Overnight Disaster-Japanese Beetle Invasion

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. The Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) have been back for a while now, but they are getting ridiculous. Every year they come and feed mainly on the leaves of the Chinese Elms. They also eat the flowers on the roses. My plant tables next to and behind one of the sheds is under a Chinese Elm. It normally provides the perfect light for the potted plants, cactus, and succulents. The shade beds are also under a maple and two Chinese Elms. In that area, the light changes from shade to light shade.

Well, that is just nature. Until last year, there was really no problem. Then last year, the Japanese Beetle population turned into an invasion. I hoped that the colder than usual January would have helped control them and there wouldn’t be as many. But, that wasn’t the result. This year, they are worse than ever. Now, the Japanese Beetle lay eggs in the ground and then turn into their larvae stage. Then in June (maybe starting in late May), they become adults. Their main goal is to feed and mate.

They had really done no damage to the potted plants, mainly feeding on the leaves of the Chinese Elm. Then, on July 2 I noticed them on the Amorphophallus and a few on the Calla. So, I moved those two plants to the side porch.

Then, on July 4, it was much worse…


They attacked the Begonia ‘Frosty’ and even the Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae and Oxalis tetraphylla (Iron Cross).




They are easy to get off. Just shake the plant they fly off.


The bowl I mix potting soil in had water in it and A LOT od drowned Japanese Beetles.


They attacked the Begonia ‘Brazilian Lady’…


And even the Bryophyllum daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands).


I went over to the Chinese Elm growing on the old back porch to get a photo, but they took off by the thousands!


They didn’t chew much on the Tradescantia sillamontana, but their leaves were covered in poop and debris from the elm tree.


I had to take all the plants off the longer table behind the shed and drag it (upsidedown) to the front porch. Then I took several wheelbarrow loads of plants…

The light here is not the best for some of the plants, either too much or not enough for some, but it will have to do for now. The beetles didn’t chew on all the plants I moved, but you never know. Not only that, they leave a big mess behind on the leaves from the elm tree. Fallen leaves and lots of poop. I watered the shade bed and the leaves of the Alocasia and Hosta were covered with poop and debris from the elm trees. So far they haven’t been feeding on them.


The Amorphophallus sp. is now safe on the side porch. Believe it or not, there are eleven Amorphophallus in this pot now… Up from two last year!


They had just chewed on a few leaves of the Calla, but I moved it to the side porch, too.

As far as the shade beds are concerned… It won’t be so shady now. Most of the plants will be OK except for maybe the Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’. Unless the beetles turn to the Hosta, Alocasia, and Heuchera.

I can see why the moles are so active in the yard in front of the chicken house and the shade beds. They are after the larvae… Spraying plants with neem oil doesn’t help fight against Japanese Beetles. About the only thing is to use milky spore which was developed by the USDA and applying it to the soil to kill their grubs.

You can read more about this crazy critter on the Wikipedia page by clicking HERE. Ther are thought to have come to the US on shipments of Iris bulbs from Japan before 1912… They have natural predators in Japan which keep them in control, but here and other countries they are now in, they have none… They feed on many plants besides the Chinese Elm, including many vegetables and other food crops and ornamentals.

Well, that’s it for this post. I hope you are all well and staying cool during the heat of the summer. Take care, stay well and be positive! Of course, GET DIRTY when you have the chance!

Beetles In The Pasture Video

Hello folks! I just wanted to show you a short video of the beetles I saw in the pasture a couple of days ago. I was living in Arkansas in 1989 (I think) in an old country home when I first saw this ritual. I saw them here a couple of years ago and then again a few days ago. I think they only do this a few days each year.

I was told the males fly around looking for a mate then go down into the grass. Well, I didn’t do any research for this post, so I’m not sure about the details…

I hope everyone is enjoying your 4th of July. Until next time, stay well, be safe and GET DIRTY!


I looked up what type and species of beetle this could be on the Missouri Department of Conservation website. My best guess is that it is a Green June Beetle (Cotinis nitida). It is one of over 1,700 species of Scarab beetles native to North America above Mexico.

The Wikipedia has some interesting reading about this species. If this is indeed a June Beetle, it isn’t a dung beetle. Click HERE for the Wikipedia article.

Short Sunday Drive And A Visit

Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower) on 7-1-18, #467-15.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing very well. A week or so ago I went to visit a friend who lives a little farther in the country and noticed a few nice patches of Yellow Coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa) along the way. I had left my camera at home so I didn’t get a photo then. I am trying to remember to always take my camera because you never know what you will find to shoot. So, early Sunday evening I decided to go for a little drive. It was only a few miles away and I needed to take some photos.


Echinacea paradoxa is the only species in the genus to have yellow flowers. All others are purple shades. Hmmm… I thought there was a white-flowered species. Of course, that is not counting the varied colored and weird looking cultivars of Echinacea purpurea. As a matter of fact, I think I have seen a few with white flowers along the highway. Maybe they are a variation (mutation) of Echinacea purpurea. Echinacea paradoxa does hybridize with other species in the genus if they are close by.

Most of the plants are at least 3 feet tall, and some came up to my shoulder which is close to 5′. Well, I suppose I was standing a little lower than the plants. 🙂


The genus name comes from the Greek word, echinos, which means hedgehog or sea urchin because of the shape of the cone. The species name, paradoxa, is in reference to it being a paradox as to why its flowers are yellow instead of purple like the rest of the species in the genus. 

The cones remain erect after the flowers fade and the seeds are eaten by Goldfinches during the winter.


The leaves are very different from the Echinacea purpurea I brought home this spring.


Very interesting how a stem grows between the main stem and the leaf. Kind of like a sucker on a tomato.

I headed down the road and found…


A nice clump of Asclepias tuberosa known as the Butterfly Weed. I have a lot of Milkweed on the farm but NONE of these. There is a very small single clump across the back fence that I have been tempted to dig up, though. But when it is time to dig, I may not be able to find it. I could mark it with an electric fence post or something. Oh, yeah, it isn’t on our property. Oh well, maybe some will miraculously appear someday.


I had never been up close and personal with an Asclepias tuberosa before and this was my chance when no one was looking. Just look at this AWESOME flower!


Asclepias tuberosa does not have milk-sapped stems like most species of milkweeds. The flowers are a favorite food source of butterflies and bees and of course, the leaves are food for the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar.


The genus name comes from the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios. The species name is in reference to the plant’s deep taproot.

Then I ran across a plant I have seen along the highway in huge groups. I have often wanted to get out and photograph…


I didn’t know what this plant was until I got out of the car and saw its leaves. Instantly I knew it was a species of Baptisia. It is kind of hard to tell when you are driving down the highway about 60 mph. and have no safe place to pull over and investigate. When I returned home I did a search and found out it was definitely a Baptisia alba. The Wild White Indigo (or False White Indigo, False Indigo).


Tall flower spikes, easily between 12-18 inches long or more.


The flowers are pea-like, like other members of the Fabaceae family.


The leaves look similar to the Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ in my flower bed.


Not far from the first plant I saw was another small group. They had a more open growth habit and the flowers were not as close together on the stem.

I went down the road and headed back toward town. I got to my friend’s mother’s farm and decided I would get out and take a photo of her…


Opuntia compressa which is a species of Prickly Pear intermingled with some very healthy Poison Ivy.


The pads of this species are not near as thorny as the Prickly Pear I had in Mississippi. I think it was last year when I was talking to his mom when she was out working in the yard. The cactus had fruit at the time and I asked her if she had ever eaten any. She said no and went right over a picked one off and ate it. 🙂


She also has several Yucca filamentosa (Adam’s Needle) growing in her yard.


They were LOADED with flowers earlier now they are LOADED with seed pods.

Then I went down the road toward home but I had to take the opportunity…


To have a closer look at this Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla). I remember earlier when I first saw it I almost ran off the road. How could I have missed it before since I had driven by it so many times? This time there was a car in the driveway so I pulled in to see if I could take a photo. Low and behold, when the lady came to the door I recognized her. She was in my sister’s class in school. Anyway, she said the cactus was her brothers but said I could take a photo.


She came outside and we walked in her yard so I could get a good photo of the whole thing. She seemed a little embarrassed because the crabgrass was so tall and thick and started pulling it away from the cactus. I started helping a little and said I understood. It had been hot and then it rained… Not to mention chiggers and the grass was a little wet. You know how crabgrass is. She said she wasn’t bothered by chiggers as I could almost feel my hands starting to itch. 🙂 I hate chiggers and pulling crabgrass because of them.

As we walked back to the house, she said her brother “Bill” had a lot of plants and said that was his garden as she pointed toward it. She said he had more plants in the back. Many years ago, another friend of mine lived in her house for many years and had a tackle shop behind the house. He was a very well-known rod maker and famous for “The Crappie Stick”. Anyway, Bill now lives in his old shop.

We walked to the back of the house and Bill came out. We shook hands and I told him I hadn’t seen him in years. We started talking and he took me to his garden and showed me his Prickly Pear, cucumbers, and tomatoes.


He had a nice group of Tiger Lilies (Lilium lancifolium) which were the real deal!


My grandma had these in her yard but they eventually fizzled out. Big, bright orange, spotted flowers with recurved petals. The plants are very tall.


One characteristic of this species is the seeds that grow along the stem.

After visiting around the garden, we walked back over to his Tree Cholla. He said he had it for around 15 years and was given his start by another old friend around the corner who passed away several years ago.

So, Sunday was a good day. I never would have thought that Bill was a gardener. I took photos of the Echinacea paradoxa which is the only place I have ever seen them growing. I was able to photograph an Asclepias tuberosa and Baptisia alba without getting run over along the highway.

What discoveries have you made recently? That’s it for now. I hope you have a great week ahead. Stay well, positive, enjoy nature when you can, and GET DIRTY!

A Little Repotting

Adromischus cristatus at 1 1/2″ tall X 4″ wide on 10-17-17, #384-1.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you well. Some of the plants in the beds are growing like crazy and I really need to work on the south bed before it gets out of hand. It is just to hot during the day and that bed remains in full sun until late in the afternoon. It was OK, then it rained last week so the plants I need to remove really shot up. Then, of course, the grass needs cut again and the shrubs in front of the house need to be trimmed now.

I took a little time last week to do a little repotting and dividing when the grass was wet. The Key Lime Pie (Adromischus cristatus) did very well last summer then went mostly dormant during the winter. The above photo shows what it looked like on October 17 last year. Most of the leaves fell off over the winter and then it grew an offset.


Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on June 14, 2018, #459-4.

It started growing more of these roots along the stem and the offset was also growing. At least I think this is an offset of this plant. 🙂 So, while everything was wet from all the rain, I decided to take the opportunity to give this plant a makeover on June 28.


I removed the plant from the pot and separated the offset


Then I put the older plants deeper into the soil and put the offset in its own pot. Now, I will see for sure if the offset is from this plant or a sneaky Bryophyllum daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)(Syn. Kalanchoe daigremontiana) I don’t think it is a Kalanchoe (or whatever you call it now), because this offset appeared over the winter and the Kalanchoe was under the table and the Adromischus was on top. The “other plant” had no plantlets at the time either. It is so hard calling the Kalanchoe daigremontiana a Bryophyllum after all these years of it being a Kalanchoe.

The other strange thing is the new growth on top of one of the older plants… Hmmm…


Then on June 30, I separated the offsets from the Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant, etc.).The original plant looks a little weird after it took a growth spurt last fall and its stem grew crooked. There are roots growing under the leaves but it would be very difficult to restart it the plant like that. So, I just put the plant farther down into the soil. I put her babies in their own pots so they can all do their own thing.


The Oscularia deltoides (Deltoid-Leaved Dew Plant) was growing all silly and lop-sided so I put it in a different pot, too.

I am trying a new potting soil this year that has a lot of perlite so I just added chicken grit to the mix. So far it seems to be working OK. Cactus and succulent specialists recommend mixing 2 parts potting soil with 1 part grit and 1 part pumice. I can’t find pumice around here and haven’t bought any online.

That’s it for this post and on to the next one. Stay well, be positive, and give someone a big hug. As always… GET DIRTY!

Ahhh… New Cactus Flowers

Hello there! I hope this finds you all doing very well and enjoying the heat of the summer. Thursday afternoon I was surprised to find the Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) with flowers. I noticed it had a few buds on June 24 and I took these photos on June 28.


I really enjoy cactus and this one is one of my more recent finds from Wal-Mart on March 18 (2018). I put it in a larger pot shortly after I brought it home because the side of the one it was in was bulging.


I really like it when my cactus flowers, especially when they aren’t pink… Mammillaria decipiens have long white radial spines that grow sideways from the tubercles and brown central spines that stick out like stiff hair. Cactus that have protruding tubercles like this one are often called nipple cactus. OUCH!


The Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) is also at it again after MONTHS of buds. It started budding right after its last flush of flowers in October-November. It is so weird how long it takes for buds to open.


The “definitely pink” flowers are arranged in a circle around the top of the cactus. I guess they are its halo. 🙂


They start closing up in the late afternoon/early evening and kind of resemble tiny tulips.


The Mammillaria elongata (Lady Finger Cactus, Golden Stars) has remnants of a few flowers when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on March 18. Of course, there were “strawflowers” hot-glued to the top of a few of the spiny fingers. Now I see it has a fruit where the flower had been. I never had a cactus do that before. I always remove the strawflowers the best I can without damaging the plant. Supposedly the hot glue will eventually fall off. Removing the glue yourself is very tricky and you can damage the plant if you force it off. Been there, done that. Every so often I check to see if more will come off with a little gentle persuasion. Sometimes it is just stuck in the needles, but sometimes it is stuck on the fleshy part.

Personally, I think hot-gluing strawflowers on cactus and painting them different colors is inhumane to plants and is also a deceptive selling tactic.

I think this is one of the shortest posts I ever made. Well, the next one will also be short.

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



Holy Hosta

The original Hosta bed I made after returning back to the family farm in 2013. I brought these six Hosta with me from Mississippi. From left to right: Hosta ‘Red October’, Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’, Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’, Hosta ‘Francis Williams’, Hosta ‘Dream Queen’, and Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’. This photo was taken on June 8, 2013, #154-10.

OK, so maybe they aren’t exactly holy, but I do seem to spend a little time bowing around them and on my knees pulling out grass and weeds. Kind of like meditation… I don’t spend enough time doing either one. Prayer is easy, though. 🙂

Hello, everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying the great outdoors when you aren’t inside enjoying the AC. I now have 14 Hosta cultivars and have lost four over the years. They are very easy to grow if you follow a few basic rules and give them an environment they like. For more information, you can read HOSTA: Information and Sources I wrote especially for Hosta. Each Hosta cultivar below is linked to their own page to the right if you would like to read more about them.

Plants of the World Online lists 21 species of Hosta but I’m not sure how many of them were actually used to make the cultivars. There are several websites that give a lot of information, depending on what you are looking for. I like The Hosta Helper by Plants Galore. It says W.George Schmid found evidence of 43 different species and 16 different naturally occurring variations (varieties) in the wild. In 1988, Paul Aden wrote there were at least 600 registered cultivars. In 2010, hybridizer and author Mark Zillis wrote there were over 8,000 identified types of Hosta and over 5,000 registered cultivars with the American Hosta Society. The Hosta Helper has information on 9,425 species and named cultivars (registered and non-registered) with photos of 3,107.

I enjoyed living at the mansion in Mississippi, but many Hosta cultivars just don’t do well in the south and neither do Heuchera and other favorite Hosta companions. Along with the Hosta listed in the above photo, I had also bought a Hosta ‘Robert Frost’ and ‘Josephine’ while living in Mississippi which didn’t survive there.

When I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in 2013, I brought the remaining six Hosta with me. I dug a bed for them where I had a flower bed back in the early 1980’s when I first moved to the farm after my grandpa passed away. The mess behind the Hosta is on a concrete slab where grandpas old metal shed was. I guess dad tore it down many years ago after they moved to the farm in 1996. Well, I don’t know when he tore it down actually, but it isn’t there now.

I planted the Iris in this bed here in the early 1980’s and was surprised to see they were still coming up after 30 years. Back then this was a sunny bed with no trees now it is shade with three big trees. Not exactly an ideal spot for Iris but great for Hosta. My Hosta bed in the 1980’s was along the northeast corner of my grandparent’s house. Now that the house is gone, it is a sunny bed.



Original Hosta bed on June 3, 2015, #265-16.

Along with the Hosta, I also brought the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ I had bought from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in 2009 or 2010. I added the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ and Hosta ‘Guacamole’ (far left) in 2014.

Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ didn’t do well in 2014 and didn’t return in 2015. While ‘Dream Queen’ did very well in 2013 and 2014, it was very late to come up in 2015 and barely grew. It didn’t return in 2015.

You will also notice the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ in the above photo not doing so well. The Iris was also doing very well and spreading like crazy. They are a beautiful gold color but don’t flower well now because of all the shade.



The original Hosta bed on April 23, 2017, #321-2-10.

The 2016-2017 winter was very mild and we had an early spring. The above photo was taken on April 23, 2017 and the Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ (right) and Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ (center) were already beginning to look very good. The Hosta ‘Red October’ was still doing well although it is a medium-sized cultivar. You can barely see ‘Guacamole’ (far left) and ‘Krossa Regal’ isn’t even visible in this photo. As time went by, I knew Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ needed a change.


The new shade bed on May 7, 2017, #327-24.

The area on the east side of grandmas old goldfish pool had been driving me crazy for quite a while. I wanted a shade bed all the way around it like I had before but conditions had drastically changed since the early 1980’s. I had put a brick walkway around the pool and made flower beds between the bricks and the fences that used to be here. The bricks were still there but under several inches of soil and grass. The fences were gone and the tree roots were also a big problem. But, I went to work and removed the bricks and dug the area up in 2017 anyway and added four new Hosta and three new Heuchera. Hosta from left to right are Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, Hosta ‘Rainforest Surprise’, Hosta ‘Abuqua Drinking Gourd’, and Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’. The Heuchera are ‘Southern Comfort, ‘Venus‘ and ‘Obsidian‘. I also bought a Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’ which is on the left side of the tree. I had also bought a bag of Caladium ‘John Peed” bulbs and put them here and there in this bed. I also put the Calla I bought in this bed but it isn’t in this photo.


New corner shade bed on May 23, 2017, #332-5.

I bought the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ in 2017 which was my first gold-leaved cultivar and put it, along with the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’, in what I call the corner shade bed. I also moved the ailing Heuchera “Palace Purple’ from the original bed here along with an offset from Hosta ‘Red October’ (far right).


The new shade bed on September 10, 2017, #373-18.

About four months later everything was doing very well. I had also bought several other Caladiums and add them to this bed and another one in the corner bed.



Original Hosta bed on May 6, 2018, #436-54.

The winter was a weird one for sure and we had a very cold January. A few of the Hosta started sprouting the last part of February-early March but that was all they did for a long time. Cold temps hung on and it was a good thing they didn’t start to leaf out. I kept them covered with leaves the best I could but sometimes the wind would blow them off. FINALLY, spring did arrive and the Hosta started growing.

As you can tell from the above photo, the Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and ‘Red October’ next to it were not happy. I was busy with other things and didn’t have time to investigate right away.


Corner shade bed on May 6, 2018, #436-55.

In the above photo on May 6, the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ were flowering up a storm. They also suffered a loss during the winter but are doing handsomely well now.  The Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Krossa Regal’ made it through the winter with flying colors as did the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’. The Iris fulva (between the tree and fish pool) I brought from Mississippi had always done very well but have really struggled since this past winter. No flowers this year…


The new shade bed on May 6, 2018.

All the new Hosta came up in this bed except ‘Rainforest Sunrise’. It was a very nice Hosta but you just never know. The Heuchera were doing very well until something snacked on ‘Obsidian’ (front right). Then something started digging in front of ‘Southern Comfort (next to the tree) and somehow affected its growth. Whatever happened affected its crown and it went downhill fast. I decided to move it to the corner bed to see if it would recover.

I must apologize for the untidiness of the beds and the surroundings. The concrete slab behind the original bed and fish pool seem to be an easy place to put to put branches when they fall out of the trees. There are no fish in the old fish pool because there are cracks in the side. I also get behind weeding and trimming sometimes but I take photos anyway.


The original Hosta bed on June 21, 2018, #462-21.

On June 21st I finally dug under Hosta ‘Red October’ to see what was ailing it. To my surprise, there was a HUGE hole right under it. The roots under the plant weren’t even touching the soil and any water it was getting was going right down the hole. The whole area, even under Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and the Iris, was a series of holes that had been made by a mole. So, I dug the area really good and moved the Hosta‘ Red October and replaced it with the new Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’. I also divided Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and put half in the new shade bed.


Corner shade bed on June 21, 2018.

I put the new Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ in the corner bed behind ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Kross Regal’. Right now it looks weird and you might be thinking the smaller Hosta should be in front. Well, ‘Blue Angel’ is a giant type and someday it will be MUCH larger than the other two. Patience is supposed to be a virtue but sometimes I wonder. Something seems a little off though, I must admit. I bought Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ on June 7 and it has barely grown a lick…

I put the Heuchera ‘Southern Comfort’ to the right of ‘Palace Purple’. It is not recovering and growing new leaves now. I thought I was going to lose ‘Palace Purple’ a few years ago but it has certainly made a huge comeback in this area as well. You just never know…


The new shade bed on June 21, 2018, #462-22.

The new shade bed is shaping up but there are a lot of bare spots. The third Hosta from the right is the other half of Hosta ‘Guacamole. The second plant from the left on the back row is the new Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’. So, on the back row, from left to right, is Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, Hosta ‘Guacamole’, Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’, and Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’. The front row from left to right is one of the Hosta ‘Red October’ (in front of the tree), a smaller Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’, the NEW Hosta ‘Whirlwind’, Heuchera ‘Venus’, and Heuchera ‘Obsidian’. The Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ has really struggled since it was munched on the last of April.

The new Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ and the Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’ are on the other side of the tree on the left.


Shade beds from the northwest corner on June 21, 2018, #462-24.

This is a view of the shady area from the northwest corner. The Alocasia are on a concrete slab around the barrel that is covering the pipes from my grandparents old well. Man, that was some good water! The HUGE Alocasia to the left of the barrel is ‘Calidora’. The wind blew it over TWICE and the petioles grew crooked in only a few hours before I saw it on its side. It only took a few hours for them to get crooked and I thought they would straighten back up. Now I have a concrete block next to the pot so it won’t blow over. Bricks were usually enough before. The four pots along the goldfish pool are Alocasia gageana, the Dwarf Alocasia.


Shade beds from the northeast corner on June 21, 2018, #462-25.

This is a view of the shady area from the northeast corner. One of the other Hosta ‘Red October’ is next to the tree in the middle of the photo. It is doing so much better.

Trying to find a good spot for Hosta around trees can be a big pain because of the roots. Hosta don’t seem to mind tree roots, though, as long as they have soil and ample water.



Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ on June 21, 2018, #462-2.

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’

2014 Hosta of the Year

The Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ is one of the four Hosta I bought from Lowe’s in 2017. It has AWESOME blue-green leaves that are very thick, puckered, heavily veined, corrugated, and cupped. This cultivar grows to around 18″ tall with clumps as wide as 36 to 48″ after a few years.


Leaf of the Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ on June 21, 2018, #462-3.

The cupped leaves are very interesting. The underside of the leaves have a powdery appearance which gives a two-toned effect. The thickness and texture of the leaves make Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ slug and snail resistant.



Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ on June 21, 2018, #462-4.

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’

I brought this Hosta home from Mast’s Greenhouse while plant shopping with my sister and brother-in-law on June 7. This is one of the giant cultivars that can grow to 36″ tall and have clumps as wide as 72″ in time. Information online says it is one of the fastest growing of the blue Hosta and multiplies more rapidly. Well, it has been in the ground for a few weeks and hasn’t grown that fast yet. It is still only 4″ tall x 9 1/2″ wide. It just seems a little strange why it is so small if it is going to be a giant. If you compare it to, for example, Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ which is also new. Not only that, this ‘Blue Angel’ is already a small clump of plants, not just a single specimen. So, why is it still so small? Could it be mislabeled? There were several pots of ‘Blue Angel at Mast’s and they were all small like this. Then when we went to Muddy Creek Greenhouse up the road, they also had several ‘Blue Angel’ that were only a little larger. Only time will tell… Its almost like they were mislabeled.



Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on June 20, 2018, #461-10.

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is another cultivar I added in 2017. It is the first miniature Hosta I have tried so it will be interesting to watch. The clump measured only 5″ tall x 9″ wide when I took the above photo on June 20.


Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ flowers on June 20, 2018, #461-11.

Even the flower stems are very short, measuring only 6 1/2″ tall.


Leaves of the Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on June 21, 2018, #462-5.

The largest leaf measures only approximately 1 1/2″ wide x 2″ long. The leaves are very thick and smooth. Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is a multiple award winner.



Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ on 6-20-18, #461-12.

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’

I added this cultivar in 2014 and it is the first gold-leaved Hosta I have tried. Its leaves are so bright it brightens up the whole area. Even from a distance, you can see this Hosta glowing. The clump is now 10 1/2″ tall x 24″ wide.


Leaf of the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ on June 21, 2018, #462-6.

The leaves aren’t all that thick but they are heavily veined. The leaf edges are kind of rippled which is known as a “pie-crust” edge. The largest leaf is currently about 5″ wide x 7″ long.



Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on June 21, 2018, #462-7.

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’… I always wanted a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ since I heard about it a few years ago. I like HUGE plants and this Hosta is reportedly now the largest cultivar in the world. It can grow 48 to 60″ tall x 72 to 96″ wide when it reaches maturity after maybe five years. When I moved back here in 2013, my eye was on the corner next to the side porch for a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ but I didn’t want to pay the price online. Last year I bought a Leucocasia (formerly Colocasia) gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ and put it next to the porch. A few weeks later I found ‘Empress Wu’ at the garden center in Clinton but they were from Monrovia and still over $20.00. Then, to my complete surprise, I found a few at Muddy Creek Greenhouse while plant shopping with my sister an niece and they were half the price and not as large. I didn’t have the money at the time, but a few days later I did, so I high-tailed it to the greenhouse and bought one along with the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’.  Since I already had the Leucocasia gigantea where I would have put ‘Empress Wu’, I put it in the corner. Then this spring I moved ‘Empress Wu’ out of the corner where it could have more room. The ‘Thailand Giant’ bulb rotted near the end of the winter, so I bought a bulb and planted it several feet away from ‘Empress Wu’. It is good to have the largest Hosta in the World and what was the largest Colocasia cultivar. I guess we can’t say that ‘Thailand Giant’ is the largest Colocasia anymore since the name changed.


Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ leaf on June 3, 2018, #452-12.

Currently, the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ measures 18″ tall x 32″ wide and is MUCH bigger than it was by the end of last season. Its largest leaf is now  7 1/2″ wide x 11 1/2″ long but can grow as long as 18″.


Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ flowers on June 21, 2018, #462-8.

It started sending up a flower stem around the first of June and now the stem is 31″ tall.



Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ on 6-20-18, #461-13, #461-13.

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’

This is another Hosta I brought home from Lowe’s in 2017 for the new shade bed. It is a “non-registered” sport of Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’ but was granted a U.S. patent in 2011. Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ was created by Marco Fransen of the Netherlands. The plant measured 11 3/4″ tall x 18″ wide when the above photo was taken.


Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ leaf on June 21, 2018, #462-9.

It has very bright creamy white leaves with irregular green margins and the largest is currently 5 1/4″ wide by 9″ long. As you can see in the above photo a firefly is resting on a leaf. We have more fireflies than I have seen in MANY years so you are probably going to see them in several photos as time goes by.


Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ flowers on June 20, 2018, #461-14.

The buds on this Hosta are very tight and clustered together while others are more open. The flower stem is very stiff and is currently 20″ tall. I think this is a nice cultivar and worth watching for.



Hosta ‘Guacamole’ in the original Hosta bed on June 21, 2018, #462-10.

Hosta ‘Guacamole’

The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ has done very well every year since I added it in 2014. This spring it was slower than usual to come up and then very slow growing when it did. Then I found the mole holes under it and ‘Red October’. When I removed it from the bed to “fix” the mole holes, I decided to divide it and leave half the clump in the original bed and put the other half in the new bed. The clump in the original bed currently measures 11″ tall x 18″ wide.


Hosta ‘Guacamole’ in the new shade bed on June 21, 2018, #462-11.

The clump I put in the new bed measures 9″ tall x 19″ wide.


Hosta ‘Guacamole’ leaf on 6-21-18, #462-12.

The leaves of Hosta ‘Guacamole are a nice medium green with a narrow irregular darker green margin. The largest leaf is 5 1/4″ wide x 7″ long. The leaves change color somewhat during the summer.


Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ in the corner shade bed on June 21, 2018, #462-13.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’

I bought my first Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ from Bluestone Perennials in the early 1980’s and it was one of the first I bought in 2009 when I was in Mississippi. This cultivar is definitely one of the classics of all time with its nice blue-gray leaves and unique vase shape. It looks awesome when it is happy. Although Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ can grow to 36″ tall and form clumps as wide as 60″, it is a slow grower. So, if you purchase one, you may not want to plant it with the larger, faster-growing cultivars at first. I can’t very well measure the clump because it has been divided, but the largest plant measures 8 1/2″ tall x 13″ wide.

I moved it to the corner bed in 2017 because it wasn’t happy in the other bed. Strange as it may sound, I don’t think it liked the Iris. I divided the clump and wound up with five plants. Two of the three grew faster while one was much slower and the other two… Well, they barely grew at all so this spring I moved them to other locations. They STILL aren’t growing well like they have a problem. I don’t understand how that can happen when they came from the same clump and did very well before.


Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ leaf on June 21, 2018, #462-14.

The largest leaf measures 3 1/2″ wide x 6 1/2″ long.



Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ on June 14, 2018, #459-36.

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is another awesome cultivar I bought in 2009 when I was living at the mansion in Mississippi. While most of the other Hosta barely did OK there, this one did very well. It has continued doing very well here and has grown to 20 1/2″ tall and the clump currently measures 50″ wide. It usually flowers in June, but for some reason, it appears it is going to skip this year. Maybe it will be a late bloomer this year.


Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ leaf on June 14, 2018, #459-37.

Its AWESOME dark green leaves are fairly thick, heavily veined, ribbed, corrugated and puckered making it very slug and snail resistant. The leaves are oval to round tapering to a point. The largest leaf is currently 8 1/2″ wide x 12″ long.



Hosta ‘Red October’ on June 21, 2018.

Hosta ‘Red October’

My Hosta ‘Red October’ is another cultivar I bought in 2009 while living at the mansion in Mississippi. It is considered the best red-stemmed Hosta and gets its name from its red petioles. Although its name may suggest it flowers in October, it starts for me in September.

It had been growing in the original bed since 2013 but I moved it this spring. Well, I mentioned the story earlier in this post about the mole holes. I also moved it because Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ and Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans are so big that ‘Red October’ looked a little out of place because it is much smaller.


Hosta ‘Red October’ on June 24, 2017, #349-46.

It is having its issues right now but is a really nice looking Hosta when it is feeling well. The above photo of Hosta ‘Red October’ was taken last June.


Hosta ‘Red October’ leaf on June 21, 2018, #462-16.

The long, lance-shaped leaves have chalky-white undersides. Kind of makes you wonder if it has powdery mildew or something. The leaves are not slug and snail resistant.



Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ on June 20, 2018, #461-16.

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’

I bought this legendary Hosta from Mast’s Greenhouse this spring and was glad I found it. It is considered a giant type and will eventually grow to a height of 36″ and have a mound up to around 70″ wide. It currently measures 8″ tall x 14″ wide. It is starting to flower and currently the flower stem is 17″ tall. Well, it wasn’t that tall when I took the photo but several days have passed and it is growing quickly.

This multiple award winner was registered in 1980.


Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ leaf on June 21, 2018, #462-17.

Someday the leaves will grow much larger, but when this photo was taken the largest was 5 1/4″ wide x 7 1/2″ long.



Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ on June 14, 2018, #459-42.

Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’

OK, folks… This photo of Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ is pale in comparison to what it looks like in person. I have taken a lot of photos of this cultivar over the past few years and none are good enough to capture its awesomeness.  Right now, the clump measures 22″ x 41″, but in time it will average at least 28″ tall x 60″ or so wide. This is for sure a legendary giant blue Hosta that was first introduced in Germany by Georg Arends in 1905. There are at least 25 registered sports from this cultivar and it is one of the parents of at least 85 registered seedlings.


Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ leaf on June 14, 2018, #459-43.

Its AWESOME blue-green leaves are heavily veined and corrugated making it slug and snail resistant. Its largest leaf measures 10″ wide x 12″ long.



Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on June 21, 2018, #462-18.

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’

I bought this nice Hosta at Lowe’s on June 10. I didn’t know anything about it but I liked the color and its really nice, thick leaves. It is classed as a medium sized Hosta that typically matures at 18″ tall with clumps 40″ wide after a few years. It is currently 8″ tall x 15″ wide.


A leaf of the Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on June 21, 2018, #462-19.

The leaf colors change with age, light, and time of the summer.


An older leaf of the Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on June 21, 2018, #462-20.

The largest Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ leave is currently 3″ wide x 5 1/2″ long



Hosta ‘Dream Queen’ on June 29, 2014, #230-57.

Hosta ‘Dream Queen’

I bought Hosta ‘Dream Queen’ while living at the mansion in Mississippi in 2009. I brought it with me when I moved back to the farm and it very well until the spring of 2015. It was very slow coming up andf barely grew all summer and didn’t return in 2016.


Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ on June 1, 2013, #151-50.

Hosta ‘Francis Williams’

I also bought my Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ in 2009 while I was in Mississippi then bought it with me. It did very well in 2013, but not so good in 2014. It didn’t return in 2015. Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ is a multiple award winner that has remained popular for MANY years. It has a long list of registered sports and progeny.


Hosta ‘Queen Josephine’ on May 1, 2009, #12-39.

Hosta ‘Queen Josephine’

I bought this Hosta in 2009. I think I bought it from a seller on Ebay that had it listed as Hosta ‘Josephine’. It isn’t ‘Josephine’ but does look similar to ‘Queen Josephine’ so maybe the seller was misinformed when they acquired it. This plant fizzled out in 2012 and never made it to Missouri.


Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’ on July 9, 2017, #355-24.

Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’

I bought this Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’ from Lowe’s in 2017 for the new shade bed. It did perfectly fine all summer but did not return in 2018.


Hosta ‘Robert Frost’ on April 15, 2012, #86-42.

Hosta ‘Robert Frost’

I bought my Hosta ‘Robert Frost’ from Lowe’s in 2009 while living at the mansion in Mississippi. Although it is a multiple award winner, it never did very well. Most of the time I thought it was going to die. It kept hanging on and eventually gave it up in 2012.

I started writing this post on June 21 and just now finished it on the 28th. 🙂 Now I can work on a few more because there have been some interesting things happening. I had an unexpected visitor today stuck between the screen and glass of the sliding door. It wasn’t actually stuck, it crawled through a hole in the screen then couldn’t find its way back out… Care to guess what it was?

Well, I better stop for now. I hope you are doing well. Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive, and GET DIRTY!

Mid-June Plant & Bed Update

Acalypha pendula (Chenille Plant) on 6-14-18, #459-1.

Hello folks! I hope this finds everyone well. I don’t know about where you live, be it has been pretty hot here lately. It hasn’t been so bad the last couple of days and we were cooled down by a nice rain today.

I haven’t made a post since June 12, so I thought I better make one so you can see how the beds are doing and the plants are growing. Even though I haven’t made any posts I have taken well over 100 photos. I have been kind of busy outside and working on pages for the new plants. Then I get tired and wind up leaning back in my chair and falling asleep. It is amazing how well the office chair doubles as a recliner when I put my feet up on the desk.

Some of the plants have grown so fast the 89 photos I took last week are already out of date. BUT, don’t worry because I took 22 more today. I am going to leave out the Hosta and make a separate post for them.

Last year I put the Acalypha pendula (Chenille Plant) in the new shade bed. This year I decided to put in a larger pot that way I can bring it inside for the winter much easier. They are very easy to grow and make very good plants for hanging pots.


The Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ is blooming up a storm right now. It has five flower stems and the tallest is 20″. It will continue flowering all summer and even some in the winter.


Well, I was hoping for flowers but maybe these Amorphophallus are too young still. I am not sure how old or large the bulbs have to be before they produce flowers. There were two plants in the pot when I brought it home last year, now there are SIX! One of them is just beginning to peek through the soil and the tallest is now 16″. The part in the middle that looks like a stem is actually the petiole and what looks like multiple branches on top is all one leaf.

If you remember a few posts ago I had found three bulbs and pushed the “unknown” bulb in the center down into the pot. Well, oddly enough, when it came up, it looked like a Colocasia esculenta. GEEZ! Ok, when I brought the pot home last year, I just transferred the whole thing into a larger pot without disturbing the plants. There was this “strange” looking stem in the middle with no leaves or anything. So, as I mentioned in a few posts ago, this spring I pulled the “strange” stem up and there were no roots. I could tell there was a “bulb” on top of it, which I hadn’t taken a closer look at before. Umm… So, I pushed it down into the soil. Next thing I knew, it was coming up and it looked like a Colocasia esculenta. Two thoughts came into my mind, actually three. One was, “Who would put a Colocasia esculenta in a pot with Amorphophallus? The second was, “WOW, it sure fooled you!” The third was to put it in a pot by itself in case it wasn’t a Colocasia esculenta. No matter what it was, it had to come out of the pot! Well, time has passed and it STILL looks like a Colocasia esculenta.


The northeast corner bed underwent quite a change since the Conoclinum coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum, Floss Flower or whatever you want to call them) didn’t come up. They have been on both sides of the steps for MANY YEARS. Finally, I noticed a couple as I was digging out the old dirt and adding “the good stuff”. This bed has the Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’, three Agastache aurantiaca ‘Apricot Sprite’, Heliotrope ‘Marine’ (far right), Gomphrena globosa ‘Gnome White’ and ‘Purple’ (two of each), Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper), and the two Hardy Ageratum. The Cenchrus setaceus (Purple Fountain Grass) is behind the Agastache where it wasn’t intended to be. It was supposed to go where the Heliotrope wound up and the Crocosmia x Curtonus ’Lucifer’ was supposed to go where the Purple Fountain Grass is. I thought the Heliotrope wasn’t going to make it because a mole kept digging it up. This week the mole left it alone and it perked up…


I know this looks like a mess, but what can I say. It’s a work in progress I think. The Crocosmia x Curtonus ’Lucifer’ wound up in the corner behind Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. I moved the biggest clump of Achillea millefolium in front of the barn but didn’t move the other clump by the wall. I had to move the Hosta farther away from the corner because it will get MUCH bigger in time. The “Elephant Ear” in the right side of the photo is the Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant, which used to be Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ before the name changed. I put the new Astilbe x arendensii Fanal’ kind of in front of the Hosta and to the left a little. The three Agastache ‘Kudos Gold’ are next to the porch and doing AWESOME. I am going to put the Monarda didyma Super Buzz™ ’Cherry Pops’ (GEEZ) next to the steps instead of next to the back porch. I put the two largest Colocasia esculenta bulbs (tubers) farther up in this bed, too. The other Astilbe and Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) are also there.

I almost forgot to mention the Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ (Creeping Jenny) that is really enjoying itself.


The south bed from the left… A continual work in progress but almost there. I had a few big surprises in this bed. The Marigold ‘Brocade’ and Talinum paniculatum Jewels of Opar) didn’t come up very well from seed probably because of the winter. Actually, it was a good thing so I am definitely not going to complain. The Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ made up for them and as usual, there are MANY more than I can use. I have already transplanted all I need along the wall and there are hundreds left over. I hate to pull them up and throw them away, but if I transplant them somewhere else just think of how many there will be next spring. Maybe I can move some here and there on the farm along the fence rows. Umm… Then, next thing you know, the Missouri Conservation Department can add them to their list of wildflowers. 🙂 Wonder what would happen if I scatter some seed along the highway? I am not going to say they are invasive. The other surprise was all the Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’ that came up from seed. Luckily they came up in a group so I decided to just leave them where they were.

The Elephant Garlic always does very well in the south bed. I measured the flower clusters and they are 5″ across.


The south bed from the right side… The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ is soooo much happier after I moved the clump of Elephant Garlic from behind it. After all these years of not spreading, it is now 3 times the size it was before.

Plants in the south bed, from downspout to downspout, include in alphabetical order: Achillea ‘Moondust’, Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic), Buddleja ‘White Profusion’, Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon, Rudbeckia hirta, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’, Salvia farinacea Cathedral™ ‘Blue Bicolor’, Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’, Salvia pratensis Fashionista™ ‘Midnight Model’, Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ (‘May Night’), Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears), Tagetes patula (Marigold) ‘Brocade’, and Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar). I still have to transplant a few ‘Brocade’ Marigold and Jewels of Opar into this bed, but not near as many as I did last year. Even though they did not come up well here from self-sowing, they came up in the other beds.


The Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’ are doing really well and blooming like crazy. The above photo was taken on June 14 while the photo of the bed was taken on the 20th. So, you can see there are many more flowers now. Some of the flowers measure 4 1/2″ across.

Ignore the Canna. Pretend it is invisible…


Out of all the flowers in the ‘Denver Daisy’ colony, there are two plants that are producing doubles… The above photo was taken in the afternoon while the one before it was taken in the morning. That may be one reason why it looks like it is a different shade. The other reason is that it kind of is a little darker.


There are several different colors in the Cathedral™ Series of Salvia farinacea but I think these are ‘Blue Bicolor’. The tag with them just says ‘Cathedral™ Series’. I have to keep an eye on these three plants because I think they require a little more moisture. Unfortunately, these may not return next spring because we are not in their “zone”. Lowe’s shouldn’t sell perennials that are not perennial in their local store’s zone. They probably didn’t realize it or maybe they wouldn’t have. I grew Salvia farinacea ‘Blue Bedder’ from seed in Mississippi.


The Salvia pratensis Fashionista™ ‘Midnight Model’ are nice plants and


They have really neat flowers. Their top lip looks like a hook! I have to make sure I keep up with deadheading or these plants may stop flowering.


The above photo of the Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’ was taken on June 15. They are looking even better now and some of the flowers are 5″ across!


On the other side of the downspout is the southeast corner bed. The Jewels of Opar were not all that close to this bed last summer, but as you can see a few came up here this spring. I am going to move them and the Marigolds to the south bed this week. The Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ doesn’t need to be here either. This bed is mainly for the Angelonia angustifolia hybrid Angelface® ‘Perfectly Pink’. There are also a couple of the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) I brought home earlier in this bed. On the right is one of the clumps of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) that has done well here. The Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) in the corner is doing well after a cold winter that I thought did it in.


The flowers on the Angelonia ‘Perfectly Pink’ are really interesting!


The Cannas are looking good now and I am much happier since they are spread out the entire length of the garage. They grew to 12′ tall last year but they may not grow as tall this year since I dug them all up. I put several Colocasia esculenta along the front of them but they have barely started growing. That may have been a mistake, but we shall see in time. I think they will be OK as long as I give them plenty of water.

I have a few more photos, but it’s getting late and I am about to fall asleep in my chair again. SO….

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