Being Thankful…

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. Yesterday morning I was awakened by high wind, thundering, and pouring rain. I think it is called a thunderstorm. 🙂 It rained a little a few days ago, around 1/4″, but there was barely any breeze with it and I wasn’t at home when it happened. Anyway, somehow 1/4″ appeared in my rain gauge.

Remember I had to move the potted plants to the front porch because of the Japanese Beetles? They are doing very well here. The front of the house faces west but there two maple trees in the front yard that give shade from late afternoon sun.

Some have asked why there are bricks around the pots. I started doing that a long time ago so the wind won’t blow the pots over or out into the yard.


At first, I didn’t want to get out of bed to see the plants without bricks blown away. When I did take a look I saw that they were fine.



Even the two very small empty pots on the railing were still sitting where I had left them. All that wind and they are still sitting there. 🙂


The rain wasn’t over and we continued getting a few showers throughout the day and evening.


The rain was a great blessing and we really needed it.


I went to the back porch and saw that even the pots on the potting table were still where I left them the night before.


The bowls I mix soil in were nearly full of water.



The Alocasia ‘Portora’ was smiling with her leaves waving in the breeze. I still need some bigger pots so I can separate the four or five plants in this pot. I think that’s why they are so small.


As of yesterday around noon, we had received around 2 3/4 of an inch. It rained off and on since then but still hasn’t made the 3-inch mark.

All is well and we have a lot to be thankful for. The cows, calves, chickens, and cats are all well. The plants are doing great for the most part. The Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ in the shade bed succumbed to the additional light caused by the Japanese Beetles eating the leaves on the trees. I expected that and was thinking about moving the plant but didn’t get it done in time. It may not be too late to save it so I better give it a shot. I don’t know that much about Bugloss. The two purple Gomphrena didn’t make it, but the white-flowered plants are making up for their loss.

Well, it’s time to get up and get busy for the day. I am finished with my morning coffee now.

Until next time, stay well, positive, be safe and I hope you have a great rest of your day. As always, get DIRTY!

Miracle of Nature! Night Blooming Cereus

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing very well. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to tend the plants, cats, and chickens on my cousin and his wife’s farm while they were away. She asked me to come by on the 7th so she could show me what needed to be done. Dad and I had been thinking about stopping by for a visit for a long time but had never gotten around to it. She has a lot of very nice plants in beds and planters and I was more than happy to take care of them while they were away.


One of their plants was a Night Blooming Cereus. A fellow blogger shared photos of her Night Blooming Cereus with me back in 2013 but it was not this plant. So, when I came back home I looked Night Blooming Cereus online to see what I could find out. According to the Wikipedia, there are several plants that are known by this name.


When I went back after they had left the buds were getting bigger.


She told me they only bloom at night after it gets dark…


The buds just grow right out of the side of the leaves. How weird is that?


Then on the 16th, I saw one of the buds had opened during the night.


The other buds looked like they may open up that night.


I decided I would go later and stay until they opened up even if I had to stay all night.


So, I went later and found they had returned home. We went to look at the Night Blooming Cereus to see what they looked like. The above photo was taken at 9:49 PM. We went inside and visited for a while then at about 10:40 she went outside to check.


She came back inside and said they had opened. So, we went back outside to have a look.  I had no idea how the photos would turn out, but I was going to take a few anyway. I raised the flash and started shooting. I could tell as I was taking photos that they “may” turn out good but I wouldn’t really know until I uploaded the photos on the computer.


She shined the flashlight on one of the flowers in case that would help a little. At the time I thought they looked better without the flashlight on, but that photo looks pretty neat.


Honestly, I have seen a lot of pretty neat flowers, but the Night Blooming Cereus is without a doubt on the top of the list. The flowers are very sweet smelling!


The above photo was also taken with the flashlight shining on a flower.


As I was taking photos, I was trying to think of a word to describe these flowers. There is no one single word. Photo’s don’t even capture how AWESOME they are.


It looks like a flower coming out of a flower.


She broke off a couple of flowers and gave them to me. She wouldn’t have done that if they lasted longer than one night.


So, when I came home I quickly took a few more photos. I didn’t know how long they would stay open.




It’s a good thing I took the photos when I did because within an hour or so they had shriveled up. The scent of the flowers filled the room for hours.

So, I went online and found out the scientific name for this particular Night Blooming Cereus is Epiphyllum oxypetalum. According to Plants of the World Online, they are native to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Gulf, Southeast and Southwest Mexico, and Nicaragua. They were later introduced to Northeast Brazil, South and Southeast Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Leeward Island, Puerto Rico, Venezuelan Antilles, and Windward Island.


Epiphyllum oxypetalum (DC.) Haw. 

Epiphyllum oxypetalum was named and described by Adrian Hardy Haworth in the Philosophical Magazine in 1829. It was first named Cereus oxypetalus by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle and first described by him in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis in 1828. Since then it has been given 10 other scientific names. Besides there being 10 synonyms of this species, there are also 10 other accepted species in the genus which are members of the Cactaceae Family.

The Epiphyllum genus was actually named and first described by Mr. Haworth in Synopsis Plantarum Succulentarum in 1812.

To me, it kind of resembles a HUGE Christmas Cactus. That leads to another genus that had also previously been named Epiphyllum by another botanist, Louis (Ludwig) Karl George Pfeiffer. Somehow, Mr. Pfeiffer had named another group of plants with the same genus name in 1837 and gave the description in Enumeratio Diagnostica Cactearum. That genus was then named Schlumbergera by (Antoine) Charles Lemaire as described in L’Illustration Horticole in 1858. Schlumbergera is the genus of Christmas cacti with 9 accepted species… 

This species of Night Blooming Cereus is also known as Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus, Queen of the Night, and Gooseneck Cactus. It is the most popular Night Blooming Cereus.

They are a large epiphytic cactus that can grow up to 20’ in nature and its branches can grow up to 36” long. Flowers can be up to 11” in length and 5” wide. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I enjoyed the opportunity to witness this AWESOME and AMAZING plant in person. The links below will give you a little more information if you want to read about the Epiphyllum oxypetalum.

Plants of the World Online
Llifle (Encyclopedia of Life)
Dave’s Garden

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

Re-potting The Amorphophallus

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. My neck of the woods has been very hot and dry. We did manage to squeeze 1/4 inch of rain out of a cloud a couple of days ago and it rained a little more or less in surrounding areas. It was a very spotty system.

I am going to talk about my Amorphophallus in this post. That sounded a little weird. Anyway, if you want to read about this plant from the time it was given to me by Mrs. Wagler, you can go to its own page HERE.

The Amorphophallus was still dormant when I took the potted plants outside for the summer. Well, maybe I should back up a little. As soon as the temperatures started getting a little cooler last summer, the Amorphophallus went dormant. Even before I moved the plants inside for the winter. A month or so after that, I dug around in the top few inches of the pot and found nothing but the Oxalis bulbs. Then spring came and I put the plants outside. In an earlier post, on May 24, I had written about finding a few Amorphophallus bulbs, etc. Well, as time went by, there were more than I had originally found. In all, by the time they stopped coming up, there were eleven. At least I think they have finished coming up.

This spring I probably should have added new potting soil to this pot. Last year I transplanted them into a larger pot and added Miracle Grow or Schultz Potting Soil which has timed-release fertilizer. This spring, I didn’t add any new potting soil to this pot, so it is a high probability there was no fertilizer left. As the plants grew their leaves were not the healthy dark green they were last summer. I supposed that may be the result of not enough nutrients.

One mistake I made this spring, and I am ONLY going to tell you about one, was buying a HUGE bag of potting soil from an Amish greenhouse. It had nothing to do with Amish so you can scratch that word if you like. It was just a big bag of commercial potting soil and is probably the kind they all use. Their plants always looked so good, so I figured it must be good potting soil. When I first opened the bag it has WAY MORE perlite than Miracle Grow or Schulz. After a while, I realized I kind of sorta screwed up a little. So, a couple of weeks ago I went to Lowe’s and bought a big bag of Sta-Green potting soil with fertilizer. Why did I buy Sta-Green instead of Miracle Grow? Well, the bag was somewhat bigger for one thing. Even so, all potting soil is definitely not created equal. Every brand is a little different and even more so if you live in other states. From the top of my head, if you live in California, Georgia, Idaho, etc., the ingredients are slightly different. The Sta-Green brand doesn’t have as much perlite which was fine because I have extra. I liked the Schultz brand because it doesn’t have the big chunks of bark that Miracle Grow does, which was better for cactus and succulents. I use 2 parts of potting soil with 1 part chicken grit and 1 part perlite for cactus and succulents. The “experts” recommend using pumice instead of perlite for cactus and succulents, but I have not found any pumice locally. The bag of potting soil I bought from the greenhouse has so much perlite I only added chicken grit. Earlier, I also bought a bag of organic potting soil from Dollar General that had a hole in it. They sold it to me at a discounted price I couldn’t pass up. It is AWESOME and I mix it with the other potting soil for plants that needed more organic material that would decompose.

I could write a whole post about potting soil but this post is supposed to be about the Amorphophallus.

I moved the Amorphophallus and Calla to the side porch on July 2 after the Japanese Beetle attack. The light behind the shed completely changed and I didn’t want the beetles chewing on their leaves.

On July 16 I decided to do something about all the Amorphophallus plants in this pot. I have no idea if this is “allowed” or not at this time of the year, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. I am not an Aroid expert, so I have a good excuse if I screw up.


Common sense just seems to tell me there are too many plants in this pot. Total, besides the Oxalis, there are 11. The Oxalis didn’t appreciate being moved to the side porch in more sun.


When a plant is in a pot you can’t see what its root system looks like, of course. You never know if there aren’t many roots and all the soil falls off, or if there are a lot of roots and everything comes out nice and clean. In the above photo, you can see there are plenty of roots and everything came out perfectly well.

Then the question was, “Ummm…?” I lightly pulled on the stems on one of the smaller plants and it was in there pretty good… So, I realized this was not going to be as easy and I thought. Sometimes smaller plants with not much of a root system will pull right out, as with Alocasia.


These little guys were anchored in pretty good! I accidentally broke the first one off. So, I started running my fingers through the roots to see if I could get them separated and get the plants loosened up a bit so I could pull them out. I was also surprised how deep some of their bulbs were. No wonder I didn’t find them before!


The second one came out better. The third one had even more roots!


Some of their roots were so long that they had to be broken off a little to get the plants out. Normally it is OK to trim the roots anyway since they will go back. It is a lot easier to trim the rooms than try and put them all in the pot. I used to not trim the roots, but after so many years of re-potting plants, I learned it is perfectly fine and doesn’t hurt the plants. They don’t bleed.


After I separated all the smaller plants, I left the two bigger Amorphophallus together just like they were in the beginning (as I bought them in 2017).


I also left the Oxali triangularis subsp. papilionaceae in the pot where it had always been.


Ummm… I found another mystery bulb. Well, it doesn’t exactly look like the Amorphophallus bulbs did in the spring, but this is likely from the stem I broke off in the beginning.


I found this Oxalis bulb so I put it back in the soil. I added fresh soil with timed-release fertilizer to the big pot amended with a little more perlite and organic potting soil.


Looks like a big happy family to me…


So, after starting with two plants in 2017, there are now eleven…


I put the mystery bulb in its own pot, even though it is likely to be the Amorphophallus that broke off. The stem with no roots or bulb is likely not going to make it, so it will still make a total of eleven. I put the stem with no roots in a pot anyway to see what happens. It would be weird if it actually grew roots, then there will be 12.

That’s it for this post. My next one will be about what I saw Monday night at almost 11 PM. It was AWESOME!!!

Stay well, safe, positive and GET DIRTY!

Trying Out A New Potting Area, Etc.

Abandon plant and potting area behind the shed.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you well and enjoying our nice weather. I have to say nice even though it is plenty hot here. I have to keep it positive, you know. It could be worse and be -40 with 3 feet of snow.

The Japanese Beetle invasion left me a little bewildered for a while. I am normally very positive and enjoy life as it comes. I don’t worry even though I could, and maybe should sometimes. I think it is called avoidant personality disorder. Well, the mental health folks had to come up with a disorder to describe people who are positive minded, don’t worry, and realize most everything will work out just fine without getting worried or pissed off. We accept everyone has a right to their own opinion and find plenty of common ground. (Even though we know we know we are always right, we don’t rub it in. 🙂 )

Where was I? Oh yeah. I think I have said “What the hell!” more times in the past two weeks than ever before. If I had a psychiatrist they would tell me I am making progress. I had one of those moments today. NO! I had two! One this afternoon and one at about 12:30 AM. Oh, Crap! It is now 1:02 AM and I am just starting this post. It is already tomorrow! Oh well, that just means it is another day already and I don’t have to wait until I get up to start.


Alocasia ‘Portora’ on the potting table.

My sister and niece came down so I asked her if she could help me do something. She said, “Sure” without even knowing what I wanted. Then she asked. I told her I needed help moving the potting table and she asked where I was going to put it. I told her I didn’t know but had a couple of ideas. I went outside and looked at the options AGAIN (!). There were no good ones but I knew I didn’t want to leave the table where it was behind the shed. I would have too many of those “WHAT THE HELL” moments with no shade and all the dead leaves on the ground and constantly falling.

I decided the best place was on the back deck. I had to remove all the pots from the shelf and sweep all the dead leaves and beetle poop off the table. Then I stood the table on its end and then on its top and drug it to the back porch. I didn’t want my sister carrying it all that way.

After they left, I decided to try the new spot out. There are several plants that need to be re-potted, but I thought I better start with the pot that needed working on the most. A few days earlier I had gone to Wagler’s Greenhouse to see if they had some good sized pots for several Alocasia plants because I had run out of bigger pots. After all, I was going to take the plants to them anyway. Unfortunately, the pots I brought home weren’t big enough… I used to have plenty of pots! Where did they all go? Oh, yeah… I put plants in them and gave them away.


So, this afternoon, or yesterday afternoon since it is tomorrow already, I decided to put a few empty pots on the table and bring up a few other plants that needed attention. The Callisia fragrans (center pot), Agave univittata, two pots with four smaller Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’, and a pot with a few smaller Alocasia gageana. I also brought the Aloe juvenna to the table after the above photo was taken.


One of the larger “plantlets”, or whatever you call them, of the Callisia fragrans had sprouted flowers. Very interesting, huh?


A week or so ago I removed one of Callisia fragrans kids and put it in a pot to see what would happen. Since it is doing just fine, decided to remove all the stems and cut the plantlets off. Some of them were not in very good shape, though. Normally, I would have put them all in pots but I decided to just save the better ones. I also cut the top off the main stem so it would regrow.


Now, there are 11! Make that 12 since the other one is on the front porch. PLUS the old stem in the bigger pot which I kept to see what it will do. I hate throwing a plant away! Once they start rooting I will give them away. Probably take them to Wagler’s since she gave me the start in the first place and she knows what they will do. Sometimes it is hard to give plants away if you tell them they multiply. A Spider Plant multiplies like this, so what’s the difference?


The Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) was getting a little cramped up in its pot, so I put it in a 6 1/2″ diameter x 5 1/2″ tall pot. Now it can send up some new pups and fill the pot.


The Agave univittata (Syn. Agave univittata var. lophantha)(Center Stripe Agave) has been telling me its feet were needing more room. So, I checked and sure enough, it needed a bigger pot.


Now it has been upgraded to a 9″ diameter x 6″ tall pot.


The new potting area is officially broke in. I made this table when i was in Mississippi from boards that were stacked in the old covered patio behind the mansion. The neighbor told me that they were from an old board fence that used to be around the backyard. I made a lot of plant tables for two of the sunrooms out of those boards.

After I finished re-potting, I went out to get a photo of the Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ because its flowers are now open. On the way, I had my first “what the hell” moment of the day…


The Vitex agnus-castus ‘Shoal Creek’ is flowering up a storm and really looks AWESOME. At first, I thought it was LOADED with bumblebees because they were flying around the flowers. Then, I saw the Japanese Beetles! “WHAT THE HELL?” First the Chinese Elm trees, chewing the leaves of the Amorphophallus and Calla, the flowers on the roses, and now the Chaste Tree! Oh, they are on a few other trees down by the hay lot, too.


Then I walked over to the shade bed and took a couple of photos of the AWESOME Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ with its first flowers. The stem is 34″ tall!




Alocasia ‘Portora’ is patiently waiting…


At 12:45 AM I walked by the sliding door on the way to the kitchen. I looked out the door and said, “WHAT THE HELL?” A mother Racoon with FOUR babies! The mother is a smaller Racoon and she isn’t all that wild. She may be one of the babies I took the videos of last summer. There have been several times I have sat on the back porch and she continued to eat cat food. Tonight, I couldn’t get a good photo, so I opened the door and turned on the light. She walked toward the steps then came back.

That’s it for this post! Until next time, stay well, positive, be safe and GET DIRTY!

Mystery Solved? Tradescantia pallida ‘Pale Puma’?

Tradescantia pallida ‘Pale Puma’ ? on 7-6-18, #471-10.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. When I left the mansion in Mississippi and moved back to the family farm in February 2013, I had to leave behind a lot of plants. Some I left behind because I thought surely I would find them here so I could just get new ones. One such plant was the Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart).


Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart) on 9-15-10, #59-31.

While I was living in Mississippi, a good friend of mine (Kyle Hall) would bring me cuttings of plants he picked up here and there. One day, in 2010 or maybe 2009, he brought me a cutting of Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida). The cutting soon took off and by the time I left in 2013, I had several pots of Purple Heart, it was growing in the west flower bed, plus there were several pots of other plants with Purple Heart growing with them. Every time a stem would break off, I just stuck it in a pot with another plant or in the dirt somewhere.


Tradescantia pallida ? from Walley Morse on 10-27-18, #125-15.

Then later, I think maybe in the spring of 2012, another friend and fellow plant collector (Walley Morse) also brought me a plant he said was a Purple Heart. I told him I had Purple Heart but it didn’t look like his. So, of course, I gave him a start of the Purple Heart I had already. I was very surprised he didn’t have it already since it was very common there and he was a plant collector. Anyway, the plant he gave me had shorter leaves and were kind of fuzzy. Mine had longer leaves with no fuzz.


Tradescantia ?!?!? on 6-1-13, #151-70.

So, when I came back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013, I only brought the plant Walley had given me. I thought surely I would find the “other” Purple Heart with no problem. The one Walley had given me was, in my opinion, kind of unique. Now, the amount of light Tradescantia pallida receive effects the color of the leaves. I had put the above plant in the basement for the remainder of the winter where it actually went dormant and came back to life right before I moved the plants outside for the summer. I thought it went dormant because of the 8-9 hour trip in 30 degree F. temperatures. When the new growth emerged, in the basement with poor light, the leaves were green, not purple… This was my first experience with plants going dormant in the basement then miraculously coming up before I put them outside in the spring. How do they know when to come up when they are in the basement in a steady temperature?


Tradescantia ?!?!?! on 7-14-13, #162-53.

Then, after it was outside for a while, the leaves turned purple and became very hairy. Well, I now had a good computer and internet, so I began my search to find out what in the heck this plant was. I read forums from people who had the same questions and none were answered very well. The ONLY species of Tradescantia I could find with hairy leaves was the Tradescantia sillamontana, which this plant definitely was not. So, I decided I would let my search rest for a while and surely I would accidentally find the answer. I wondered, though, if this plant was a cross between Tradescantia pallida and Tradescantia sillamontana. Time went by and I gave up most of my plants in the late summer of 2014.


Tradescantia sillamontana on 5-23-15, #261-7.

Then, LOW AND BEHOLD, when I was at Wagler’s Greenhouse on May 23, 2015, I found the plant in the above photo… I thought surely this must be a Tradescantia sillamontana with its green leaves and white hair. It was growing a little out of whack compared to photos I had seen online, but…


Tradescantia sillamontana leaves on 5-23-15, #261-8.

But definitely, I thought, this plant was surely a Tradescantia sillamontana. It goes by several common names including White Gossamer Plant, White Velvet, and Cobweb Spiderwort (and probably other names). Yep, it is in the same family as Spiderworts.


Tradescantia sillamontana (in three pots) on 5-15-18, #448-30.

I have had this plant for three years now. It grows like crazy during the summer, then goes dormant in the basement over the winter. After a few months, it starts coming up again. I tried growing it upstairs over the winter, and it just grew all weird. Much better off in the basement dormant.


Tradescantia pallida ‘Pale Puma’ ? on 6-7-18, #455-23.

Then, when my sister and her husband and I were plant shopping on June 7, I found this plant at Wildwood Greenhouse. I really didn’t pay much attention at the time, but knew it was a Tradescantia pallida, a Purple Heart. Well, I just grabbed it because I had finally found another Purple Heart! It was one of those “HOLY CRAP” moments!

After a few days, I put it in a larger pot and placed it with the other plants. I thought the color was a bit off and the leaves were a bit short, but I thought perhaps it was because of the light it was growing in. It didn’t click right away what was really going on.


Tradescantia pallida ‘Pale Puma’ ? on 7-6-18, #471-10.

Then, on July 4 when I moved the plant table and plants to the front porch because of the Japanese Beetle invasion, I took a closer look at this plant. Ummmmmmmmm…. This plant is NOT like my first Tradescantia pallida from cuttings Kyle gave me, it is like the plant Walley brought me. It has shorter, wider leaves with a little fuzz. HAH!

So, that triggered a little research again. This time, instead of searching for images of Tradescantia pallida, I just searched Tradescantia images. I ran across a page from San Marcos Growers that had this plant but had named it ‘Greenlee’ after the man who gave them their start. Their information also says Plant Delights also offered this plant under the name ‘Pale Puma’. They were also told by Scott Ogden (a plantsman in Austin, TX) it was an unnamed heirloom widespread in the Austin area. He suggested it was a hairless selection of Tradescantia sillamontana, or possibly a cross between Tradescantia pallida and Tradescantia sillamontana (as I had previously thought because of the similarities of both species). The link attached to San Marcos Growers takes you to their page if you are interested in reading it. It would be very interesting to know where the name ‘Pale Puma’ came from and what I am actually supposed to call the species name. It seems since San Marcos Growers and Plant Delights are calling it Tradescantia pallida, then I guess I will, too. Plant Delights noted ‘Pale Puma’ was popular and widely grown in the Texas Panhandle since the 1990’s. Maybe I need to email Tony and quiz him a little.


Tradescantia sillamontana with flowers on 9-27-17, #379-12.

One interesting thing is that the information from Plant Delights says Tradescantia ‘Pale Puma’ produces white flowers while San Marcos says pinkish white. Tradescantia pallida and Tradescantia sillamontana produce pink flowers. Hopefully, the new Tradescantia ‘Pale Puma’ will flower so we can see for ourselves.


Tradescantia sillamontana on 10-3-15, #272-29.

From my experience, Tradescantia sillamontana leaves may take on a pinkish tint sometimes (I have photos), but they do not turn purple. The leaves and stems are very hairy all the time not just sometimes. The leaves also grow opposite one another whereas Tradescantia pallida grow in whorls (well, I have photos of them growing in whorls and opposite as young cuttings). What can I say, they are variable (I am beginning to dislike that word). Light, soil, water, time of year… All contribute to this plants variability. Of course, there are the many species in the genus that grow like wild onions with blue flowers along country roads, highways, trails, and in my yard in Mississippi… Plants of the World Online currently list 79 accepted species in the Tradescantia genus of spiderworts.

THEN, on the 6th, my cousin’s wife called and said they were going on a trip and would like me to water their plants, etc. while they were gone. So I went for a visit and she showed me what she needed me to do. It had been several years since I had been to their house so it was a nice tour of their flower beds. Guess what she has growing inside her sunroom? A REAL Tradescantia pallida! After all these years, I found someone with this species and we are related! They have a lot of plants and it will be a great treat watering them while they are gone. I took a few photos already.

I have been wanting to give them several plants, such as a few of the Alocasia and Callisia fragrans. They would look good in their sunroom.

Well, I better close this post and work on a few more pages. Until next time, stay healthy, safe, positive and GET DIRTY!

Japanese Beetle Damage Plus A Big Surprise

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. On July 5 I posted about the Japanese Beetles and having to move the plants to the front porch on the 4th. The next day was weird. I expected to see the Japanese Beetles still feeding on the trees just like they had been prior to the 4th. Now, they had been here on the trees for several weeks, just not so many. On the 5th, it was like 99% had left or died. There are still a lot in the trees, but not anything like there were. The yard between the shed (where the plant tables are) and the chicken house has three big Chinese Elm trees. The grass is covered with dead leaves

I took the photos in this post today, Sunday June 8.


The patch of Violas along the shed covered with leaves. It was worse than this a day or so earlier but the wind blew some of the leaves off.


The shed is sitting inside of the foundation of grandpas old garage and the potting table is behind the shed. The floor and potting table is covered with leaves.


This is the tree closest to the shed and the one with the worse damage so far. A few of those limbs were dead already. Chinese Elms are a pain in the neck anyway and I am continually picking up after them. Every year the leaves are somewhat see through by the end of summer, but the plants easily adapt to the slow change and even welcome more light as the summer progresses. It worked out pretty well even though I had to remove leaves from the pots off and on. When you first take plants outside in the spring, they need to become acclimated to more light gradually. Under the elm tree was a great place because there was shade in the beginning. Then gradually, as insects ate holes in the leaves, there was more light.


The table with some of the cactus and succulents is along one side of the shed. They were covered with dead leaves and there is still a lot and they continue to fall.


The Billbergia nutans looked at me and said, “Ummm… Can you get this crap off of me?”

Then I went over to the shade bed to get a few photos. I had watered the evening before and washed a lot of the leaves off of the plants. I should have taken photos before I watered, but I was running out of light.


The shade beds are under two Chinese Elm trees and a Maple. The light has completely changed…


The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’s thought winter was coming and the trees applied a mulch of its leaves… I told them if it was winter in July I was leaving.


Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ is a bit uppity at times, and sometimes has a lot to say. Right now, she is completely speechless. This is no time for more sun because it is still way to hot. Later on would be fine as cooler temps approach.


Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is to busy strutting right now but would prefer the leaves from the trees would fall somewhere else.


She is blooming late this year… Seeing this flower brightened my mood a little so I took a few photos elsewhere.


The Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) I moved here from the bed down the street this spring are now flowering. The foxtail needs pulled out of the bed AGAIN…


I noticed the Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’) next to the back porch is contining to do very well. I am so glad I put it here.

Yesterday I was very shocked and surprised at what I found when I was watering. Something I absolutely did not expect to find. 


The Colocasia esculenta in the left side of the north bed has a flower… I was really surprised! They always flowered up a storm in Mississippi but have never flowered here since I have been back. It has been SIX YEARS since I have seen a Colocasia esculenta flower! The Alocasia bloom all the time during the summer and are sweet smelling. The Colocasia flowers stink really bad…

So, it just goes to show you gardening has its ups and downs. The moles are still working in the flower beds and sometimes I need to fill in their runs before I can water. I also realize that the Japanese Beetle problem could be much worse next year and think I need to check on the cost of milky spore to apply to the yard. At least where the Chinese Elm trees are and in the flower beds. That will help control the larvae and perhaps the moles.

Well, that’s all for now. Take care, stay well, safe, and positive. I hope you are finding time to GET DIRTY!

Cephalanthus, Monarda, & Teucrium

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush) on 7-4-18, #469-10.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. Spring is an amazing time of the year and filled with a lot of anticipation. What will return and what will not. Some plants can hardly wait to start flowering while others take a bit longer. Some flowers bloom over a long period while others for only a week or so (or even a few days). There have been flowers I have seen in the pasture and along fence rows I needed photos of but didn’t have my camera. Then, when I went back later to take photos, it was already too late.

I have been watching the two Buttonbush trees (Cephalanthus occidentalis) behind the south pond so I could get some photos of their flowers. I thought I had taken photos before, but there were none in the folders by plant name or finder. So, I guess these fall under the “flowers I missed” category.


The two Buttonbush trees (Cephalanthus occidentalis) are indeed a strange looking pair.


They are small trees here on the farm, but in some areas, they are more of a bush.


Their trunks are kind of contorted and interesting. They are suitable trained as a small shrub for home landscape use. However, they prefer moist conditions and are often found in low areas around ponds and creeks. These two trees are growing behind the old pond next to the ditch that runs from the other pond. The ditch drains water from the ponds and pasture and eventually runs into the park lake.


The flowers have a very sweet scent and are loved by bees and butterflies.


Two of the common names are Honey Balls or Honey Plant. After flowering, they have small seed capsules containing two seeds that persist throughout the winter.

For more information, visit the Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Wikipedia page.



The Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm, Oswego Tea, Bergamot, etc.) are definitely in full swing now. This group is in the fence row between the pasture and the south hayfield. There are a few smaller patches along the lane that goes to the back pasture.


I don’t remember seeing these when I lived here before. Even when I moved back in 2013 there were just a few here and there.


Now there are big patches everywhere! There are MANY huge patches along the boundary of the pasture and the Rock Island Trail.


There is even a HUGE patch between the street and fence along the front of the pasture. The Bumblebees were on this patch by the hundreds. I never saw so many in one place at the same time. As strange as it may sound, I never even noticed this patch along the street until this year. Let me see… A neighbor cut this area before in 2013. In 2014 or 2015 (or both) we had an Amish cut it. Last year, I think the county did it. Anyway, we came home from somewhere one day and it was all cut down. I don’t cut the right of way because there are too many stumps for the mower and it is not very wide between the fence and deep ditch. There is a telephone pole in the way and I can get in there anyway unless I go all the way down to the end of the pasture. Then how do I get back out? 🙂 Excuses, excuses! Well, the other reason is that I don’t want to.


I wish I could get the red flowered Monarda started to do as good…


Some of the flowers had a lot of ants on them. Even though the flowers are pinkish, they are nice and provide food for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and the hummingbird moths. They flower over a long period, too.



I just noticed the Teucrium canadense (American Germander) a couple of years ago next to a HUGE Multiflora Rose bush in the back pasture.


The individual flowers aren’t very big, so taking good photos wasn’t easy. ID wasn’t that hard, though.


While this species has a lot in common with other members of the mint family, this one is unique… There appears to be NO upper lip. You can see the two upper lobes that point upward like horns. Then the other two rounded side lobes that look like ears to me. Then, the larger lower lip with the cup-shaped bottom lobe… This is the only member of this family in Missouri with this unique corolla configuration.


Characteristic square stems…


Leaves are opposite, lanceolate, and sharply pointed…


I think we are blessed to have so many wildflowers on the farm that feed such a wide variety of insects and birds. I haven’t been to the swamp for several years, so I think I need to do that soon. Well, I guess it really isn’t a swamp, but that’s what I call it. Dad called the area “OH, you mean back in the corner”. Yep, back in the corner for sure. There are some very interesting wildflowers in the swamp and one I have seen nowhere else but here. Then again, I don’t get out much. 🙂 I will go check tomorrow… Oh. It is 1:28 AM. It is tomorrow already.

Until later… Stay well, be safe, stay positive, keep warm or cool depending on where you are. GET DIRTY if you can!