GOT IT! Echinopsis mirabilis Flower!

Echinopsis mirabilis on 6-3-19, #581-4.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I have been keeping an eye on the Echinopsis mirabilis (Flower of Prayer) since I missed the last flower. On June 3, when I took the above photo and the one below, I knew it was getting close.

 

Echinopsis mirabilis bud on 6-3-19, #581-5.

If you missed the previous post about this plant, I had missed the last time it flowered. Plus, it was the first flower to open after I had brought it home from Lowe’s in March (2019 … Well, I had forgotten this plant flowers at night and only one night. So, when I got up to check the morning after, it was to late.

 

Echinopsis mirabilis at 7:20 PM on 6-4-19, #582-1.

At about 7:20 PM Tuesday evening, I thought I better go check on this plant to see what the bud looked like.

 

Echinopsis mirabilis bud at 7:20 PM on 6-4-19, #582-2.

The twisted appearance is pretty neat. Kind of like it is unwinding. 🙂

THEN, AT 10:30 PM…

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:34 PM on 6-4-19, #582-3.

Echinopsis mirabilis

THE FLOWER OF PRAYER!

WOW! AMAZING! BEAUTIFUL! I was nearly speechless! There have been a few times in my life I have seen something so amazing I was speechless! A miracle of nature right before my eyes! I ran back inside to grab the camera…

 

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:35 PM on 6-4-19, #582-4.

It’s like everything, every movement, every breath, every thought stopped when I was looking at this flower. Everything except taking photos.

 

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:35 PM on 6-4-19, #582-5.

The flower is so HUGE in comparison to the size of the plant itself!

 

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:35 PM on 6-4-19, #582-6.

It’s like the love of your life looking you right in your eyes for the first time. Her smile, the twinkle in her eyes as she peered into your very soul! (Then you meet her for the first time after 36 years shopping in Wal-Mart and you strike up a conversation. Then she says, “Who are you?”).

 

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:35 PM on 6-4-19, #582-7.

So beautiful and amazing! I took a whiff to see what it smelled like. It was weird. Barely any scent at all… Good thing it is self polinating. 🙂

This is the second time I have witnessed a night blooming plant… Last summer I went to my cousins home where they have this HUGE Night Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) I wrote a post about it and you can view by clicking HERE. It was an amazing thing to see!

We had our family reunion recently and she (my cousins wife) asked me if I wanted it. She said they hadn’t even moved it outside. Well, of course, it is very hard to refuse but it is HUGE! How do I even get it home? You know what they say, “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

Nature is an amazing thing and we are blessed to have so many miracles around is. Life in itself is a miracle and we are so blessed to live on this amazing planet called Earth. Take time to be aware of the miracles around you, how nature and life unfolds right in front of you.

What miracles of nature have you witnessed?

That’s it for now! Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful and GET DIRTY!

 

Surprise Pink Achillea and Green-Leaved Milkweed

Achillea millefolium with pink flowers on 5-30-19, #578-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I have been working on the thistles at a friends farm and have noticed a few wildflowers I don’t have here. It only takes seconds to take a few photos. Sometimes it is good to have proof of what you saw when it is unusual. I remember a few years ago I found a HUGE Morel growing in the chicken yard in February. I took a photo with my cell phone but had no way of getting it into my computer. I sent the photo to a few people, but now I don’t even have the cell phone. That was probably a once in a lifetime event and a fluke of nature to have a Morel in February.

Well, a few days ago, I was surprised to see a single Achillea millefolium with pink flowers. Achillea millefolium in the wild typically have white flowers and I have seen hundreds, and most likely you have, too. They can be seen growing along highways, back roads, in pastures, along trails, in fence rows, etc. There are many cultivars of Achillea in several different colors but to see an Achillea millefolium, other than white, in nature is a rare find. I feel very blessed and am thankful for witnessing this plant. I am very tempted to dig it up and bring it home so a cow won’t eat it or step on it.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) on 5-30-19, #578-2.

Another wildflower on his farm that I don’t have growing here is the Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed). The Missouri Botanical Garden website says they are commonly found in the Missouri Ozarks and the southeastern corner of the state as well as several other states.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) flowers on 5-30-19, #578-3.

The nectar from the flowers are a source of food for many butterfly species.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) leaves on 5-30-19, #578-5.

The leaves are a source of food for Monarch Butterfly larvae (caterpillars). This milkweed also goes by several other common names. It is known as the Spider Milkweed because the White Crab Spider lives on this plant and Green Antelope Horn because the seed pods resemble an Antelopes horn.

 

Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle) on 5-30-19, #578-7.

Ummm…  This stately plant may look AWESOME and it does have beautiful flowers. But, if you see these in your yard or garden, take photos and admire the plant then get rid of it. This is the terribly agressive and invasive Carduus nutans commonly known as the Musk Thistle and Nodding Thistle. A few years ago I had a couple of these growing next to the south side of the barn. It was different than the other thistles with its beautiful silvery leaves. I let it grow until it flowered so I could take photos then sprayed it. Then, this spring, I saw a couple more growing next to the hay lot.

 

Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle on 5-30-19, #578-8.

The wickedly beautiful leaves are lined with very sharp spines.

 

Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle) flower on 5-30-19, #578-9.

The flowers are really neat on the Carduus nutans but they are different than the “common” thistle. Most thistles are very invasive and NOT native to this country.

When I first did my research on the species of Thistles growing on the farm, I could NOT find this plant. I was looking in the Cirsium genus. I really hadn’t gotten into Thistles for a few good reasons, and concentrated mainly on other wildflower species I have been identyfing on the farm. But, since I have been working on the Thistles on my friends farm, I noticed a few different species so I did some investigating.

He told me about the app from the Missouri Sate University that can be downloaded and used for plant ID. Well, I don’t have a cell phone but I did get on their website. I looked at the many species in the Cirsium genus but could NOT ID this Thistle. I noticed one of the links was redirecting to the wrong plant so I sent an email to Pam Trewatha to tell her about it. Of course, I sent her a photo of this thistle as well as the Achillea millefolium with the pink flowers. She correctly ID’d the thistle and thanked me for bring the error to her attention.

She also said she would be happy to help ID any other mystery plants. Hmmm… I have several so she will be hearing from me again. I have one in particular that comes to mind. 🙂

I will be writing a post on Thistles soon which should be pretty interesting. They aren’t all created equal and, believe it or not, they are edible and nutritious.

Until next time, be thankful, be safe and stay positive. This is a nice sunny day, so I think I will do some mowing and trimming. Of course, I will GET DIRTY. Care to join me?

Neat Flowers! Centaurea & Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’

The yellow flowered Centaurea on 5-30-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. We made it through a day without any precipitation so far. I thought it was going to rain around 7 PM when I was working in the northeast corner flower bed, though. I noticed a mole had been working the bed over so I had to work it over, too.

That brings me to a message I found in my blog spam… I hardly ever look at the spam comments but I decided I would a couple of weeks ago. There were two comments asking me to try out their products and write reviews. One was for this neat garden planner and the other was for a solar-powered pest repellant for the yard. They both came but I haven’t written a review yet. Since I had the mole issue, I decided to put the new gizmo to work and see what happens. They sent me two, so I will put the other one somewhere between the shade bed and chicken house. I will take photos and write my first review when I set the next one up. I must admit, the quality seems pretty good… Now let’s see if it works as good as it looks.

The yellow flowered Centaurea is still blooming and now the other two have started.

 

Purple flowered Centaurea on 5-28-19.

OK, I must admit I was expecting something a little different. The tag, written in pencil said Centaurea and purple.

 

Red flowered Centaurea on 5-28-19.

Ummm… The label with this one said Centaurea and red. Well, the photo isn’t quite as dark as in real life and I must admit the flowers are pretty neat.

 

Leaves of the Centaurea that has the purple flowers on 5-28-19.

All three of the Centaurea have different leaves but the “red” and “purple” seem to have the same growing habit.

 

Leaves of the Centaurea who’s label says “red” on 5-28-19.

The leaves of the one with the red label are somewhat larger than the one labeled purple.

 

Leaves of the Centaurea with the yellow flowers on 5-28-19.

The one with the yellow flowers has much smaller leaves and they are paler green. The plant also has somewhat of a different growth habit.

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 5-28-19.

NOW THAT IS NEAT! Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue” is definitely black and blue! It was pretty funny when they started budding and they were solid black. On the morning of May 28, I was greeted with the first two sets of blue flowers on two of the plants. One of the plants is a little behind and is just now beginning to bud.

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 5-28-19, #577-8.

I really like Salvia in general. They have really neat flowers and unmistakeable scented leaves. I have grown 13 different Salvia species and I have enjoyed them all. Currently, I still have four species growing and the Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) seedlings haven’t come up for 2019. They reseed and a few have come up every year since 2014. I think I should do a post dedicated to past and present Salvia.

OH, wait a minute… I almost forgot I should have said 15 different Salvia. Rosemary is now in the Salvia genus (Salvia rosmarinus). I grew the Rosemary in 2017 and a variegated cultivar maybe in 2014 or 2015.

I did take a few photos of a few wildflowers at a friend’s farm that I don’t have here. I found the pink-flowered Achillea millefolium. I am so tempted to try and transplant it here. I also took photos of a different Milkweed which I identified with no problem.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive! Of course, you know by now to GET DIRTY!

Working On It…

Achillea ‘Moondust’ on 5-25-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I am well, but we have gotten a lot of rain in the past few weeks. It is hard to mow, keep up with the weeds and try and work on the beds when it is raining or wet. The plants I did put in the ground were done so in a hurry without much thought or amending the soil. I did put in some composted cow manure with the Colocasia bulbs, but cow manure only provides so much. There is a lot more to it and some plants need more of this and that. I think I need to write a post about plant requirements as I learn and experiment.

I always feel a little strange when people compliment me about my skills as a gardener and talk about my green thumb. Seriously, there are many great gardeners whos plants and flower beds look much better than mine. I have plants I think should be doing better while others do so well it is shocking. What is worse is to bring home a plant that is supposed to perform a certain way and it doesn’t. Then I realize it was labeled wrong and isn’t even the plant I thought it was. So, how does it perform like so when it isn’t even supposed to? 🙂 Sometimes it takes many years to even realize “this isn’t even the right plant!”

Hmmm… I can sense something about to happen with this post but I am trying to avoid it…

 

Achillea ‘Moondust’ on 5-25-19.

We have had a lot of rain, as I mentioned, and wind and some plants are beginning to lean. The Achillea ‘Moondust’ isn’t that tall, but I noticed it leaning as I took its photo. When this happens, you need to put a rock or something next to their stems or firn the soil a little. Otherwise, they can start growing crooked. I staked almost everything when I was living in Mississippi but I don’t have to do that here. That’s a good thing and I am thankful. I am thankful for the rain even though we have gotten plenty for now. But you know, it is always that way this time of the year.

One thing I have realized is to be thankful for everything. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We have so much to be thankful for and take so much for granted. We should spend our day saying “thank you” for every experience and everything we encounter, everything we use, the air we breathe, our abilities, running water, the food we eat, friends and family, a bed to sleep in, the clothes we wear… One thank you can just lead to another because one thing leads to another. One thought leads to another. One action leads to another and so on.

 

Achillea tomentosa ‘LoGrow™ Goldie’ on 5-25-19.

The Achillea tomentosa ‘LowGrow™ Goldie” is doing well and looking a little shaggy. I haven’t noticed any buds yet but I am thankful it is doing well.

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I have hesitated to talk about certain things because this is a blog about gardening and plants. There is more to my life than gardening and plants. I think I need to work on opening up about other things like my spiritual journey. I know so many people struggle with the same problems and issues I have. We are all unique in our needs and life’s journey, which means we struggle with the same issues.

 

Agave univittata var. lophantha on 5-25-19.

Well, this is supposedly an Agave univittata var. lophantha (Center Stripe Agave). It looked much different when I brought it home, unlabeled, and did research to find out what it was. When it was just a pup, its leaves were shorter and broad now they are long and narrow. Maybe it is because it hasn’t had enough sun in the past so this summer it gets FULL sun… I am sure it will be thankful, too.

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I was brought up in a Christian home and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was young. My mom made sure us kids were in Sunday school every week no matter what. She would drive past the speed limit going down the street to get there on time, but we were always late anyway. I had the same questions about the bible many of us do and was given the same answers many us were told… “There are things we don’t know, but we have to believe and live by faith that what it says is true.”

 

Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic) on 5-25-19.

I have a lot of Elephant Garlic in the south flower bed and they make neat plants and have these beautiful flowers. My start was given to me by my neighbor in Leland, Mississippi 8-10 years ago and they always do well and spread.

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We get into this rut believing things we still question. Sometimes when we believe in something, we close our minds to other possibilities. Then, when the truth comes, you don’t believe it. Therefore, I have always had an open mind and have always believed there is more to life than what the Bible teaches. And to think I have been nominated to be an elder at the church I attend. I used to call myself a “progressive Christian” until I recently found that there is already a movement by that name. Now I have to come up with another name because I am not involved with Progressive Christianity. I am just me.

I always say, “the truth is the truth whether you believe it or not.”

So, if we believe and accept what the Bible says, if it isn’t exactly true, we will believe many other things that aren’t exactly true as well. And we have.

 

Amoracia rusticana (Horseradish) on 5-25-19.

The Horseradish is looking awesomely well! I took a photo of it in full bloom on May 5.

 

Armoracia rusticana (Horseradish) flowers on 5-5-19.

I took a close-up but it turned out a little blurry. Most members of the Brassica family of plants have yellow flowers and interesting seed pods. Horseradish is different…

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As we humans get older, we naturally have a few physical issues to deal with. It is like we are fine one day and the next we have new pains. Our joints get somewhat stiff, sometimes our digestion gets out of whack, we have weird sleep patterns, and so on. Not to mention getting bald on the top of our heads while the hair on our ears and eyebrows seems to need trimmed daily. We try this and that to feel better but barely anything works (usually because we are fine already). I am still healthy and fully functional, but sometimes a little extra energy would help. Some of go on this health kick, hopefully, and learn that we need to eat better. We realize the importance of reading labels and try to avoid GMO’s… Eating out, especially fast foods, is a no-no. But, sometimes we revert back to our old ways for one reason or another. Next thing you know, we are back to eating out and still taking our natural supplements. We think maybe if we just go ahead and eat whatever we want, take natural supplements, get plenty of exercise and do a cleanse every 6 months or so… Hmmm… We need to eat healthy for our physical body, mental focus, and our spiritual growth.

 

Aptenia cordifolia/Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata on 5-25-19.

The Heartleaf Ice Plant is looking much better now. It was one long branched stem so I took cuttings and put them in the same pot. I am patiently waiting for more flowers now.

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Ummm… I deleted A LOT of paragraphs and have started over more than once. I have a lot to talk about but I am not sure how to go about it…

I feel like as we are growing up we are spinning around in a funnel as we learn. We are taught about the theory of evolution in school and the Biblical theory of creation in Sunday school. Once we accept Christ, we fall through the hole in the bottom of the funnel and into a bottle with all the other believers. The glass bottle is dirty and you can’t see out… Kind of like the scripture, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face…” (1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV). Well, maybe that isn’t what the scripture pertains to, but it reminds me of it anyway. That bottle is like a tiny speck of dust floating around in the Universe. I climbed out of the bottle and funnel and peered into the Universe in December 2016…

 

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ and Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 5-25-19.

The Astilbe x arendsii and Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ next to the porch in bed on the north side of the house are making great companions. I bought the Astilbe last spring and it is the third year for the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. Both are very impressive plants that make a bold statement. Of course, the gold-leaved Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’) also makes a bold statement as well. It is like a living mulch that knows no boundaries in the right conditions. I thought it preferred a more shady area, but let me tell you, it has gone really wild in more sun. With the rain and lingering cool temps, the Chickweed in the north bed has been a challenge. The plant in the lower right corner of the photo is a Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ (‘Goldstrum’).

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Deleted and started over more…

As I mentioned, we are taught the theory of evolution in school, but we have been taught it is wrong in Sunday school. Everyone knows most everything has gone through a process of evolution, even the people that tell you it is wrong.

 

Baptisia australis seed pods on 5-25-19.

The beautiful flowers of the Baptisia australis (Wild Blue Indigo, Blue False Indigo) have been replaced by these HUGE seed pods. While the flowers were beautiful, the plant doesn’t flower long enough. Deadheading doesn’t encourage more flowers as it does with a lot of annuals and perennials. After flowering, the Baptisia have these huge seed pods which turn black when mature that can be used in flower arrangements.

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Since December 2016, I have enjoyed watching documentaries about ancient origins, ancient civilizations, new discoveries both in archaeology and science, and so on. It just fascinates me what has been found. Since modern scientists have said, “who are we”, the Universe has answered. Archeology and science are coming together more and more, but religious leaders and theologians are still stuck in old beliefs for the most part. They cannot admit the truth, even though so many know the truth. I think it is because they didn’t know the truth and believed what they were taught, even though it couldn’t be explained. Very little in the Bible can actually be backed up with physical proof. One reason is because the names of cities and people in the Bible are different than the actual names. Even names change from time periods and cultures. Their “gods” were given different names even though they were the same “gods”. Notice I wrote it with a small “g”. I could not figure out why the name Sumer wasn’t mentioned in the Bible when several Sumerian cities are. Then I realized the Bible calls it Shinar. Ur, a Sumerian city, was the birthplace of Abraham and his father and grandfather were high priests to the Sumerian “god” Enlil. Most people in the early part of the Bible were Samarians including Noah, although his name was different. One reason some things cannot be backed up is that they are myths. GEEZ! Like I said, I am supposed to be an elder, but I am just saying what most Christians believe but won’t admit to. Christianity is a multi-billion dollar “industry”.

To make it worse, many sacred documents that have been discovered are hidden or have been destroyed because they contradict what was written in the Bible.

I am not going to get into the Sumerian tablets. Maybe later. I do have the entire set of The Earth Chronicles by Zacharia Stitchin even though I haven’t even made it through the first book. In the first book, The 12th Planet, Mr. Stitchin has done a great job comparing old testament scriptures with the Sumerian tablets. Umm… Even though it is “controversial”.

I am not going to get into the Moses controversy…

 

Most of the cactus collection on 5-25-19.

Most of the cactus collection is on the back porch while most of the succulents are on the front porch. If there were more room on the back porch… All are doing well for the most part and some need re-potting. Experimenting with pumice will continue.

 

Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ and Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) seedlings on 5-25-19.

Patiently waiting for the Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ to come up can be a real pain. I need to get the south bed planted so it will look good, but I have to wait for the re-seeders to come up. The Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’ came up first last spring but they haven’t made an appearance yet. So, likely they will not come up at all. USUALLY, the Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum) come up after the Celosia but this year they came up first… By the thousands!

 

Canna and Colocasia esculenta along the garage on 5-25-19.

Something weird happened. Last year I dug all along the south side of the garage and spread out the Cannas. Then, I planted several of the smaller Colocasia esculenta rhizomes in front of the Cannas. The Colocasia didn’t do all that great here probably because I didn’t water them enough. After the “F” zapped everything in the fall, I removed the dead and mulched the bed with leaves. I did not dig up the Colocasia and take them to the basement because I already had plenty. Technically, not even the Cannas are supposed to survive the winter here, but mine are not the only ones in town that do. What was surprising, though, was that the Colocasia also survived the winter in the ground with the leaves on them. I often wondered what would happen if I tried that but never did. I wouldn’t try it with the bigger Colocasia rhizomes because that would be a disaster if they rotted in the ground because I neglected to dig and store them.

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata on 5-25-19.

The flowers are on the Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ but this photo is supposed to be about the Tree Cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata) next to it. Since the Sedum is doing so well, it is hard to take a photo of the Tree Cholla without the Sedum being in it, too. The Tree Cholla does weird things in the spring and early summer, growing leaves and new branches and is very interesting to watch. The drawback of this plant is its thorns that just seem to reach out and grab you… The Chickweed seems to like growing in it perhaps because it thinks it is protected. Hmmm…

 

Euphorbia mammillaris on 5-25-19.

As tempted as I am to do something different with this Euphorbia mammillaris, I am going to leave it alone and see what happens. I really like this plant and it is going to be fun to watch grow.

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What I would like to really talk about is meditation. Meditation can be awesome for you for many reasons. The problem for me was understanding how to do it. If you have been brought up as a Christian, meditation is something we don’t even practice and is barely ever mentioned. How can something so important and valuable not be taught in Christian churches? I don’t get it… I think I understand why, but I still don’t get it.

 

Ferocactus wislizeni on 5-25-19.

When I was taking photos, I noticed a red glow on the Ferocactus wislizeni. Apparently, the new spines emerge red from a tuft of cotton. NICE! Ummm… the glob in the photo are the remains of a strawflower that was hot glued to this plant. The hot glue is stuck to a few of the spines and won’t come off yet.

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I tried and tried to meditate and it seemed like nothing was working. I read this and that, watched videos, and I would always wind up giving up. Well, I prayed about it… Next thing I know, I had a new follower on my blog who made a comment. I always check out new follower’s blogs and it was good I looked at hers. I sent her an email and she sent a link to DailyOM. Since then, I have taken many courses on DailyOM and have learned A LOT. The courses on the Archangels, meditation, manifestation, and so on have helped a lot. Masha’s blog is called A Sweeter Life…

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ on 5-25-19.

The Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ is really glowing now. I had to remove some Chickweed to get a good photo and noticed something interesting…

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ flowers on 5-25-19.

It has the tiniest flowers I have ever seen on any of the other Heuchera. I almost pulled it off with the Chickweed!

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Most of the courses I have taken on DailyOM have been very good, but there have been a couple I couldn’t sink my teeth into. Before DailyOM, I had difficulty meditating because of various reasons. Some say you have to quiet your mind and sit like so. Getting your mind to stop thinking is like getting your heart to stop beating. It is impossible… One said to count your breaths in order to stop thinking… Count one on the inhale, two on the exhale, and so on until you get to seven then start over. Sometimes I would be on 23 before I realized I was thinking about not thinking…

 

Matricaria discoidea (Pineapple Weed) on 5-25-19.

One of the neatest plants on the farm is the Matricaria discoidea also known as Pineapple Weed, May Flower, Wild Chamomile, Etc. It is a cousin to Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla with 48 synonyms)

 

Matricaria discoidea flowers.

The flowers look like little yellow balls and the plant’s bloom all summer. The only place they grow here is in and along the driveway. I have tried moving a few to the flower bed to see how tall they would get if they weren’t mowed off all the time. Information online says they grow from 2-16″ tall. As one of their common names implies, they have a nice pineapple scent which fills the air when I mow. You can make tea with their leaves and flowers and also use them in salads. The Wikipedia says their leaves may become bitter by the time they flower… I have never tried them even though there are hundreds of plants.

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Then there were the ones that said you need to “be present” but wouldn’t explain what that even meant. Well, with DailyOM, I figured it out. You can take guided meditation courses that lead you through the whole process and it works… You eventually get the hang of it.

Then, on Gaia.com, I watched an interview with Belinda Womac (Open Minds, season 7 episode 12). I had taken courses about the Archangels on DailyOM, but then I bought Belinda’s book titled Lessons from the 12 Archangels. It is very good! My favorite course about the Archangels on DailyOM is titled Angelic Infusions: Live the Truth of Who You Are by Mark Mezadourian.

While it is interesting to know about our past, knowing how much truth has been lost, hidden and destroyed and why can be a little upsetting at first. To realize how we have been deceived will only lead you to watch more documentaries and reading more about the deception. This will lead you to watch and read any and everything, a lot of which is deceptive in itself. Many authors and people on YouTube don’t agree either which can be even more confusing.

I think the most important thing is to realize who we are, what we are, how to have what we want and need, how to get it, advance spiritually and know why that is necessary. Most of all, we are to love one another, encourage one another, learn about awareness and teach others along this journey. We all have gifts, even though we may not realize it now, to use to help others.

 

Spirea flowers on 5-25-19.

The Spirea is LOADED with flowers as always this time of the year. When I lived on the farm in the early 1980’s, this Spirea was in front of the house with the Junipers. I moved it between the back porch and basement steps so it would have a better chance. Well, after all these years, it has survived. Dad removed the old Juniper shrubs in front of the old foundation and now there are Iris in the area… PLUS several of this Spirea that came up from the roots left behind. They don’t do well, though, because they are in full shade.

I took more photos on May 25 but they are mainly for updates on the plant pages to the right of the blog.

I think I am going to work on something different along with sharing photos and information about plants and gardening… I tried it with this post but wound up deleting and re-writing MANY paragraphs. I have a lot to talk about but I am just not sure how to go about it…

SOOOOO, for now, I will close this post before I go back and delete everything again and start over. I have photos for the next post already so I better get it posted before they become outdated. OH, I found some NEW wildflowers on another farm I need to photograph and post about. I even found an Achillea millefolium with pink flowers. I have seen HUNDREDS of Achillea millefolium but NEVER one with pink flowers! Now I need to find it again before disappears.

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

 

 

Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’-NOT!

BLUE WILD INDIGO

Baptisia australis

Hello everyone! I bought this Baptisia labeled ‘Lunar Eclipse’ from the Green Street Market in Clinton in 2017. There were several pots of ‘Lunar Eclipse’ flowering but they were pretty pricy so I settled for one in a smaller pot that wasn’t flowering. The label clearly says Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ which has beautiful bi-color flowers. It flowered a little for the first time last year but they were NOT like ‘Lunar Eclipse’. I thought maybe the flowers were whacky their first year so I still had hope for this year. I didn’t want to admit it was incorrectly labeled from the grower that supplies Green Street Market.

 

While still very impressive, it just feels weird waiting for something to happen and not getting what you expect.

 

Instead of being cultivar Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’, it is actually Baptisia australis commonly known as Blue False Indigo or Blue Wild Indigo. Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ was a combination of many species. Since the label is incorrect I don’t know if this is just the species or a different cultivar. SO, what can I do? I have to go back to this plant’s page and change the whole thing. At least the mystery is solved and I am also happy for that.

I am not complaining that much because it is a very beautiful plant but it isn’t what I paid for. I told the owner of the Green Street Market about it a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I didn’t expect a refund or anything because I have had the plant since 2017. It isn’t her fault the grower labeled them wrong and I did take a risk in paying a lesser cost for plants that weren’t flowering in the first place. You just never know and that is part of gardening…

I still have a lot of photos taken over the past couple of weeks, but they are mainly out of date now. So, this next week I will probably take more and HOPEFULLY make another post or two. I am STILL working on plant pages, updating and adding new ones. It is always a work in progress just like life.

Until next time, Be safe, stay positive and GET DIRTY!

Echinopsis mirabilis-Flower of Prayer

Echinopsis mirabilis on March 30, 2019.

Hello folks! I wanted to make a post highlighting the Echinopsis mirabilis whos common name is the Flower of Prayer. The past few days has been an exciting time for this plant. I brought it home from Lowe’s on March 29 because I thought it was really neat. It is a very dark green, almost black which was one of the things I found very interesting.

 

There were several wooly looking appendages sticking out of it and an old flower stem. Well, of course, I had to bring it home.

 

Echinopsis mirabilis with a new flower stem on 5-5-19, #566-23.

On May 5 I noticed it was about to flower. WOW! I got pretty excited! This was going to be a whole new experience!

 

Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-15-19, #572-1.

I almost forgot all about it until May 15 when I took the above photo. I thought how neat this was going to be for this plant to flower.

 

Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-18-19, #574-5.

It was getting about time and even more exciting on May 18…

Then…

 

Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-19-19, #575-2.

On Sunday afternoon I went to check and it looked like this…

 

Hmmm… I had forgotten one important thing. It flowers at night and only lasts for one night.

 

On the bright side, there is another one starting to grow. I am wondering if all those other fuzzy appendages are past flowers or where new flowers will be.

The sad thing is that this species is monocarpic and will die after it is finished flowering at some point. The good news is that the flowers are self-fertile and produce 100’s of viable seeds. That would be really interesting if their seeds came up.

I will be watching this plant like a hawk during the day and like an owl at night when the next bud starts to open! I will NOT miss it the second time. 🙂

New Plants Update

Achillea tomentosa ‘LoGro™ Goldie’ on 5-16-19, #573-2.

Hello everyone! I hope everyone is doing well. I haven’t posted since April 28, so I thought I better make an appearance so you know I am still alive and well. I have been busy doing this and that because there is always plenty to do. The grass is growing nonstop now.

I wanted to share my new plants with you. I haven’t brought home very many yet and I haven’t even started on the south side of the house. I am waiting for the re-seeding annuals to come up and so far there is no sign. The Jewels of Opar are coming up but the Denver Daisy has been a no show. The Celosia ‘Cramer’s Amazon and ‘Brocade Marigolds SHOULD be coming up.

So, here are the new plants since the last post, in alphabetical order…

The top photo is the Achillea tomentosa (Wooly Yarrow). The tag says the cultivar is ‘LoGro™ Goldie’. I don’t know where the “LoGro™” is trademarked from at the moment but the cultivar ‘Goldie’ has been around for a few years. When I checked to see if the species name was still “accepted”, I ran into a little difficulty. Ummm…

If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty of it, there “were” five Achillea tomentosa with different authors abbreviations. All are synonyms of other species now. Achillea tomentosa Friv. ex Nyman=Achillea coarctata Poir., Achillea tomentosa Fraas ex Nyman=Achillea holosericea Sm., Achillea tomentosa L.=Achillea millefolium L., Achillea tomentosa Pursh=Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis DC.=Achillea millefolium L., Achillea tomentosa Pall. ex Ledeb.=Achillea leptophylla M.Bieb. (Actually, there are two different Achillea leptophylla. Achillea leptophylla K.Koch. ex Nyman=Achillea crithmifolia Waldst. & Kit.). All the authors who named and wrote the descriptions we all describing different plants with the same name. 

So, what is the species of this plant anyway? I did image searches online of the possibilities and many of the photos look the same with the same type of leaves and flowers. Yes, some were different, but nothing really conclusive. No database or website other than Plants of the World Online mentions anything about the name Achillea tomentosa now being a synonym. It must have been a recent change. Looks like another email to Rafael Goverts from Kew is in order… Watch him tell me the change isn’t definite yet. I agree if there are more than one scientific names of the same plant the mystery should be solved. After all, Achillea millefolium has 133 synonyms and that number will probably grow.

ANYWAY! This plant I brought home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on May 1. The plant labeled Achillea tomentosa ‘LoGro™ Goldie’, is supposed to grow to ONLY 6-8″ tall. That is smaller than “Goldie’, ‘King Edward’ or ‘Aurea’ which are also popular cultivars of Achillea tomentosa.

Moving right along…

 

Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ after I brought it home on 5-9-19, #570-1.

I had been working on planters for a friend so I “had to” go to the four local greenhouses on more than one occasion. Wagler’s has a few succulents but Mast’s and Wildwood have more. Sometimes I find something new at Mast’s but Wildwood normally has the best selection. Wildwood Greenhouse is smaller than the other three but their plants are AWESOME. Well, I suppose I shouldn’t rate one higher than the rest because all their plants are of high quality. Business was booming the first couple of times I went to the greenhouses, but I did get to visit with Mr. Yoder at Wildwood at length on the 8th and 9th. We talked plants in general. Anyway, one of the succulents I picked up was this nice x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ which was unlabeled. I posted the photo on a Facebook group and was told it looked like x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’. I looked it up on Llifle and Google and decided the member was right or close enough to give it a name. x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ is an intergeneric cross between Aloe speciosa and Haworthia cymbiformis. Interestingly, one website used the term bigeneric which was a new one for me but bigeneric and intergeneric mean the same thing. Maybe they couldn’t think of the word intergeneric. I like the thick dark green leaves.

 

Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata after I brought it home on 5-1-19, #564-2.

Walking through back greenhouse at Wagler’s I noticed this neat plant with a flower that looked similar to an Ice plant. There were A LOT of them but they were all unlabeled. I asked Mrs. Wagler what it was and she said it was an Ice Plant. Hmmm… When I think of an Ice plant I think of Delosperma cooperi which I have grown several times. “This is no Ice Plant”, I thought to myself. So, I brought it home mainly to figure it out.

 

By the time I arrived home to take photos the flower was closed up. It was pretty neat how the flower just kind of sticks out of the end of the plant.

Anyway, I went to my computer later and typed in “variegated Ice Plant” and came up with the name Aptenia cordifolia “Variegata”. Which would be written correctly as Aptenia cordifolia f. variegata. Unfortunately, Plants of the World Online says Aptenia cordifolia ONCE AGAIN is a synonym of Mesembryanthemum cordifolium. Ummm… Botanists agreed this species was Aptenia cordifolia when the name was changed by Martin Heinrich Gustav Schwantes in Gartenflora in 1928. The genus Aptenia was named in 1925 but the species were returned to the Mesembryanthemum genus in 2007. Then in 2009, several authors proposed this move be reversed. So far, no luck.

 

On May 6 I was finally able to get a photo of the flower. Like members of other Mesembryanthemum and Delosperma genera, the flowers of “Aptenia cordifolia” are only open during the day and close up in the late afternoon. The common name “Ice Plant” belongs to Delosperma cooperi. Aptenia cordifolia is the Heart-Leaved Ice Plant and Dew Plant *among others). The common name for Mesembryanthemum cordifolium is Baby Sun Rose. To make it a little more confusing, there is a hybrid cultivar floating around by Proven Winners called ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ and they call it a Livingstone Daisy. It is likely a hybrid between Aptenia cordata x Aptenia haeckeliana, I mean Mesembryanthemum cordifolium x M. haeckelianum. The hybrids are found in the wild and produce red flowers while the true, whatever you call it, produce bright magenta-rose (pinkish) flowers.

All of the local greenhouses had many combination hanging baskets with these plants in them. I used them when I did the planters for a friend as well.

 

Callisia repens (Bolivian Jew) on 5-19-19, #575-1.

I also had to have this neat little plant. I look at the label and it was a Bolivian Jew and the species name was Callisia navicularis. I was pretty happy when Plants of the World Online said that was a legit and accepted name! BUT, when I was talking to a friend and sent him a photo, he promptly said it was a Callisia repens. I said, “WHAT!?!?!” I hadn’t looked online myself yet to make sure of that but he immediately knew that a Bolivian Jew was a Callisia repens and not what the label said. I checked for myself and sure enough, he was right. I met this guy through a Facebook group and he knows a lot about plants!

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ after I brought it home on 5-8-19, #569-1.

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ has been on my wishlist for a long time, so when I saw several at Muddy Creek Greenhouse on May 8 I didn’t hesitate to bring one home. I have grown both Colocasia ‘Tea Cup’ and Bikini Tini’ when I lived at the mansion in Mississippi but haven’t since I have been back in Missouri. Many believe Colocasia ‘Tea Cup’ is the same as ‘Coffee Cups’. Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ was discovered in the wild by Indonesian botanist Gregory Hambali and brought to the US by aroid specialist Alan Galloway.

 

I put it in the ground on the right side of the steps on the north side of the house. Two Achillea millefolium came up in this spot but I haven’t moved them yet. I just put the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ behind them. Hmmm… Two different species with completely different moisture requirements in the same spot. How’s that for garden planning? The Achillea are MUCH taller now but C. ‘Coffee Cups’ can grow 5-6′ tall.

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ and ‘Tea Cup’ are commonly advertised as a cultivar of Colocasia esculenta. In my opinion, and other growers of the ears, that is nearly impossible. It has many characteristics of Colocasia fontanesii including the dark petioles and smaller olive-green leaves. Colocasia ‘Black Stem’, which I have also grown in the past, is a Colocasia fontanesii.

 

Wagler’s also had a lot of very nice Gazinia so I had to bring one home for the northeast corner bed. I haven’t grown any of these for a few years but I always liked them. Their flowers start folding up in the late afternoon and open in the morning. GEEZ! I take most of my photos in the late afternoon!

 

Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ after I brought it home on 5-8-19, #569-2.

When I was out at Wildwood Greenhouse for the second time, I picked up one of the Gasteria ‘Little Warty’. It was unlabeled but I knew what it was from previous research about the Gasteria species. It is a cross between Gasteria batesiana x Gasteria ‘Old Man Silver’ from the Australian hybridizer David Cumming. Gasteria species seem to be easy to grow and are worth giving a try if you haven’t. They prefer light shade to shade over full sun so they also do well inside.

 

Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairy Washboard) on 5-9-19, #570-3.

Wildwood Greenhouse had several of these Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairy Washboard) which were also unlabeled. This species was first named Haworthia limifolia by Hermann Wilhelm Rudolf Marloth in 1910 then changed to Haworthiopsis limifolia by Gordon Douglas Rowley in 2013. A distinguishing feature of Haworthia species is their “two-lipped” flowers. After further research, three separate genera were discovered within the Haworthia genus. Now we have Haworthia, Haworthiopsis, and Tulista all with “two-lipped” flowers. Hmmm…

 

Malva sylvestris (French Hollyhock) on 5-19-19, #575-2.

Wagler’s had several unlabeled pots of these plants with nice HUGE dark green leaves that were unlabeled. Again, I had to ask what they were. Mrs. Wagler said they were Miniature Hollyhocks and thats all she knew. It is likely Malva sylvestris. Common names include French Hollyhock, and Tall or High Mallow.

I am not necessarily a Hollyhock fan because I had a friend, now deceased, who had them growing all along his garage. They spread A LOT over the years so I have been hesitant. I thought since these were miniatures they might do well between the basement steps and back porch so I brought one home. I planted it but I keep forgetting about it when I am taking photos. Hopefully, it won’t have pink flowers…

I think that’s it for the new plants this year so far. I didn’t find any new Hosta to bring home for myself but I did find three for a friend (the one I did the planters for). They are all different than mine so I can take photos of his. 🙂

Now I have to work on an update. I have to show you what the Echinopsis mirabilis is doing and photos of the Baptisia that was labeled ‘Lunar Eclipse’. It is LOADED with flowers this year but it is definitely NOT a ‘Lunar Eclipse’. Of course, the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is always photo worthy and hasn’t even slowed down.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive!

 

 

 

 

 

NEW PLANTS-APRIL 27…

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 4-27-19, #563-6.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you well. Spring is the time of year us gardeners get itchy fingers and the only cure is to get out hands in the dirt. And, of course, the only treatment for a plantaholic is more plants. Every year I think about doing something a little different with the north side of the house. The problem is space. The “Elephant Ears” do very well on the north side of the house, much better than anywhere else. That leads to a complicated problem with only two ways to solve it. For now, I am going to extend the bed farther away from the house even with the gutter on one end and curving it slightly to meet the area next to the steps. As I mentioned earlier, the larger Xanthosoma robustum rhizome rotted but I still have an offset from it. I am also getting a Xanthosoma sagittifolium from a fellow plant collector. The Xanthosoma grow wider than the Colocasia so they take up a lot of space. Then,  of course, there was the wanting another Leucocasia (Syn. Colocasia) gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. But, there were the two VERY LARGE Colocasia esculenta that I have grown on the north side of the house for several years. The two multiplied, as Colocasia esculenta do, but I will still only put two of the largest on the north side of the house. I already ran out of room before I started…

 

My son, Nathan, and his friend, Chris, are here now and Nathan said they would help out on the farm doing whatever I needed them to do. Umm… Chris seems more eager to help than Nathan so I explained to him what I wanted to do with the bed. A few days ago, while I was taking a nap in the afternoon, they started. I heard them talking outside so I got up to see what they were doing. I walked out the door and probably had a very blank look on my face. He completely misunderstood and dug one strip from the end of the gutter to the other side of the bed instead of digging everywhere there were no plants. The strip he dug was crooked, which he pointed out. I reminded him again what the idea was and he said he thought I wanted to dig a ditch. GEEZ!!!! A DITCH! Needless to say, they have yet to finish their project so I guess I will do it myself as initially planned. Then when I am finished I will hear them say, “We were going to do that…”

So, yesterday I decided to go to the greenhouses to see what they had available. I was going to go to Wagler’s but I needed to go to Wildwood first to see if he had another Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. If you remember, in 2017  I found one there but the rhizome rotted a month before time to plant it in 2018. So, I ordered a “bulb” (as they called it) from a seller on Ebay. When it arrived it looked like a white sweet potato and it turned out to be the Xanthosoma robustum

ANYWAY! Wildwood did have several Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ plants, which were formerly Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. They were actually Leucocasia gigantea in the first place. Being that phylogenetic testing proved they were more closely related to Alocasia than Colocasia, the Leucocasia genus was revived and the Leucocasia gigantea is there all by its lonesome. Of course, the label still says Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. I think I am getting a brainache… So, of course, I picked one out to bring home.

 

Colocasia esculenta ‘Distant Memory’ (PPAF) on 4-27-19, #563-2.

When most people think of an Elephant Ear, it is usually the Colocasia esculenta that comes to mind. Over the years I have grown several different species and cultivars and would like to start doing that again. I have a wish list with several but they are unavailable locally so I would have to order. I did find a black-leaved cultivar at Wildwood labeled Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’. It was released by Walters Gardens in memory of Harriet Walters who they say was the lifeblood of the family business. Photos on their website show a plant with very dark and puckered leaves but the leaves on the plants I saw at Wildwood are not puckered. Maybe that will come with age. I have grown Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ a few times in the past so this new version will be a new experience. The label says they grow 4-4 1/2′ tall and prefer at least 4 hours of sun. I know from experience the more light they are in the better the leaf color. I think I will probably put this plant on the left side of the porch where it will get plenty of light and attention.

You can read about it on the Walters Gardens website by clicking HERE.

I looked at the other plants at Wildwood in their front greenhouse and drooled over some of their succulents but I did not even dare pick up a single pot. They also had some very nice Veronica which tempted me… They had some VERY NICE pots of Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ like I bought from them last year, but I refrained…

Then I ventured to the second greenhouse… The back left-hand corner is where they usually have their selection of Hosta. They had several nice cultivars I didn’t have including several VERY NICE Hosta ‘Humpback Whale’ and the prices weren’t bad at $8.00 per pot. But, I took only $20 because I had a limit…

The truth is, I had already spotted several pots of a plant I thought I would NEVER see available and I HAD to bring one home.

 

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ after I brought it home 4-27-19, #563-3.

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon‘!!! I was given several of these by a friend, Mary Botler, when I lived at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi. She gave me the start in 2010 and by the time I left in February 2013 they had spread quite a bit. Personally, I thought they were a very delightful plant and you just never knew where they would pop up. The scent of the leaves kind of reminded me of fish lemon pepper. While Plants of the World Online continue to include Houttuynia cordata as the only species in the genus, there are two chemotypes. POWO says the Japanese type has an orange scent and the Chinese type has a scent resembling coriander. Hmmm…

Common names for this plant include Bishop’s Weed, Fish Mint, Fish Leaf, Rainbow Plant, Chameleon Plant, Heart Leaf, Fist Wort, and Chinese Lizard’s Tail. It is used in cooking, as a salad, as well as herbal medicine. You can read more online about this plant on the Wikipedia page HERE, visit my page about it by clicking on its name (above). I have several links included on its page for further reading. The Wikipedia lists another species, but POWO says it is a synonym of H. cordata. There are several cultivars also available.

 

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ on 4-27-19, #563-4.

One interesting thing about this plant was the color of the leaves. Some are a colorful combination of chartreuse and dark green and some with some having reddish highlights.

 

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ on 4-27-19, 563-5.

Other leaves were a solid dark green and sometimes on the same plant. No two leaves are alike. The color of the leaves also varies by degrees of light which also changes throughout the season.

I was very happy to have found this plant locally. It is supposed to be hardy in USDA zones 4-10 so hopefully, it will thrive. Actually, I am not sure how well I want it to thrive because this plant can become invasive. I have grown many perennials that are supposed to be cold hardy here that have done well during the summer but didn’t return the next spring. So, we shall see…

I only had $21 in cash and some change and I didn’t know how much the Houttuynia was. It had been with the Hosta which were $8.00 a pot. If it were $8.00 I was going to have to put something back. Amish only take cash or checks here because they have no electricity and no debit card readers. When I was checking out, he said, “Let me see. How much are those?” I told him I didn’t know but they were with the Hosta that are $8.00. The total came to $21.14. 🙂

After I left Wildwood I went to Mast’s Greenhouse to check on the Hosta. I mainly went to see if they had Hosta like the Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ I brought home last year. As I have mentioned several times, the Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ is NOT a ‘Blue Angel’. I was hoping to find pots that were correctly labeled. While they did have several Hosta available, the only pot like the one I bought was apparently one left over from last year… Incorrectly labeled. I was going to quiz Mr. Mast about where they get their Hosta but there were a lot of people there and he was very busy. They did have several nice Hosta including a gold-leaved cultivar but it looked very similar to Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ which I already have. If I am going to buy another gold-leaved Hosta, it has to be different than what I already have.

So,  I headed back to town to go to Wagler’s on the other side of town. Just to look to see what was available. That’s why I stopped at the bank to withdraw another $20.00.

 

Centaurea sp. on 4-27-19, #563-1.

Wagler’s was also very busy so I went through their second door unnoticed. Normally, we visit a little but she was busy with customers at the counter. So, I ventured through one greenhouse then to another, then back up to another to get to the greenhouse with the perennials. The plants all looked very good. Once again, even at Waglers, the selection of Coleus was almost nothing. In the past I have planted Coleus between the Colocasia in the north bed, but last year I grew none. GEEZ! What is life without Coleus? Anyway, in the greenhouse with the perennials, the bright yellow flower on the Centaurea caught my eye. I walked past them then returned. Along the front of the table were pots with handwritten labels that said Centaurea red and some that said Centaurea purple. The pot with the yellow flowers had no labels. I also noticed the leaves of the yellow flowered plants were different and they had reddish colored main stems. I picked up one of each anyway. GEEZ! For the northeast corner bed or perhaps the southeast corner bed.

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 4-27-19, #563-7.

I walked around the perennial greenhouse more and saw some NICE peach colored Foxglove which I decided to pass. Then I spotted several nice pots of Salvia labeled Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’. Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ have been on my wishlist for MANY years so I had to pick out three. Salvia guaranitica is a synonym of Salvia coerulea now… Well, it has been for many years but the industry still labels them as Salvia guaranitica.

By the time I was finished browsing, the crowd had thinned out somewhat. I went to the counter and a lady had come and was asking her daughter or granddaughter (GEEZ!) about “Voodoo” plants. She told her there were a few pots that “Lonnie” brought last year under the table that hadn’t come up yet. The girl brought up a pot and Mrs. Wagler asked me something about it coming up. I stuck my finger in the pot and told her the bulb was sprouting. Then, she told the lady I was the one that brought the other Bromeliads. Come to find out, this lady was the one who brought Mrs. Wagler all the other Bromeliads last year from Florida. I had noticed the Bromeliads late last summer when I took plants to her and they were looking very good. So far, she has only been able to get one start from one of them.

The lady from Florida said she was somewhere in Florida and this guy just started pulling off offsets from all these Bromeliads and giving them to her. She put them in her suitcase and brought them to Mrs. Wagler to see if she could have any luck getting offsets from them. I am not sure how many there are, but there are MANY and all are different.

When I went to pay for the six plants I had found, Mrs. Wagler quietly told me I didn’t owe her anything. 🙂 It is so great to be able to go to a greenhouse and not have to pay for plants. I am also grateful to be able to have a place to take plants that multiply where I can trade for plants I want.

I would like to start working on the north bed, but a thunderstorm is approaching. Rain is in the forecast all week. GEEZ!

I hope you are having a great and joyous spring. Be safe and stay positive.

Heuchera and Hosta Update

Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ on 4-23-19, #562-4.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. The Heuchera and Hosta are all doing good for the most part. We have been having cool temps this week but nothing serious.  Some of the perennials are growing like weeds now while others are casually taking their time. If you grow several different Hosta cultivars from different size groups, you will find the larger cultivars grow at a much faster rate than the miniatures. At least that is the way it is here.

You can click on the names of the Heuchera and Hosta to visit their own pages.

The Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ in the above photo was a little off at first but it seems to be doing much better now.

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ on 4-23-19, #562-5.

The Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ is being weird again this spring. I don’t understand how some plants can do great their first year and then go downhill after that. I dug it up, checked its roots, made sure there wasn’t a mole tunnel under it, amended the soil with cow manure, then put it back in the ground at the proper depth. So far it is still being weird!

Heuchera (Coral Bells) don’t have a lot of rules to keep them going. They need well-draining soil, kind of lose and loamy like most plants. They can go for short dry periods but they prefer consistently damp soil, but not to damp. During dry periods they like at least an inch of water per week or they begin to feel neglected. Although they don’t seem to mind Oxalis and Clover to a point, they consider most weedy companions as intruders. They don’t seem to like the pushy Chickweed or Lamium purpureum (Deadnettle) and always ask if I can remove them. Company is one thing, but enough is enough!

 

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ on 4-23-19, #562-6.

The bigger Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ continues to do very well. The smaller plant next to this one is doing very well also. This plant handed me a “to-do list” reminding me to keep the Virginia Creeper (lower left corner) in check.

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’ on 4-23-19, #562-7.

The Heuchera ‘Venus’… They say a photo is worth a thousand words, but I can honestly tell you this Heuchera looks even better in person. It seems to like its Red Clover companion. That’s good because I can’t remove it. Its stem is right next to the Heuchera with much deeper roots. Heuchera ‘Venus’ is looking better than ever so I don’t think I need to bother it.

Heuchera always looks good this time of the year through most of May. Once the heat of summer sets in and the Japanese Beetles arrive… I have plenty of leaves for mulch that I am going to put on the shade bed, and maybe in the bed in the north side of the house. That will help keep the soil cool and retain some moisture.

Now for the Hosta…

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ on 4-23-19, #562-8.

The Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ is taking its time making sure the coast is clear. She keeps reminding me how I couldn’t find her earlier because I was looking in the wrong place. Then she giggles so I know she is just kidding around. I was looking behind the label instead of in front of it… Anyway, the Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ is alive and well. 🙂

 

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ ? on 4-23-19, #562-9.

If this is a Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ I will really be surprised. It survived the winter and started leafing out faster than the rest of the Hosta. I have looked at its label several times to verify to myself, and to the plant, that it says Hosta ‘Blue Angel’. The label hasn’t changed and that is exactly what it says… This clump looks like a very nice and healthy miniature Hosta, which Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ is not… Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ grows to a mature size of 36″ tall. Its leaves also do not match Hosta ‘Blue Angel’. So, I need to find out the source of this plant from Mast’s Greenhouse to see what miniature Hosta they have available… I WILL figure it out! I am certainly not unhappy with the plant because it is very good. It just needs to have its proper name.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on 4-23-19, #562-10.

It seems to take a long time for the Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ leaves to unfurl. I looked back at last years photos and it seems to actually be a little ahead. Patience is a virtue…

 

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ on 4-23-19, #562-11.

What a glowing beauty! The Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ is definitely a winner! Sometimes I go outside in the dark to check on something, like measure a plant (yes, I really do that). If I shine my light toward the Hosta this one lights up like it is saying, “I am here!” I have had several gold-leaved Hosta on my wishlist for many years but there are never any available locally. I was fortunate to have found this one at Muddy Creek Greenhouse in 2017.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 4-25-19, #562-12.

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ has grown by leaps and bounds. It wasn’t the first to emerge, but once it did and the temps warmed up it took off and grew faster than any other Hosta here. I have taken several photos of it already that I haven’t posted because by the time a post is finished it has grown more. Then I forgot to take its photo on the 23rd with the other Hosta which is why this one was taken on the 25th (even though it is in the same folder). Currently, it is already 30″ wide and it just the last part of April!

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ on 4-23-19, #562-13.

The Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is looking very good now.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ on 4-23-19, #562-14.

The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is doing very good now. I am going to like it much better with it all on the same location.

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ on 4-23-19, #562-15.

The Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ is one of my all-time favorite Hosta. I like the color and their vase-shaped habit.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ on 4-23-19, #562-16.

The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is an amazing Hosta for sure. It just does its thing and that is growing and looking beautiful! Beautiful large dark green corrugated leaves!

 

Hosta ‘Red October’ on 4-23-19, #562-17.

Talk about a miraculous recovery! I thought the Hosta ‘Red October’ was completely gone. Each time I checked on the Hosta and took photos of them coming up, Hosta ‘Red October’ was nowhere to be seen. The clump had struggled last spring because of a mole tunnel under the roots, so I dug it up. There were only two plants left in the clump so I put them beside two separate Chinese Elm trees. They didn’t do well all summer but they did survive. This spring they were gone. I dug into the soil where I had planted them and nothing was to be found. Then one day, with no camera, I saw they had both came up. Not just a sprout, but the whole plant! It had only been a couple of days since I took photos and they were not there. It was a pleasant surprise for sure! So, I took both plants and put them where The Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’ had been (where one of the ‘H. ‘Guacamole’ had been last year).

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ on 4-23-19, #562-18.

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is looking GREAT and getting bigger every time I check. This is going to be a great specimen in time.

 

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on 4-23-19, #562-19.

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ is definitely one of those delightful and entertaining Hosta. Emerging in bright colors in the spring then darkening as the season progresses.

 

Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ on 4-23-19, #562-20.

All of the Hosta are doing very well except for the Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’. This will be our 11th summer together and it has always been AWESOME and has never had a lick of trouble until now. Apparently, with the up and down temps this past winter, its roots heaved up exposing some of the roots. Even with leaves as a mulch, it didn’t help that much because leaves blow off. I dug up the clump and dug the hole deeper, amended the soil with cow manure, then replanted what was left of the clump. Some of the roots are sticking upward which is a little weird… Hopefully, it will get back to its old self and start growing better.

Well, that’s it for the Heuchera and Hosta update. It took five days to finish this post! Today I went to three greenhouses to see what was available. I needed to see if Wildwood Greenhouse had another Leucocasia (Colocasia) gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ and see what else was available. I went to Mast’s because they were in the neighborhood but I didn’t go to Muddy Creek. Then, of course, I had to check with Wagler’s… So, the next post will be about the new plants which I will start on NOW…

Until next time… Be safe and stay positive. I hope you are getting dirty!

April 24 Update

A few of the plants on the front porch on 4-22-19, #561-9.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing well. I took most of the photos for this post on April 20 then more on April 22. I did manage to get the plants on the front porch but the cactus are still in the house. Many of the perennials are growing very fast now but some are still slow because of lingering cool temperatures. The Hosta have been slow except for a few such as the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ and H. Potomac Pride’. I will have to take new photos of the Hosta and make a separate update for the Heuchera and Hosta. I am planning a garden this year but the wind and then more rain has delayed that plan. I am also planning on extending the bed on the north side of the house… I want to add another Xanthosoma and find another Leococasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. Of course, the larger Colocasia esculenta will also go in the north bed. Well, maybe I need to make the bed even larger than planned. I also moved the Alocasia outside but they aren’t exactly photo ready yet. 🙂

I met a new friend and fellow plant collector and we will be trading a few plants. No telling what I might wind up with but it will be very good!

 

Achillea ‘Moondust’ on 4-20-19, #560-1.

The Achillea ‘Moondust’ is well on its way to having a great summer. This is only the second cultivar of Achillea I have bought. The other was a selection of Achillea millefolium called ‘Strawberry Seduction’ which I purchased from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in 2012. I brought it to Missouri with me in 2013 but it fizzled out in 2014.

 

Achillea ‘Moondust’ on 4-22-19, #561-2.

Two days after the previous photo was taken, the Achillea ‘Moondust’ it has two buds…

 

Achillea millefolium on 4-20-19, #560-2.

The Achillea millefolium have been amusing plants (plural because I have SEVERAL clumps now). I have been calling this a Fern-Leaf Yarrow, but that common name belongs to the Achillea filipendulina (which has yellow flowers). The common names for the Achillea millefolium include Milfoil, Yarrow or Common Yarrow, Allheal, Thousand-Leaf, Bloodwort, Carpenter’s Grass, Cammock, Green Arrow, Sneezeweed, Nosebleed, Green Adder’s Mouth, Soldier’s Woundwort, Dog Daisy, Old-Man’s-Pepper and probably more. What is amusing to me is the way it travels by underground roots to where it would rather be. I initially brought two clumps with me when I moved back here from Mississippi in 2013. A friend of mine gave me quite a few plants from her yard that she had for MANY years. She said another gardening friend had given a start to her and she didn’t know the cultivar name. She just started yanking up plants because they had spread way out into her yard. Since I had several to experiment with, I put them here and there in both full sun and shady areas. The plants in too much shade just kind of fizzled out but the two mostly sun thrived. I brought two clumps with me when I came back here and put them in the bed on the south side of the house. In 2014 I moved one to the front of the chicken house and one on the north side of the house. I also put a few along the basement steps (in full sun). The one in front of the chicken house has just done so-so and that is where I thought it would spread the most. But, not so. It only did well there for a couple of years then the clump became smaller and has even tried moving around the corner. The plants along the basement steps, in full sun, only lasted a couple of years then they didn’t return one spring. On the north side of the house, where they received the least amount of sun, they have done much better and multiplied. I took one of the larger clumps and put them in front of the barn last spring in full sun. One clump on the north side of the house is only a couple of feet from the foundation and seems to like it there even though it is in the shade. The clump I moved to the barn was the traveler… It moved about 3 feet from where I initially planted it in three years to get to more sun. It has also left behind 4-5 offspring, two of which popped up this spring next to the steps. The other 2 or 3 are still in the shadier part of the bed. Supposedly, according to some, the Achillea millefolium will spread like wildfire but I haven’t had that problem. The native Achillea millefolium on one part of the Katy Trail nearby has flourished beyond comprehension. Here on the farm, I guess the cows have kept in check because there aren’t that many. You can see Achillea millefolium on a lot of back roads as well, sometimes in very large colonies. There are several nice cultivars available in several colors and sizes that do not spread.

 

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ on 4-20-19, #560-3.

A few patches of the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ are beginning to flower while some are still in bud. I really like this cultivar even though they spread like their life depends on it. Well, I guess their life does depend on it, huh? I originally brought the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ home from Lowe’s in 2010 when I was living at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi. They multiply to form a thick mat so some of the plants need to be removed every year or so to avoid crown rot. They root easily so you can put them here and there. They have fairly shallow roots so they make a nice living mulch.

 

Astilbe cv. ‘?’ on 4-20-19, #560-4.

The Astilbe are getting with it now. They aren’t among the first perennials to emerge in the spring, but they are close behind them. Once they start they grow nonstop until they reach their size. The one in the above photo, Astilbe cv. ‘?’, is the one I brought home with the wrong label. I checked over the plant quality in many pots and didn’t notice it was mislabeled until I brought it home. GEEZ! It is a smaller plant so it is likely Astilbe ‘Visions’ or ‘Rheinland’. I guess I should take measurements of the mature height with and without the flowers so I can give ita proper name besides ‘?’…

 

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ on 4-20-19, #460-5.

No mistaking this is an Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ because it has the correct label. 🙂 This cultivar is somewhat taller than the other one and has dark leaves and red flowers. Astilbe are great in a shady area and prefer somewhat moist soil and they both like it on the north side of the house. Some cultivars grow to around 30″ or taller.

 

Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ ? on 4-20-19, #560-6.

The Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ wannabe has grown A LOT since I took the last photos on April 7.  I had to make a decision to move this plant to the southeast corner bed because it shades the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ too much. At least I think so although the Phlomis wasn’t complaining. ANYWAY, Saturday afternoon I took the shovel and stuck it in all the way around the clump to loosen the soil… Ummm… Baptisia has deep taproots and doesn’t like to be disturbed so I was going to be very careful to get as much soil and as deep as I could. It would not budge! I thought I was going to break the shovel handle. So, I decided I would move the Phlomis to the southeast corner bed instead. It was not happy about that decision… I will write about that down farther… So, for now, I guess the Baptisia stays put.

 

Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ on 4-22-19, #561-4.

On April 22, only two days after the previous photo was taken, the Baptisia wannabe ‘Lunar Eclipse’ has MANY buds… Now I have to watch it closely!

 

Cydonia sp. on 4-20-19, #560-7.

The Quince has more flowers on it this year than I have ever seen before. Maybe it will bear fruit. 🙂 This probably the most annoying shrub, besides the Crap Myrtle, on the farm. Well, I suppose that depends on how you look at it. I don’t trim it very often and it has spread into the patch of Iris next to it which I am not happy about. Other trees like to hide in it and there is also some Poison Ivy in it. My grandparents planted it here so it has been around for a long time. I have noticed other Quince’s around town that are also LOADED!

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ on 4-20-19, #560-27.

Like I mentioned earlier, I had to make a decision about moving the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ since I couldn’t budge the Baptisia…

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ roots on 4-20-19, #560-28.

I looked it over pretty good and thought, “Hmmm… I can make two out of it.” It actually had two tap roots, which were growing crooked because the soil was so hard.

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ on 4-20-19, #560-31.

After I replanted them and gave them a good soaking I continued taking more photos. Then I thought how I didn’t like the same plants in more than one location, even though they are within a few feet of each other. After all, I had just put the Hosta ‘Guacamole’ back together again for the same reason. I have to keep comparing the two plants and take two photos instead of one.

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ on 4-22-19, #561-13.

So, on the 22nd, I put them back together again. It wasn’t very happy I had dug it up and moved it in the first place let alone completely disturbing its roots. It will be in more sun where it is now, which is supposed to be OK. I will just have to keep an eye on it. GEEZ! It probably thinks I have flipped!

*On April 24 it has forgiven me and looks MUCH better.

 

Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ on 4-20-19, #560-32.

The Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ continues to do well. These are a great Salvia is you need a plant that stays pretty compact. This is our third season together and it has always done well. It will start budding shortly.

 

Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ on 4-20-19, #560-33.

I was very glad to see the Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ survived the winter. This will be our second season and it is already getting off to a good start. One plant is larger than the other, but the smaller one flowered first. 🙂 At one point last summer the smaller one almost fizzled out but it came back to life and survived the winter. This Salvia has the neatest flowers which you can see if you go to its page. Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ is part of the FASHIONISTA™ Collection introduced by Walters Gardens. Maybe I can find another one so there will be three. I used to only buy one of each plant, but last year I started buying at least three to make a bigger group. That’s OK as long as I plant them all together. 🙂

 

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ on 4-22-19, #561-15.

The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ (or ‘May Night’) has really taken off this spring! Last year, if you remember, it took a vacation and barely did anything. It stayed small and barely flowered. I am glad its vacation is over! This will be our seventh season and is one of the first perennials I panted here in 2013. It has been in this same spot.

 

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ on 4-20-19, #560-36.

The Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ is growing really well now and

 

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ buds on 4-20-19 #560-37.

It appears to have a few buds already!

 

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ on 4-20-19, #560-38.

Even the stem with more yellow variegation has returned. Maybe I can take a cutting this year.

 

Sedum kamtschaticum on 4-20-19, #560-39.

The Sedam kamtschaticum is also doing very good. Last year it sprawled out and the stems touching the soil rooted. That’s good so now the clump will be bigger. 🙂

 

Tradescantia fluminensis flower on 4-20-19, #560-40.

When I took the plants to the front porch on April 20, I noticed the Tradescantia fluminensis had a flower. NICE. It did pretty well over the winter. Hmmm… I don’t have a page for this plant yet.

 

Zantedeschia elliottiana on 4-22-19, #561-16.

The Zantedeschia elliottiana (Golden Calla Lily) bulbs had started sprouting but the bulbs had sunk deeper into the soil. So, I gave the pot some fresh potting soil and re-planted the bulbs. They are a bit more crowded than recommended if you plant them in the ground but this is a pot… The top 1/4 of the bulbs need to be above the soil but that didn’t out so well. There is a big cluster in the center and when I watered most became covered with potting soil. Hmmm… They didn’t flower last year, so I am hoping for blooms. Hmmm… I don’t have a page for the Calla either and I have had them since 2017! How could that be? 🙂

I had to do some repotting and take a few cuttings when I moved the plants outside which can be expected when they have been inside.

I took photos of the Hosta on April 20, but some are growing so fast the photos are out of date. So, I will take photos again and do a separate Heuchera and Hosta update. Of course, there will be a cactus update once I move them back outside.

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

 

April 7 & 10 Update

Achillea ‘Moondust’

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and excited. Excited that spring seems to have finally sprung. I started mowing the yard(s) a few days ago and hopefully, I can till the garden this week. I see the rain is now out of the forecast. Saturday night weather radar showed a thunderstorm heading our way but somehow it never came. Then all the rain forecasted for the week was kind of removed. I was talking to a friend from Mississippi and she said they have had A LOT of rain and more to come. You just never know. It seems some times of the year the weather is hard to predict.

The plants inside want out BAD but I told them later this week lows in the 30’s are predicted. Most of them smiled like they were saying they wouldn’t mind. Others had a different opinion which was kind of like mine. They decided to take a vote and strangely enough, it was unanimous they go outside now. I had to veto… Hmmm… Is it possible to veto a vote? Is that legal? They said the grass is green and growing and so are the plants outside already. I told them they may be coming up but only some were growing good. The overnight lows are still cool so most of the perennials are just sitting there waiting for warmer temperatures. I told the cactus that sometimes cooler temperatures can scar them. Well, they didn’t especially like that idea so they agreed to stay inside, for now, would be OK.

The above photo is the Achillea ‘Moondust’ I bought last spring. It hadn’t appeared yet when I took photos on March 30. I thought it may have not made it through the winter so I was glad to see it.

 

Achillea millefolium by the barn…

All the Achillea millefolium in the beds are up and running as is the one I put in front of the barn last summer. I am sure the “wild” Achillea millefolium are up as well but I haven’t checked.

 

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’…

All the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ are going nuts now. I see they are starting to bud, too.

 

The unknown Astilbe cultivar…

The Astilbe have come up this past week. I never did figure out the cultivar name of the one brought home from Lowe’s in 2013. I had checked several pots to find the one I wanted, but when I came home I saw it had a wrong label in the pot. It was for a completely different plant…

 

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’…

The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ I brought home last spring has also come up this past week. NICE! Grammarly thinks it should be called final…

 

Wanna be Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’…

The Baptisia labeled ‘Lunar Eclipse’ I brought home from the garden center in Clinton in 2017 is growing well. There were two sizes available and the plants in the larger pots were blooming but very expensive The smaller pots were still not cheap but agreeable. However, they weren’t flowering and they didn’t until last year. The flowers were all blue instead of the color of ‘Lunar Eclipse’. While it is true their flowers do turn blue, they start out yellow. It is possible I missed the yellow phase but I highly doubt it. When I make a trip to the garden center within a few weeks I will take a photo of the flowers and show the owner. I know it isn’t her fault but she may be interested to know. I am somewhat acquainted with the breeder, too.

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla)…

The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) hasn’t started doing anything weird yet. I had to pull out some chickweed in the planter and she was nice this time. Normally she bites! This plant reminds me of the Delaware hens when I gather eggs. I do not put my hands under the Delaware hens when they are on the nest and I do my best not to touch this cactus. Both are very grabby.

 

Echinacea purpurea cv. ‘?’…

The Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), whatever cultivar they may be, are doing quite well. I have a notion to dig some of the wild species up and plant them on the farm. I know where I can privately dig three species. 🙂

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’…

The Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ is all aglow and already brightening up its southeast area of the shade bed. It seems a lit stunted so I will need to check the soil under its roots. Darn moles!

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’…

I am glad to see the Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ getting off to a good start. Last year as it was starting to look good, the deer sampled its leaves. It didn’t do well all summer after that. So far, no deer have nibbled anything this spring yet.

 

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’…

The Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ is doing amazingly well. I am glad it’s happy.

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’…

The Heuchera ‘Venus’ is doing AWESOMELY well but she is complaining about bulbs growing in her space. I found a lot of small bulbs growing in this area when I dug this bed in 2017. I removed as many as I could see then replanted them later. Some of the bulbs were so small I guess I missed them. I attempted to identify the bulbs once they flowered again but I still haven’t decided what they are.

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’…

The Hosta, for the most part, are slowly coming to life. They have come up but they haven’t made up their mind to get up and go. Kind of like I am when I need to get out of bed in the morning. I guess it is because low’s have still been fairly cool so the soil has remained cool for the most part.

The Hosta ‘Abique Drinking Gourd’ came up and now is thinking about it. She is wondering if it is safe to unfurl or if there is still an “F” around the corner.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’…

Hmmm… I don’t know what to think about the supposed-to-be Hosta ‘Blue Angel’. It is going to be weird! It is supposed to be a fairly large Hosta but it remained so small last summer. Here it is, leaves unfurling, while all the other Hosta’s leaves are still tucked up. I am not a Hosta expert and probably need to brush up on Hosta terminology. With larger Hosta, the clump spreads over time and the “new plants” are spread out somewhat. With this plant, as with the H. ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, the cluster is fairly compact with lots of shoots in a small area. That is one reason I believe this plant is not a Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ at all.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’…

As you can see with this miniature Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, the cluster is tight and tidy. Ummm… You know what I mean. 🙂

 

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’…

The Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ pretty much looks like it did a week ago.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’…

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ has taken off like it is being paid. I think she really wants to dazzle us this summer and show us what she’s made of. Supposed to be the world’s largest Hosta but I would say there are a few grow equally as large or close such as Hosta ‘Gentle Giant’, ‘Big John’, ‘Sagae’, and so on. It really depends on which website you look at. This will be this Hosta ‘Empress Wu’s’ third summer here so she still a couple of years to reach maturity.

*Several days have passed since the above photo was taken on April 7. It is easy to notice how much it grows because it is next to the side entrance of the house. It seems like it grows a couple of inches every day.

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’…

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is doing better. It felt rejected because I thought it had fallen into a collapsed mole tunnel. It wondered why I didn’t dig into the soil and look for it if I was concerned. Hmmm… Now, what do you say about something like that? I told it I wasn’t really sure what happened at the time and then later I did realize I was looking in the wrong spot. I also reminded it that I DID scrape off the top inch or so of the soil when I found it was OK. Three of the Hosta somehow got covered with more soil and this was one of them.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’…

I put the Hosta ‘Guacamole’ #1 and 2 back together again as I was taking photos. Now, that’s better… I like keeping the Hosta cultivars together even if I divide. I moved one part of it last spring to fill the vacancy left behind by Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’. Now I need to find another variegated Hosta for that spot.

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’…

One of the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ clumps took off a little faster than the other two and it has spread a little. NICE!

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’…

The Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ in the previous photo is on the right side of the above photo. There is another group in the top center, and the other is where my finger is pointing. At least I can get them all in the same photo.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’…

The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ has REALLY done well and its clump has grown to a massive size! Even the moles seem to be scared of it!

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’…

This Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ I put here last spring will someday be very impressive. One of the most popular of the larger Hosta, it will grow to above 2′ tall x about 4-5′ wide within a few years.

 

Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’…

I have no clue what is going on with the Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’. It almost appears its roots have been pushed up from freezing and thawing. I need to have a closer look and perhaps bury is a little deeper. Maybe put some soil on top of it… Maybe a mole pushed it up.

 

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’…

I had to uncover the Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ because it is one that somehow had o much soil on top of it. I think they all need somewhat elevated in this particular bed.

 

Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’…

The Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is looking awesomely well. It has not spread hardly at all but it will grow into a nice mound around 30″ in diameter.

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’…

The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is looking good! I trimmed the old stems and leaves so it could get more sun and look much better. I am hoping for flowers!

 

Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’…

Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ is back again for another round. There is a Red Clover that is invading its space… Hard to remove the Red Clover because it has a tough root system and it is growing right in the Salvia!

 

Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’…

I am really glad to see the Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ this spring. I really liked its unique flowers.

 

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’/’May Night’…

The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ or ‘May Night’ is really looking good. It took somewhat of a vacation from flowering last summer so hopefully it will get with the program this year. It is getting off to a very good start!

 

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’…

All of the Sedum are looking better every day. I am especially keeping an eye on the Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’. I am curious why this variegated variety is referred to as a cultivar instead of a variety. Even the way I phrased that makes no sense. Is it a natural mutation or manmade? The International Crassulaceae Network lists a Phedimus kamtschaticus variegatus, which in a roundabout way, is this plant.

 

Sedum kamtschaticum

The Sedum kamtschaticum is looking very good as it always does. Maybe this will be the year I can tell if it is Sedum kamtschaticum or the subspecies Sedum kamtschaticum subsp. ellacombianum. The latter is pretty likely because it a good sized growing plant with fairly large leaves. Of course, there is no “official” subspecies by that name now on POWO and it isn’t even listed as a synonym. Of course, this may be the year the botanists, horticulturalists, etc. decide to break up the Sedum genus AGAIN. In that case, it would probably be Phedimus kamtschaticus or Phedimus kamtschaticus subsp. ellacombianum. Whoops! Maybe Phedimus aizoon. Hmmm… Maybe… I think I better stop because there are a lot of “if’s” involved and a lot of decisions to be made by the folks who are trying to sort through all the thousands of multiple species. They are doing their best.

There are several genera of plants with hundreds of species representing annuals, perennials, trees shrubs, and succulents (i.e. 1,986 species of Euphorbia). Currently, there are 545 accepted species of Sedum which are mainly succulent plants. While most share something in common, or they wouldn’t be in the genus, there are many species that separate them from the rest. Over the years, many groups of Sedum have been moved to other genera only to have them put back again (Phedimus, Hylotelephium, Rhodiola, Orostachys and so on).

 

Sedum spurium cv. ?…

The Sedum spurium ‘?’ is looking good despite its border wall has collapsed. I need to fix that right away.

 

Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’…

The Sedum spurium John Creech’ is off to a rambunctious start. I think it is going to just pick up where it left off and continue invading in neighbors territory.

 

Sempervivum ‘Killer’…

The Sempervivum ‘Killer’ hasn’t changed much since the last time I took photos…

 

Stachys byzantina

The Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) are looking great! They really seem to like this spot in the southeast corner bed.

 

Stellaria media (Chickweed)…

It may sound funny, but this is the first year in my life I have noticed the Chickweed (Stellaria media) flowering so much. Normally, I barely even get a glimpse early in the morning and just a few buds or spent flowers. This year they are flowering up a storm everywhere. Ummm… There is A LOT!

So many of us look at Chickweed as a real pain in the neck. The flower beds are LOADED this time of the year. Chickweed is both edible and nutritious and can be included in salads. Chickweed is also used as a herbal remedy.

Chickweed belongs to the Caryophyllaceae Family along with 93 other genera including Dianthus and Gypsophila. The genus Stellaria contains 181 species.

 

Xanthosoma robustum rhizome…

The Xanthosoma robustum, which I have been calling Xanthosoma sagittifolium, has a problem. The rhizome has been fine all winter and then I noticed the old one and one offset has rotted.

 

Xanthosoma robustum rhizome…

Thank goodness there is still one good offset.

 

AS USUAL…

It has taken a few days to finish this post. I finally finished mowing the first round of grass on Monday. Just in time to start over again. 🙂 Tis the season… I took a few more photos on Wednesday (the 10th).

Anyway, it is nothing uncommon in the spring for…

 

Of course, this is a tulip. When I moved to the farm after grandpa passed away in April 1981, there was an old tulip bed in front of the house. One spring after they flowered I decided to move the tulips next to the garden fence so they wouldn’t be in the middle of the front yard. Although I managed to get most of them, there were MANY that I couldn’t find… The stem kept going and going but there were no bulbs. Evening though I was very determined and I had dug down quite a ways, there were several bulbs I could not find because they had gone so deep. That was in the early 1980’s and still, after around 35 years they are STILL coming up in the middle of the front yard.

 

Then on Monday, I saw this one in a completely different location. It has come up about 20 feet from where I planted them along the fence and a good 30 feet from where the bed in the front yard was. Ironically, none of the bulbs I planted long ago along the fence have come up since I have been back here. This is weird… Where did this tulip come from. Makes me wonder how deep its bulb is… Yeah, I am going to see if I can find it.

 

I am not 100% sure, but I think I possibly planted this one from grandmas old bed.

 

While I was mowing I also noticed the old maple tree is LOADED with flowers. I thought this tree was about dead a few years ago, but it keeps on going. This spring it has completely come to life like nobodies business!

 

A few years ago, when I thought it was going to die, it started oozing more sap from way up in the trunk. It started losing leaves and I thought it was a goner for sure. It was late blooming and leafing out the next spring.

 

This photo doesn’t show it well, but most of the trunk is completely black from the sap.

OH, LOOK AT THOSE ORBS! I always take two photos of everything in case one is messed up. Hmmm… The orbs are in both photos in exactly the same spot. Some claim the orbs are from dust, but it was very windy today when I was taking photos. Wouldn’t you think the “dust orbs” would have moved or even been absent in the second photo since it was so windy? 🙂

 

I was waiting for the wind to die down enough to get a few shots of the flowers… The flowers of this maple are a lot different than the others.

 

I have tried on numerous occasions to start new trees from the seed. Even from the one with purple leaves. The trees get a few inches tall then die…

 

The Grape Hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) are as common around here as grass. I think they are pretty neat and I try and mow around them in the yard. Even the ones I mow off are flowering again in a few days. If I dig their bulb up in the flower beds, I just stick them back in the dirt.

 

Another common sight in my yard, and maybe yours, too… Some of the clumps are smaller than others and some have an oniony smell and others don’t. I have experimented a little and mowed around them to see what happens. There is a HUGE group down by the lagoon like the one in the above photo and these do smell like onions. They are one of nearly 1,000 Allium species (POWO currently says 977, which is almost 1,000). I have not ventured to try and find out the species name.

 

These little Daffodils in front of the chicken house are really neat. I think mom and dad ordered these from Publisher’s Clearing House and I planted them here.

 

A couple of them have white tepals with yellow coronas…

 

The rest have very pale creamy yellow coronas

 

There is plenty of Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) growing here and there…

 

As well as its cousin the Dead Nettle (Lamium purpurea).

 

The Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) is starting to flower. There are plenty of them, too.

 

I always like their flowers!

I can start moving plants to the front and back porch next week. If we get another cold front I will have to move them back inside.

That’s it for this post. Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Now it is time to GET DIRTY!

New Rain Gauge, New Plants, Sparrows Evicted…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. The grass is really greening up and the trees are budding out nicely. We had rain and thunderstorms this weekend and there 2″ in the new rain gauge. Ah, yes… A new rain gauge. The old one broke so I looked online and locally and was shocked at how much a new one costs. There are all sizes and types adorned with this and that that I wasn’t interested in. I just wanted something simple that I could attach to the railing on the back porch. I found some cheap enough on Ebay so I bought one for $2.42 with free shipping. It arrived in a box from Lowe’s and was definitely shipped by Lowe’s. Inside the box was even a receipt from Lowe’s. I thought that was somewhat strange because I didn’t buy it from Lowe’s. Anyway, it is simply a glass tube that holds 5″ of rain with a piece of flimsy metal holding the tube in place that attaches with a couple of screws to the railing. It will serve the purpose and if it breaks I haven’t lost that much.

 

I had to go to Lowe’s on Friday because I needed a new light for the elevator at church. The elevator at church is, um, very old. If I am not mistaken, this elevator was installed in the early 1980’s and those lights are original A while back one of the fluorescent lights in the elevator burned out.

 

Luckily, Lynn Wilson found one in his garage with the same type of plug. We both knew then if the other light burned out we wouldn’t be so fortunate. Well, a couple of weeks ago the other light burned out. I looked locally and online and couldn’t find one with the same type of plug. The bulb in the old light cannot be removed and the whole fixture needs replaced. The writing on the fixture says GE Light Stick… Just imagine. These lights are about 40 years old and they just now burned out.

 

The bulb is actually glued to the fixture. Anyway, Lowe’s and Menards didn’t have any with that type of plug either. So, I wound up buying one locally and I will have to cut and splice the wires.

Of course, while I was a Lowe’s I had to go check out the plant department. I mainly wanted to see if there was any new cactus. It is just an addiction that can only be helped with more plants. Do I need more? No. It is kind of eating when you aren’t really hungry or going to bed when you aren’t sleepy. OK, so maybe that isn’t in the same category for most people. 🙂

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, Lowe’s did have cactus… The rack was in the garden center where morning low temps are still pretty cool. I wonder if they move them inside for the night… Anyway, I hadn’t been to Lowe’s for quite a while so I have no idea how long they have had these cactus. Their soil was actually and surprisingly dry which is a good thing. Maybe they have an employee that knows not to water them when it is cool. Well, maybe that is a long shot…

I couldn’t take photos of the new plants until the next day because it was dark when we arrived back home. I started my plant name research on Plants of the World Online right away. Unfortunately, the Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) website was not working. Then, the next day POWO wasn’t working either… Three days later they are both working again. GEEZ! Their plant pages aren’t all ready so I have included a link with each one for you to check them out on Llifle if you choose.

Introducing, in alphabetical order, the new members of the Belmont Rooster collection…

Echinopsis mirabilisFLOWER OF PRAYER

ek-in-OP-sis  mih-RAB-ih-liss

Echinopsis mirabilis

I thought this Echinopsis mirabilis was a strange looking creature that needed a new home. I think the very dark green color and its odd fuzzy appendages are what caught my eye right off. In a world of cactus where so many look alike, this one is definitely weird.

The label says this cactus is a Setiechinopsis mirabilis. HOWEVER, this species was named Echinopsis mirabilis by Carlo Luigi Spegazzini in 1905 (Echinopsis mirabilis Speg.). Curt Backeberg and “ex-author” Th. de Haas attempted to rename this plant in 1940 as Setiechinopsis mirabilis (Speg.) Backeb. ex de Haas. Well, it is back to Echinopsis mirabilis again.

The common name for this cactus is Flower of Prayer. Llifle and Cactus-Art both say the same thing about this cactus (and most all cactus, succulents, etc.) because I think the same guy did both websites. ANYWAY, he says Echinopsis mirabilis is “much underrated in cultivation, perhaps because it is so easy to grow, notwithstanding this, it is one of the most fascinating and showy species.”

 

When you buy a plant there is only so much a small stick-on label can tell you. This plant actually has more in common with some Cereus species than species in the Echinopsis genus. The flowers open at night and for only one night. The flowers are self-fertile and supposedly produce “hundreds” of seeds per fruit whether they have been pollinated or not. BUT… this silly plant is strangely monocarpic which means it will die sometime after flowering. Fortunately, it will produce several flowers in succession. The fuzzy appendages will apparently lead to more flowers. The one coming out of the top is from an old flower and the dried seed pod is hanging off the end. They flower in ther second year and the plants seldom grow to more than about 6″ tall. This one will be interesting to watch for sure. Click HERE if you would like to see the flowers on Llifle.

 

Euphorbia mammillaris-Corncob Cactus, ETC.

yoo-FOR-bee-uh  mam-mil-LAIR-iss

Euphorbia mammillaris

This is a Euphorbia mammillaris who’s many common names all include the word “Corncob”. It was named and described as such by our friend Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. Typical of all or most of the 1,986 species in the Euphorbia genus (currently), it has a milky latex sap. I have grown several succulents in the genus and all have been interesting companions. Llifle says, “It is a short-stemmed dioecious shrublet producing a dense cluster.”

 

This species has 7-17 ribs with hexagonal tubercles in vertical rows resembling an ear of corn. It also has a few spines.

 

I like the small leaves and there are remnants of its small yellow flowers. To read more about the Euphorbia mammillaris on Llifle, click HERE.

 

Ferocactus wislizeni-FISHHOOK BARREL

fer-oh-KAK-tus  wis-LIZ-en-ee

Ferocactus wislizeni

This is the Ferocactus wislizeni (Ferocactus wislizeni (Engelm.) Britton & Rose) commonly known as the Fishhook Barrel Cactus. It was named and described as such by Nathaniel Lord Britton and Joseph Nelson Rose in Cactaceae in 1922. It was first named Echinocactus wislizeni by Georg (George) Engelmann in 1848. The International Plant Names Index (IPNI) says Engelmann’s description was published in Wislizeni Tour North Mexico 96 but gave no date. I looked the name up on the Tropicos website and it says Friedrich Adolph Wislizenus was the “in author” and the description was published in Memoir of a Tour to Northern Mexico in 1848. The tour was connected with Col. Doniphan’s Expedition in 1846 and 1847.

 

Anyway… This plant had a ridiculous “strawflower” hot-glued to the top of it. I was fortunate to be able to find the others without the strawflower. I was able to snip off most of it. I had a similar Fish Hook Cactus several years ago that died not long after I brought it home. I had been looking for a replacement because I really like the HUGE recurved spines.

This plant is very small but in the wild they grow HUGE and are very long-lived (up to 130 years). They have a tendency to lean south toward the equator which apparently led to one of its common names, Compass Barrel Cactus.

Llifle (and Cactus-Art) have a lengthy description about this plant which you can view by clicking HERE. The species is “variable” and this plant is very small so it will change somewhat with age.

 

Gymnocalycium saglionis-GIANT CHIN CACTUS

jim-no-kal-LISS-ee-um  SAG-lee-oh-nis

Gymnocalycium saglionis

Hmmm… Giant Chin Cactus? That is an odd name for the Gymnocalycium saglionis. The label says Gymnocalycium saglione but when I looked the name up on POWO I saw it was spelled incorrectly. Gymnocalycium saglionis (F.Cels) Britton and Rose was named and described as such by Nathaniel Lord Britton and Joseph Nelson Rose in Cactaceae in 1922. It was first named Echinocactus saglionis by François Cels in Portefeuille des Horticulteurs in 1847.

 

Since this plant is small, it has 1-3 nearly straight central spines depending on where you look, and 7-8 recurved radial spines. Llifle says the species has 1-3 central spines and 10-15 radial spines. The felted areoles sit on top of strangely large and globose looking tubercles. The apex is spineless on this plant but that could change. The subspecies Gymnocalycium saglionis subsp. tilcarense has longer spines and larger tubercles than the species. I haven’t seen the species in person, but my plant appears to have large tubercles and fairly long spines. So, it could possibly be the subspecies.

The plant can grow fairly large and grows abundantly in protected habitats in Argentina. To read more about this cactus on Llifle, click HERE.

 

Parodia magnifica-BALLOON OR BALL CACTUS

par-ROH-dee-uh  mag-NIH-fee-kuh

Parodia magnifica

This neat little cactus kind of sorta reminds me of the two Parodia lenninghausii already in my collection. As with them, the label had the incorrect genus name, Notocactus. Parodia magnifica (F.Ritter) F.H.Brandt is the correct and accepted name for this species of cactus. It was named and described as such by Fred Hermann Brandt in Kakteen Orchideen Rundschau in 1982.  It was first named Eriocactus magnificus F.Ritter by Friedrich Ritter in Succulenta (Netherlands) in 1966. The name Notocactus magnificus was given to this species by Hans Krainz and ex author Nigel Paul Taylor in Cactus and Succulent Journal of Great Britain in 1980 (Notocactus magnificus (F.Ritter) Krainz ex. N.P.Taylor).

 

It’s eleven ribs seem much more prominent than Parodia lenninghausii and its thin spines aren’t quite as long. It doesn’t really make you want to reach out and pet it as much although it is still fairly soft to the touch. I like how the wooly areoles show up well all along the ribs with the contrasting yellow spines. Very nice looking plant.

Llifle says, “This species grows in hilly grassland and on walls between cracks in the rocks or in the shade of larger growing plants in deciduous forest. It grows in one of the most temperate regions of the countries with warm and cool seasons and weather can become very cold during the winter nights, often it will fall to just above freezing without harming the plants as it is also very dry. The soil there is well drained and has a fairly high organic content, derived from the decomposition of other plants.” It has a small fragmented range in Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. Click HERE to read more about this plant on Llifle.

 

I finally cleaned out the Martin house and gave the sparrows their eviction notice. Susie is patiently waiting for a few of them to get into a squabble and forget she is there. I kind of felt sorry for the sparrows over the winter when it was cold so I let them use the house. Soon the Martins will arrive so the sparrows will have to find other accommodations.

 

They aren’t very happy about the situation… I wonder what they are plotting.

 

UMMMM………

I took a nap in the afternoon and woke up to my son Nathan and his friend Chris on the back porch. Once again, they have done some rearranging… I reminded them that the cactus go in that spot and the table will have to go back on the front porch. They found an old percolator in the basement and had to try it out. I have been alone for a while and “certain things” go in “certain places” and “certain places” have “certain things” there. The kitchen has been rearranged and I often have to go look for “certain things”. I explain to Nathan where “certain things” go and he asks why do they belong there. My answer is simply “because they just do.” 🙂

They have been here for a few weeks now and it has been OK for the most part. Their sleep schedule is worse than mine, though. Basically, they have none at the moment. At first, I had to get used to someone being up and sometimes in the kitchen in the wee hours in the morning if I needed a snack. Old habits are hard to break especially if you enjoy those old habits. I have been told to lead by example. GEEZ!!!

That is about all I have to talk about now.

OH, WAIT A MINUTE! There is one more thing I almost forgot!

A few days ago I noticed this little shoe sitting on the floor of the back porch. I had never seen it before so I asked Nathan and Chris if they had noticed it. They said they did but we all just left it there. It was odd to me because It reminded me of another shoe I had found several years ago in the strangest place. I was on a ladder at the mansion in Mississipi cleaning a light fixture. The fixture was hanging from a chain next to the stairs across from the dining room. The shoe was on top of the light. I left it there hoping that someone would find it after I left and also find it odd. I don’t remember the color but this shoe definitely reminded me of it. Hmmm… Makes me wonder where this shoe came from on the back porch. Could it be?

Now I am finished. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, take a deep breath of spring air (if you are where it is spring).

Sunday Discovery

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on 3-4-19, #556-7.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing well. I am normally a very patient guy, but my impatience got the best of me. This time it was a good thing. This afternoon (Sunday) I decided to take the camera, get the hand trowel, and go searching for the Hosta that hadn’t come up on the 7th and 10th. Guess what? I found them!

I first went to the spot where the Hosta ‘Whirlwind was supposed to be. I put the trowel in the soil past where it should have been and raised the soil a little. Then, using my fingers, gently scraped off the top a little. I didn’t want to accidentally break off any sprouts that may be just emerging. Low and behold, I found Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ starting to come up. Perhaps with the freezing and thawing throughout the winter, the roots had gone deeper which delayed it coming up.

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ on 3-24-19, #556-2.

I went to where the label of the Hosta ‘Abique Drinking Gourd was and dug down a little in the soil behind it. I found nothing. I thought that was a little weird. So, I removed the leaves in front of the label and found it. GEEZ! I usually put the labels in front of the Hosta not behind them! Well, I suppose I must have forgotten about that even though I bought it in 2017. There are three Hosta planted the same distance from the old fish pool, so after finding this one, I have an idea where the other two are now…

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole” #2 on 3-24-19, #556-4.

I went to the spot where I thought I put the Hosta ‘Guacamole’ #2 last spring and removed the leaves and some of the soil. AH HA! I found it! Now I can move it back with the other Hosta ‘Guacamole’ so I won’t have them in two spots.

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ on 3-24-19, #556-3.

Then I moved to where the Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ was supposed to be. Remember the last post I showed a photo of a hole where I thought it should have been? Ummm… Behind the label? So, I removed the leaves in front of the label and found the remains of an old flower stem… I removed some of the soil and found Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’.

There is still a vacant spot where the Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’ was planted in 2017. It did not come back up last spring so I should find a replacement for that area. There needs to be four Hosta about the same size along the old goldfish pool.

I also found no trace of the Hosta ‘Red October’.

Then I moved to the bed where the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ and H. ‘Blue Angel’ has already come up to see if I could find the Hosta Krossa Regal’.

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ on 3-24-19, #556-5.

I removed a lot of leaves in the area where the 3-4 Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ were supposed to be. I had moved them to this area in 2017 and also divided the clump. I ran my fingers through the soil a little and found two sprouts. I didn’t look for any of the others yet because I know now they will be peeking through any time if they survived. Since this one survived, there is no reason to think the others haven’t.

Then I went to check on the Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’.

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ on 3-24-19, #556-6.

I knew finding the Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ may be a little tricky because the label disappeared. After removing a bunch of leaves and running my fingers through the soil I finally found it!

So now all the Hosta except ‘Red October’ are accounted for. WHEW! That makes 12 cultivars…

Then I went to the bed behind the old foundation (along where the back porch of my grandparent’s house used to be).

 

Echinacea purpurea on 3-24-19, #556-1.

The Echinacea purpurea (Purple Cone Flower) have started coming up now. I planted several in this bed as well as one in the southeast corner bed by the house. They are all coming up now.

 

Sedum kamtschaticum on 3-24-19, #556-9.

I took a better look at the Sedum kamtschaticum in the bed and saw how much it has spread. It has been here for several years but never spread this much before. Last year it sprawled out quite a bit and the stems took root where they were touching the soil. NICE! As always, there is a lot of Chickweed and Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) coming up in this bed.

 

Sempervivum ‘Killer’

While I was at it I decided to replant the Sempervivum ‘Killer’. The older plants had died since they flowered last spring and left behind a mass of dead leaves and roots. Since they are monocarpic, they literally flower themselves to death. The plant in the center on the left side of the photo may be the remains of one that flowered than hadn’t completely died yet. They were in the center of the planter but I moved them closer to the east side. Now there are 15.

The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) is getting bigger so working in this planter is a bit tricky. It stuck me a couple of times when I was removing the Sempervivum even though I was being careful. I may just have to move it somewhere else.

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) and Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 3-24-19, #556-8.

I removed the leaves from the corner where the Obedient Plant are to see how much they have spread. I think they must spread over the winter under the leaves that blow into the corner. To think it all started with only one plant in 2017…

That’s it for now. Until next time, be safe and stay positive. I am happy now that I can start getting my fingers in the dirt again.

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’, The Crocus, and Monarda

Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house.

Hello everyone. I hope this post finds you well. I checked on other perennials Sunday afternoon to see if any more had sprouted. Not much has changed because the evening temperatures have still been cool.

While I was at it, I took a photo of the Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house. It is very strange how much different they grow in certain areas. I think I will do an exclusive post about the species later.

 

Crocus sp.

It was great to see the Crocus I mentioned in the last post is up and flowering. It would be good to find out the species of this Crocus but I would REALLY like to know where they came from…

 

Crocus sp.

According to Plants of the World Online by Kew, there are 245 accepted species in the Crocus genus. Plants of the World Online is a very good website for plant names now, but their distribution maps are strange. They say Crocus species are native to Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Austria, Baleares, Bulgaria, Corse, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, East Aegean Is., France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Kriti, Krym, Lebanon-Syria, Libya, Morocco, North Caucasus, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sardegna, Sicilia, Spain, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Xinjiang, Yugoslavia.

It also says they were introduced to Arkansas, Belgium, Connecticut, Great Britain, Ireland, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Netherlands, New York, Ontario, Oregon, Utah, West Himalaya. Hmmm… With the THOUSANDS of bulbs sold every year, how can that even be possible? There have to be millions growing in much of the United States. Raise your hand if you have seen Crocus in your state (both hands if you have some in your yard)… 🙂

I’m not complaining because I am sure it is a lot of work to manage a website like Plants of the World Online. They have done a GREAT job!

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata...

The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) has gotten its green color back. Now it will start doing weird things with itself. This cactus is really neat and for several months it will be doing something different every time I take photos… It keeps us entertained.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’.

Finally, Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is sprouting! GEEZ! I always start checking the Hosta at the beginning of March. There are always a few that have already started coming up. I have no idea when they first begin because I don’t check on them in February. I get pretty anxious because some don’t appear as soon making me wonder if they have survived the winter. The size of their “sprouts” is also variable… Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ sprouts are always large in comparison to the other Hosta I have grown. The above photo shows how tiny the sprouts of Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ are and it is supposedly the largest Hosta in the world…

Even though the Hosta are coming up, lingering cool temperatures will keep them from growing. They can sit like this for WEEKS! Continually freezing and thawing can have an adverse effect on Hosta. It is better for the ground to stay frozen, which you can prolong with a good layer of mulch that won’t blow off.

 

Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’.

I was really surprised to see the Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ with new growth. I had to carefully examine the old stem to make certain the leaves were really coming from it. Sure enough, at least one of the two has survived the winter. The other one didn’t have new growth yet.

It is only mid-March so we have a ways to go before some of the perennials and re-seeding annuals will come up. The grass is greening up now which is a good sign.

 

I started this post on Sunday but I wanted to wait until today (Monday) to finish to see if the Crous flowers would be open. Sure enough, they were. There aren’t many, but they are still pretty neat.

 

You never know what will pop up, even when you have been at the same place for many years.

That’s it for now. Of course, I will keep checking on what else will be coming up. Probably every day or so. It is such an anxious time of the year!

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. I think it is plenty warm enough now to get really dirty!

Signs of Spring

Achillea millefolium on 3-10-19, #552-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I took a few photos of the first perennials and bulbs coming up on March 7 and 10. Some have started coming up while others are a little slower. This winter has not been near as cold and we did have snow off and on which was different than last year. It makes a big difference as to what comes up and when. The constant cold spells and followed by warmer temps and thawing in between can cause some problems for some perennials. Even older well-established perennials can rot during winters like this one if not in a well-draining location.

The above photo shows new growth on the clump of Achillea millefolium closest to the house (o the north side) The one farther away from the house has not started coming up. I haven’t checked the one in front of the chicken house or by the barn. I haven’t noticed if the “wild” Achillea millefolium has started to come up or not. 2019 is our 8th anniversary.

Some of the Hosta has started coming up in the shade beds, but Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on the north side of the house is showing no sign. Hopefully, this is because the soil is still too cold in this spot.

I am going alphabetical order with the photos…

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ on 3-7-19, #551-1.

The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Bugleweed) under some remaining snow on March 7 is green and sending out new growth. 2019 is our 9th anniversary.

 

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ on 3-10-19, #552-2.

The colony that is by a Chinese Elm is still looking brown…

 

Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ on 3-10-19, #552-3.

The Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ is starting to emerge from its winters sleep in the southwest corner bed. I need to keep a watchful eye on this one when its bugs start to open to see if it is really a ‘Lunar Eclipse’. I think someone goofed and put the wrong labels in the pots. The flowers on ‘Lunar Eclipse’ change color and I could have missed the “yellow” phase. I still think something is whacky though.

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ on 3-7-19, #551-2.

All of the Heuchera (Coral Bells) are growing new leaves now. They don’t usually completely disappear over the winter even though they are dormant. Above, Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ is getting ready to strut its stuff again in 2019. It was definitely a top performer last summer even though the Japanese Beetles stripped its shade.

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ on 3-7-19, #551-3.

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ struggled a little last summer but hopefully 2019 will be better. Maybe a little of ‘The Good Stuff’ is in order. This plant was nibbled on last spring but I am hoping it will escape that fate this year.

 

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ on 3-7-19, #551-4.

I AM THANKFUL for the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ continuing to do well after I almost lost it a couple of years ago. I moved it only a few feet from where it was to a new bed and it perked up. I really like this cultivar. We are celebrating our fifth annversary.

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’ on 3-7-19, #551-5.

Heuchera ‘Venus’ made it through the winter very well and appears to have started growing before the others. Maybe it is getting off to a good start for an AWESOME 2019. 🙂

If Heuchera ‘Southern Comfort’ returns it will be a miracle. It struggled last spring so I moved it to a new location. It continued to struggle and remained small although it was growing new leaves. It basically fizzled out by the end of the summer. BUT, you never know…

 

Geranium sanguineum on 3-10-19, #552-4.

The Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) has had a few green leaves all winter. I wanted to move a few of these here and there last spring but didn’t. I think it would do better in a better-draining location. Sometimes it does very well here but sometimes not. To damp and crowded seems to cause a bit of a crown rot issue. They have survived here since dad relocated them from the “other house” in 1996. I planted them first in 1981 when I lived I “the other house” after grandpa died. Maybe this spring I can spread them around a little more. I guess this is the 38th anniversary of when I first bought the Geranium sanguineum from Bluestone Perennials in 1981.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ on 3-7-19, #551-6.

To be or not to be, that is the question… I bought this Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ from Mast’s Greenhouse last June 7th but it remained very small. That was very strange since this cultivar is supposed to get big. I am not sure if it was mislabeled or if the company they bought it from used a growth retardant to keep them small. Maybe they didn’t want to put them in a bigger pot. That would be weird since it is a Hosta and it seems they would have put them in larger pots in the first place (since ‘Blue Angel’ is a large Hosta). You just never know… I will see what happens this year… If it remains small I will have to figure out what cultivar it is.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on 3-10-19, #552-5.

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is getting off to a good start although it is looked like this most of the winter. It is kind of weird and seems to like a good part of its, umm, clump above ground. I put it deeper last spring after it got going, and then again later I think and here it is like this again… GEEZ! This is my first miniature Hosta so maybe this is normal for them. I don’t know… The roots have not heaved up because it is firmly in the ground. Weird… I am just thankful it survived two winters doing the same thing.

 

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ on 3-7-19, #551-7.

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ is getting ready to start its second year. This is a very delightful gold-leaved Hosta that always brightens up the area. NICE!

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ on 3-7-19, #551-8.

Hmmm… There appears to be a hole where Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is supposed to be… What kind of a deal is this? Did it rot? Maybe it fell into a mole run… I will have to check in a few days.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ on 3-10-19, #552-6.

One of the Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is just barely beginning to emerge while the other hasn’t even started. Hopefully, they will both come up so I can put them back together again. This is our 5th anniversary.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ on 3-7-19, #551-9.

The always AWESOME Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is up and ready to rumble. When this Hosta starts coming up and temperatures cooperate, there is nothing that can stop it. It takes off and starts growing like crazy. This is quite a beautiful large dark green leaved Hosta that I really like. This may be our 10th annversary.

 

Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ on 3-7-19, #551-10.

The Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ is just beginning to come up. Its clump is pretty large but only 1-2 sprouts have come up so far. This multiple award winner is always beautiful and one of the reasons I like Hosta so much. This is our 10th anniversary.

Hosta’s ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’, ‘Empress Wu’, ‘Kossa Regal’, ‘Red October’, ‘Sum and Substance’, and ‘Whirlwind’ have not appeared yet… ‘Empress Wu’ was coming up last March 3 when I took photos. ‘Abique Drinking Gourd’, ‘Krossa Regal’, and ‘Red October’ take a little longer. ‘Sum and Substance’ and Whirlwind’ were new in 2018 so I am not sure when they normally wake up.

 

Lycoris squamigera on 3-10-19, #552-8.

The Lycoris squamigera (Ressurection Lily, Surprise Lily) are up and beginning to give their spring display of green leaves. After the leaves die the bulbs will lie dormant then flower around the first part of August from their dormant bulbs. I thought they were Amaryllis belladonna for many years because they look and behave very similar. Both are members of the Amaryllis family Amaryllidaceae. These have not been flowering very well for several years and no doubt have been here since at least the 1960’s. Oh yeah, it also shares the name Naked Ladies with several other members in the family.

 

Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ on 3-7-19, #551-11.

The Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ (Creeping Jenny) is off to a good start for 2019 because it remained all winter. When winters are very cold like last year, it completely disappears. No telling where it is heading this summer since it didn’t die back over the winter. GEEZ! That’s OK because there are several bare spots I can stick it as well as move it around here and there. It makes a great groundcover and living mulch. 🙂 This is our 5th anniversry.

 

Nandina domestica on 3-10-19, #552-9.

The Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) has had a few green leaves all winter. I really love this shrub and I am very glad I bought it with me from Mississippi. Although it is a Japanese native that has become invasive in some areas. The Missouri Department of Conversation website says, “Many cultivars are available having more or less reddish leaves, smaller overall size, and so on. These are currently very popular in garden centers. We urge you to try a native-species alternative.” Hmmm… Heavenly Bamboo are evergreen in warmer climates. If you haven’t tried this shrub, I suggest you do. You will see why they are one of my favorites. It has been 11 years since I met the Nandina domestica.

 

Narcissus pseudonarcissus on 3-0-19, #552-10.

These Narcissus pseudonarcissus (Daffodile, etc.) have also been here on the farm since the 1960’s when my grandma, no doubt, planted them. There is a HUGE group of them beside the Lycoris squamigera. If these plants could talk I am sure they could tell you a lot about their history.

 

Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ on 3-10-19, #552-11.

The Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is growing again and ready to have the old trimmed away. I really like this plant because it is about as care-free you can get. Thriving in the fill in the corner by the back of the house and back porch, it doesn’t get a lot of attention but still performs amazingly well. I have concluded ‘Walker’s Low’ is a cultivar of the hybrid Nepeta x faassenii instead of Nepeta racemosa because it doesn’t seem to spread by seed. The seeds are sterile so this cultivar stays in a tidy clump. If it were a cultivar of Nepeta racemosa, it would be spreading by seed as well. Well, I am making that point because some websites call it Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ (i.e. The Missouri Botanical Garden). One of the parents is N. racemosa… Ummm… One reliable website also says Nepeta faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ which is also incorrect. It should be written with an “x” to say it is a hybrid… Strange how the Missouri Botanical Garden says it is a cultivar of N. racemosa then say it has to be propagated by division because the seeds are sterile… Just saying… This will be our 3rd summer.

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ on 3-7-19, #551-12.

I uncovered the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ last week to see how it was doing. I usually keep a big flower pot over it over the winter just in case. The leaves didn’t even turn all brown and crispy this winter. This is our 6th anniversary.

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ on 3-7-19, #551-13.

I was glad to see new growth early again this year and I am always HOPEFUL it will flower. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. I thought surely it would flower last year since it got an early start but it didn’t. You just never know… I thought about switching places with it and the Baptisia, which I still might do. The Baptisia gets taller and somewhat pushy…

 

Physostegia virginiana on 3-7-19, #551-14.

The Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) has been covered with leaves in the southeast corner of the old foundation. Leaves always blow in this corner so the Obedient Plant is well protected over the winter. It has spread quite a bit which is why I wanted it in this spot. It is one of “those areas” I wanted something to fill in the corner which makes mowing and trimming easier. Putting “invasive” plants in corners where they can fill in seems like a good idea to me and it works nicely. Only our 2nd anniversary.

 

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 3-10-19, #552-12.

I really need to do some work on the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’. I have them growing in various places and they all do OK. BUT, a couple of years ago I put a few in the northeast corner bed of the old foundation. It this spot they have gone completely bananananananas so they need to be spread out a little. There are also several Rudbeckia hirta (the wild species) in this location which has also done well. This is our 7th anniversary (from Walley Morse in Mississippi).

 

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ on 3-10-19, #552-13.

The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ (May Night’) is always jumping and raring to go and the first of the perennials to emerge. This plants clump has barely gotten larger since the spring of 2013… This is our 6th anniversary.

 

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegata’ on 3-7-19, #551-15.

The Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegata’, like the other Sedum, are all aglow in their winter colors. Well, I suppose it isn’t really glowing, more like blushing. The lower leaves of the sedum fall off during the winter while the top leaves remain and turn a reddish color. I thankful Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegata’ survived the winter. Hopefully, the plant with the mostly white leaves will return so I can attempt to take a few cuttings. Such a joy when one of your plants “mutates” into something different. This is our 7th anniversary (I brought it from Mississippi).

 

Sedum kamtschaticum on 3-7-19, #551-16.

The Sedum kamtschaticum (Orange or Russian Stonecrop) that isn’t variegated sprawled out a bit last summer which led more plants. I really like the bigger chartreuse-green leaves on this Sedum. If it does well, maybe I can determine if it is the subspecies Sedum kamtschaticum subsp. ellacombeanum which is larger with bigger leaves. This is our 3rd anniversary although it seems much longer…

 

Sedum spurium on 3-7-19, #551-17.

I still haven’t decided if I should call this Sedum spurium the cultivar ‘Dragon’s Blood’ or not. It has always done well but it doesn’t appreciate being called ‘?’. There are other options besides ‘Dragon’s Blood’ which determining the cultivar somewhat difficult. ‘Dragon’s Blood’ has been popular for many years and since I bought it unlabeled from an Amish Greenhouse, it is pretty likely that is what it is. This could be our 4th anniversary.

 

Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ on 3-7-19, #551-18.

The Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ has really spread a lot since 2017 and it kind of getting out of its boundary. It tells me since it is a Sedum spurium it doesn’t have boundaries. I think we need a new contract specifically describing its limitations…

 

Sempervivum ‘Killer’ on 3-7-19, #551-19.

Last summer the Sempervivum ‘Killer’ amazed me with so many flowers! I had not had any Semps flower before, so I was pretty impressed. The problem is, Sempervivum are monocarpic which means the plant that flowers die… That has left a lot of dead plants in this cluster although there is a number of smaller pants that are taking their place. I just have to clean up the clump and make sure all the rosettes are in the soil. There are quite a few that are just laying on the surface of the soil. This is our 2nd anniversary.

 

Stachys byzantina on 3-10-19, #552-14.

I think there is only one remaining clump of the Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear). I am thankful it survived and has spread somewhat so I can relocate a few. This is our 6th anniversary.

 

Syringa sp. on 3-10-19, #552-7.

There are several Lilac (Syringa sp.) in “the other yard” that are very old. Heck, they were old and overgrown when I was a kid. There are different species of Lilac and they don’t all bud and flower at the same time. Only one is budding at the moment but the other two will soon follow. There was another one but it had Poison Ivy growing in it. I sprayed the Poison Ivy after a few years of trying other means to eradicate it. Next thing I knew, the whole Lilac bush was also dead…

 

Tulipa sp. on 3-10-19, #552-15.

The AWESOME cluster of red Tulips are up and soon will dazzle us with flowers. There was a big bed of tulip in the “other front yard” grandma had planted many years ago. when I moved to the farm in the 1980’s I dug what I could up and moved them along the fence by the garden (I also added more I bought). None of them are there now but there are always a few that come up in the old bed. They are still there because the bulbs are so deep I couldn’t find them.

I haven’t noticed the yellow Crocus in “the other yard” that magically came up last spring. Neither dad or I planted them and neither one of us had ever seen them before. That covers a 37 year period…

Well, that’s it for now. I hope your spring is filled with joy and happiness and you have a great summer ahead. I am so glad to see the grass beginning to turn green and the trees budding out. Time for some color! Time to GET DIRTY!

Until next time, be safe and stay positive.

TOP 10 Likes & Dislikes + Being Thankful

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. I am seemingly at a loss for ideas to write about this time of the year. So a few times I have followed the suggestion of fellow bloggers. This time it appears Mr. Jim Ruebush of “HOW I SEE IT” has made another suggestion…

I mentioned getting stuck was on my top ten list of things I don’t like in the last post. Then, in his comment, he asked if I could fill out the list of top ten things I didn’t like. We both agreed it would be interesting to see the list of other people as well… Then Debbie agreed a top ten list would make a great post.

However….  What would a top ten list of things we don’t like without a list of what we do like?  You need to follow negative thoughts with 1-3 positive thoughts that relate to the same thing. 

For example… “I hate it when I am in a hurry and my boot string breaks.” Followed by “I love my Redwings Boots. I like having spare shoestrings on hand.” Or maybe, “It’s a good thing the strings are long enough so I can just tie a knot in the string.”

Now, what can I say positive about poison ivy? That would be tough except it wouldn’t have to be about poison ivy. It could be about a vine or a vine that turns red in the fall. Well, I’ll just stick with the fall color because I am not particularly fond of any vines…

TOP TEN THINGS I DON’T LIKE:

POISON IVY-leaves turn red in the fall

THORNS-Jim also mentioned in his comment his dislike for thorns. The one reason I don’t plant Roses is because of their thorns and having to prune them. Blackberry bushes are the same. But I do enjoy the flowers and I am thankful for the berries. 

JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE-But I do like the flowers and the hummingbirds like them, too.

GETTING STUCK-Thankful for having experience and being careful NOT to get stuck.

FLAT TIRES-Hmmm… This recently happened on a gravel road out of the blue. I put on the mini spare and it was also flat. It has not ever been used and the car is a 1996 Buick. But, I was thankful that my best friend lived close so I walked to his house We brought his air tank, aired up the flat and I drove to town and had it repaired (then bought new tires). 

DEAD BATTERIES-But I am thankful for the battery charger. 

LOCKING MY KEYS IN THE CAR-GEEZ! Thankful for coat hangers and the fact the driver window doesn’t close all the way. I am thankful I have only done this a few times.

LOCKING MYSELF OUT OF THE HOUSE-Thankful there is at least one “secret way” to get inside. Thankful I have only done this three times and weird why it happened at all.

RUNNING OUT OF SOMETHING I FORGOT TO REPLACE-Thankful I can do without until I go shopping again. Doing without shows us we can live without certain things. It also helps us to remember next time or to make a list.

MOLES, VOLES, RATS, AND MICE-The only thing I can think of is the opposite. Not having moles, voles, rats, and mice. Using poisons isn’t always a good thing, but if there are mice or rats in the chicken house… Guess what? I use a bait called Tomcat. It works very well. I have been tempted to use it in the garden for the voles, but I have been told that wouldn’t be a good idea. I have no idea why… When I moved back here in 2013, I went to the chicken house one night and it was ALIVE! I told dad there were a lot of mice in the chicken house and he said the cats would get them. Well, there were a couple of holes in the foundation of the chicken house and the cats did sit outside waiting. But, to say there were a lot of mice was a complete understatement. Dad was 82 at the time so how long had it been since he was in the chicken house at night… After a couple of years, I couldn’t take it anymore. I bought a package of Tomcat from the feed store. In three days there were no more mice… Chicken feed consumption went down by around half. 

A couple of months ago I saw a piece of bait outside by the feed room door. I thought that was pretty weird… I opened the door and “HOLY CRAP!” A rat had been very busy and had dirt piled up about 2 feet high (I am not exaggerating). Just think of the hole under the chicken house floor… I had ran out of Tomcat so I went right to the feed store for more. Problem is, it doesn’t work as well on rats. It took a couple of days. Then a week or so ago, another rat was trying to move in. I have not seen a rat, or any evidence of any, for many years until this year. 

GETTING STUNG-For the most part, bees and wasps are beneficial and harmless. BUT, there are members that have bipolar disorder that are so territorial and protective of their nests they will chase you down the street. For those, I am thankful for wasp killer. Not just any old rinky-dink spray, I am talking about the cans that can shoot 20 feet away.

BEING SHOCKED BY ACCIDENT BY THE ELECTRIC FENCE-Sometimes I touch an electric fence to see if t is working so I get just a tingle. There have been times when I have accidentally touched it and the results have been mind-blowing. It was like a shotgun going off in my head. It made me wonder if all my memory had been erased. I am thankful we do have electric fences good fences in general, though. Well, I think this is one of those times when you say positive affirmations in the hope of having better fences in the future and won’t need to use electric. Electric fences are OK, but they need to be maintained. You have to make sure the deer haven’t screwed them up every day or so. Even though the “local” deer know where the electric fences are, dad always said that deer that are new here don’t know. I think they can see the current that we can’t although I am not sure. Sometimes they get spooked and pay no attention to where they are going. Just think about it… How many times have you ran into a closed door during the night, or stumped your toe on a table leg that has always been there? 

PLANTS DYING-I hate it when a new plant dies, or even one I have had for a long time. But, I am thankful for the plants that always do well. I am thankful for having had the experience with the ones that have died. I am thankful that there are so many plants to choose from and for the ones I haven’t met yet.

WINTER (cold, snow, frost, freezes, ETC…)-OK, so I am just going to say winter in general. Even though I close to hate winter, I have rather enjoyed the “S” this year for some whacky reason. I must have slipped a cog… Hmmm… Maybe it is the stillness on a winter’s night. I realize if you live in the city or a neighborhood where there is never a quiet moment you may not experience this. If you live in the country there is nothing quite like the stillness of the night during the winter. Especially when there are a few inches of snow on the ground. So, I am thankful that winter only lasts part of the year. I am thankful that maybe some of the Japanese Beetle grubs won’t make it through the winter. Plus all the other insects pests that feed on plant leaves. I AM thankful for the opportunity to live in a tropical climate. 

CLEANING HOUSE AND DUSTING-I don’t like cleaning house or dusting but I don’t like a messy house or dust even more. Therefore, once in a while I do have to clean. Especially when company will be coming. So, I am thankful for company once a month or so…

WEEDS-The age-old “what is a weed” statement has been overused. How about, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I have a lot of “weeds” because to me they aren’t weeds. Well, I suppose that completely depends on where they are growing and what they are. There are many “weeds” growing in the pasture along with wildflowers. Ragweed, Ironweed, and Jimsonweed are weeds because their names say so. In my opinion, any plant that is invasive and not useful as a pollinator or food for wildlife and/or growing where it doesn’t belong is a weed. Jimsonweed is a beautiful plant, but not in the garden (or the pasture for that matter). BUT… I am thankful for trimmers, mowers, and being able to pull them up.

DECEPTION AND BEING LIED TO-Believing something that we have been taught is true all our lives only to find out it isn’t true (or at least the way we have been taught). But, when you find out the way it really is, it a very liberating experience. Then you find out the endless opportunities and how AMAZING life really is… “The truth will set you free, and when you are free, you are free indeed.”

NOT BEING ABLE TO PAY OFF DEBTS-Have you ever made debts thinking you could pay them off as long as “this or that” happens”. A series of unfortunate events happened a couple of times in my life which left me unable to pay off a few debts. Not big debts necessarily… Not to mention “other” debts that keep growing you can’t seem to do anything about… GEEZ! The positive thing is that we learn by our mistakes and hopefully won’t repeat them.

CAMERA BATTERY DYING-I am thankful to have electricity and a charger.

Ummm… I think that is more than 10. If you stop to think about it, there are a lot of little annoyances we have to deal with. So many things are avoidable and we learn to “maintain” our lives so we don’t have to deal with them. Like running out of clean clothes so you won’t have to wear dirty socks for a week. You just have to buy more socks or maybe do laundry more often. I try to have as many shirts as socks so I will run out at the same time. I have two pair of jeans, one stays clean while the others get dirtier all week. Keep at least one extra of everything you use and run out of frequently. 

TOP TEN THINGS I LIKE:

Well, this one is a little tricky and not necessarily in order…

MAKING CONTACT… I could write a long paragraph about that, but those “who know” know what I am talking about. 

Ummm… I can’t mention the second thing.

A plant flowering for the first time.

Finding new plants.

Spring.

Good movies.

Watching the birds.

Comments on my blog and blogging.

Experiencing new things. 

Sunset.

Sunrise.

Hearing the birds in the morning. Being able to buy birdseed so they will also be thankful.

A well-groomed lawn… Not necessary my ard for the past few years.

Gardening. There are many reasons I enjoy gardening.

Discovery.

Trying something for the first time and it works.

Good friends.

Talking walks in the woods or on the farm.

GREAT FOOD! 

Feeling good.

My new mattress. AHHHH YYYYEEEESSSS! I recently bought a hybrid mattress on eBay. It came rolled up in a box, 10″ springs plus foam and all. That was quite an experience in itself. I placed it on the old box springs, careful to make sure it would jump in the right direction. You can imagine what happened as I started cutting the plastic wrap… Yeah, that’s what happened in a split second… 🙂 I was thinking about making a post about this and I should have set up the camera and taken a video. Anyway, the mattress is great!

Of course my iMac and camera.

Smiles and laughter.

I better stop there or you will think I can’t count… There are so many things I like and enjoy I just can’t even begin to write them all down. I (we) have so much to be thankful for. 

I was reading a few days ago that we should name three things we are thankful for each morning before we get out of bed. So, I do this every morning. 

Every night when I go to bed I give thanks. This is a good idea whether you thank God, the Universe, The Creator of All, Mother and Father God, the Archangels, or whoever you choose to give thanks to. I am not so sure it really makes any difference at first who you thank. Just saying thank you can make a big difference. You should say “thank you” for any little thing that comes along as well as the big things.

You can give thanks for the air you breath, fresh water, good food, your vehicle, the birds, the sky, the sun, your healthy body, your taste buds, your hands, your feet, the plants, the flowers, the moon and stars, your eyes, your ears, your job, the money to pay bills, your friends and family. All the good things you enjoy you should be thankful for. Even if you don’t say “thank you God”, just say thank you… After all, who is God anyway? OK, don’t get me started on that one. That would NOT be a good item for a post for someone with a research disorder… I would take you all the way back to the Sumerian Tablets. Hmmm… 

I just deleted the next paragraph…

I do have questions about a few things that I am STILL working on. Things I just don’t understand. It isn’t right not to know the answers to all our questions. In fact, we have the right to know. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t know. It is your life, it is my life. We need to embrace life and all it’s awesomeness and with all our awesomeness. We are spiritual beings with energy that connects to everything. This is a scientific fact. Not mere words… There are many things that we are told we aren’t supposed to do that we are supposed to do. Things we are told there are no answers to that there are answers to. If you have been brought up as a Christian you have fallen through a funnel and into a bottle. Well, I have crawled out of the bottle. Now I call myself a “Progressive Christian.”

I don’t know why people are sick and suffer through life. I just don’t understand… To be perfectly fine one day and the next miserable. I have known many perfectly healthy people that have died or now has cancer. WHAT THE HECK!?!?!? I have read a lot about cancer and watched The Truth About Cancer series. I understand but I don’t understand either.

One thing that really bugs me, and I hate to bring it up… We make people live when they want to die, or need to be able to make the choice. I am not heartless, but if I were born a quadriplegic and couldn’t feed myself… What quality of life would I have? Quality of life… We are body, soul (mind), and spirit. When your body dies your spirit moves on (one way or another-LOL!!!)!!! I say one way or another because it depends on what you believe and I am not going to argue with you. You can believe what you want, but like I always say, “THE TRUTH IS THE TRUTH WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT.” So, in reality, we are a spirit living in a borrowed body. So, does your spirit want to live in a broken body? I better stop there, but this could be a really good topic for discussion. How do we make a decision for someone else? After all, one of the greatest scientists of all time was quadriplegic…

One thing I have been doing lately is taking several courses on DailyOM. My thanks to Masha (A Sweeter Life) for sharing the website with me. 

I have watched a lot of documentaries on Gaia.com and some of the recent discoveries would really amaze you. From the scientific community, through archeology and spiritually. It is all coming together. We are finding out many answers about our hidden past, things we weren’t supposed to find out and how it sometimes relates to our future. Science has come a long way just by asking “who are we?” It is like the Universe is answering. It’s pretty amazing! There are also a lot of very good documentaries on YouTube. Just be aware that some people have different opinions and some are a little whacky. 

OK, I better end this post or I will never finish. I do hope you comment and even maybe post about your opinions on your blog. Everyone has thoughts on many subjects… The spoken (and written) word is very powerful.

So, what else are we going to talk about? You name it, I’ll post it. 🙂 Within reason, of course.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, take a good deep breath, and always be thankful.

Ummm… And AGAIN!

Hello Folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. It seems when one snow melts another comes to take its place. This one will be followed by VERY cold temps… The forecast originally said it was going to start snowing at 2 AM and snow for 10 hours. It also said we could expect a total accumulation of 6-7 inches. Well, at 2 AM the forecast had changed and said it would start around 3 AM and would last only 6 hours. I think I checked about 4 AM and it still hadn’t snowed. I don’t exactly remember the time I last checked because I was half asleep. I remember checking the radar around 3 AM and it was weird. I should have taken a screenshot. The cloud was like a horseshoe shape and we were in the middle then it surrounded us.

 

The wind was blowing when I got up and there wasn’t a bird in sight. They have been enjoying their new feeder in the tree in front of the house. One day a Purple Finch and a Gold Finch were on the feeder at the same time. By the time I got the camera, they had flown off. It is sometimes hard to take photos of the birds in front of the house because every time a car goes by the birds fly into the tree.

 

I am not sure how much snow we actually received because of the wind but I am sure we didn’t get 7 inches. Some of the drifts are well over 12″ deep, though.

 

My son and his friend are here now and they piled up some of the brush from the ice storm. Then yesterday we helped the preacher from church (not the church next door) remove the brush in front of a lady’s house (who goes to our church). Ummm… For some reason we brought it here instead of taking it to the city barn. The yard was a bit soft but we had no problems until the last load. I told the preacher to just put it in drive and not to put his foot on the gas pedal. That worked the first two times but not the last time. The tires started spinning and I told him to stop and I would get the tractor. Well, I had to air up a flat tire and I needed to charge the battery a little. By the time I was able to get the tractor ready he was stuck much worse. Over the years I have learned a few things about getting stuck in mud and snow. Once the tires start to spin you need to stop. If you can’t get anywhere in reverse, just stop and make a new plan. I rate getting stuck in the top 10 of things I like the least. I suppose in the winter it would be number 1 while in the summer it would move down the list and be replaced by poison ivy. Maybe thorns…

 

Snow and frost (the “S” and “F” words) are pretty high on the list. The “F” word is number 1 in the fall. I do like the patterns the snow makes from the wind blowing.

 

There was a drift on the north side of the old foundation in “the other yard” which I DID NOT jump into. I may have when was younger but it has been a while I have played in the snow…

 

Another drift along the southeast side…

 

Ummm… The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) doesn’t mind the snow. Last January was so cold it turned maroon!

 

No plants on the front porch yet…

 

Nothing to say about this…

 

Everywhere you look is a bright white on a sunny day.

 

The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ has been tucked under this flower pot for a while.

 

The Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) seems to be holding on to a nest of snow.

 

There was an old bird feeder in the barn so I decided I would stick it in the ground yesterday. This was dad’s feeder when I was growing up where we lived before.

 

A Flicker was wondering where it came from…

 

Back in the front yard, a few birds were enjoying their seed. Usually, there are a lot of Juncos but this time there were a few species of sparrows and a pair of Cardinals.

 

While taking the photo of the birds through the window I noticed the Stapelia gigantea is growing a new side branch. It is going to be really exciting when it flowers…

 

The forecast has changed somewhat over the past few days. For several days it said the low for tonight was going to be 1° F. Now it says 2… Well, at least it sounds better. Of course, the wind chill is a different story. Currently, at about 3:30 PM, the temperature is a windy 15° F and it feels like -6. 😐

That’s all I have to talk about for now. Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay warm or keep cool depending on where you live.

Here We Go Again…

Hello Folks! I hope this post finds you all well. After a few days of warmer temperatures, another cold front has moved in. The forecast over the past few days changed somewhat and seemed to vary from website to website. Last night the forecast said 2-4 inches of snow beginning after 7 AM.

The above photo and several below were taken at 10 AM. Not too much to be concerned about at that time.

 

I checked the forecast again and this time it said we could expect up to 7 inches…

 

 

 

At about noon I needed to leave. I went to turn the furnace down and as I looked out the back door… WOW! It had snowed A LOT in two hours!

Pulling out of the driveway onto the street, it appeared not too many people had been out. The wind was blowing a little and what tracks would have been made earlier were already covered up. I had two places I needed to go whether it was snowing or not. Driving down the streets in town was one thing, but when I came to a highway that had not been graded… That was a whole different story. The snow was coming down pretty good and everything was white. I could barely see tracks on the highway but I eventually made it to my first destination. I was supposed to drive a tractor around 12 miles away on the other side of town. Any of you who have ever tried driving a tractor on a slick surface knows that is a bad idea. Needless to say, I didn’t make it very far before I chickened out. I got back in the car and ran a few errands in town and went home.

At about 5:30…

 

It appeared it had stopped snowing but when I went outside it was drizzling a little. I normally measure the snow on the back porch railing but since the wind had been blowing there wasn’t enough to measure

 

 

I had put out more feed after I returned home and the birds were happy I did. The Junco’s and Cardinals are the main birds that eat under a maple tree in the front yard. I saw a pair of Nuthatch one day and they are always fun to watch.

 

No sitting on the front porch today…

 

A male Cardinal was resting in the Dogwood behind the house so I had to get a shot.

 

OH, the darn sparrows! Neglecting to clean out and cover the holes months go when “I should have” has made a cozy place for the sparrows over the winter. I didn’t cover the holes because it got cold and snowed and I felt sorry for them. I seem to have a feeling when the Martins arrive they may experience some resistance. Well, the plan is to clean out the house at least a month before the Martins arrive and cover the holes. Maybe that will encourage the sparrows to nest elsewhere.

 

Most of the Oxalis have went dormant, but the Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae in the big pot came back to life already. I hadn’t been giving them water so they would go dormant but when I was taking photos I saw these had sprung back into action. I don’t especially want to water them because the two bigger dormant Amorphophallus bulbs are in the same pot. I gave them a little water since they came back up hoping it won’t affect the sleeping Voodoo Lilies. You never know.  Maybe they will come up, too.

Sorry, I haven’t written to much on the blog lately but I am at a loss at what to write about. I have been working on the plant pages to the right a little but I am not sure if I will be able to get all the plant pages finished by the end of winter or not. I still have maybe 100 or so to add plus updating as I go down the list. I haven’t even started on the wildflowers!

I think that is all I needed to say so I will close this post. I hope you are all well and staying warm (depending on where you live). Be safe and stay positive.

 

The Belmont Rooster’s Favorite Stuffed Meatloaf

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing very well. I used to follow a few cooking blogs that were very good, but recently I started following In Diane’s Kitchen. She has MANY very interesting moth watering recipes she shares on her blog. Her post from December 12, 2017, was about her Pizza Stuffed Meatloaf. I left a comment telling her I had a stuffed meatloaf recipe that was delicious. She asked what I stuffed it with so I emailed her the recipe. Unfortunately, she is having difficulty with her email. I had hoped she would have received it so she would cook it and put the recipe on her blog. BUT, since that didn’t work out, I decided I would do it myself. So, I cooked it for dinner tonight. Well, Sunday evening, depending on when you read this.

 

I enjoy cooking because I enjoy eating. Of all the recipes I have tried, this one is my favorite to eat. It first started out when I was in Mississippi. Suzanne (Dr. Skinner) found out I liked to cook, so before I even arrived in California, she had started buying cookbooks. When I was packing the last of her truckloads to move to Mississippi I found box after box of cookbooks she had bought for me. I never counted how many, but just guessing, I would have to say over 300… She started buying them on Ebay where she could by A LOT at a time so I had many of the same cookbooks and a lot I wasn’t interested in. After she passed, I chose the ones I wanted and let the rest be auctioned off. Of course, mom and grandma had several cookbooks, which are in the bookcase in the dining room.

I cooked several recipes while she was still alive, including the Savory Stuffed Meatloaf I found in a Betty Crocker Hamburger Cookbook on page 33. I can’t find the cookbook right now, so it is a good thing I put the recipe in the computer. I will look more later and add the photo if I find it. Suzanne said the recipe was fit for a king. She said when we invite people for dinner, you can cook anything you want except for this recipe. I guess she wanted it for herself… 🙂

You will find other versions of Savory Stuffed Meatloaf online and this recipe is also on a few other websites.

I have cooked this recipe several times and have tweaked it somewhat. I will put the list of ingredients as is in the cookbook but I will tell you where I changed or omitted some of the ingredients. There are three parts, the meatloaf, the stuffing, and the topping.

I had to get up early this morning and was pretty tired in the afternoon. I tried to take a nap but couldn’t sleep. I had making this post on my mind so I got up and went to the grocery store. When I arrived back home, I began…

First, we will need to preheat the oven at 350° F and make sure the rack is in the center.

 

The Meatloaf…

The recipe calls for:

1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 slices bacon, cut up (opt.)
1 teaspoon salt

½ cup milk
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 egg
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

I modified this recipe a little and didn’t add the dry mustard. I also usually substitute minced garlic in place of the garlic powder, more than 1/8 teaspoon of course. The bacon, which is optional, adds a little interest to the first bite. I had normally cooked this recipe without the bacon until the last time. It was very noticeable with the first bite, but after that not so much. Kind of wakes up your taste buds for sure, so I cooked it with the bacon again this time.

I usually buy ground beef that is 90% lean but they didn’t have any at the store today. So, I bought ground chuck which was 80% lean. That means this meatloaf may shrink a little more than usual.

 

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well…

 

Dad always said when you make a meatloaf you have to mix it with your hands and squeeze everything together. So, that is always what I have done when I make meatloaf.  One more thing I need to add to the list… Paper towels so you can wipe your hands off before washing them. You wouldn’t want to get the camera all goopy, would you?

 

The Stuffing…

¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small onion, chopped (about ¼ cup)
¼ teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon thyme
½ cup chopped celery
dash pepper
2 cups soft bread crumbs

This recipe wouldn’t be the same without the stuffing. Besides it being mandatory if you are going to call it a stuffed meatloaf, it is AWESOME!!! I always use butter in my food instead of margarine. There are some spices in the cabinet that are very old, including the Sage.

 

Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the onions and celery until tender. If you don’t make sure the onions and celery are tender, you will have crunchy stuffing in your meatloaf. That is just weird…

 

You can add the other ingredients anytime you want, but I usually do it after the celery and onions are somewhat tender.

 

Once the mixture in the skillet is ready, add the bread crumbs and stir until the butter mostly coats the bread.

 

Preparing The Pan For The Meatloaf…

Not all meatloaf pans are created equal. You will need a 9″ x 5″ x 3″ pan and I prefer glass for some reason. You will need to use approximately 2/3 of the meatloaf mixture to kind of make a boat, going up the sides of the pan to about 1/4″ from the top. It is best to do this right before you add the stuffing or it will sag. It is kind of hard to get this evenly but that’s OK. Practice makes perfect. 🙂

 

Then, fill the inside with the stuffing mixture.

 

Then, add the remaining meatloaf mixture to the top of the stuffing. You will need to squeeze the edges to the top part or it will separate somewhat during cooking. Kind of like pinching the bottom and top crust together when you bake a pie.

 

I usually cover the pan with aluminum foil and put it in the oven while I am making the topping. Don’t ask me why because I have no clue…

 

The Topping…

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons vinegar
½ cup water
1 cup catsup

Many people make meatloaf without a topping, but to me, that is like making a cake without icing. I always substitute minced garlic in place of the onions. I remember once I put way too much garlic in and realized later that wasn’t a good idea. I thought I could never have too much garlic but I soon found out there is sometimes a limit.

 

Mix all the ingredients together then…

 

Take the meatloaf out of the oven… That is if you put it in the oven already in the first place. Spread enough of the topping to evenly cover the top of the meatloaf and then but it (back) in the oven. I usually put the foil back on for a while in case it splatters, not that it will that much. I just don’t like cleaning ovens. Problem is, while the pan is full the topping will stick to the foil a little. As the meatloaf shrinks this won’t be a problem.

 

Baking Time…

The cookbook says to bake at 350° F for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Well, for me that is not long enough. It takes at least 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Every so often, maybe every 20-30 minutes or so, take the meatloaf out of the oven and put more topping on it. I kind of made that part up, too. You can, of course, put all the topping on at once, but experience has taught me to add a final coating when the meatloaf is almost finished. Sometimes, but not always, the meatloaf will split in the middle leaving a small gap with no topping. We can’t have that. 🙂

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I dump out some of the oil after an hour or so and again when I add the remainder of the topping. Just go slow and be careful or the meatloaf will try to jump out of the pan.

 

Finished Product…

After an hour and 30 minutes, the meatloaf will be done. The coating was nice and glossy but there was a small crack in the middle. I put on a little more remaining topping, drained the oil out of the pan, then stuck it back in the oven while I took up the rest of the meal. Only 5-10 minutes.

 

Oh, that looks sooooooo good!

The recipe says to take it out of the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes before cutting. I can never wait that long…

 

Ahhhh…

The photo looks like it still isn’t quite done, but it seemed to be. I have taken it out before and had to put it back in again. I hour and 30 minutes may work, and actually, I did put it back in for another 5-10 minutes. You could probably easily cook it for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Normally, you can take a toothpick and check like you would a cake but that is a little difficult with the topping. Once the meatloaf shrinks, you may be able to stick the toothpick in from the side. Which is what I did this time because this one shrunk A LOT!

Come to think of it, some of the pink color could be the bacon…

 

The first bite left me speechless. I closed my eyes and savored the moment… Amazing! Makes me so thankful to have tastebuds! I always put three good sized slices on my plate, but sometimes I have to put one back. That is like half of the meatloaf!

If you have the opportunity to prepare this meatloaf, let me know how it turned out and if you have any suggestions.

That’s all I have to say right now. Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay warm or cool wherever you may be. As always, GET DIRTY if you get a chance.

 

Ummmmmmmm…. 8″ PLUS!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. It started raining yesterday morning and the forecast didn’t look good. The forecast said a total accumulation of 3-8 inches by the time it was going to stop snowing. It is about 2 PM on Saturday when I am writing this post and it is just barely snowing.

The above photo was taken at 12:44 AM Saturday morning and there was 4 1/4″ on the porch railing.

 

There was not a sound. It is so neat how calm is it while it is snowing. The wind was barely blowing and the temperature was around 30° F. This was is very wet and heavy snow.

 

I got up a little after 4 AM and looked out the back door. I saw what appeared to be lightning. I went and got the camera and looked out the door on the north side of the house. Then there was a green flash but it wasn’t lightning. I took another photo just as it flashed again followed by a buzz. Apparently, a limb fell on a power line or something.  I called the power company but was put on hold because of high call volume. Then I saw two pickups from the power company turning down the street across the road.

 

When I got up again about 8:30 AM I saw what hap happened during the night. I went and got the ruler and there was 8″ of snow on the porch railing. GEEZ! The cats weren’t on the back porch and there was still a little cat food in their pans.

 

Hmmm… The top broke out of the pear tree. It isn’t an edible pear, maybe a Bradford Pear or something.

 

The tree was damaged several years before and there are usually a few limbs that break off during the winter.

 

Actually, it will look better now without that limb that was taller than the rest. Natural pruning.

 

I don’t think I will be doing any potting today…

 

The maple trees stand up pretty well under a load of snow.

 

One of the maples in the front yard.

 

Hmmm…

 

Even the yews along the house are full of snow…

 

I guess I have to admit the trees look pretty neat covered with snow.

 

Apparently, the cats are in the barn. I saw one of the fuzzy tomcats in front of the barn earlier but he did not come to the house. The short-haired tom eventually came to the house and ate a little then ran back to the barn. I went out and made a path for them to come to the house and saw there was no snow along the barn Susie finally went up the path and came to the house.

 

That’s what happens with Chinese Elms…

 

Well, this doesn’t look so neat…

 

The power line going to the chicken house had stretched all the way to the ground because a few limbs fell on it. I removed the limbs which helped a little. Luckily the line didn’t break.

 

 

Fortunately, I did not lose power but I am sure many did. I messaged my daughter who lives in Springfield (about 2 hours south) and she said they just have rain. This is a wet snow and temps will be in the low 30’s for a few days. It is melting and a lot of the snow has already fallen from the trees and power lines. There is still a little more snow and freezing drizzle in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow but it is supposed to warm up into the 40’s next week.

 

On a brighter note… The Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’ I have in the bedroom has decided to flower. I believe it is this plant’s first flower. I kept a few Alocasia upstairs this winter while the rest are in the basement.

 

The Schlumbergera truncata I picked up from Wagler’s Greenhouse is also now LOADED with buds. This one will have peach-colored flowers.

I will have to admit, this snow does look nice. I cannot believe I said that!!!

Until next time, be safe and stay positive!

Christmas & Birthday Past Once Again…

Hello everyone! I hope this email finds you all well and recovering from Christmas. I went to my sisters for Christmas because I couldn’t think of enough good reasons not to go. She didn’t like it that I spent Thanksgiving alone even though she did invite me. I didn’t see her invite on Facebook because I didn’t look until after it was over. I didn’t spend Thanksgiving alone because I had to, it was because I chose to. So, I went Christmas morning, stayed the night and came back home on Wednesday.

I made it to her home in Raytown, which is a suburb of Kansas City, with no problem. You would think to get out all you would have to do is go backward, turning right instead of left or left instead of right, on the same streets as before. Well, the last time we went, I somehow got turned around and getting back where I was supposed to be took a little longer. This time was even worse… 

How in the h— can you follow the directions backward and get lost? Well, when I was on 63rd and turned the right direction on to get on Raytown Road, it led to not being able to continue. The lane I was in ended and became one way. I did not notice that when I came… So, I thought maybe I screwed up and went the wrong way. I went back to 63rd and went straight on Raytown Road, passing 63rd. I stopped at a convenience store and asked how to get back on 50 to go to Warrensburg. The fellow was from India and he had no clue. I thought, “How can someone live here and not know how to leave?” I went to another store only to have the same strange answer, also from a man from India… I stopped at another store and a man not from India gave me the same answer. A delivery man was bringing in supplies, who must drive all over the city, and he didn’t even know… Then after driving around more, I stopped at yet another convenience store and asked a lady at the counter. She had no idea. Luckily, another lady was there and told me to turn right at the intersection and go as far as I can then take a left… So, I did that and somehow got to where I needed to be.

Now, Christmas evening, my sister and her husband went to see the lights at a park. It took a while to get there but the wait came after we arrived. Ummm… We have a very nice “Christmas In The Park” here in town where the churches and other business have their own displays. It’s very nice and you can drive through with no waiting. But, in Kansas City, it is not so easy. I am not sure how many miles it was from the main road, winding around, and waiting in this long line of traffic. I am not even sure how long it took because I didn’t want to know. Once there, though, the wait was worth it. It was a grand display and Lawrence County has been doing this for 31 years. 

On the way there, my brother-in-law started out driving similar to the way I came except he turned on Raytown Trafficway instead of Raytown Road. Then, on the way back, he came on Raytown Road and said, “This is the way you came in.” 

On the way home, I was thinking maybe you are supposed to take Raytown Road to their house and Raytown Trafficway when you leave. So, I check online to see. Sure enough, that is correct. You don’t leave the way you go. GEEZ! I didn’t tell my sister what happened but I will definitely remember for the next time. If she reads this post, she will see anyway. I never bothered to get driving directions for the return trip because I didn’t think it would be different. Lesson learned… Well, I very seldom ever get more than 30 miles away from home and I HATE driving in the city. I will be so glad when we can step in a booth and say where we want to go and get out and be there in a matter of seconds.

I also wanted to tell you I had a breakthrough. I realize why I don’t like Christmas. Deep down in my subconscious mind, it is because of glitter… Last Tuesday when I went to take the trash out at the church I saw where the youth had been working on their Christmas play for the following Sunday. The glitter was everywhere! The table was covered! I knew then that it would be trailed all the way up the stairs and into the sanctuary. Then, when I went on Saturday to clean for Sunday morning, it was terrible. Sure enough, it was all over the stairs and hallway. 

I didn’t go to the Sunday service because I didn’t want to see all the glitter during the program. Reminding me of what I had to clean up. I went on Monday to clean for the Christmas Eve service… While they must have cleaned a little because the sanctuary wasn’t that bad, the pulpit was covered. I had to wash it off with water because the vacuum cleaner wouldn’t touch it. I didn’t go to the Christmas Eve service either.

Then, on Saturday (today or yesterday depending on when you read this), I went to clean the church to get it ready for Sunday. GEEZ!!! I did vacuum, as usual, vacuuming the carpet as always, cleaning the restrooms, taking out the trash as usual. Once glitter is on the carpet you can’t worry about getting it all off. That much is just impossible. So, I will just vacuum as always every week and little by little most of the glitter will eventually get sucked up or go further down into the carpet. Just in time for more glitter next Christmas… 

It is now December 29. One good thing about my birthday being on the 29th is that no one seems to notice. Only three people remembered and the lady at the bank also noticed the 29th was my birthday. Even on Facebook, where you get a notification when it is someone’s birthday on your friend’s list. I “usually”, but not always, send a Happy Birthday. Not one Happy Birthday. 🙂 Very good! I don’t really need a reminder. To the young people, I am an old man, so I sure don’t want them to know. I am only 58 and far from being old… Now, if I was 90 and they didn’t remember, I would throw a fit! We sing Happy Birthday to people at church, but usually, they somehow forget about mine. I don’t bring it up either. 🙂 Even growing up as a kid, we didn’t celebrate birthdays. For me, we just had Christmas anyway. 

Well, I guess that is all I wanted to talk about for now. Another year is almost over and we will be in 20… Umm… 19.

Until next time, take care, be safe, and stay positive! I am not sure how dirty you can get, but I seem to be doing fine in that respect.

The controversial canola oil

I have read some very interesting posts by Naume G., so I suggested she look into Canola Oil. Well, she did, and this is her post.

The Naume G. Blog

The follow-up

In my last post, I looked at the debunking of the war on saturated fat which showed that the fat was getting some undeserved bad rap. One brilliant reader suggested that I do some research on canola oil as a follow-up to that article, and so here we are today looking at the controversy surrounding canola oil. Initially, I was confused because as far as I knew, canola oil is beneficial to health. Turns out there is a lot going on with this oil, and there is some debate on whether it is good or bad.

A brief history

Canola oil is the product of rapeseed oil modification that was undertaken by Canadian scientists back in the day to make the oil safe for human consumption. In its original state, the rapeseed oil contained erucic acid and glucosinolates. Erucic acid has links to heart muscle damage, and…

View original post 1,296 more words

Still Alive and Kicking…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing well. I just wanted to make a “short” post and let you know I am still alive and well. I have been working on a new post since October 29, which will not be short. 🙂

I wanted to talk a little about cactus and show the differences between the plants in my collection. October 29 was a nice spring-like day so I took the cactus outside for a photo shoot. Then, as I was working on the post on December 1 I decided to see if I could get good close-ups of their spines. It worked out amazingly well with the help of a magnifying glass.

 

While I was working on the post I was also doing further research about the individual species description, mainly on Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms). I also had to use the glossary on CactiGuide.com. So, I learned a lot more about my plants. I always enjoy making posts and pages while learning as I go.

 

Cactus are indeed very complex plants and I wanted to share some very interesting features about each one in my small collection.

I normally only work on the blog in the evening so it takes time to write a very long post. This didn’t seem to be a post I could write in parts because of the information in the beginning.

Once this post is finished I can get back to reading your posts and catch up. Until then, be safe, stay positive, stay well… GET DIRTY if possible.

Third “S”…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I took a nap in the afternoon and a few times I woke up and could hear the wind blowing. The forecast said the day would start out rainy and was supposed to “S” in the afternoon. Before I got out of bed I was thinking about what I could prepare for dinner. I needed to go to the store because I had run out of ice cream.

I got out of bed and went into the kitchen to warm up a cup of coffee and saw it was “S—ing”. After a week of nice weather we wish would last all winter, we get another “S”.  The National Weather Service said it was 30° F with a wind chill of 16. The wind speed was 26 mph with gusts up to 36 mph.

 

There quite a mixture of the size of flakes, some fairly big. It was ‘S—ing” so much I could barely see the cows gathered around the bale of hay I took out yesterday. There is still one in the smaller lot in reserve.

 

The House Sparrows are thankful I didn’t finish cleaning out the Martin house… Well, I thought about it but saw it was going to “S” and get cold so I decided maybe they might need shelter. GEEZ!

 

I had to open the sliding door to get good photos and was very surprised when The Barn Cat (yeah, that’s her name) came in the house. I have been here five years and she never came into the house. Once she did stick her front feet in, but never all the way. She didn’t stay long, though.

 

The front porch looks strange with no plants on the tables…

 

Umm… According to the calendar, the first day of winter isn’t until December 21. Here, in mid-Missouri, we have already had three “S—‘s” with temps in the teens! Some parts of the country have had a lot worse. I have been in much worse so I am not going to complain. I am thankful to have a warm place and food to eat.

As I walked past the living room, guess who I saw? Susie. She snuck in while I was taking photos… She was hoping I was going to let her stay in. I suppose it would be OK but I don’t really need a house cat… There are four others and it wouldn’t be right for her to be inside. I had cats inside in Mississippi which were no problem and were in and out as well as litter box trained. Mom always had cats that would come inside and so did my ex… There were all housebroken and would go out when they needed to. The cats here are outside cats and not housebroken so that could prove not to be a good idea to allow them to be inside… If you want a cat inside, they need to be housebroken and litter box trained. Mom had a cat before that would actually “go” in the drain in the bathtub…

 

The view from the north side of the house… The forecast for a few days will be cold.

 

Wednesday will be the beginning of a warming trend at 42° F with a low of 33.

I still needed ice cream, so after I finished with the photos I went to the grocery store. There weren’t many people driving around downtown, but I was very surprised at how many were at the grocery store. Apparently, I am not the only one who needed ice cream. At 6:50 PM when I am finishing this post, it is still “S—ing” like crazy and the wind is still blowing.

How is the weather in your neck of the woods? Until next time, take care, be safe, stay warm and stay positive. It may be a little difficult to get dirty for a few days, but I am sure I can find a way. 🙂

Thanksgiving Day Update

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I struggled to think of a title to this post. There are several bloggers who do a Wordless Wednesday but I always have plenty to say. I have also done a Wednesday Wanderings but I really didn’t go anywhere with my camera but on the farm. Then another day past and it is, or was, Thanksgiving day.

I did miss another chance for a great photo and video a few days ago… A really neat whirlwind of leaves in the south end of the back pasture. It lasted for quite a while, too. GEEZ!

I did manage to get a photo of our resident villain on Tuesday. The Red-Tailed Hawk has been visiting near where the hay is stored. I have seen it several times but never had the camera. It flew behind a tree by the pond probably thinking I couldn’t see it… No doubt it is hunting for mice or voles, but it doesn’t hesitate to nab an unsuspecting small bird.

(Note: Lisa commented and said the hawk is a Red-Shouldered Hawk and not a Red-Tailed Hawk. I noticed it didn’t look like the Red-Tailed Hawk that stays in the back of the farm. The maps online say the Red-Shouldered Hawk are farther south and to the east of this area. I am not sure they stay here year around, but I have seen one of them, sometimes two, in this same spot in the past.)

 

I still haven’t finished cleaning out the Martin House. The House Sparrows moved in right after the Martins left and they have almost every nest stuffed full! They spend the day in search of seeds and insects but they are usually at the house in the morning and by early evening.

 

I did finish cutting the Cannas Wednesday afternoon and the bed is all mulched for winter now. I am sure glad I don’t have to dig their rhizomes and bring them inside for the winter. I am thinking about contacting my good friend Walley in Mississippi to see if he still has his yellow Cannas. He gave me a start before when I lived in Mississippi but I accidentally left them behind when I moved back here. Maybe he could send a few my way.

 

The cats always enjoy sleeping on the pile of leaves especially when it is cold and sunny. This cat has been known to sleep in some very strange places, though. He even likes to get in small boxes and flower pots just barely big enough to curl up in.

 

The moon looked really nice when I went to get the cows from the back pasture. The time on the photo says 4:53 PM and the moon is on its way up. A few months ago I could leave the cows in the back until about 9 PM…

 

A few of the cows were already waiting at the gate. I think they heard me singing or talking to myself. Sometimes, not always usually lately (which means maybe less than 40% of the time but not necessarily) they are at the gate. Sometimes, like Tuesday, a few were at the gate but walked away when I arrived while others were coming toward the gate. The calves are getting the hang of it and walk toward the gate when they hear me or see me approach.

 

Sometimes they are eager to get to the front pasture for the evening and I have absolutely no problem. Sometimes… Oh, I am sure you get the picture by now. 🙂

One thing I have learned is that cows are not the most patient of critters. Tuesday morning when they were waiting at the gate to go up the lane, I thought I would scratch a few of them behind the ears. The first three really liked it, but the fourth said, “OPEN THE GATE ALREADY!”  Even though they don’t have hands, so they can’t make a fist, she has learned that is what the top of her head is for. She is one of the older cows and is pretty much intolerant when it comes to friendliness if she is anxious. July, however, is the opposite. I think she would stand and let you pet and scratch her for an hour.

 

The calves are always funny. When I open the back gate the cows, if they are at the gate, come right into the lane. If I am still standing in the lane the calves are a little hesitant to walk past me. They will stand there at the opening and talk it over first. Wednesday evening, after much deliberation, they all managed to build up the courage to go past me but one. It was the first born heifer with the completely white face. She walked away from the gate and for a minute I thought she may jump the fence. I walked into the pasture toward the Persimmon tree and she finally went in. I had to check to see if there were any Persimmons left and I found only two… So, I guess that’s it for them until next fall.

I took a few plant photos Wednesday evening then a few more this morning. The camera battery went dead and I had to recharge before I could finish.

I hope you don’t mind another long post. I could easily break down every photo for a single post…

 

The newest members of the cactus collection are in the kitchen windowsill. I plan to make an insert with two shelves.

A friend of mine and I were recently discussing plant markers. I told him the last ones I had bought were too small and he said he uses old mini blinds. I had one I was going to throw away, so this Wednesday morning I cut several 5″ pieces and they work great! They are wide enough to get plenty of information on them on both sides. I like putting the scientific name and common name on one side while the date I brought them home on the back. I also write down the dates when I repot them into larger pots. Eventually, the permanent marker’s ink fades and I have to rewrite. He said he uses a pencil… Hmmm…

 

The Kalanchoe delagoensis plantlets are still doing OK. They have grown a little but probably won’t do much during the winter. Just as long as I can keep them alive until spring… I mist them about once a week.

 

When I brought the cactus inside from the back porch, I just carried their table in and put it in front of the sliding door. This is not an ideal spot because they don’t receive much sun so it was just a temporary solution. Several of these were in the kitchen windowsill for two winters but they are now in larger pots.

I discovered something when I brought the cactus inside and had to re-pot a few into larger pots. Normally I don’t re-pot until the spring but I had just received my bag of pumice and was itching to try it out. One of the biggest problems I have with cactus and succulents in the winter is their soil gets very hard. I barely ever water them during the winter, some not at all but their soil needs to be loose, not hard. I think this happens because the peat in the mix drys out and a lot of the perlite has floated to the top. Pumice is similar to grit but acts more like perlite because it absorbs water. When the water is released it also adds nutrients to the soil. By repotting the cactus in the fall, their soil will remain loose throughout the winter. 🙂

 

The new shelf I made for the south window is working out very well. I used boards from the loft in the barn. I made it similar to the one I made in Mississippi for the kitchen window (out of old Cypress boards).

 

The shelves are adjustable so I could possibly lower the top two or even remove the bottom shelf. That way I could add another shelf. Last winter I just had a table here which was high enough to put some of the bigger succulents under it. The bottom of the window is only 10 1/2″ from the floor so they received plenty of sun. While cactus, for the most part, isn’t that particular about being in full sun, especially over the winter, a lot of succulents will stretch and get weird if they don’t have enough. That’s why I have to avoid growing Echeveria and a few others I have grown in the past.

For the most part, all the succulents are on this shelf plus a few cacti.

 

They are all doing well but I noticed some brown scale on the Peperomia obtusifolia. The Cotyledon ‘Silver Storm’ seems to be making progress with its spraying program. So far, the new leaves are scale-free. There are a few succulents that are very prone to brown scale which I have learned to avoid. Some get it a little and are easily plucked off. I keep an eye on the Crassula ovata ‘Lady Fingers’ or ‘Gollum’.

 

I say “or” because I bought this plant unlabeled and it looked like a ‘Lady Fingers’ at the time (I had one before). It has grown quite a lot and now it’s leaves look like ‘Gollum’. Anyway, I noticed it also has a few scale as well but they can be removed without spraying.

 

If you have scale and need to spray, make sure you use something that is ORMI certified and does not smell like alcohol. Neem oil may work but I haven’t tried it. I do have a product with Neem oil as an ingredient which is also certified organic that would also work. Unfortunately, the brown scale doesn’t actually fall off even when they may be dead. You have to remove them by hand or remove the leaf. You could remove the infested leaves, but sometimes that isn’t possible. The Cotyledon is really bad and even the stems have scale. I have thought about throwing it away but I couldn’t see myself doing that. I tried neglecting it this past summer, thinking it might die on its own. Well, it seemed it seemed like it and thrived… So, I sprayed.

 

The Huernia schneideriana is doing very well and there are new offsets coming up.

 

The new Stapelia gigantea is also doing very well. This plant is a cousin to the Huernia and both are Carrion Plants. Even though this one will have big and beautiful flowers, the smell will be less than pleasant…

 

Sedum adolphii and its Oxalis friend are doing good. Yeah, I know… This Oxalis is probably a weed to most people but I kind of like them. I don’t hardly pull any of them up in the flower beds so why wouldn’t I allow it to grow in the house? 🙂

 

The Kalanchoe daigremontiana is doing good, as usual, but feels a little annoyed with me right now. I removed all its plantlets so they wouldn’t be jumping into the nearby pots. There is a nice row of them along the wall behind the shelf…

 

There are several Kalanchoe luciae on the shelf, but this one looks the best. When I see its leaves start to wrinkle I know it needs a little water. Otherwise, no water for the succulents during the winter…

 

The Aloe juvenna and Kalanchoe orgyalis are enjoying the winter on the bottom shelf. Aloe juvenna are very easy to grow but need a good amount of light or their leaves will stretch. The Kalanchoe orgyalis keeps growing taller and may be touching the bottom of the next shelf before long.

 

Umm… Almost every plant on this table should be in the basement. Last year the Oxalis went dormant before I even brought the plants inside for the winter but this year they have not gone dormant yet. I guess I am going to have to take them to the basement anyway. The Begonias can also be in the basement but they look so good where I can mingle with them once in a while. The Begonias on the table have hardly lost any leaves since I brought them inside. They have pretty much been on the dining room table except for a few days last month. I put them on the table in the front bedroom Tuesday evening after I gave them water.

The bigger pot in the center of the table has the two bigger dormant Amorphophallus in it… So, watering the Oxalis in that pot may not be a good idea… I need this table for the cactus in front of the sliding door…

 

The Begonia withlacoochee ‘Brazilian Lady’ always loses a lot of leaves when I bring it inside. That’s OK, though. It will be fine. One winter it went completely dormant and came back in the spring. Well, I guess a change is in order for the name of this plant. While it is available under the name Begonia ‘Brazilian Lady’, I just found out the registered cultivar name with the American Begonia Society is ‘Withlacoochee’ (ABS #765) and it IS definitely this cultivar. ‘Brazilian Lady’ IS NOT a registered cultivar. It was registered as Begonia ‘Withlacoochee’ by someone named Michelson in 1977. Someone came up the hybrid name Begonia withlacoochee and was even listed as such in the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). Click on that link now and it will say “server error”… The cultivar is a cross between two unidentified species, one being an unidentified “Brazilian” species… So, now I have to work on the plant’s page to the right. >

 

The Ledebouria socialis and Ledebouria socialis ‘Violacea’ are doing quite well. I am not supposed to water them over the winter so they will kind of go dormant. I read where if you wanter them over the winter they will continue growing new leaves and not go dormant. You want them to go dormant so the new leaves in the spring will be larger and it will flower. If it doesn’t go dormant, it won’t produce flowers.  Ummm… That would be a disappointment because of the reasons I bought them was for their awesome flowers. SO, I am trying to avoid watering them…

 

Ummmmmm… How’s that for a neat leaf? The Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae grow these impressive leaves. The color and size… Maybe I should keep this one upstairs for a while longer. 🙂

 

The Oxalis tetraphylla (Iron Cross) leaves aren’t so big right now… The bigger leaves died and the new leaves are small. Weird…

 

The Tradescantia sillamontana are waiting to go to the basement so they can sleep for the winter. I will cut their stems off once the plants go dormant and they will come up after a few months. They have done very well all summer and now it is time for a rest. They would stay awake upstairs all winter but they get really out of shape.

So, it is best

for them to rest…

The Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart) will also be going to the basement but I may take a few cuttings first…

BUT…

 

The Tradescantia fluminensis variegata (maybe I should write that “var. variegata”) and…

 

The Tradescantia zebrina will be staying upstairs for now. It is my first winter with them so I am not sure how they will do either upstairs or down in the basement. I know they will do OK upstairs but I am not sure about a stretching issue. If they go dormant in the basement… Will they come back up or will they be dead. Maybe I should take cuttings and experiment. 🙂 How else will I know?

In the other bedroom…

 

Well, the table in the other bedroom is experimental. I had the Callisia fragrans and Tradescantia sillamontana on this chest but grew tired of that. The Tradescantia needs to be in the basement so they can go dormant. Tuesday evening I moved the Callisia and Tradescantia sillamontana and put a few other plants here. This spot only gets good sun in the afternoon so a lot of plants won’t do well here over the winter.

I kept the smaller Alocasia upstairs because they don’t do well in the basement. When I say smaller, I mean the ones that are under 12″ tall. Somehow, when I was moving plant s inside, one of the bigger Alocasia ‘Portora’ managed to sneak in the dining room. Then, when I moved the Tradescantia sillamontana out of the bedroom, the Alocasia ‘Portora’ somehow snuck into the bedroom… Of course, I could bring up a couple of other Alocasia to keep it company. How about the biggest ‘Calidora’? It will probably touch the ceiling even with its pot on the floor.

 

As I mentioned earlier, the smallest of the Amorphophallus finally went dormant a few days ago. I was beginning to wonder if it was going to stay green all winter.

 

Ummm… Yep, this is the Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) Mrs. Wagler gave me a few months ago. I know if I had have put them in the ground they wouldn’t have made it through the winter because they barely had any roots. Typically they are only hardy in USDA zones 8-11 but the ones I brought here from Mississippi in 2013 did survive at least one winter. I was surprised that Mrs. Wagler had some in one of her flower beds and happy she offered to give me a start. These will have blue flowers instead of pink like I had before. Walley Morse gave me the first start in Mississippi in the fall and I kept them inside until the next spring. So, I know they will grow in the house. 🙂 Well, they are a very neat plant and they will spread in the right conditions…

 

I moved the Tradescantia ‘Pale Puma’ in this bedroom on Tuesday evening even though it may well be moved to the basement. It just depends on how well it grows here. The one I had before went dormant in the basement and came back up in the spring with no problem.

 

The Callisia fragrans that were on the chest are now on top of the bookshelves… I think they will survive anything and anywhere. If you know someone who says they can’t grow plants, take them one of these… I have proof…

 

On July 12 when I potted all the offsets from the original plant, a couple were very small and I thought I had more than enough in pots. So, I threw these two smaller offsets in the yard. When I was mowing a few days later I picked them up and put them on the back porch. They have survived with NO soil and no additional water since July 12… Now you can turn me into the plant humane society for neglect. I am experimenting, but I think I am about to give in.

OK, I think I am finished with this post now. I want to get it published before midnight or I will have to edit it again. Grammarly says I have 11 errors but we have been in a little dispute over a few words. Like the words lose, loses, and loose… I used all in this post correctly but Grammarly doesn’t agree… OK, I went back and fixed the “errors”. I did mess up a few times I didn’t originally catch, some I clicked on “ignore” which is only a one time deal. You can add words to the dictionary if it is a word Grammarly doesn’t recognize (like botanical names :)). So, I teach text edit and I teach Grammarly and it likewise shows me when I screw up. Text edit sometimes jumps to conclusions but all you have to do is click on the “x” and it changes the word back and you can then click on “learn” so the word is added to its brain. If I am in doubt, I highlight the word and click “look up” and the dictionary tells me if I am right or wrong. Then if I have to install a new hard drive or need to use Firefox or Google, I have to teach again. That’s OK. Just part of life. We learn and we teach. I know if I go back over this post several more times I am likely to find something else every time. I don’t mind if you correct my grammar. In fact, I would appreciate it if you did. But you also have to recognize people from different countries spell and use words differently… 🙂

Now, I better quit. Until next time, take care, be safe, be well, stay positive… You know the drill. Just be good and GET DIRTY!

Abomination — Sweetgum and Pines

While visiting a local home improvement store today, I took a look at the garden section to see what grotesqueries the plant wholesalers have cooked up lately. They did not disappoint. I am, by now, inured to things like paper flowers glued to cacti or Phalaenopsis orchids with dyed blooms–If you desperately need a cheap […]

via Abomination — Sweetgum and Pines

Mulching The Canna Bed, Etc.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. Today was a good day to start mulching the Maple leaves in the “other yard” (across the driveway) and cut down the Cannas.

I had planned to go to the Farmer’s Co-op to pick up a friend’s feed for his cows since he was out of town. Someone else comes to feed his cows and would be at his house at 3:30. After that, I was scheduled to meet with someone else at 4. The plan was to work on the leaves and the Canna bed between picking up the feed and before and after my other appointment. Well, it didn’t happen that way…

When I went to pick up the feed at 1:00 I was told to come back at 4. His feed gets mixed and put in a hopper on the back of his truck and they were to busy when I went. SO, I went back home and called him and explained what had happened. He then texted the other guy so he would know the feed would be late. Then I called the other person I was supposed to meet with at 4 and told him we could go ahead with our meeting ahead of time. But, he and his wife had to go somewhere else first and he said he would just come over when they were finished. He didn’t make it until after 3 and stayed until I had to go back to Farmer’s Co-op. Then, when I get there, they told me they still weren’t ready and would be at least another 30 minutes. So, I went to my friend’s farm and met up with the guy who was there to feed his cows. When he was finished with some of the feeding he told me he would go get the feed himself because he needed to tell them he needed more for tomorrow. I don’t know how he will do that since they apparently don’t mix feed on Saturday.

Anyway, while I was waiting, I decided to go ahead and start on the leaves.

I usually run over the leaves and suck them up in the mower’s grass bags. That always proves frustrating because the tube keeps getting clogged. Then I have to turn off the mower, take the tube off, and shake out the leaves. I have tried different things to prevent that but it still happens. Last fall, on the south side of the house, I just ran over the leaves and blew them toward the south bed where I ultimately wanted them. It worked much better with no frustration. So, this time I ran around the leaves in “the other yard” in a circle blowing them toward the center. I know that means some of the leaves get chopped up over and over, but the whole point is to get them mulched. So, it worked out pretty good.

After a while, the mower started having some difficulty because the leaves were getting too deep. The bigger mower would have probably handled it fine, but one of the belt pulleys broke the last time I mowed. Good thing it was the last mowing of the season…

The goal was to get the leaves mulched and into somewhat of a pile so I could put them in the trash can and take them to the Canna bed.

 

It’s amazing how plants that were 10′ or so tall a few weeks ago could look so pitiful now. After a few “F’s”, two snows, wind, and very cold temps they look like a disaster.

After I finished mulching the leaves I started cutting down the Cannas. Remember, there used to only be 10-12′ of Cannas along the garage but I spread them out the entire length this past spring. After cutting down about 1/3 I decided I needed to stop and cover them up before my company came and I couldn’t finish. I didn’t want the rhizomes exposed to the cold air with nothing. I will try and work more on them Saturday, but I am not sure how much time I will have. We are supposed to have a “wintry mix” move in Saturday evening… 😦

 

There are plenty of leaves from the Maples trees on the south side of the house. Their leaves are 99% on the ground. Dad said these were Jefferson Maples…

 

The two Maple trees in front of the house are a different story. These are the last to change color and they hang on longer. Dad said these two trees are Sunset Masples…

 

The northeast corner bed doesn’t look so amazing now… Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ still has some dull green…

 

The Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ doesn’t seem to mind the snow. It’s not the snow that kills plants (well… I guess that depends on the plants and how cold it gets, huh?). When it gets really cold, there won’t be a trace of this Creeping Jenny. Then, like a miracle, they start popping up off and on in the spring to check the temperature. It’s kind of funny actually…

 

The Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) can take pretty cold temperatures. There have been winters they have remained green the whole time. Still growing after about 35 years.

 

The Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) I brought with me from Mississippi doesn’t mind a few “F’s”, snow, or cooler temps. Well, to a certain point… It thought last January was a bit much and I agreed…

 

Ummm… The south bed… The Salvia‘s and Elephant Garlic are pretty much all that is green. That is beside the grass and weeds… The Iris are growing again which is always a good sign.

 

OH, poor Phlomis! Every winter as soon as there is a forecast for an “F” I cover the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ with the big flower pot. The pot that is behind it as a matter of fact. I really like this plant so I am very protective of it when it comes it getting ZAPPED. This time I had other things on my mind and completely neglected this plant. I guess we know now it is fairly “F” tolerant and can withstand temps down to 12° F. Thank goodness! I now have a sticky note on the wall that says “PHLOMIS” to remind me to cover.

 

The Sempervivum ‘Killer’ seems to be enjoying the cooler temps. It flowered like crazy starting late in the summer. I had never seen a Sempervivum flower before, so it was quite a treat. The sad thing is that Semps are monocarpic which means the plants that flower will die. The good thing is there are plenty of new offsets.

 

Yep, I always laugh when I look at the Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla). Not because it is a funny plant, but because it always looks different from one time to the next. It always smiles at me but I dare not give it a hug and you can definitely forget about a kiss! It always asks me if its name has changed and I always tell it no. I am trying to keep it a secret that there are two subspecies of this plant and one variety (plus 12 synonyms). I do tell it that is a bit short because it is actually a succulent sub-shrub that grows 3-6′ tall. It seems to like spreading outward instead of growing upward which is one reason I always laugh. I can hardly wait until it flowers, which could take a few more years…

I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and the cashier said he heard we were supposed to have a “five-year winter.” I have no idea what that means and I am not that anxious to find out. Umm… I am not going to look it up on the internet either because I don’t want to know… Five years ago is when I moved back to the farm and we did have plenty of snow… Now my sister can say, “See the persimmon seeds were right.” GEEZ!

Well, that is it for now. The post would have been longer but I ran out of photos. 🙂

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, don’t fall down the steps, don’t burn yourself cooking, don’t stick yourself while sewing. When you get aggravated try some breathing exercises to relax. Life has its ups and downs but it is actually a miracle in itself and we are truly amazing creatures. I know eventually, our bodies get old and we may become bald, fat, and wrinkly. Some of us have worse health problems than others. We still have a lot to be thankful for even though we may not feel like it sometimes. Sometimes when we aren’t doing so good just knowing that others love and care about us makes us feel much better. Sometimes we may need a change of environment, take a vacation to get away for a while (or permanently). Maybe all we need is to take a walk with someone we are close to. Maybe we need some time to ourselves to be alone with the Universe, with God, or whoever you choose to call him (or her). I have come up with this neat little exercise that always makes me smile.

Well, I better stop for now. Take care always and GET DIRTY if you can!

Second Snow…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and warm. I realize that some of you are in warmer climates and are in the spring season. Here, as you can see, it is not warm and there are no spring flowers blooming…

The forecast yesterday said it was going to snow, so throughout the night, I kept looking out the sliding door to check. Eventually, I did go to sleep. Then, this morning when I got out of bed…

The cows were eating hay, which they were glad to have available. I had also put a second bale in the small lot by the barn in reserve.

 

It didn’t get below freezing so I didn’t have to go cut ice on the pond. That’s good!

 

Susie and The Barn Cat aren’t very enthused about the snow. The other three cats had eaten and probably went to the barn by the time I took this photo. The Barn Cat (in the box) was given her name by my parents because she seemed to always stay in the barn. She has spent most of her time on the back porch this past year so maybe a name change is in order. Susie is the only cat that comes inside the house when she can sneak in. She makes her rounds and when she is satisfied she attempts to stay in longer. She tells me she will be OK in the house and won’t bother anything… One evening I let her stay in to see what she would do. Next thing I knew she was on the bed getting ready to take a nap…

 

Winter… Snow… Cold… No plants on the front porch.

 

Just a dreary cold wind and still snowing.

 

Seasons come and go and I know winter will eventually lead to spring. For many years we didn’t have any snow before the first of the year. I hope this isn’t a sign we will have a very snowy winter.

I can just hear it now… “Well, the persimmon seeds had a spoon inside. That means we will get a lot of snow.” I left the snow shovel on the side porch from the last time. Does that mean I was asking for more? I certainly did not ask.

I have been making some good progress updating the plant pages on the right. I have A LOT more to add but I wanted to get the pages that are already published updated with recent photos, proper links, and make sure their scientific names are still correct. I am also trying to discipline myself to keep current with your posts as well. Once I get started reading I get sleepy. I try to make a comment but sometimes I don’t know what to say and just click on “like”. I do read your posts, though, so if I just “like” I have read it. I haven’t really started promoting my blog yet so I only have 87 followers on WordPress. Some days I have well over 100 visits to the pages on the right but very few readers leave “likes” or make comments. Maybe no one can leave a “like” or make a comment unless they have a WordPress account, have signed up to follow (even by email), or something. I don’t know. I do enjoy reading your posts and I am thankful for all who make comments here.

I thoroughly enjoy the WordPress community and being able to share photos and experiences here. I have a great appreciation for bloggers who take time to do the same and I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. My first blog was The Mystical Mansion and Garden which I started in 2009 from when I was living in Mississippi. I had a lot of pages and information about porcelain companies and Japanese Kutani and Satsuma, Televera, etc. Of course, most of my posts and pages were about plants and gardening. I received A LOT of comments from people asking questions about antiques. I started my first Belmont Rooster blog in 2013 when I moved back to the family farm here in mid-Missouri. This is my third Belmont Rooster blog and hopefully it will remain for many years to come… Many bloggers that I used to follow, and were followers, have stopped blogging. I feel like I missed something when I was in between blogging. Where did they go? What happened to them… Blogging does take time and many people who have families have to juggle between jobs, family, and blogging. I also have Facebook and Twitter accounts. I haven’t been on my Twitter accounts for a very long time, though. I just can’t get into Twitter… I guess I have a Twitter block. 🙂

I follow a few blogs that I followed since 2013 and some haven’t posted for a few years. I used to have close to 500 followers and climbing. I would spend hours promoting the blog, following, and making comments and looking for more. We went through this “award” phase which I am glad has settled down. I don’t remember how many blogging awards I had in 2013, but there were many. For me, I think I like quality and not quantity. I am not here to set records, be awarded, or even claim to be a great gardener or blogger. I just enjoy growing plants, gardening and sharing my experience that may be helpful to others. I also enjoy the relationship with my fellow bloggers in the WordPress community. I am also on another jo