggested I go to Systems Preference and click on “privacy”. He asked if the “prevent cross-site tracking” was checked. I told him yes. He said to uncheck then quit Safari and let him know if it worked.

Hmmm… I thought “prevent cross-site tracking” was a good thing but I did as he suggested then quit Safari…

 

When I got back on, it worked fine… The back bar appeared across the top like magic. But, just as an experiment, I got back on Sytems Preference and checked the box again. I quit Safari and then reopened it. I got on my blog and it said the same thing as before… So, I unchecked the box again, quit Safari and got back on… It worked AGAIN!

Now, who would think having the “prevent cross-tracking” would be a good thing on one version of Safari and not the other?

Now, when I go to the reader and click “visit site”, the blogs I am following that says “follow” change to “following” when I click to follow just like with the old computer. Huh? So, if you get a notification that says I just followed your blog when I have already been following, you will know why. It’s just weird to me that a blog I am following says “follow” when I am already following. No, I don’t have OCD nor do I want to know what that even means. A friend in Mississippi would always tell me I had OCD when I straightened pictures on the wall. Well, the mansion would shake when someone hit the chug hole on the street and the pictures would get crooked as a result. It had nothing to with always looking at the crooked window at the new house across the street when I went out the door. I just notice things that are a little off.

For the past several weeks, I have been getting a notification to upgrade from macOS Mojave to Catalina… I have been hesitant but I am wondering. I hate making changes sometimes when what I am using works fine.

Well, I feel much better now and I can go happily about working on the blog as before. If you have an issue with WordPress that bugs you, don’t hesitate to contact support. I am certainly not a computer expert and sometimes I need some help. I must say, though, I have had very few issues since I started using an iMac in 2013.

Now back to working on the cactus and succulent updates… Until next time, be safe and stay positive!

Weird WordPress Issue

Hello everyone! I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the cooler temps.

First of all, I want to say I have no major issues with WordPress. It is a very easy platform to use, make posts, add photos, plenty of good themes, and has a great family of bloggers that is excellent. You are all AWESOME!

Several months ago I noticed something weird and somewhat frustrating. After a while, I contacted support and we looked at the situation. I took several screenshots of what was going on, the guy logged into my blog, got on my reader, and so on. He was pretty thorough and paid attention to my concerns. In the end, he had no clue. He said, “This is indeed weird.” He said he would look further into it and ask other support members and see what they had to say. He said he would follow up with me in a few days by email but I never heard from him. I told him I thought about posting about the issue to see if anyone else has the problem and he said that was a good idea.

So, here it goes…

The above photo shows my blog and you can see the “follow” button in the bottom right-hand corner. I am logged in and using reader but I still had to sign in for the follow button to go away on my blog.

The photo below is a screenshot of Masha’s blog called A SWEETER LIFE. She is a very sweet lady so I am sure she won’t mind if I use her blog for this post. I used her blog as an example because it was the first one on my followed sites (using reader) that shows the issue.

 

As you can see, the follow button appears in the bottom right-hand corner… I am logged in and I follow Masha’s blog. From the “reader”, I can make comments and “like” with no problem. But, if I click to “visit site”, I get the “follow” pop-up and I cannot make comments unless I sign in “AGAIN”. If I sign in again, it means nothing… It still says “follow” and I get the same options so sign up, log in, etc. Even after signing in AGAIN, I can’t “like”. A big empty white box pops up and goes away after a second… This happens whether I log in using my username or email…

So, I clicked on follow on Masha’s blog and it asks for my email address or I have the option to log in if I already have a WordPress account. UMMM… So, I logged in for the fourth time, clicked follow and it says the same thing…

SO, then I entered my blog email address…

Now, tell me… What does this mean? I know what it means, but why does it say that? My subscription did not succeed because my email address wasn’t valid. UMMMMMM….. I successfully logged in four times in the past 10 minutes then this pops up the fifth time.

Even IF you do not follow a WordPress blog, you should still be able to make comments and “like” if you A) are signed up with WordPress, and/or B) if you have a gravatar.

Some blogs are different. I just click on follow and that’s it. But others I can’t follow unless I follow through the “reader”.

Like I said, most of the blogs I follow say I am following when I go to their site. It’s just a few that say “follow” when I am already following.

If I just read blog posts through reader I have no issues at all and I would have never noticed the issue if I hadn’t have clicked on “visit site” to someone’s blog a few months ago and I noticed the “follow” pop-up. Before then, I had no problems.

I have been blogging since 2009 and I have only contacted support a few times. Sometimes something changes and it freaks me out. Trust me, I don’t get freaked out easily, but when something weird happens with the blog… That is different. I use the old dashboard because I am used to it. One day when I got on the blog it was somehow the new version. I contacted support and they gave me a different URL and it went back to the old version. I don’t like the new editor either and I have tried it a few times. I prefer the classic… I learn new things all the time so it isn’t that I am an old dog that doesn’t want to learn new tricks. When I use the newer editor, sometimes the photos don’t go in the right place and I don’t like the way it acts.

Last year when I was writing pages and I added the “USEFUL INFORMATION” and “FOR FURTHER READING”  at the bottom, there were spaces between each line… That never happened before and I had no clue “WHAT THE HECK” was going on. For five years it never did that! So, I contacted support and was told to use the “Text” format when I do that. So, I did and it worked fine. I never had to switch from visual to text before. Good thing it worked…

The few times I have contacted support I have always been satisfied. The “follow/following” issue is the first time they had no idea…

I have made a FALL RESOLUTION to read your blog posts every night and catch up with the day before. I know I am following many inactive blogs… Things have changed A LOT since 2013 when I started my first Belmont Rooster blog. Many former bloggers I followed are no longer active. I don’t promote my blog as well as before either.

Starting now, I am going to visit all the blogs I am following to make sure I am following both on the reader and your actual site. So, if you notice I have just followed your blog and thought I was already following, you are right. 🙂

At the end of our conversation, I quizzed the guy about random readers of my blog pages being able to”like” or make comments. I don’t just write posts… I have all the pages right, around 450-500 (who’s counting), that get anywhere from 75-250 views per day. They are views from people doing research about certain plants and my blog is on the list. The click, they read, but they cannot “like” or comment unless they enter their email address or whatever. Seriously, I am not sure what they have to do… Once in a while, I get a comment from someone but very seldom. I am the same way, though… When I am doing research and I can’t make a comment unless I go through some kind of hoop, I don’t make a comment. If I need to contact someone, I look for a “contact” link and send an email. You would be surprised how many people never reply because the websites are not maintained… I understand the need for an email or something because of spam… I get this same spam comment from different people every day promoting prescription drugs. A while back it was some bible deal and their comments were almost a page long… Of course, they are in my spam because they have links attached. It is interesting how you hover over the links and it says “page not found”…

OK, I am going to post now… It is almost 2 AM… I am working on a cactus and succulent update which will be in several parts.

I am interested in your comments about the issue and to see if you have the same problem. Until next time, be safe and stay positive!

 

YESTERDAY & THIS MORNING

A few of the plants on the front porch on 10-11-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. Earlier this week I was sad to see the forecast for Friday night. It said there was going to be widespread “F”.  While I can think of a few good “F” words, the second letter isn’t “R”.  Knowing what was about to happen didn’t make this past week any easier. I was not anxious to move all the potted plants inside nor were they ready to come. Or, maybe they were ready as the evenings started cooling off but their caretaker was in no hurry.

 

Colocasia esculenta on 10-11-19, #639-19.

The worse thing is being an aroid fan and watching them grow all summer only have them get ZAPPED in October. Just when they have grown so big and AWESOME! I have to realize that even aroids need a break and would go through their own dormant period whether or not they get ZAPPED or are moved inside. Even in the rainforests or someone’s yard in a tropical climate, they would still go dormant in one way or another.

The Colocasia esculenta in the above photo did very well despite the fact the top of their rhizomes had rotted a little. They grew to a whopping 73″ tall!

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 10-11-19, #639-55.

The Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ (syn. Colocasia gigantea) reached 70″ tall and the largest leaf is 42″ long x 36″ wide. It produced 12 flowers just like the one did in 2017.

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 10-11-12 at 52″ tall.

I was really impressed with the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’. It seemed to struggle for quite a while then it leaped to grow to a final 52″ tall.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 10-11-12, #639-18.

The Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ was quite a show stopper all summer. It grew non-stop and surprisingly produced many flowers and the color is amazing. Its final height was 64″ tall.

So, putting the inevitable off to the last minute, I reluctantly spent Friday afternoon taking photos of each plant before moving them inside. Well, let me back up a minute. I didn’t take photos of the Alocasia… I was mainly concerned with taking photos and measuring the cactus and succulents, which in itself takes a very long time.

It may sound a little strange that I measure the cactus and succulents, but I have been doing that since 2009. I like to compare their size from one year to another and from when I first brought them home. Some seem to grow so slow while others surprise me. I think the cactus and succulents enjoy getting measured and have me tell them how well they have done. Kind of like us when we were kids growing up and our parents had us back up to the wall where they would put a mark on it. Well, maybe your parents didn’t do that, but mine did until they remodeled their old house.

 

Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) on 10-11-19, #639-83.

NICE! I was so glad to get a start Mrs. Wagler’s Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) and even more glad they have blue flowers instead of pink like the plants I had before. They have been blooming for a while even though there were none open when I took this photo. They are currently 47″ tall.

It was kind of breezy and cool during the afternoon while I was photographing and measuring. Toward the end, while on the back porch with the cactus, I had put on a light jacket. I was getting so cold I could barely remember my own name let alone the plant’s names and the ink pen seemed to be having its own issues. I began to wonder why permanent markers ink faded because the labels I put in the pots with the plants were blank! I realized Then I realized I had forgotten to take a photo of the cactus table before I started removing the plants. GEEZ!

I don’t remember the time, but during the evening while I was going through the 203 photos and writing captions, I had to go outside. I hadn’t measured the “ears” or Mexican Petunia (even though their size is written above). The temperature on the computer said it was 36° F… I went outside with the tape measure and there was already a light “F” on the leaves… The sky was clear and there was no breeze whatsoever. Luckily, the plants were still OK by that time and I was able to get a good measurement.

I didn’t sleep well during the night. I kept wondering if I should have cut the leaves off of the ‘Thailand Giant’ and dug the rhizomes. Out of curiosity, around 5 AM or so, I opened the side door to have a peek. The Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ leaves weren’t cupped shaped anymore and the erect leaves of the ‘Thailand Giant’ were facing downward. I closed the door, the temperature on the computer said 32°. I went back to bed and went to sleep… I stayed in bed as long as I could because I wasn’t any to excited to see the results.

When I did decide to get up, I looked outside and it wasn’t a pretty sight…

 

Jade, Nathan’s cat, has been in my bedroom constantly lately. She is old enough not to be annoying and sleeps most of the time. She is more like a human in a catsuit. I keep Nathan’s other cat, Simba, outside most of the time although be is also very well mannered. Simba had pretty much buffaloed the other cats here and they were afraid of him for months. However, somehow last week that all changed. Instead of all the cats running from him when he went to eat, now Simba stands back and waits for them to finish. This seems to have started to happen when the new kitten came and Simba was the only one that allowed it to eat. Simba is the only cat here that welcomed both of the kittens when they arrived. OH, I guess I didn’t mention yet another kitten beside the one I brought home from Kevin’s… Again, Nathan showed up with another cat. This time a very small kitten was given to him by a deputy who said he found it along the highway… I have to keep it outside because it refuses to use the litter box. It does sneak in faster than greased lightning every chance it gets, though… Jade doesn’t have front claws so, according to theory, she should stay inside. Nathan was told she is a Norwegian Forest Cat, but who knows for sure without the papers.

ANYWAY…

 

I walked into the kitchen and cactus and succulents had taken over the island.

 

More cactus by the back door…

 

No room for guests at the dining room table… More plants on the table in the front bedroom, on the coffee table in the living room, and Alocasia gageana lined up at the door to the basement…

I went outside after a cup of coffee or two.

 

The Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’…

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’… The Mexican Petunia was just fine along with the Astilbe ‘Fanal’ and Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. They are just looking bad because it is time for them to look bad.

 

The Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ looked like it had been beaten…

 

The Colocasia esculenta… Well, they told me they would be alright but their voice didn’t have the sound of confidence…

I walked to the other yard and everything seemed to be much like it was the day before… Even the Hosta looked the same because they are under trees.

 

A single Echinacea purpurea is still flowering…

 

No issues at the southwest corner of the house…The Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) is still flowering. I have no clue how the Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) got there… And what is growing in the bush? Of course, the Baptisia australis is fine.

 

The Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ is fine and flowering up a storm…

 

The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is looking like nothing happened. Well, that is mainly because I covered it with the huge flower pot. I am not sure why I always do that. I cover it up every time it gets cold whether it needs it or not.

 

The Brocade Marigolds that came up volunteer in the southeast corner are still looking great. For a long time, I saved the seed of the red and had pretty much an all-red strain. So, last year I didn’t save seed because I thought plenty would come up on their own in the bed by the corner of the back porch. Well, that didn’t happen and only one plant came up there. Luckily, these two plants came up here but only one is red… I have to save the seed.

I had to go to town later in the afternoon and didn’t get back home until a little after 6. To my surprise, the Colocasia esculenta had perked up!!! Not like normal, that would be a miracle, but they did look a little better. The petioles on all the Colocasia and the Leucocasia are still standing and if we have warm days without any more “F’s” they will start growing new leaves again. That has happened before… Last year I dug the rhizomes and put them in the basement right after the first ZAP and they started growing new leaves… Well, no matter, I will dig them up in a few days regardless of whether we will have warmer temps. It is time now…

That’s about all I have to say for now. I have to start working on the posts about the plants I brought inside. 🙂

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay well be happy… Get dirty if you can and maybe enjoy a cup of hot chocolate (with marshmallows). 🙂

 

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.