Amorphophallus, Caladium, Colocasia, & Zantedeschia Bulbs. It’s A Family Thing.

Amorphophallus sp. on 7-1-17, #353-1 after I brought it home.

Hello again, folks! I hope this finds you all doing well and that you have been getting your hands in the dirt. It’s the time of year we can enjoy being out with nature before the mosquitos get too bad. I have seen a few already so I try to be quiet so they don’t hear me.

I mentioned in the last post I had taken a few photos of the bulbs so I thought I would ramble about them for a bit. All these plants are in the Araceae family of aroids. All I can say about this family is that I need more.

I found this Amorphophallus (a-mor-fo-FAL-us) in the above photo to bring home at Wagler’s Greenhouse last summer. She had several pots but I took this one home because it also had an Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae growing with it. 🙂  According to the Wikipedia, the common name of the genus is Zaminkand but some of the species are referred to as Voodoo Lilies or other strange names. Of course, as with most of Wagler’s “pass-along plants”, there was no label and she had no clue what species it was (Well, heck, she doesn’t even know the genus like most normal folks). Plants of the World Online list 220 accepted species of Amorphophallus but luckily only a few are popular in cultivation so MAYBE I can soon figure out the species if it flowers. Despite the name being hard to spell or type really fast, it is a very interesting plant like most aroids.

The Amoororphooophaalluuus and Oxalis both went dormant when cool temperatures started getting close even before I moved the potted plants inside. The pot had been in the basement during the winter and I moved them outside on April 29 to play the waiting game.

When I went to the greenhouse a few weeks ago with my sister and niece, I asked Mrs. Wagler if she was going to have more Voodoo Lilies later. She didn’t know what I was talking about. I tried to explain the plant by reminding her of the story she told e about her mother growing them when she was a kid. Still, it didn’t ring a bell. I should have asked what she called the plant last year instead of just asking what species of Amorphophallus it was. I always get a blank stare… Sometimes a grin, though.

 

The Oxalis started coming up soon after I moved the pots outside but there was no sign of the “others”. I am done writing that name for this post… So, after being patient long enough, I ran my fingers through the potting soil to see what I could find. Low and behold I found a bulb and it was sprouting. I thanked the universe and the creator. Yeah, I know, most people would say thank God. OK, thank you, God. Feel better now?

 

I dug around a little more and found the other one. What I found strange last year was this stem in the middle of the pot with no plant. It remained there all winter with no change. It didn’t rot, either. You can see it here in the photo. It looked like it was starting to green up, though.

 

So, out of curiosity, I pulled it out to have a look. Well, GEE WHIZ! It had no roots! Once I pulled the stem out I could tell the bulb that needed to be in the soil was on top. Many aroids do this. They grow a new bulb on top of the old one, including the Colocasia esculenta. So, I pushed the whole thing into the soil down to where the top was covered up. Hmmm. I wonder how old that stem is?

 

I had also bought a few Caladiums last year. I thought I would attempt to overwinter their bulbs, too, but they didn’t fare so well. They were kind of moldy but I put them in pots anyway. We shall see what happens. I have heard that overwintering Caladium bulbs is tricky. If you do successfully overwinter them, trying to figure which side is up is also confusing. Supposedly, the smooth side goes down and the knobby side goes up. They will grow either way, but apparently, they will peep through the soil faster if they are planted the right way and the plants will do better.

 

Now, for the Colocasia esculenta. The two larger bulbs (tubers) on the right were the plants growing on the north side of the house for the past two years. There were three but one rotted instead of coming up last spring. The other two next to the bucket and the bulbs in the bucket were growing on each side of the… Well, what used to be the foyer of my grandparent’s house. The smaller bulbs in the clay pot were a few of what I didn’t plant last year. They stayed perfectly fine all summer and during the winter. They sprouted a little last summer but they didn’t grow past that.

 

I didn’t count them once I cleaned them off, but there are plenty. I took the smaller bulbs ad the ones in the clay pot and planted them along the north side of the chicken house. I will plant the largest bulb along with the Colocasia gigantea, I mean Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ in the north bed. I need to move the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ farther out of the corner in the north bed so I will only have room for two bulbs. I can’t put the other big bulb farther down the bed because of the Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill). So, maybe, I will put the other big bulb around the corner on the east side of the house. MMMAAAYYYBBBEEE I will put the rest along the east side, too, since I really need to do something there. They don’t grow that well in front of the old foundation because they don’t get enough sun. Maybe I will sneak a few in dad’s Canna bed, too. 🙂

Oh yeah… You can see, especially with the two larger bulbs (tubers) the old bulb on the bottom with the newer bulb on top. The “stem” is right on top of the bulb and actually seems to be part of the bulb. The petioles grow from the stem and as the petioles and leaves die, the new tuber is formed (above ground). You can actually separate the two and plant them both. I should have taken a photo to explain it better… If you look at the old bulbs, you can see rhizomes coming out. Those will also make new plants and the old bulb will rot. The little “bumps” on the bulbs will grow into rhizomes if you have them in good light where they will grow well. In to much shade, that doesn’t seem to happen as much. They can be quite productive!

 

Now, for the Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily). This cluster did really well over the winter and started sprouting without even any soil. I put them in this pot the same day I moved the plants outside.

 

I decided I better put them in a larger pot and saw all these nice roots. I had planted them in the shade bed last year but read where they do better in more sun. I saw a HUGE plant growing by a sign in Clinton right out in full sun and it was looking really AWESOME! Well, you never know. Maybe they just planted the pot before I saw it because I hadn’t seen them there before. So, just to be on the safe side…

 

I put the Calla in this pot so I can move it if I need to. I think I will put this pot on the north porch once they start growing well. I don’t have a page for the Zantedeschia aethiopica yet. Still working on the ‘T’s (Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus).

I am finished now. So, what have you been planting?

Until next time, stay well, be positive, hug your mate, enjoy nature and GET DIRTY!

New ‘Thailand Giant’ Bulb

Hell0 again! I hope this post finds you all well. The new Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ (I mean Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’) I bought from an Ebay seller arrived on Tuesday. It was wrapped in a newspaper printed in Chinese. I looked the newspaper over and found out it was The Epoch Times.

I know this is supposed to be a post about the new bulb but I had to further investigate this newspaper. 🙂 The Epoch Times was founded in 2000 in New York City by a group of Chinese-American Falun Gong practitioners. The newspaper is either sold or distributed free of charge in 35 countries in 21 languages. The founders say they were responding to censorship inside China and a lack of international understanding about the Chinese repression of Falun Gong. The newspaper can be read online and receives 105 million page views per month from 20 million visitors. Anyway, the Wikipedia article and the newspaper’s website are quite interesting.

 

I unwrapped the newspaper to find a box…

 

I opened the box to find an envelope…

 

I opened the envelope to find a, umm, sweet potato? Well, it sure looks like the white sweet potatoes I grew in 2016.

 

Well, I am pretty confident it is a Colocasia, I mean Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. It looks nothing like what I expected, though. I expected it to look like a bulb similar to the Colocasia esculents judging from the bulb that grew from the ‘Thailand Giant’ I grew last year. It looks similar to the rhizomes that grow from my Colocasia esculenta only MUCH, MUCH larger.

 

PREVIOUSLY…

Previously, I had bought a Colocasia gigantea from Wellspring Gardens as a starter plant in 2009. Then, in 2012, I bought a ‘Thailand Giant’ from him. The first one died after a week or so and he promptly replaced it free of charge. I didn’t complain, I just told him it died and I was going to buy another one. The above photo was taken on April 15, 2012.

 

I put them both in a larger pot after they arrived. He said they don’t like a lot of water when they are small. Who would have thought that from a Colocasia? I followed his advice and the second did fine. This photo was taken on June 11, 2012.

 

After it grew a little larger I planted in the ground. I took this photo of the ‘Thailand Giant’ in the backyard of the mansion on September 24, 2012. It didn’t grow that large, though. Not near as big as any of the Colocasia esculenta.

THEN…

This is the plant I bought from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 20, 2017. It was MUCH larger than the starter plants I had bought from Wellspring.

 

The above photo was taken on September 23 with 4 flowers. It went on to produce 6 flowers from one petiole… No wonder this plants name was changed back to Leucocasia gigantea. The flowers are typical aroid but none of my Colocasia esculenta or any of my Alocasia produce flowers in a cluster like that. Well, my Alocasia lauterbachiana did do something weird, too.

 

It grew to almost 6 feet tall by the time we had our first frost. Its biggest leaf grew to nearly 48″ long x almost 36″ wide. I have seen many photos online of the ‘Thailand Giant’ growing to at least 10 feet tall. It isn’t uncommon for its leaves to grow 4 to 6 feet long x 3 to 5 feet wide.

 

By the time we had our first frost, it had produced 6 flowers from one petiole and three from another.

 

When I dug the bulb, it measured around 5″ in diameter.

The seller’s listing said he gets his bulbs from a “supplier” and they are from the Wellspring Gardens strain… Well, I suppose that means his supplier’s original plants came from Wellspring Gardens. There are many websites online that sell “Colocasia gigantea” ‘Thailand Giant’ but they are plants. I have not seen any bulbs of this plant except from the listings from the seller I bought mine from on Ebay… Click HERE for a link to his listing. Yeah, I know. Technically they aren’t called bulbs.

I took photos of the Colocasia esculenta and Amorphophallus bulbs today. I put the Caladium bulbs in a pot and repotted the Calla. I also planted the smaller Colocasia esculenta bulbs along the north side of the chicken house. I worked a while on the Canna bed and hope to work on it more today. I would say tomorrow, but right now it is almost 2 AM on Wednesday so it is already tomorrow. 🙂 Maybe I can also plant the rest of the Colocasia and the ‘Thailand Giant’. It is going to take a getting used to calling it Leucocasia gigantea.

So, until next time, stay well, be positive, and as always GET DIRTY!

SUPRISE! SUPRISE! Names Change When We Aren’t Looking!

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well! I wanted to share a couple interesting name changes with you. One I completely was shocked about but the other not so much. I have rewritten this post many times because I kept rambling on and on. I will try and make this short and to the point.

While I was making the last post, I attached links to the plant names I mentioned to their pages in the right column of the blog. I knew I needed to update most of the pages I had published from January through October 2017 because most of them still mentioned The Plant List as a reference. After that, I started using Plants of the World Online by Kew because The Plant List hadn’t been maintained since 2013.

I had also started adding links for further information at the bottom of the pages and attaching a link to the author’s names to their Wikipedia page. Some of the botanists who named and described plants have a very interesting history. Well, at least I found it interesting.

ANYWAY, as I was attaching the link to the plant’s pages, I realized I had to go back and make sure their pages were updated. Now, when I wrote originally their pages, I made sure their scientific names were correct and updated. In late October last year, when I found out about the new Plants of the World Online, I went back and made sure all the names were correct, MANY had changed just since January. GEEZ! I am starting to ramble AGAIN.

At the bottom of every page I have been attaching a link to Plants of the World Online about the genus and species… Most of the plant names on the last post were the same except for two…

First, when I went to add the link to the Coleus ‘Spiced Curry’. I went to Plants of the World Online, typed in Plectranthus scutellarioides (which was the last accepted scientific name for the Coleus), and POWO said that name was NOW a synonym of Coleus scutellarioides. I thought Plants of the World had lost their mind! That was the name applied to the species in 1830! OK, the Coleus we all know and love has had MANY scientific names. Carl Linnaeus described the species as Ocimum scutellarioides in the second edition of Species Plantarum in 1763. Since then, the name has changed several times using the original name as a basionym. Not to mention all the other names given to the species by other botanists that were later found out to be synonyms. POWO currently lists 57 synonyms and the 2013 version of The Plant List named 66. You could read all about the names on my Coleus scutellarioides page, but it isn’t updated yet. 🙂 The first scientific name I was familiar with for the Coleus was Solenostemon scutellarioides. Then, after I started using The Plant List, I found out the name had changed back to Plectranthus scutellarioides. Even the family name had changed.

When a species has had MANY names, it is no shock when it changes again. Botanists continue to be in disagreement and any plant databases author’s can choose whatever name they choose. That sounds strange, but it is true. I can even choose to use the name applied by Carl von Linnaeus in 1763 since it was the original name for my blog if I choose.

The shock really came when I went to update the Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ page. I went to Plants of the World Online, attached the Link for the genus Colocasia but when I went to find the species name, it was not on the list. Now, that really confused me. How could Colocasia gigantea not be on the list? It was there before! Maybe I hadn’t checked before since the page was originally written earlier, before October 2017, and every other database and information online said Colocasia gigantea was the accepted name.

SO, I went back to the POWO home page and typed in Colocasia gigantea. LOW AND BEHOLD it said that name was a synonym of Leucocasia gigantea. I thought they had really lost their mind then! Apparently, a genetic test had been done, and they found out this species was more closely related to Alocasia than Colocasia. Since there were other “unique” characteristics, they returned it back to Leucocasia gigantea like it had been named in 1857. This species was first named Caladium giganteum in 1823. Now it is in a genus all by itself.

At least the, ummm, Leucocasia gigantea change has testing to back up the change. I have no idea why the Coleus name changed AGAIN and I have found no evidence of any testing. I sent an email to Rafael Goverts, the top the editor of Plants of the World Online and many other Kew resources, to quiz him a little. He accepted the name Plectranthus scutellarioides on the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families but it clearly says he did not accept the name Coleus scutellarioides in 1999 and 2003. Even the current biography on the Coleus scutellarioides page on POWO says he didn’t approve. So, how is it that they say it is now the accepted name? 

Well, Mr. Goverts is currently at the Chelsea Flower Show so I won’t hear back from him until he gets back. 

I will go ahead and update the Colocasia gigantea page because of the testing but I will wait for his reply before changing the Coleus pages AGAIN.

SOOOOO, until next time. Stay well, be positive, etc. and GET DIRTY!

The Tour Part 1: The North Bed 2013-May 19, 2018

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I thought I better get this post finished. Truthfully, I have started this post many times and even changed the name.

I didn’t know where to go with it. Currently, there isn’t much to show and I have barely gotten started. I have been busy with this and that and the fences. I decided to share a few photos of the yard and beds from the beginning when I moved back to the farm in 2013. Kind of the highlights.

One thing I need you to keep in mind is that I get behind weeding. I don’t have a well-manicured yard or well-kept beds. Mississippi was a different story. I had plenty of time there and the mansion was on one of the main streets in the historic district. It wasn’t perfect and was always a work in progress. I think that is the same with everyone, though. Our yards, beds, and gardens are always a work in progress.

The above photo was taken on May 6 (2018) of our house and yard. It was just beginning to green up well.

 

When I moved back here, I think on February 22 in 2013, there was already plenty of snow. A good friend helped me move from Mississippi and it was in the 30’s the entire 8-9 hour trip. We ran into snow about 2 hours away near Springfield. It was around 8 PM when we arrived at my parent’s home. It was dark and snowing a little still. Thomas and I unloaded the plants I brought with me and took them to the basement. Some that would be OK were left in the garage (because they were dormant). Everything else I brought was unloaded in the garage so Thomas could be on his way.

 

The above two photos were taken on March 2 in 2013. Dad was 82 at the time and mom was going to turn 81 on April 20. I was glad to be back on the farm and truthfully I have no idea where I would have went if he hadn’t asked me to move back. I had just sold the mansion and I had A LOT of plants. When dad asked me to move back, I told him I had a lot of plants. He said, “Yeah.” I know he had no idea and he couldn’t hardly hear what I was saying on the phone.

After I arrived he told me I could do whatever I wanted. GEEZ! He was the third person that told me that. None of them had any clue what they had said.

 

THE BED ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE HOUSE…

Naturally, as the temperatures started warming up my wheels began turning. I brought my old spade with me from Mississippi, plus dad had a shovel, and my hands were anxious to get around the handle and my fingers were itching to get into the dirt. The last time my hands were in the dirt in this location was when I had a garden here in the early 1980’s. Dad’s house is where one of grandpa’s gardens had been that I took over after he passed away. Yeah, things were really different than before and I had a new challenge.

This area receives morning and late afternoon sun. It is a perfect spot for plants that like a good amount of light but need protection from midday sun.

 

Conoclinium coelestinum ‘Aunt Inez’ on September 6, 2014.

Right off the bat, dad told me I couldn’t dig in the area on either side of the steps. He said he had flowers there that were from Aunt Inez. Aunt Inez was his mother’s sister. Sure enough, they started coming up from seed they had self-sown. By the time they had started growing good and started budding, I realized they were Hardy Ageratum, Blue Mistflower (or whatever you want to call them). They have continued coming up every year although I have only seen one so far this year. They grew very tall in 2017 and flopped over so most of their seeds may be in the grass. I made a mistake and didn’t cut their stems off and lay them in the bed last fall. That is the only thing I did differently and that won’t happen again. This may be a mistake that will be hard to correct with just one plant coming up.

 

Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) on the right side of the north bed on June 11, 2013.

I was very glad to see that dad had moved the Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) from the bed behind the old foundation to this bed. I bought their descendants from Bluestone Perennials after I moved to the farm in 1981.

These plants make a great groundcover but you do have to keep an eye out for crown rot especially when they get really thick. I think I am going to move a few to where they will get more sun to see how they do. This soil stays damp longer on the north side of the house and doesn’t drain well in the winter.

 

The flower bed on the north side of the house on June 12, 2014.

Hmmm… 2014. Oh yeah. This is the spring I moved one of the clumps of Achillea millefolium (Fern Leaf Yarrow) I brought from Mississippi to the north bed. I added the Astilbe with no label, Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’, Agastache ‘Black Adder’, a few Coleus, and other miscellaneous plants I can’t remember right off the top of my head. Oh, yeah! I put a Lavandula angustifolia ‘Platinum Blond’ between the Coleus. I had bought the Coleus from Harrison Greenhouse and they were unlabeled. They grew MUCH larger than I expected and the next thing I knew the Lavandula had disappeared. Well, I had gotten busy on the farm and with other things and completely missed it was in trouble.

The Achillea doesn’t like it here and keeps moving farther away from the house every year. All by itself. I promised it I would move it where it will get more sun, probably back to the south side. I am also eyeballing a spot by the barn for the Achillea or maybe some Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon.’

 

Bed on the north side of the house on October 3, 2015.

In 2015 I had found a Salvia elegans (Pineapple Sage) from Wagler’s Greenhouse and it was the highlight of the north bed. I had also moved the Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ to this bed which spread so well I started moving it to other beds as well. I am going to put a few back in the south bed this year. I always plant a few Coleus in this bed and they always do very well.

 

Salvia elegans (Pineapple Sage) on October 18, 2015.

The Pineapple Sage has awesome red flowers and a nice scent. It is also a hummingbird magnet.

 

Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ by the porch on the north side of the house on October 3, 2015.

I also transplanted a Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ that didn’t have variegated leaves on the left side of the porch. They always look great in mass plantings, but as a specimen they are AWESOME!

 

Conoclinium coelestinum ‘Aunt Inez’ and Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ next to the steps on the north side. This photo was taken on September 3, 2016.

In 2016 I put a few more Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon on the north side. There are always a few that come up without variegated leaves that I separate from the others so I put them here.

 

Colocasia esculenta in the north bed on October 27, 2016.

2016 was the first year I planted the Colocasia esculenta in the north bed. I had been planting the bigger bulbs in front of the chicken house but they seemed to be getting smaller there. Smaller is NOT a good thing when it comes to Elephant Ears. They did AWESOME in the north bed.

Of course, as always, a few more Coleus. I really like the cultivar called ‘Dipt In Wine’. The red flowers are Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage).

 

Bed on the north side of the house on July 30, 2017.

I found a Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ at Wildwood Greenhouse in 2017 which I planted next to the porch. I also FINALLY found a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ I put in the corner behind the ‘Thailand Giant’. I had wanted a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ for this spot for a long time but they were generally pretty expensive online. I found one at the Green Street Market (a great garden center) in Clinton but I didn’t want to pay $20.00. Luckily, I found a smaller pot at the Muddy Creek Nursery locally for half the price.

 

Colocasia esculenta and Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ (on the left) at 67″ tall on October 8, 2017.

The two Colocasia esculenta on the right were already bigger than the ‘Thailand Giant’ when I brought it home. Once it caught up with the other two, they were neck in neck the rest of the season. The Coleus ‘Spiced Curry’ was also a beautiful plant. I had also put a Lavandula dentata (French Lavender) next to the corner post of the porch.

I stored the Colocasia in the basement for the winter and they were all doing fine until recently. I noticed the ‘Thailand Giant’ rotted. I found a listing on Ebay so I ordered a bulb. It should be here this week and I will plant it in this same spot along with the two larger Colocasia esculenta. I may move them farther to the right so they will be in the center of the bed. The seller said he sent me one that weighed a pound so it may get REALLY HUGE! 🙂

 

The left side of the porch on May 18, 2018.

Well, it certainly doesn’t look like much now. As I mentioned above, the Conoclinium coelestinum ‘Aunt Inez’ is not looking good. I amend the soil on both sides of the steps every year because it gets hard as a brick. One year I completely dug up the soil and removed it and added new and it goes right back to the way it was. It’s like the new soil disappears and now there is a sunk in spot. Hopefully, more will come up besides just one. I have watered the area because it was so dry and thought maybe the additional water would soften the soil somewhat.

 

The right side of the porch on the north side of the house on May 18, 2018.

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is looking really good but I think it needs to be moved farther away from the corner. I am going to move the Achillea where it will get more sun, too. The Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ (Creeping Jenny) continues to travel. I have already added an Agastache ‘Kudos Gold’ next to the corner post.

 

The right side of the north bed on May 18, 2018.

The entire north bed needs to be more elevated to allow for better drainage but that chore will be for another time perhaps. I just have to learn to stop planting perennials that need good winter drainage to survive.

When I started this post it was going to be about all the beds around the house. Well, it became too long so I thought I better finish it in part 2. I hope you enjoyed this little journey in time. It’s all a work in progress. We learn as we grow what works well in certain areas and what doesn’t. I have realized that when labels and information say full sun to part shade the plants will do their best somewhere in between, especially during the heat of the summer. The north bed is that somewhere in between.

It may sound strange, and I do consider this my home, but something is definitely missing. I know what it is… I think I long for a tropical climate without winter.

Until next time, stay well, be positive, get out and enjoy nature, and GET DIRTY!

#7! It’s A Heifer!

Hello folks! When I got up this morning I saw a calf sleeping on the wrong side of the fence. It had been sprinkling for quite a while and was still at it. I am not really fond of cold water, so I didn’t go out to get the calf back where it belonged. I couldn’t tell which calf it was at first because it was always sleeping. Then, one time, its head was up but I could only see half. It looked like #6.

Dad came in and sat down in the dining room and said we had a new calf. I didn’t argue with him because maybe he was right. It is always amazing to me how dad knows what is going on with the cows when he can only see very little of the pasture in three small areas. He doesn’t get off the porch unless we go to town.

Finally, it stopped sprinkling and I went out to see if I could get the calf back where it belonged. I didn’t understand why #6 would have been across the fence AGAIN since she already tangled with it pretty good. Normally when they get a good zap they don’t bother it again.

I knew I had to be cautious and not get in a hurry because if you scare a sleeping a calf, they take off running and have no idea where they are going. The calf was laying down so I had to make a little noise so it would wake up and get up without being startled.

It got up and started walking toward the corner of the fence slowly so I moved in behind it. We got around the corner and it turned around and faced me and I was able to pet it. Finally, I saw its face. I said, “Wait a minute, are you #6 or what?’ Momma was on the other side of the fence and she said, “Have you lost your mind? Do I look like Fatty?”

Maybe you are wondering who Fatty is now. Late last summer I was looking at the cows and there was one that was looking HUGE. She had gotten so large, even her face didn’t look like one of our cows. For a while, I thought maybe one of the neighbor’s cows got in with ours. I counted and there wasn’t an extra. So, I started referring to her as Fatty although I never called her that to her face. I would definitely never call anyone fat let alone give the cow that name. So, I think I need to have a chat with her to come up with a better name. Any suggestions?

 

After the calf walked under the electric fence with no problem, momma and baby started walking fairly fast. I stepped over the fence because I needed to get some photos if this was a new calf. Then I saw 100% proof this was a new calf. The afterbirth.

 

They walked around to where the rest of the cows were and there to greet the new arrival was #6. She said, “Hey, sis! You look like me.” #7 replied, “I already know. The human already thought I was you.”

 

#6 told her she had a black spot above her nose and the “human” should be able to tell the difference.

 

Then #5 came up to greet the new girl.

 

This is the whole gang so far. Nine cows, four heifer calves, and three bull calves. All are doing well. There are still two cows to go, but personally, I think the heifer lost her calf because she is no longer looks pregnant. I was never really sure about the other one either, so seven may be all the calves we get.

 

Father up in the pasture I could see what I thought was turkeys. I zoomed in and saw they were Turkey Vultures instead.

 

Later in the afternoon…

I went out to check on the cows and new calf about 3 in the afternoon. Momma and the new calf were laying down while the calf was taking a nap. Momma heard me coming and turned around then got up. The calf woke up and turned to look at me, too.

 

I started rubbing the calf on its back then it tried to stand up a few times. She was to tired to stand.

 

The mother didn’t mind me rubbing her new daughter a little at first.

 

Then she decided enough was enough. So, I got up and did a little weeding.

That’s it for this post. Another one is on the way. I better get it finished because several I was working on are already outdated.

Until next time, stay well, be positive, and GET DIRTY!

Project Echinacea purpurea. Finally!

Hello folks! I hope this finds you all well. I finally did it! Since I came back here in 2013, I have been eye-balling the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) in front of the sign of a business on the corner of County Line Road and 52 Highway. When I first came back, the building was not being used but a couple of years ago a business moved in. Actually, I think a business was there before the one now but it didn’t last long. GEEZ! It was originally a bank in the early 1980’s and before that, it was a pasture. Afer the bank it was a clinic, then the clinic moved uptown (where an old theater turned apartment building once was).

Where was I? Oh, yeah. The Echinacea. Anyway, I devised a plan to take them a couple dozen eggs as a bribe for a few plants. I figured they may have been renting the building and would tell me that the plants weren’t theirs. Anyway, this afternoon I went with two dozen eggs and went inside. A lady came up to me and I told her I bought her a couple dozen eggs. She smiled and said, “Oh, eggs!” I explained they were a bribe for a few of the Coneflower in front of the sign. As expected, she said they weren’t hers but said she guessed it would be OK. I told her I would tidy up the bed and remove the old flowers from last year. I told her no one would even notice I removed a few. So, after dinner, I went back when I had time to see what I could do.

 

I took my camera to take a “before” shot of the bed in front of the sign. The bed not only had LOTS of Echinacea (hundreds), it had several other intruders as well. A few thorny vines, a couple of little trees, etc. I removed all that and the old stems from last year. I told her I would only take 3-4… Well, not actually knowing how these plants spread or the condition of the bed, I guess I shouldn’t have told her 3 or 4 plants… I have never grown Echinacea and the only other time I was around them was at my brother’s home in Minnesota which were grown in different conditions. They weren’t forced to grow through a few slits.

This bed, as I suspected even before I saw it, was covered with a fabric mulch then with bark. The Echinacea was growing only on one end and had been planted in slits in the fabric and no telling how many plants are under the fabric wanting to get out. Anyway, I removed three clumps and went to the car. Then I remembered I forgot to take a “before and after” photo. 🙂

 

When I returned home I separated the clumps. I put three plants in the southeast corner bed on the south side of the house.

 

Then I put three more in the northeast corner bed by the back porch. I made this bed last year for the Monarda (Bee Balm) I found at a garden club plant sale. (Plus I needed another place for the ever-multiplying ‘Brocade Marigolds). So, I thought this would be a good place. It has that old weird red dirt, but maybe they won’t mind. Well, it surprised me, but that dirt seems to grow plants pretty well. It doesn’t seem to drain well in the winter, though. It needs to be amended or replaced with “the good stuff” and elevated. Oh, yeah… I have a plan as usual.

Purple Coneflower are great plants and the Finches love their seeds. They also make great companions for Rudbeckia fulgida and hirta (Black and Brown-Eyed Susans), etc. Of course, Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs for the immune system. There are also many cultivars, two of which I tried last year that didn’t return.

I took the rest (first two photos) and put them in the top level of the bed behind the old foundation in the “other yard”.

I am trying to find more plants that successfully overwinter here instead of just “supposed to” overwinter. Maybe I should bring Jimson Weed, dock (or whatever it is), Mullen, and Wild Parsley into the beds. Just kidding.

I have taken AAAAA LLLLOOOOTTTT of photos for posts and the pages to the right. I keep taking more photos for the yard and bed tour, which will take several posts. The problem is, right now the beds don’t look so good. OK, that is the biggest understatement of the week. I know what exaggerate means, but what is the opposite?

I have not done much work in the beds yet because I have been working on the fence and fence rows. Ummm… No, I don’t want to take a photo. I like taking photos of things that are interesting and of plants and certainly not of what I am about to tackle. You have no idea and right now I would like to keep it that way (but it concerns a fence).

I just deleted two paragraphs! Now I need to do a page about the Echinacea purpurea (Eastern Purple Coneflower). I still have LOTS of pages to add to the right and… 🙂 But you know what? One day leads to another which leads to right now. I am not behind even though I used to think so. Everything on my to-do list wanted top priority so I stopped making a to-do list. I feel MUCH better now. 🙂

Well, I better close this post. I hope you all had a great week and have a great week ahead. Stay well, be safe, stay positive, etc. Don’t forget to get as dirty as you can whenever you get a chance. It’s very good for you in more ways than one!

#6! It’s A Heifer. Plus Unwanted Visitors…

Hello folks! I hope this finds you all well. Yesterday morning the cows and geese were having some issues. It’s hard to imagine, but our cows do not like geese. A few years ago a pair of Canadian Geese from the park (next door) brought their young to the farm and it didn’t work out so well. The cows went NUTS and attacked the goslings, killing most of them. I tried to get them separated but that proved not to be a good idea and nearly impossible. I had never seen the cows behave this way before and thought maybe it was because of the noise the goslings made.

Yesterday morning when I heard the cows and geese in a dispute, I thought the same ordeal was happening again. By the time I got outside the geese had moved away from the cows and were heading around the pond. There were no goslings, dead or alive.

All the cows were under the mulberry tree south of the pond except for one. She had been staying away from the other cows for a couple of days and I knew she was getting close. Yesterday morning she was behind the chicken house.

 

I went to check on her and saw the calf’s feet were already sticking out. I went ahead and gave the chickens fresh water then went back inside the house to tell dad the news.

I went back out to watch the cow because I wanted to get some photos of her giving birth for the blog…

 

By the time I returned she had already had the calf. I didn’t stay long because momma didn’t want me there. I did check and saw the calf was a heifer.

 

Later on in the afternoon, momma and baby were doing well.

 

Lisa mentioned #4 looking like Spanky’s dog, well this one does too. 🙂

 

 

 

The two pair of geese hung around all day. Every time they would get close to each other, the dominant gander would chase the other pair off then the male and female would squawk in victory. I think the noise is what annoyed the cows before.

 

A little later I was up by the barn and the geese were walking next to the east side of the pond. There was one cow nursing where they were but she didn’t make any move against them because the geese were quiet. Then, all the sudden, the geese started honking and flew past the cow. The cow let out a LONG MOO as they flew past her and most of the other cows mooed, too.

This morning around 5:30 momma cow was not happy. The new calf was laying down next to the chicken house on the wrong side of the fence. Despite momma demanding her little girl to come back where she belonged, the calf would not budge. She didn’t know what all the fuss was about. She probably she was the one that should be complaining because of the zap she got when she went under the fence. I hesitated going out to put the calf where she belonged and figured she would eventually go back on her own. Then I got to thinking since the fencer is reading 16.0, the calf may not want to go back. So, I went out, half asleep, to see what I could do.

I went to the farthest post to raise the wire and the heifer got up and ran through the fence like she had been shot. Shot, because as soon as she hit the fence, it broke and she fell to the ground. She didn’t get up right away, though, and I could hear the fence snapping on the ground. Being half asleep, I reached down and picked up the hot wire… Oddly, I could barely feel it. I touched one of the posts with the wire and it popped pretty good, just as you would expect for a reading of 16.0. I thought something must be screwy with the fence again. I went ahead and temporarily put the fence together and went in to check the fencer. It was still reading 16.0 so I unplugged it and finished fixing the fence.

It was very strange how I was barely getting zapped then I realized I had on rubber boots instead of my work boots?

That’s it for now besides we are finally getting some rain. It sprinkled a little earlier but not to amount to anything. At about 5:45 it started raining along with a little hail. At 6:25 the rain slowed down to a few sprinkles.

Until next time, stay well, be positive, proper and GET DIRTY!