Elephantopus carolinianus and Perilla frutescens Observed

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I was helping a friend move cattle from his mother’s farm a few days ago and stumbled across this interesting plant. I helped him move a 1964 Ford Pickup from a hill that had been in the trees for 15 years a couple of days earlier. That was interesting. I didn’t take the camera at the time but I wish I had because seeing the old pickup in the trees and what we went through to get off the hill and up the road to the house would have made an interesting post. His mother sold her farm so we had to get everything moved.

 

Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant) on 9-9-19.

Now, you have to visualize a shady hillside with a creek running along the side. The hillside is covered in trees with literally THOUSANDS of Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant). While I was waiting for my friend (Jay) and another helper (Jay Wagler, Ruth Wagler’s son from Wagler’s Greenhouse), to drive the cows up from somewhere, I waited on the hill. Of course, I had my camera that day so I took several photos of the Perilla frutescens.

 

Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant) flowers on 9-9-19.

I thought it was very interesting how the Perilla frutescens there were in full bloom when the plants behind my back pond were just budding.

After a while, the cows came so I had to forget about taking photos. I had to go up the hill from where I was then run down the hill as fast as I could, through all the Perilla, trees, vines, etc. toward the creek, then across the creek so the cows couldn’t go back to where they had come from. While I was running toward the creek, I almost tripped more than a few times. Anyway, as I was running I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going because I was looking at the plants. I spotted a plant I had never seen before but I didn’t have time to stop… By the time I made it to the creek, the cows were heading that direction. They crossed the creek and so did I.

Now, if you have ever driven cattle through a forest that have no idea why they are being herded in the first place, you will know they aren’t just casually walking. Some of them are calm and in no hurry while most of them have their ears up and are running full speed ahead. The calves were going in circles because they had no clue. Mama cows would run ahead then realize their kid wasn’t with them, so they would turn around. And, of course, there were always a few that just stand way behind the others that think they can get left behind. They try to sneak off while you are trying to get the runners to go where you want them and not where they want to go, which is back to where they were in the first place. The opening we needed them to go through was plain as day and right in front of them. What did they do? They stood there looking at the opening. The opening in the fence was to the pasture where the barn was… Ummm… Where the corral was. Now, if you are a cow that is used to a daily routine you would be wondering why you are being herded to the barn in the morning instead of being called to eat feed later in the afternoon. You would be thinking something is fishy. After a while, a few started toward me. Then the rest followed. As I waved at them they found another opening in the fence so they could circle around to the other opening to try and get away. Well, that didn’t work and finally, they went to the barn.

There is a little more to what happened next, but we did finally get them in the coral. All but a cow named Fuzzy who escaped.

Once the cows were in the trailer, I walked back to the creek. I had to go back up the hill to get the tractor I had left there but the tractor wasn’t on my mind. I had to find that weird plant!

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19.

I crossed the creek and started up the hill through all the vegetation. The hillside was nice and shady and I had to just stand for a minute to admire nature at its finest. There was so much life going on! The bugs were all busy feeding on flowers and each other, birds were flying around, butterflies flying from one flower to another. I found the plant I was looking for with no problem because there were a lot of them along the bottom of the hillside. It was sure a strange plant and I had never seen any quite like it. That evening I identified the plant as Elephantopus carolinianus (el-eh-fun-TOE-pus  kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-us). Common names include Elephant’s Foot, Carolina Elephant’s Foot, and Leafy Elephant’s Foot.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Reading the description of this plant on the Missouri Plants website can be pretty complicated.

Inflorescence – Capitate cluster (glomerule) of flower heads terminating stems. Peduncles to +10cm, antrorse appressed pubescent. Peduncles subtended by a single foliaceous bract. Flower clusters subtended by typically three foliaceous bracts to +/-4cm long. Bracts with antrorse appressed pubescence.

I think that means the stem ends in a cluster of flower heads that are compact or unusually compressed. Close to the top of the stem is a leaf with another 3 1/2-4″ of stem above it. Then there are 3 leaves (foliaceous bracts) which the flower clusters sit on. Bracts and peduncles have short hairs.

Involucre – Phyllaries loose, to -1cm long, 2mm broad, acute, green in upper 1/2, scarious below.

GEEZ! An involucre is a bract (phyllary) or set of bracts (phyllaries) that surround a flower or cluster of flowers. In this case, I believe there is something a little strange going on… Skip down to the photo after the next one…

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19.

The flowers are rather strange. Although this plant is a member of the Asteraceae (composite) family, the flowers are not “daisy-like”. They only have disc flowers.

“Disk flowers – Corolla lilac to whitish, irregularly 5-lobed. Corolla tube 5mm long, glabrous. Lobes to 5mm long, linear, glabrous. Stamens 5, adnate at base of corolla tube. Anthers connate around style, 2mm long, exserted. Style included. Achene (in flower) white, pubescent, 2mm long. Pappus of 5 bristles. Bristles to 5mm long, slightly flattened and expanded at base.”

Hmmm………………………………………. Something seems a bit odd.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Some of the plants have lavender-pink flowers. The above photo is somewhat easier to explain… The flower emerges from the phyllaries… WAIT A MINUTE! Take a closer look at that mass of petals… Something is weird! I think I need to jump the fence and have a closer look. How many flowers do you see? One? Count again… I see at least four.

So, using the above descriptions, each bract has a set of four loose phyllaries (actually 2 pairs of 2) in which 4-5 flowers emerge from. Have you ever seen a Fan Flower (Scaevola sp.) where the petals are on only on half the flower? I think that’s what is going on here…

It would have been better to have read the descriptions then searched for this plant so you will know what to look for. For sure you would have known what this plant is when you see it because there is none even similar.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Lower leaves are quite large and “spatula-like”. One website says these lower leaves are 5″ long, but just guessing, I would say they are closer to at least 8″.

Missouri Plants says: “Alternate, sessile, elliptic to oblanceolate or spatulate, acute to acuminate, shallow serrate to crenate-serrate, slightly scabrous and pubescent below, sparse pubescent and shiny dark green above, to -30cm long, -10cm broad, tapering to base.” That is about 11″ long by about 4″ wide and the leaves attach directly to the stem with no petiole (sessile).

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

The plant’s upper leaves are MUCH smaller and kind of oval in shape. Here you can see this leaf is what is meant when Missouri Plants says: “Peduncles subtended by a single foliaceous bract.” This leaf is where the “inflorescence” begins and is part of it as the “single foliaceous bract.” At least that is my opinion. Subtended means “under” so it makes sense.

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

Besides a camera, I also need to remember to take the magnifying glass, a small note pad and pen… A field guide would also be promising. I haven’t normally been one to bring plants home from other locations, but I am really tempted with this one. I saw this plant again while I was helping Jay at either his farm or in the back yard of his mothers (the one she sold). Apparently this plant is fairly common in that neck of the woods. I think I may need to check the creek behind here even though I don’t own that property. I normally only go there in the spring to hunt morels. No one will ever know… 🙂

 

Elephantopus carolinianus (Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-13.

I think I read somewhere that the bracts contain a single seed that doesn’t fall out. The whole bract falls off with the seed still inside.

Map from USDA Plant Database showing where Elephantopus carolinianus is native.

Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 23 species of Elephantopsis. Four are native to the United States including E. carolinianus, E. elatus, E. nudatus, and E. tomentosus. E. carolinianus most abundant from Kansas down to Texas and eastward to Pennsylvania and down to Florida and has been Introduced to Cuba. Most species are native to several countries in South America and several in a few countries in Africa. 

The cows were loaded into a trailer in the afternoon and taken to another pasture. As far as I know, Fuzzy is still at large.

I have been working on the post about the Persicaria species (Smartweeds) here and ran into a snag. Two species are very much alike and one is variable. One has longer leaves than the other and both have the same identifying features. I think many colonies could have both species which makes it complicated. I was measuring leaves in a very large colony and a few plants have 6″ long leaves while most are 3 1/2 to 4″. The rest of the species were fairly easy to identify. I am going to check out Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri on Monday at the library to see if they can help. The original was written by Julian Steyermark was published in 1963. In 1987, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri Department of Conservation decided to work together and revise and update the older book in a three-volume set. The first edition, written by Mr. Steyermark was published in 1999 and it is available at the local branch. Volume two was published in 2006 and volume 3 in 2013. Volume 2 and three were written by George Yatskievych. They are at another branch but can be delivered here or I can drive 18 miles to pick them up. Each volume has over 1,000 pages. The post is ready, but I need to make sure about the one (or two) species.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Be thankful and observant. Never know what you may will run across.

 

Delightful Dayflowers

Commelina erecta (Whitemouth Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. Now it is time to post about the Dayflowers. It has been interesting and there are three species of Dayflowers here on the farm. Two species are in a small shady and secluded area behind the chicken house. One of those is also in the back of the farm by the pond but their flowers were already wilted when I noticed that. Their flowers only last for one day but are mostly gone by late afternoon.

I took a few photos of Dayflowers last year but I didn’t really pay much attention to them at the time. When I was getting ready to write a page about them, I noticed something weird… I had all their photos labeled Commelina communis but when I did the research I realized none of the photos were that species… At that point, they hadn’t started flowering so I had to wait. After the hay was baled and I could mow the two lots I stored hay in behind the chicken house I noticed the Dayflowers had started blooming. I almost fell off the tractor. I took photos after I was finished mowing (since I happened to have the camera with me). That was on August 29.

I took photos for several days I concluded is Commelina erecta, commonly known as the Whitemouth Dayflower. I first thought it was surely Commelina communis because the bracts were open the entire length but there was something weird.

 

Commelina erecta on 8-29-19.

As you can see in the above photo, the bract, the odd-looking part the flower emerges from is entirely open from end to end (like a taco). That is one of the distinguishing features of Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower). But, there were a couple of problems with that diagnosis… For one, the color is lighter blue than the photos of Commelina communis online. The second problem is the staminodes of Commelina communis are supposed to have brownish-red dots. I looked at probably 100 flowers from August 29 through September 1. All their bracts were open and there were NO brownish-red dots.

Before I continue, figuring out what species of Commelina, or Dayflowers, you have growing is pretty easy. There are only four species found in Missouri. Two species have two blue upper petals and one lower white petal. One of those has brownish-red dots on their staminodes. One of those has fused bracts and one has open bracts. The one with the reddish-brown spots is supposed to have open bracts and the other has fused bracts.

Then, low and behold, Sunday afternoon a miracle happened… Well, maybe not a miracle, but you know what I mean…

 

Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

I had walked into the lot where the Dayflowers were, took a few photos, then on the way out I noticed these darker blue Dayflowers on the other side of the opening. I checked and HOLY MOLY there were spots on their staminodes!  As you can see, the flower in the above photo has darker blue upper petals and brownish-red spots on the staminodes…

BUT, there is a problem…

 

Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

All the flowers in this group have fused bracts when they are supposed to be open! I looked at all the flowers for a few days and they were always the same. I thought perhaps they would be closed earlier when the flower first emerges and open later when the flowers have almost run their course. But, the time didn’t matter.

 

Commelina communis on the left and Commelina erecta on the right on 9-1-19.

The above photo shows the darker blue Commelina communis with the spots on the staminodes on the left. Commelina erecta, on the right, has lighter blue upper petals and NO reddish-brown spots on the staminodes. All seems as it should… These are the only two species in Missouri with two upper blue petals and a very small lower white petal.

 

Commelina communis on the left and Commelina erecta on the right on 9-1-19.

But, the above photo clearly shows the Commelina communis with fused bracts and the Commelina erecta with open bracts. Hmmm… Just the opposite of what they are supposed to be. Every website I checked says the same thing.

So, tell me, what is the deal? Maye the fairies in this area didn’t get the memo… I need to check the plants by the pond in the back of the farm to see what they are doing…

But, there is also something else very interesting…

 

Commelina erecta (Whitemouth Dayflower) on 8-29-19.

Some of the Communis erecta have two flowers coming from the same bract. Typically, each bract produces more than one flower, sometimes three, but not usually on the same day.

 

Commelina erecta open bract on 8-29-19.

I opened one of the bracts of the Commelina erecta and you can see in the above photo this bract had produced two flowers in succession. It may have produced more, but I kind of ruined that possibility. The egg-like, umm… Are the fruit where the seeds are hiding.

I read the information on several websites for plant ID and for the heck of it. The Iowa Plants website has some very good photographs of the inside of the bracts (and many other good photos). I was going to include some of them in this post, but I don’t have permission. You can see them online when doing an image search as well.

 

Commelina communis (Asiatic Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

So, it is a little strange that the Commelina communis growing here have fused bracts when they are supposed to be open. But, nonetheless, they have to be Commelina communis because they have the brownish-red spots on their staminodes. No other species has that feature. And, I admit, it is a little odd the Commelina erecta have entirely wide open bracts when they are supposed to be closed. But, they have to be Commelina erecta because they have no spots and they are the only other Commelina species found in Missouri with two upper blue petals and a lower white petal.

One other interesting thing about the Commelina species is that they compete for pollinators… This is why you may rarely if ever find two species growing among each other. Although the photos I took of both species are in the same lot, they are not together. It makes me wonder if they have adapted over time and the Commelina erecta have found out open bracts are better for their survival and the Commelina communis decided the opposite is true for them. Who knows. But for whatever reason, they are doing something weird here.

 

NOW, for the third species…

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

This small colony of Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) is growing south of the big pond in the front pasture. They are in the low spot where the overflow runs out of the pond and the pasture drains.

 

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

I need to get more and better photos of this species. As you can see, this species has three blue petals. It is one of the two species found in Missouri with three blue petals. The other is Commelina virginica (Virginia Dayflower).

 

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

Commelina diffusa has smaller flowers than Commelina virginica. Hmmm… Isn’t it strange how you notice things in a photo you didn’t when taking the photo? What is the white thing below the lower petal?

 

Commelina diffusa (Spreading Dayflower) on 9-1-19.

Ahhh, there it is. Hmmm… I have no idea what it is. Another flower? Well, trying to find out blew another 30 minutes and I still have no clue.

 

Commelina diffusa on 9-1-19.

OH, I almost forgot! Another distinguishing feature is that the bracts of Commelina diffusa are open the entire length and Commelina virginica are basally fused. Hmmm… Like that helped with C. communis and C. erecta!

There is plenty of information about the Commelina species online. I will be including more information plus links for further reading when I get their own pages published. There will be many photos on their pages of their flowers, leaves (upper and lower, topside and underside), their stems, etc. I have found the Dayflowers to be very interesting and they seem so happy. They are also edible but I haven’t tried them.

Next, I will be posting about the Persicaria species (Smartweed) growing here. I have identified seven species and am still somewhat confused about the eighth. One species is highly variable but the key identifier says it all. One species here is VERY rare, but two key identifiers show they are alive and well here. Well, maybe not all that well since they are only in one small area (and very few plants) while most of the other species are quite abundant. Unlike the Dayflowers, the Smartweeds enjoy the company of their cousins.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and so on. Just do it, and do it well!

First L.g. ‘Thailand Giant’ and Ruellia simplex Flowers for 2019

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 9-3-19, #622-3.

Hello everyone! I took a photo of the first Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ flower on Tuesday but I hadn’t posted it yet. This morning, as I was starting to write the post, I thought I better check to see if it had a second one already.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ second flower on 9-6-19, #624-7.

Sure enough, it already has a second flower. I think the one I grew in 2017 produced twelve by the time it got ZAPPED in October.

As I was going up the steps to back inside, I noticed something else trying to hide…

 

Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) first flower on 9-6-19, #624-10.

The Ruellia simplex Mrs. Wagler gave me is FINALLY starting to flower. The Ruellia simplex I grew before were pink, so I am very glad these are blue.

 

Ruellia simplex buds on 6-9-19, #624-12.

More buds are a good sign of more flowers to come. Of course, I will keep you posted. 🙂

As usual, one photo led to another then another…

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 9-6-19, #624-3.

I still think these funky smaller leaves are weird. I am sure there is a proper name for these appendages but funky is good enough until I find out. NORMAL Colocasia esculenta do not do this so it is no telling what is in its bloodline. A little of this, a little of that… GEEZ! What kind of a monster will be lurking under the porch some morning? 🙂 For sure, this is not a “normal” Colocasia esculenta which is why the species name isn’t used…

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 9-6-19, #624-1.

I had to post another photo of the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ because she was waving her newest and largest leaf at me. I was joking around with her pretending I didn’t notice. Some Aroid experts have been trying to confuse each other by saying ‘Coffee Cups’ is a variety, form or whatever of Colocasia esculenta. It was originally found in the wild in Indonesia and looks nothing like any Colocasia esculenta. She is secretly whispering Colocasia fontanesii in my ear. 🙂

That’s it for now. I will be back very soon! Until then, you know the drill. Be safe, stay positive, and so on.

Colocasia Looking Good!

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ at 64″ tall on 8-30-19.

Hello everyone! I trust this post finds you all well as summer starts to wind down (here anyway). We have had much cooler temps the past few days but it is supposed to be 90° F on Tuesday.

I wanted to share a few photos of the Colocasia and Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. They seemed to be growing slow then they went bizurk! The Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ in the above photo is NOW 64″ tall.

The cat in the photo isn’t my cat… Well, I am not so sure about that now because she has made herself at home. Nathan brought her home one night from a convenience store parking lot. She didn’t look like she was a stray to me and had a flea collar on. I told him he should take her back then he told me “after a week” that she had been in the parking lot for several days. GEEZ! When I came here in 2013, mom and dad had 20 cats. I got all the females and males spayed and neutered and after six years there were only five left. Nathan came and brought two more. Then Kevin gave me the little black kitten (GEEZ!) and now there is this one. Yes, it is a female and Nathan’s male cat Simba has taken a liking to her… I went behind the chicken house this morning to have a look at the Dayflowers and “you know who” followed me…

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ flowers on 8-30-19.

As I mentioned before, Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is the first black-leaved Colocasia I have grown since 2013. I was thinking about a ‘Black Magic’ but found this one at a local greenhouse. It is a Walters Gardens introduction.

It had been raining before (and after) I took these photos so all the leaves are wet.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ leaf on 8-20-19.

The leaves are pretty neat for sure but not as “puckered” as advertised. I am not complaining at all because this is a nice plant.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ leaf underside on 8-30-19.

The undersides of “Elephant Ear’ leaves are pretty neat and this one is really NEAT!

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ at 39″ on 8-30-19.

I must say the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ has done very well over the past month and is now 39″ tall.

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ leaf holding water on 8-30-19.

It’s always neat how the leaves hold water then dump it out once it gets heavy enough. It would make a nice little video.

 

Colocasia esculenta on the north side of the house on 8-30-19.

The Colocasia esculenta on the north side of the house and doing really well despite the apex of the rhizomes rotted before I set them out. The tallest plant is 65″ tall…

 

Cannas and Colocasia esculenta along the garage on 8-30-19.

Hmmm… Ignore the grass and weeds. It was a surprise when the Colocasia came up in the Canna bed this spring and more surprising how well they have done this summer. Well, most of them. The big one in the middle of the photo is 60″ tall. I planted them along the Cannas last spring because I had plenty extra. Instead of digging their rhizomes for the winter, I mulched them along with the Cannas and they all came back up this spring. Well, Cannas aren’t supposed to overwinter in the ground here either…

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ at 55 1/2″ tall on 8-30-19.

The Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ finally got with the program and is now 55 1/2″ tall. Hopefully, it will flower like the one did in 2017.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ leaf at 36″ long x 32″ wide on 8-30-18.

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ grow MUCH bigger in the south and in tropical climates than here but I am very pleased. We still have until sometime in October for it to grow bigger.

I have still been taking wildflower photos and even found a few new ones this past week. It is weird how I am still finding new plants after I have been here since 2013. I found a nice small white flower a couple of days ago I couldn’t ID then found out they are normally blue. So, let me see… How many wildflowers have I found this year whose flowers have been an unusual color? I think three or four. Then, the weird Dayflowers that have all the features of a particular species except one… That will be the next post. 🙂 Why don’t they have reddish-brown spots like they are supposed to have? OH, and in 2017, the Dayflower photos I took all have three blue petals. Now, where are they? Then there is a colony in the back of the farm near the swamp that is totally different that has not started flowering yet. Need flowers for a positive ID. I am 99% sure they are a species of Commelina (Dayflower) because of the veins on the leaves. Hmmm… Maybe they will have three blue petals. 🙂 Then I can say, “Ahhhh! There you are!”

Probably the hardest wildflowers (weeds) to make a positive ID here are the Persicaria (Smartweed) species… There are at least four species here that only one thing distinguishes them from similar species. I have been using the magnifying glass to try and figure them out. It seems I am looking for the “thing” that is missing to prove they “are or aren’t” particular species. Then this afternoon, I found the missing “thing” on two colonies growing separate from the other three species (or four)… There could also be another species around the back pond. I saw before… Any way, I have been working on their ID for a couple of years. OH, then there are the three colonies, in another location, that are the same species with different color stems. One has red stems, one has green stems with red nodes, and the other is in-between. Not only in color but location. They are all only a few feet from each other. I will be posting about them once I get them figured out, or at least when I convince myself I have made positive ID’s. Hopefully within a few days. (Scratching my head).

OK, I will close for now…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive and be thankful! Get dirty if you can because a little dirt is good for you.

Doing Well Even Though…

A few Alocasia doing GREAT!

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. To say this summer has been ordinary would be quite misleading. I don’t have photos of well-maintained beds because there aren’t any here. I have managed to keep up with beds on the north side of the house and just so with the shade beds. The only deterrent with the shade beds has been the mosquitos because of grandmas old goldfish pool. It always has a little water in it which is a mosquito paradise so I have to work quickly and quietly.

The mole repeller has worked wonders in the shade bed and I have no complaints about it at all. The other one quit working a while back, but it did help for a while. I am supposed to write a review at some point, and the company was supposed to send their “upgraded” model to replace the one that stopped working. What I am wondering is how I write a new review on a model that has been replaced? Hmmm…

The Japanese Beetle traps have worked quite well with a few issues that I don’t think is any fault of the company. Most people don’t have as many beetles as there are here. They have slowed down now, but for a while, I was having to empty 2-3 traps about every day. I am not sure what kind of an impact the traps will have on next years population because even though I have eliminated many, there are still thousands that have probably managed to lay eggs. I even see Japanese Beetles when I am taking photos of wildflowers in the back of the farm and on Kevin’s farm. They eat flowers and leaves of quite a variety of plants.

 

Northeast front porch.

I took a lot of photos of the potted plants earlier but they didn’t make it on a post. I became involved with wildflower ID for a while which took a lot of time. The potted plants are all doing very well and are very easy to manage. The Alocasia are thriving as always and look great! The plants in the above photo were repotted last summer and are doing well on the front porch while the larger pots are next to the shade bed (in the first photo). I still haven’t figured out how offsets from Alocasia ‘Portora” and Mayan Mask’ come up in the same pot… One might think they are cross-pollinating when they flower but that is nearly impossible since they don’t flower at the same time if at all. Alocasia ‘Calidora’ flowers more but there have been no step-children showing up in their pots. Weird…

 

Billbergia nutans flower on 8-11-19.

The Queen’s Tears or Angel’s Tears (Billbergia nutans) has been flowering for a while and is always AWESOME. If you recall, I divided the HUGE POT last year and gave away many. I still have three pots to give away.

 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ on 8-11-19.

Although the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ seemed to have gotten off a little slow, it is doing very well now. I really like the smaller dark cup-shaped leaves and dark stems. They have a little water in their leaves from somewhere most of the time. You would be surprised at how many insects I have seen drinking water from the leaves. If you haven’t tried Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’, I suggest you do.

 

Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ on 8-11-19.

I must say Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ has been pretty impressive. I planted one of these in a planter at a friends home and it was growing better than this one. I thought maybe it was because the planter was full of Miracle Grow Potting soil so I found the bag of fertilizer Mrs. Wagler had given me last year and mixed a little in the soil in this bed. Normally, I do not use commercial fertilizer but I decided to give it a shot. Well, you can see the results. It is now bigger than the one in the planter. 🙂 The leaves have become a little more “puckered” but not near as much as photos of this plant online. The leaves are also supposed to be much darker when grown in the sun, and this plant gets plenty of that. Whether or not this plant is even a Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’ is somewhat debatable. I have grown Colocasia ‘Black Magic’ in the past and their leaves have always been much darker even in the shade. I am not complaining because this is a really nice plant no matter what it really is.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ has been AWESOME as always.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is now flowering and doing very well. The Hosta in this bed are mainly under a large maple tree and are still doing very well. Except for Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ which has been struggling all summer. I really miss its awesomeness and it may not survive this winter.

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ on 8-11-19.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ is doing OK and has several buds. The plants in the corner shade bed are all doing OK because they still have good shade. The ones on the other side are a different because they are usually shaded by the elms whos leaves have been pretty much dissected by the Japanese Beetles.

 

Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 8-11-19.

Hmmm… While I am sure this is a Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ this year, it seems it should be much bigger. I am not sure how tall this one is, but the previous one was 54″ tall on 8-29-17. If you remember, the one I bought last spring turned out to be a Xsanthosoma robustum… The Leococasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ I had in 2017 grew HUGE but it was closer to the porch where the soil is better. Maybe a little of Mrs. Wagler’s fertilizer is on order. I was reserving the space closer to the porch for the Xanthosoma sagittifolium a friend was supposed to send me but it never arrived. The X. robustum from last year rotted. I had plans for this bed but…

 

Colocasia esculenta on 8-11-19.

The Colocasia esculenta are doing great as always even though not as large as usual. The top part of the rhizomes rotted before I set them out, which never happened before. As a result, I have many offsets with no main plant.

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) on 8-11-19.

The Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) is strutting its stuff now but the wind and rain knocked some of the plants over. It is flowering really well now, but something is a little weird…

 

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) flowers on 8-11-19.

Ummm… Its flowers are PINK! Normally, they look white with just a hint of pink. Some photos make them look pinker that you can see with your eye, which is a little strange. I remember taking photos before that turned out pink and I thought, “Why do they look pink? They aren’t pink!” Well, folks, this time around they are definitely pink!

Supposedly, the Obedient Plant gets its name from the flower stems staying where you put them if you bend them a little. I tried that and it didn’t work. I began to question whether or not this was actually an Obedient Plant but research proved they are definitely Physostegia virginiana. However, mine are disobedient.

 

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 8-11-19.

Well, the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm‘ are flowering up a storm now. It was strange how they didn’t spread that much until I moved a few to the northeast corner of the old foundation. Now they have gone banananananas.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but PREVIOUSLY Rudbeckia fulgida and Rudbeckia sullivantii were two separate species. PREVIOUSLY this cultivar was simply Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’.

 

Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) on 8-11-19.

The Mexican Petunia (Ruellia simplex) is doing really well here in the north bed by the steps. There are 2-3 more stems but they seem to be laying down on the job. I need to put a little more dirt around them so they will stand up and because their roots are showing. The one in the photo has a few buds and it will have blue flowers. The plants I had in Mississippi (and brought with me in 2013) had pink flowers, so I was glad Mrs. Wagler and the blue “variety” in her flower bed. HOPEFULLY, they will survive the winter. IF they produce offsets I am going to dig them up and overwinter them inside. They actually do well inside if they are small enough. It may be possible to grow these in pots and bring them inside although I haven’t tried it.

 

Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ on 8-11-19.

The Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ have really been impressive. This is the first year I have had this cultivar and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

 

Zantedeschia aethiopica on 8-11-19.

There is always a lot going on here and sometimes I get caught up with this and that that I may neglect to notice something interesting. In June, the owner of Wildwood Greenhouse gave me this pot of Calla he had grown from seed. He had several pots and he couldn’t get them to grow or do much of anything. I brought this pot home, put it in fresh potting soil and it did nothing except not die. Every time I looked at it, it was the same. Then, when I was taking photos on the 11th, I noticed it had perked up! You just never know!

 

Before I close, I want to introduce to, ummm… OK, let me start from the beginning… This kitten showed up at Kevin’s, a friend I have been working for. You know, the guy I have been spraying and digging thistles on his farm, the farm I have taken a lot of wildflower photos on, the guy I have been taking care of his landscaping for him. Yeah, that guy. Anyway, this kitten showed up, obviously from being dumped. He saw it several times and one evening he saw it trying to catch bugs under a porch light so it could have something to eat. Kevin said he could tell it was doing its best to survive so he bought it some kitten food. Eventually, it began coming up to him so he put it in a bathroom so he could tame it down. Then, he attempted to get me to bring it home because his sister didn’t like cats and wouldn’t approve when she came for a visit. So, when she was going to come I told him I would take the cat home and see how it went. On the way home I stopped by the store and bought a litter box and cat litter. GEEZ!!! As soon as we got home, I filled the litter box, put the cat litter in it, then put the cat in the litter box. Even though she probably never saw a litter box, she automatically knew what it was for and she has never failed to use it.

For several days she hid behind my boots in the bathroom. I would reach down and pet her, but she wouldn’t come out when I was around. I told her if she came out I would allow her to come into the bedroom. I couldn’t let her in the rest of the house because Nathans two cats are here now. The next day, she came out and didn’t go hide like she understood what I had said. So, I opened the bathroom door and she came into the bedroom. BUT, she hid under the bed. The next day I told her she couldn’t be hiding under the bed because it was too hard to get her out. Apparently, she understood that, too, because she didn’t do it again.

She has been here several weeks now and last week I let her in the rest of the house. Jade, Nathans female cat, didn’t approve at first and would run from her. Simba, his male cat, has been staying outside. When he first saw her, she was in the hallway and he was in the kitchen watching her. He started talking to her and the kitten came into the kitchen. Simba just watched her and the kitten eventually came up to him. They smelled noses and neither one of them hissed or growled. The problem is, Simba is quite interested in her and would really like to play but he is very big… Once the kitten gets bigger, that may be OK… One of them is going to have to go to the vet, though. 🙂

It has been a long time since I had a kitten to bring up and she is a certainly a fur ball of energy. Everything that moves becomes her toy. When she isn’t playing or sleeping, she wants my attention. Trying to get on the desk where I am working is very annoying. Teaching her not to get on the table or swing on the curtains has been a challenge. Now, she knows better but still does it when I’m not looking. She likes watching me when I wash my hands and shave and darn near gets in the sink. Last week she came in when I was using the restroom and jumped in the toilet… Not kidding! How she thought the lid would have been shut when I am using the toilet is beyond me. She often jumps on the seat when I am at the sink, but never when I am in front of the toilet. I think we both learned a valuable lesson that time, and from now on I make sure I close the door behind me. Of course, when I leave my computer I have to make sure my keyboard is unavailable. Even though the knows I don’t want her on my desk when I leave the room the first place she goes is on the desk. One day she sent messages on Skype. Of course, it wasn’t actual words, but it was evidence that she had been there. Yesterday, I opened the refrigerator and she had to have a peek inside. I left the door open because I was taking items out. I told her NO several times, and she would always back out. She knows what that means but she is somewhat confused about it. Next thing I know, she is IN the refrigerator. She looks at me and meows like she is saying, “See, it is safe.” HMMM… NO to her means to try when no one is looking.

My computer desk is next to my bed where she likes to lay down after she gets worn out from playing. Next thing I know, I can see her out of the corner attempting to get on the desk. I will say “NO” and she backs up. After about the tenth try, she gets on the floor and starts rubbing on my legs. I put her back on the bed and tell her to lay down. After the third try at that, she then jumps on my lap. So, then we go through that ordeal a few times. GEEZ!!!

I am not sure how much stuff she has brought into my bedroom, or even where it all came from. When all is quiet and she isn’t in the bedroom playing with something, sleeping on the bed, or trying to get my attention, I have to wonder what she is doing. Then I go check and she follows me back into the bedroom to repeat the cycle all over again! 🙂

Hmmm… Wonder what she is doing now?

Well, that’s it for this post. It is sprinkling now and that is good and relaxing. Maybe I should go to bed. It is 1:42 AM…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful always and give some a big HUG!

My First Luna Moth Sighting

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. A few weeks ago my son showed me a photo of a Luna Moth that he, and many others, spotted at a convenience store one night. It was on a brick wall and was almost as wide as the brick. Over the years several people have told me about seeing them at night, usually being attracted to porch lights, street lights, and yard lights. I had never seen one in person until a few nights ago.

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

I had got up at about 3:30 AM and walked into the living room. The yard light shines through the house at night and I could see from the shadow that something fairly large was flying around the light. I looked out the back door and saw it was a Luna Moth. It flew around the light, banging itself on the light and the pole then landed on the grass. I grabbed the camera and went outside to see if I could find it. I thought something that big surely wouldn’t be that hard to find.

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

It wasn’t too happy about being picked up at first and got away twice. The third time I picked it up, I assured it I meant it no harm and it completely calmed down. After that, it seemed perfectly happy to be resting on my hand.

They are quite easily identified. It is large, light green, normally with four “eyes” on their wings, have a pinkish-purple bumper along the front of their wings, have feathery antennae, and normally have a long tail…

The Wikipedia says, “There are some sex-determined and regional differences in appearance. Females will have a larger abdomen compared to males because it contains 200–400 eggs. Both sexes have antennae, but on the male, much longer and wider. Wing color is blue-green in the north and for the over-wintering generation in the central and southern states; second and third generation wing color has more of a yellow-green tint.”

“Based on the climate in which they live, Luna moths produce different numbers of generations per year. In Canada and northern regions of the United States, they are univoltine, meaning one generation per year. Life stages are approximately two weeks as eggs, 6–7 weeks as larvae, nine months as pupae, finishing with one week as winged adults appearing in late May or early June. In the mid-Atlantic states the species is bivoltine, and farther south trivoltine, meaning respectively two and three generations per year. In the central states, the first generation appears in April, second in July. Even farther south, the first generation appears as early as March, with second and third spaced eight to ten weeks later.”

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

This Luna Moth looks a bit ragged and even its long “tail” is missing. The average Luna Moth wingspan is 4 1/2″ wide, but can be up to 7″. The long tails of their hindwings are thought to confuse the echolocation detection used by predatory bats.

 

Actias luna (Luna Moth).

InsectIdentification.org says the Luna Moth is only found in North America and their population is on the decline. They are very sensitive to light pollution (such as yard and street lights that are constantly on), pesticides and parasitic flies (a parasitic fly that was introduced to the U.S. to control the Gypsy Moth…).

It was interesting to read the Luna Moth is being bred in captivity and is used in classrooms to teach about the lifecycle of butterflies and their role in the environment.

Many years ago I was told the Tomato Hornworm was the caterpillar for the Luna Moth but that is untrue. The Tomato Hornworm is the caterpillar for the Five-Spotted Hawkmoth. Luna Moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of certain trees. Strangely, the adults do not feed.

You can read more about the Luna Moth on Butterflies and Moths of North America.

I am thankful I finally got to see a Luna Moth in person for the first time and hope to see more.

Thanks for reading this post. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, and always be thankful!

The Quest For Truth Part 2: Wildflower ID-The Swamp Revisited

Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) flowers on 7-28-19.

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Sunday and Monday I revisited the swamp in the back southeast corner of of the farm then walked the south side. It was very enjoyable and I found a few new wildflowers. I have been here since 2013 taking photos of wildflowers throughout the growing season and it seems there is always something new. The butterflies, bees, grasshoppers, and other insects were very busy. I returned twice on Monday because I found a few new plants and had to go back to take more photos for more positive ID.

The Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) in the above photo is doing well and its flowers are now opening. NICE! A better description is in the previous post.

I do not go into the swampy area that often because it is completely overgrown and getting worse every year.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) on 7-29-19.

While poking around near the swamp at the edge of where the grass had been mowed for hay, I noticed several wildflowers I hadn’t seen before. One group was this Hypericum punctatum which is commonly known as Spotted St. John’s Wort.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) on 7-29-19.

I took many photos of these plants flowers, leaves, and stems so I could get an ID. Umm… Missouriplants.com give detailed descriptions for NINE species of Hypericum to choose from. Sooooo… I had to go back later, at 7 PM, for further observation which led to another discovery.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) on 7-29-19.

Its flowers were closed up for the night. Hmmm… Anyway, there are several differences between the species one being their flowers. Hypericum punctatum have spots and streaks on the surface of their petals. Other species just have dots near their petals margins, but most do not have any. So, I had returned to look at these plants petals with a magnifying glass. Even though the flowers were closed, I can safely say this species is Hypericum punctatum, the Spotted St. John’s Wort.

 

Hypericum punctatum (Spotted St. John’s Wort) buds on 7-29-19.

Hypericum punctatum was named and described by Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck in Encyclopedie Methodique in 1797. I would hate to have that many names. Plants of the World Online lists 504 accepted species of Hypericum so I am fortunate to only have nine species to choose from.

Bees are attracted to their flowers because of the pollen but their flowers do not produce nectar. Mammals seldom eat these plants foliage because the leaves contain hypericin which can blister the skin and irritate the digestive tract.

 

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

In the mix and nearly covered by other weeds was this wildflower I finally identified as Lobelia inflata. I made the positive ID after the second trip and looking into its throat with a magnifying glass. OK, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. Its main common name is Indian Tobacco, but other names include Asthma Weed, Bladderpod, Gagroot, and Pukeweed.

 

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

Lobelia is not the only genus that has species with two upper and three lower lips but their flowers are MUCH larger. The petals and throat of the Lobelia inflata are white, usually, with no dots or streaks.

 

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco, Etc.) flowers on 7-29-19.

Although these plants flowers are very small, it packs an interesting medicinal history. The Wikipedia says it was used by several Native American tribes to treat muscle and respiratory disorders, as a purgative, and as a ceremonial medicine. The leaves were burned by the Cherokee to smoke out gnats. It is still used in medicine today but it can have adverse side effects such as sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, rapid heartbeat, mental confusion, convulsions, hypothermia, coma, and possibly death. Possibly? The plant contains 52 different alkaloid compounds, most importantly lobeline.

 

Phyla lanceolata (Lanceleaf Fogfruit) on 7-29-19.

I first noticed this interesting wildflower on Sunday but all the photos of the flowers were blurry. I found several more of these plants growing under and among the weeds on Monday and took more photos. The magnifying glass works wonders once you get the hang of using it with the camera. I finally found out this wildflower is the Phyla lanceolata, commonly known as Lanceleaf Fogfruit and Lanceleaf Frogfruit. Hmmm… This plant was first named Lippia lanceolata by André Michaux in 1803 but was changed to Phyla lanceolata by Edward Lee Greene in 1899. Missouriplants.com uses the first name even though it was changed 120 years ago! Maybe they didn’t get the memo… There isn’t much online about this plant besides technical ID stuff which I will be adding to its own plant page once I have it finished.

I was hoping to find a connection with fog or frogs…

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All, etc.) on 7-28-19.

While visiting the back of the farm on Sunday, I noticed this neat plant called Prunella vulgaris. It has many common names including Heal-All, Common Self-Heal, Woundwort, Heart-Of-The-Earth, Carpenter’s Herb, Brownwort, and Blue Curls. I revisited this plant on Monday to take more photos because many of what I took before were blurry but not because the flowers are very small. Some plants just seem somewhat difficult to photo especially in full sun.

Prunella vulgaris is native in almost all of the Northern Hemisphere and introduced in much of South America. Plants of the World Online lists eight species in the genus and only two that are native to the United States and Missouri. Missouriplants.com and Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers only describe one. Most species in the genus are only found in small areas. Although listed as a US native, it was apparently brought here by settlers from Europe.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All) on 7-29-19.

The description of the inflorescence on Missouriplants.com says:

Inflorescence – Terminal dense 4-angled spike of verticillasters to +/-7cm tall(long), 1.5-2cm thick. Verticillasters each with 6 flowers(3 flowers per cymule). Cymules subtended by broad ciliate-margined bracts. Bracts decussate, abruptly acuminate, 1.6cm broad. Flowers sessile.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

I haven’t experienced this plant that long, but I think the dark areas are buds. While most plants flower from the bottom up, this one seems to have no particular order. About the flowers, Missouriplants.com says:

Flowers – Corolla bilabiate whitish-purple. Corolla tube to 8mm long, glabrous. Upper lip galeate, purple, 6-7mm long, 5mm broad, with a few villous hairs externally on midvein. Lower lip 3-lobed. Lateral lobes 2-3mm long, 1.5mm broad. Central lobe 4mm long, deflexed, fimbriate-erose at apex, light purple. Stamens 4, didynamous, included under the galea, upper pair adnate near base of galea, lower pair adnate near base of corolla tube. Filaments purple, glabrous, the longest to 1.2cm. Anthers purplish-brown. Style inserted between upper pair of stamens, glabrous, lilac, 1.6cm long. Stigma 2-lobed. Ovary 4-parted. Calyx bilabiate, accrescent, 10-nerved. Tube to 5mm long in flower. Upper lip with three mucronate lobes, reddish-purple at apex.  Lower lip 2-lobed. Lobes acuminate, 3mm long in flower, reddish-purple. Calyx villous on margins and on nerves. Nutlets to 2mm long, brownish-yellow, glabrous.

Hmmm… That was an interesting copy and paste.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Heal-All, Etc.) on 7-29-19.

I originally saw this plant on Sunday and thought it was only growing in the area by the swamp. After my first visit to the area Monday afternoon I walked the fence along the back pasture and saw it growing in MANY areas. Although it isn’t favored by cows, they will eat it along with the grass which is probably I hadn’t noticed it before. This plant is definitely not new to the area or it wouldn’t be so widespread.

The Wikipedia says this plant is edible and can be used in salads, soups, stews, and as a pot herb. It can also be used as a tea. The plant is considered by the Chinese to ‘change the course of a chronic disease”. The plant contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as flavonoids, rutin, and many other chemical constituents. The VeryWell website has a good article about the benefits of this plant.

This plant was a neat find and almost overlooked because it was growing among taller plants. You just never know unless you have a closer look…

My thanks to Missouriplants.com, the Missouri State University website Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers, Wildflowersearch.org and their many links that helped to make a positive ID. My thanks to Plants of the World Online by Kew for plant name research and to Dave’s Garden for pronunciation. I am also thankful to the many contributors of the Wikipedia pages who work hard to give so much information about plants. I am thankful for having an interest in plants and being part of the abundance and beauty of nature and being able to experience it first hand. I give thanks to God (Mother Father God, the Universe, etc., whichever you prefer) for its creation. OK, I will stop now even though I have more…

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed finding the plants, taking their photos, and doing the research. In time they will have their own pages.

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

 

Pink Queen’s Ann’s Lace, Swamp Agrimony, & Tall Thistle

Hello everyone! I hope this finds you well and that you are having a great week ahead. Last week the hay was cut and baled here on the farm so now I can resume taking wildflower photos here.

I found something very unusual on Thursday while working at Kevin’s farm north of town…

 

Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) on 7-25-19.

There are A LOT of Daucus carota or Queen Anne’s Lace growing everywhere now, but there is something definitely strange about this particular plant…

 

Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) on 7-25-19.

It has pink flowers! Just like with the Achillea millefolium a while back with pink flowers, one plant out of hundreds with pink flowers! I think that is so neat and I feel very blessed to witness plants in nature doing something different than most in their species.

I took a few other photos of plants I am watching for positive ID… I think I am confusing myself by taking photos of plants I can’t ID because all I have is leaves.

I have been trying to get a photo of a certain plant here on the farm since 2013. I always see the leaves in the swampy area but never any flowers. This year, I FINALLY did it!

 

Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) on 7-25-19.

I went to the back of the farm to remove the electric fence in the middle of the back pasture so it would be easier to cut the hay. LOW AND BEHOLD there was one of these plants right next to the electric fence about 12-14′ away from the HUGE OLD Multiflora Rose. It was very tall and getting ready to flower. I removed the fence and put the five electric fence posts around this plant. I put the yellow insulators on top of the posts to sort of act as flags. I told BJ about the plant and where it was and I had put the posts around it so he couldn’t miss it. I told him I wanted a photo of it so not to mow over it. I didn’t have the camera with me at the time or I would have taken photos right then. The next day I went back with the camera to take photos. Well, my thoughts about him not being able to miss it were true… He didn’t miss it! He ran smack over the plant and the five steel posts! Always in the past, there were several of these plants growing down by the swamp so I went to have a look. Sure enough, they were also getting ready to flower so I got my photos after all and made a positive ID. I didn’t complain to BJ about mowing the HUGE specimen because it was already done. He was there to mow and bale the hay and undoubtedly was looking forward and behind and didn’t even think about the plant. I am sure he remembered when he hit the posts, though.

 

Lower leaves of the Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) on 7-25-19.

There are a few species of Agrimonia in Missouri, but the leaves easily distinguish Agrimonia parviflora from the others. The common name is Swamp Agrimony, Small-Flowered Agrimony, Harvestlice Agrimony, and Harvestlice. Plants of the World Online lists 21 accepted species in the genus but the Wikipedia says about 15. There are seven or so species in the US with three being described on the Missouriplants.com website. This species is found in 32 states in the United States. Out of all the species, Agrimonia parviflora is considered to be the most noxious.

 

Agrimonia parviflora (Swamp Agrimony) on 7-25-19.

Although bees and other insects feed on the nectar of the flowers, most mammals avoid this plant due to its bitter taste. Certain birds use Agrimony in their nests to keep away parasites such as lice and mites because of its foul aroma and taste. Flowers give way to bur-like seed capsules that cling to the fur of animals.

Even though considered a noxious plant, its burs were used by Native Americans for diarrhea and to reduce fever. The roots can be pulverized and have been used to increase red blood cell count, a gastrointestinal aid, a topical treatment for skin issues, and as a dietary aid. 

Probably the most interesting thing about the Agrimonia parviflora is that it is a member of the Rosaceae Family along with Roses…

Now then… After I took photos of the Agrimony, I walked to the corner to the tree line that borders the south hayfield. It’s a little hard to explain, but trust me, I know where I am going. 🙂 Here again, are plants I had not seen flower because they didn’t have the opportunity before.

 

Arilus cristatus (Wheel Bug) on the Cirsium altissimum.

Hmmm… I better move to the next plant. This one has a hungry stalker and I wouldn’t want this Wheel Bug to invite me to dinner or think I was interested in his.

 

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

In the corner of this area were three of these plants and there are a few more farther north. I was unsure what these plants were so I took lots of photos to help ID. Doing research on several websites, I thought at first they could be a Sonchus species usually referred to as Sow Thistles. There are three Sonchus species mentioned by Missouriplants.com, Wildflowerresearch.org, and Midwest Weeds and Plants but the lower leaves and top of the plant do not match. It is definitely not Sonchus asper because this plant is friendly and S. asper is definitely not. Ummm… I also found one of those in another area. The tallest plant in the corner appears to be well over 8′ tall. Maybe I should take a tape measure and check for sure. It would also be a good idea to measure the leaves. That might sound a little overboard but you will see why in a minute.

 

Lower leaves of the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

These plants could be Sonchus oleraceus, the Common Sowthistle but the lower leaves absolutely do not match. Sonchus oleraceus is not a spiny plant either. After looking at many photos on several websites, I came to the conclusion these plants are Cirsium altissimum, comonly known as the Tall Thistle.

 

Central leaves of the Cirsium altissimim (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

The leaves change shape and become very long, broad, and lance-shaped with toothed margins. Again, they are not spiny. Very similar to Sonchus oleraceus.

 

Bud of the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

The buds are globe-shaped. A small spider had made a home on this bud.

 

Top view of a bud on the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

You have to admit this is a neat bud… All the photos of buds I have looked at are farther along than these. So, Sonchus bud search was unfruitful. After determining it was probably a Cirsium species, I saw buds that were similar which helped to ID this plant.

 

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) is somewhat variable in the way they grow and what they look like from one location to another. I think light plays a big factor. The plant growing in full sun is shorter, has no lobed lower leaves, and the inflorence is more open. The plant  in this photo is growing in a mostly shaded area.

 

Top part of the Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-25-19.

As with the Tall Thistle, Sowthistle flowers are normally well above the leaves. The lower leaves and flower buds were the determining factor before the buds open. After that, the Cirsium flowers will be a pinkinsh color while Sonchus species have yellow flowers. Probably, if I had ever seen a Sonchus species in the first place, I wouldn’t have been confused initially. I am sure they are much different in several other ways as well. Hopefully someday I will meet a Sonchus.

UPDATE: THE “could be” Sonchus oleraceus is Cirisium altissimum, a Tall Thistle.

Well, that’s all for this post. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful.

The Quest For Truth: Wildflower ID Part 1

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 6-24-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I guess the title of this post could get some attention for many reasons. Many of us are on a quest for the truth about something because, after all, the truth will set you free. We wonder about the truth of who we are when traditional religious teaching leaves us asking questions we are told have no answers. Some of us accept there are no answers and we go about life la-de-da. Well, I am not one of those people. While I may live in my own little la la land sometimes, it is far from a life of not knowing who I am, where I came from or where I am going. I have concluded it doesn’t really matter where or how we originated. What matters is who we are now and how we embrace life day by day. Growing spiritually, being thankful, and remaining positive are a few keys to living a happy and abundant life. We continue learning and making new discoveries which makes life truly amazing.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working outside this summer. The past several months spraying and digging thistles on Kevin’s farm have allowed me to watch many wildflower species grow and flower. I have identified many species not growing on the 38 (or so) acres where I live which has been pretty exciting. There are many plants I haven’t identified fully because I am waiting for flowers which can get a bit entertaining. Partly because sometimes I can’t find a plant I was watching and partly because the cows eat them before they flower. So many species in different genera look alike while they are growing then they change when they are about to bud and flower. Some plants of the same species look different growing in different areas of the pasture.

Taking a lot of photos of many different plants can be somewhat confusing if you let it be. Going from one plant to the next then finding better specimins later. Maybe a feature you didn’t shoot before to help clarify a species… I usually photograph a finger (or fingers) between plants. I have learned from experience to take as many photos as possible when you have a chance. You may think there will be other plants of the species somewhere else but maybe not. Then later, when you didn’t find any others, you may not be able to find the plant you photographed earlier. Been there, done that more than once.

 

Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) on 6-24-19.

One of the many plants I haven’t encountered before is the Convolvulus arvensis commonly known as the Field Bindweed. There were several flowering in the front area of Kevin’s pasture all white flowers with five pale pink stripes. I saw one on the west side with all white flowers and information on Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers says they are commonly all white or mostly pink. There are five pink bracts on the underside of the flowers which may be why the flowers appeared to have pink stripes. The bracts distinguish it from the Hedge Bindweed (Calystegia sepium). Their roots can grow from 8 to 30 feet deep with stems up to 9 feet long. Their roots can send up many shoots and a group of these can spread up to 20′ per year. They produce LOTS of seeds which are viable for up to 30 years!

 

Asclepias sp. in question on July 17.

The biggest issue I have been dealing with is the cows eating the plants I have been watching. I am certainly not complaining about the cows or anything. It is just the way it is and part of the cycle of life and nature. The milkweeds are a good example. The cluster of milkweed I posted about before that I couldn’t ID was likely because it had been snacked on at an earlier age. I took the above photo on July 17, which you can tell from the caption. 🙂

 

Asclepias sp. in question on July 17.

This probably caused the leaves to be smaller and is perhaps what caused the stems to a different color than it would have had if it had been allowed to grow to maturity naturally. While the growth habit, even though nipped earlier, sort of remained the same. So, the Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) would still remain a bit of a sprawler. Even though several Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) stems were eaten earlier, the growth that remained would still grow upright. Both the Common Milkweed and Green Milkweed have similar leaf veins but their growth habit, leaf shape and other characteristics remain true for the species.

 

On Monday, July 22, I went to Kevin’s farm to locate the Milkweed I previously questioned to get more photos. I wanted more in-depth photos of its leaves and stems on the upper and lower parts of the plant. I didn’t work on Monday so I wasn’t taking time away from my duties. Hmmm… I went to where I thought it was and it was not there. I thought maybe I wasn’t in the right spot so I walked around a bit and still couldn’t find it. So, I went back to where I originally thought it was and found a clump that was probably it. I remembered the clover and other weeds growing with the clump which was the determining factor but the whole spot had been eaten. What remained left me somewhat confused. What remained looked like Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed). The upper part of the stems that left me questioning what species it was earlier was now missing. At least I am fairly certain this is the same cluster… Hmmm… With the cows grazing and eating all the time, the surroundings change. Plants and parts of plants they like get eaten while weeds they don’t care for continue to grow.

 

Asclepias sullivantii on 6-22-19.

There are a few milkweeds that look similar but have distinguishing features that separate them from the rest. The Asclepias sullivantii (Prairie Milkweed) grow more upright with up facing leaves. The veins on the leaves are also more refined than the Common Milkweed but the midrib is pretty similar. When there are no flowers it can be somewhat difficult so you have to look for other features. Am I 100% certain? Not going to tell you…

There is a fairly large colony of Asclepias sullivantii in one area but the plants are spread out quite a distance from each other. They are supposed to flower in June and July but none of the plants had flowers during the time I have been there. There are no seed pods…

 

Arctium minus (Burdock) on 6-22-19.

Then there are the plants that completely change in appearance as they mature. The Arctium minus, commonly known as Burdock, is one of these species. The HUGE lower leaves that look like rhubarb are all but completely gone and have been replaced by smaller leaves and flowers (or buds).

 

Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia) on 6-22-19.

Rarely have I seen Ruellia humilis, the Wild Petunia (etc.) with this many leaves. Without the flowers, it may be a little difficult to identify because we look at their flowers first. If I saw this plant without flowers, not having seen one this large and with so many leaves, I may not have even recognized it. The only plants I have been around are those that have been in the pastures and the ditch where they are constantly eaten or mowed. The one in the above photo somehow escaped being eaten. When I mowed on Saturday I also noticed a large specimen in an area of the ditch here that hadn’t been mowed. The Wild Petunia is a true survivor.

We depend a lot on flowers for proper identification but sometimes that isn’t enough when there are many species in a genus that all have similar flowers. We have to look to their leaves and stems and sometimes their calyces on the underside of the flower may be the only difference.

Sometimes we get a little surprise and have to rethink what we think we know. Notice I am saying “we” (trying to avoid “I”).

 

Unidentified species on 6-22-19.

Several clumps I have been watching have done this… It is in an area where there are several Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin’s Ironweed) that are now beginning to flower. This plant is definitely not an Ironweed. The teeth on the upper leaves look like little nubs…

 

Hmmm…

The upper leaves are growing upright…

 

Double HMMM…

The teeth on the lower leaves look similar to many species, including Ironweed… Well, some of them… As these plants grew the teeth on their leaves changed somewhat.

Over the years I have taken a lot of wildflower photos on the farm but not always in every stage. So, it could be I will recognize it once it flowers.

 

Vernonia sp. (Ironweed) on 7-24-19.

As I mentioned, the Vernonia baldwinii are now beginning to flower. Actually, some had started earlier in another area and I included them in an earlier post. This plant is Baldwin’s Ironweed which most people just call Ironweed. At my place, an Ironweed is an Ironweed but I noticed something a little weird.

 

Dark stems on this cluster of Ironweed on 7-24-19.

This particular cluster of Ironweed has very dark stems. Some colonies stems are darker than others but have the same general characteristics otherwise. Stems partially dark but not necessarily the entire stem.

Have you ever thought something was right then started feeling maybe not?

 

Again with the Hmmm…

Notice the stems, or whatever you call them, on the entire inflorescence are a maroonish color… Well, I think it looks pretty neat!

 

GEEZ!

And then there is this one… No dark stems…

 

DOUBLE GEEZ!

Its inflorescence looks like this! No maroonish color at all!

 

TRIPLE GEEZ!

WHAT IS THIS? Its leaves look like the plant in question from before with the little nubs! Hmmm…

 

Ummm…

Here is a blooming inflorescence of the same, umm, Ironweed in a different spot.

 

Here is the whole group of Ironweed without dark stems. What you don’t notice in the photo is that these plants have a reddish glow which is quite fascinating in person.

Missouriplants.com gives descriptions of four species of Ironweed. The Missouri State University website, Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers, has five. Looking at their descriptions of Vernonia baldwinii AND photos I took of plants here last year… Ummm… They all are plants with green stems and not dark. Vernonia gigantea (or Vernonia gigantea var. gigantea), the Tall Ironweed, has dark stems. Information says Vernonia baldwinii is “variable” and sometimes difficult to ID. Species in the genus cross to form hybrids as well. The different species can be identified by looking at the bracts surrounding the flower head. The phyllaries are somewhat different, but GEEZ!!!

So, I sent Pamela of Missouri State University some photos to get her input. The photos in the folder are not all labeled because they are not all ID’d. Actually, the photos in the last three folders are not all labeled. Each day of photos is in separate folders… Ummm… 606 folders so far since 2009.

Well, I think I will conclude this post and start on part 2. There may even be a part 3 and 4. I kind of like the name of this post. The Quest For Truth…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Be thankful and get out and enjoy the fresh air.

Past Week Wildflowers

Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed) on 7-16-19. #602-1.

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. The past week has been fairly hot with no rain. I went back to check on the status of the thistles at Kevin’s farm north of town on Tuesday and Wednesday. I think I have them pretty well whipped but there are always a few I missed from before. The Bull Thistles are always a one-time shot and not that big of a problem. The Musk Thistles have been a different story. The bigger plants are all gone but small ones continue to sprout a flowering stem here and there. It is almost like they do this overnight. Supposedly they grow a rosette the first year and flower their second. Well, I can argue that point after spending two months with them. The plants that continue to shoot up flowers are less than a foot tall while earlier the bigger plants were up to around 4′ tall. It has really been an experience.

I have continued to take photos of wildflowers while I worked. There is a combination of two days of photographs in this post but I wanted them in alphabetical order. The Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed) in the above photo is getting with it now.

 

Asclepias stenophylla (Narrowleaf Milkweed) on 7-16-19, #602-2.

The bumblebees really like them.

 

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) seed pod on 7-16-19, #602-4.

I had to take a photo of the seed pod of the Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed). Its unique seed pods are one of the identifying features of this species of milkweed.

 

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 7-16-19.

While taking photos, a cow walked by and ate the tops right off this Common Milkweed. You can see the sap oozing out of the stems… Hmmm…

 

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 7-16-19, # 602-6.

The Common Milkweed is a very robust plant that can grow to over 6′ tall. In pastures, they don’t get that chance and this group is only around 3′ tall, possibly multi-stemmed perhaps from an earlier pruning.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) seeds on 7-16-19, #602-7.

The Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) are among the first of the milkweeds to flower at the farm then are among the first to go to seed.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) seeds on 7-16-19, #602-8.

By contrast to many other plants, the large seed pods are mainly filled with fluff which helps the seeds float through the air. The distance they travel depends on a few things including wind speed and the height of neighboring plants. Rain can also spoil their trip by making the fluff heavy and wet and then the seeds just fall to the ground close to the parent plant.

 

Asclepias viridis on 7-17-19, #603-3.

While there are still a few Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) flowering, most have gone to seed.

 

Asclepias sp. on 7-17-19, #603-1.

While most of the milkweeds are pretty easy to identify, especially when flowering, I have found one that has me stumped… When I first saw this plant and took a couple of photos, I didn’t realize what a difficult time I would have identifying it. If I had have known, I would have taken more photos and looked around for other plants like it while I was working.

 

Asclepias sp. on 7-17-19, #603-2.

If I have a plant I cannot figure out, I contact Pamela Trewatha from the Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri). I am not sure if she is a botanist, horticulturalist or what but she maintains their Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers website and I think she took most of the photographs. She was stumped on this one as well which was very surprising. She thought it could be Asclepias sullivantii although she said she has never seen one in person. I looked at hundreds of photos online and I haven’t figured it out. This plant does not have the growth habit like Asclepias sullivantii nor are their leaves similar. There are many other differences as well that ruled out A. sullivantii. There were a few possibilities but not close enough. The one species that came close does not grow here and where it does grow it is very rare. There were no flowers on this plant and I didn’t notice any old flowers or seed pods. When I go back I will scout the area and see if there are other plants like this clump and possibly find flowers or seed pods. The spent flower in the above photo is a Red Clover…

There are several wildflower websites I use for ID. While there are milkweeds with similar leaves, some species leaves are “variable” and can be “oval” or have a slight point at the tip. However, the veining on this species leaves are not that “refined”, the tips are round, the midribs are light green (some species can have either maroonish or green midribs), and the central stems on this milkweed are brownish and not green like most… The leaves are also fairly small.

 

Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) on 7-16-19, #602-9.

I found a good-sized group of Bull Thistle I had somehow overlooked right in the middle of a large area. When I was getting ready to spray, the plants came to life as these HUGE beetles started flying out. It was very hot, so apparently, the beetles were farther down inside the thistles. I couldn’t get any photos at first because the beetles were moving pretty fast. Then, several feet away, I noticed this beetle along with a Japanese Beetle on a stem of an old Musk Thistle.

 

Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) on 7-16-19, #602-10.

The Cotinis nitida (Green June Beetle) is a pretty good-sized bug. They feed on flowers in pastures but also eat fruit. I attempted to pick up this guy (or gal) but it wanted no part of a new friendship. Beetles are not the most graceful flyers and sometimes you wonder if they even have a clue as to where they are going. These beetles sound like a small plane (very small) when they fly. When there are hundreds flying at once you might want to take cover because you will get run into.

 

Croton capitatus (Hogwort) on 7-16-19, #602-11.

This interesting species is the Croton capitatus, commonly known as Hogwort, Wooly Croton, and Goatweed. Croton is a very large genus consisting of 1,173 species (as of this post date) and this species is found through much of the United States. The Missouri Department of Conservation says there are three species of Croton in Missouri. I have two species growing on the farm.

 

Croton capitatus (Hogwort) flowers on 7-16-19, #602-13.

Their flowers aren’t that particularly interesting unless you take a closer look… The cluster of flowers consists of male flowers toward the tip and female flowers below. Male flowers have 5 tiny white petals and 10-14 anthers. The female flowers don’t have petals but have 6-9 calyx lobes which are split 2-3 times making a total of 12-24 lobes. The fruits are about 1/4” wide and contain only three seeds each. Apparently doves and quail like their seeds.

While many wildflower species have many medicinal benefits, this plant produces Croton Oil which is a powerful laxative.

 

Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) on 7-17-19, #603-5.

The Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) grow throughout the farm here as well as at Kevin’s. The flowers are so small it is very hard to get good photos of, especially close-ups. The plants are very short and have narrow, lance-shaped leaves. Although not an original US native, they can be found growing throughout most of the US and Canada.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-16-19, #602-14.

While I was walking around the area where the Cutleaf Teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus) were I noticed more flowers. I guess the photos I had taken for a previous post were their buds and now they are flowering.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) flower on 7-16-19, #602-15.

There were a lot of bumblebees on the flowers as well as a few Japanese Beetles. It was funny watching for a few seconds. It was like the bumblebees were on a mission and no Japanese Beetles were going to get in their way.

 

Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower) on 7-17-19, #603-6.

I needed to go visit a friend Wednesday afternoon so I decided to drive by the large colony of Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower). This is where I was going to dig some plants up this spring but… Well, it didn’t happen. Maybe I can collect some seeds later. I love the way the native coneflowers petals droop.

Ummm… While I was taking photos of the Yellow Coneflower, I noticed some really neat leaves but there were no flowers… Then later I spotted them again with flowers… The name begins with an “S” so it is farther down in the post. 🙂

 

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on 7-17-19, #603-7.

I have seen this plant growing along highways for MANY years and have always wondered with it was. Usually, I don’t have time or I don’t have the camera, but mainly because I didn’t want to stop along the highway. Well, when I went to visit my friend on Wednesday I noticed them growing along a different road. Not only them but the plants that begin with the “S”.

The plants in the above photo are Lotus corniculatus commonly known as the Bird’s Foot Trefoil. Hmmm… OK, I know how common the Bird’s Foot Trefoil is but I had never seen any up close and personal until now.

The Lotus corniculatus isn’t a US native. The Wikipedia says the plant is native to parts of North Africa and Eurasia. Hmmm… I learned something. I had to click on Eurasia to find out where it was. I don’t think they taught it was Eurasia when I was in school… It is the largest continent on Earth consisting of all of Europe and Asia with 70% of the world’s population. Hmmm… I didn’t even realize Africa was considered an Asian country. Well, I got stuck reading about Eurasia so I better get back to…

Where was I anyway? Oh yeah! Lotus corniculatus!

 

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on 7-17-19, #603-8.

I lost my train of thought while reading about Eurasia and kind of went blank because I didn’t know… Anyway, it was interesting.

Bird’s Foot Trefoil is grown as a high-quality forage plant for pastures, hay, and silage that does not cause bloat.

 

Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s Foot Trefoil) on 7-17-19, #603-9.

The flowers are particularly interesting. What is even more interesting is that a plant guy didn’t even realize these yellow flowers growing along the road were Bird’s Foot Trefoil! Several people have asked me what they were over the years but I never knew until now. Now I know and I am thankful. I am also thankful for learning where Eurasia is. 🙂

Ummm… The Lotus genus is a member of the Fabaceae (Pea Family) and contains 124 accepted species.

What we usually think of as a Lotus is the Nelumbo nucifera, also known as the Sacred Lotus Flower, Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, Egyptian Bean or simply lotus. It is the only genus in the family Nelumbonaceae with two accepted species. Strange the Water Lily isn’t in the same family, but they are in the Nymphaeaceae family. Hmmm…

I had to check on that because I was wondering why Bird’s Foot Trefoil was a Lotus. Then I find out the Lotus isn’t a Lotus. Double hmmm…

 

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) on 7-16-19, #602-16.

OK, I realize the Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) isn’t a wildflower and maybe most wouldn’t find them that interesting. For me, though, I think they are a magnificent tree especially when they get very old.

 

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange), 7-16-19, #602-17.

Just look at that massive trunk… This tree isn’t quite as large as the old one at my place, but it is still pretty good sized.

 

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) on 7-16-19, #602-21.

This tree, like most very old Osage Orange, have stood the test of time. Just think of how many high winds, thunderstorms, heavy snows, and ice they have been through. If you ever have a chance to visit a very old and large Osage Orange, look up into the tree and you can see how they have twisted and turned over the years. They tell a tale of a long life in the elements of nature and have endured them all. This tree was really talking and I enjoyed our brief visit and feeling the energy surrounding it. It is more than alive, it is A LIFE! 🙂

 

Nepeta cataria (Catnip) on 7-17-19, #603-10.

While I was spraying in a little area I had rarely gone, I noticed a plant I completely didn’t expect to see in the wild. I said, “It’s a mint! What in the world are you doing here?” Of all places next to a Gooseberry bush and Osage Orange tree where an old fence row had been. Just goes to show you just never know what you might find… Oh! It is a Nepeta catariaCatnip! They have different leaves and flowers than Spearmint.

I suppose the Catnip has to grow in the wild somewhere and there are several mints that are native to Missouri. I have just never seen any in the wild. Of course, they are members of the Lamiaceae family along with 234 other genera of aromatic and tasty culinary herbs.

 

Physalis longifolia (Common or Smooth Ground Cherry) flower on 7-16-19, #602-22.

Had I not noticed something weird about this plant, I could have easily passed it off as a Horsenettle. All I saw at first was a nearly hidden yellow flower drooping downward so I thought I would have a peek because Horsenettle does not have yellow flowers. Then I saw what else was hidden beneath the leaves. As it turns out this plant is a Physalis longifolia, commonly known as the Common or Smooth Ground Cherry.

 

Physalis longifolia (Common or Smooth Ground Cherry) flower, on 7-16-19, #602-23.

AH HA, you say! 🙂 Well, at least I thought it looks like the plant called Chinese Lantern, which is actually Physalis peruviana. Perhaps you were thinking about the Tomatillo or Mexican Husk Tomato which is the Physalis philadelphica and/or Physalis ixocarpa. Well, inside of these small lanterns is a fruit which is also edible…

 

Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia) on 7-16-19, #602-24.

The Ruellia humilis (Wild Petunia, etc.) are growing here and there on Kevin’s farm as where I live. They seem to be growing as solitary plants rather than in colonies except for in my ditch where there are several. I think there are more in the ditch in front of the house than on the entire pasture and hayfield. While they flower over a long period, they seem to only produce one flower at a time. While one bud is beginning to open, the one before it is fading. Some information online says the flowers open in the morning and fall off in the evening. Hmmm… These plants are very easy to recognize in the wild because, after all, they are a petunia. Not saying all Ruellia species are the same, but all do have similar characteristics. Plants of the World Online currently list 357 accepted species in the genus.

Now that I am down to the mystery plant… Well, maybe I should save it for a post of its own. Just kidding. 🙂 But I do feel a nap coming on…

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) leaves on 7-17-19, #603-13.

OK… The above photo, although taken out of numerical order, is the leaves of the plant with no flowers I saw when photographing the Echinacea paradoxa. They were by the road so apparently, their flower stems had been mowed off. I took the photo because I thought they were quite strange and unusual.

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) on 7-17-19. #603-20.

Hmmm… I realize you are laughing at me AGAIN because anyone who has driven on most highways and backroads has seen this plant. Of course, like me, maybe you just passed them off as some kind of sunflower. I had no idea this plant had so much interest whatsoever.

Found throughout Missouri except for the southeast corner, the Silphium laciniatum is easily identified by its pinnatifid leaves, hairy stems, and big yellow flower heads. Its common name is the Compass Plant because their flowerheads follow the sun across the sky (heliotropism) like many species in the Asteraceae family such as sunflowers.

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) leaves on 7-17-19, #603-14.

Silphium laciniatum has been used as a worm expelling, coughs, lung problems, asthma, and as an emetic. The resin produced on the upper part of the stems was chewed by Native Americans. The mouth cleansing gum is said to be fragrant but bitter.

Contrary to what you might think, the common name comes from their leaves and not their flowers. Pioneers believed that the leaves of the Compass Plant pointed in a north-south direction. The basal leaves do usually grow on a north-south axis thought to minimize intense overhead sun exposure. Of course, their flowers follow an east to west movement following the sun…

 

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) flower on 7-17-19, #603-23.

The Compass Plant grow from 6-12 feet tall and their flowers can be up to 5″ across. It can take several years for these plants to develop into a full-sized plant but they can live up to 100 YEARS! Their taproots can grow 15′ deep! The basal leaves can grow to 18″ long while the upper leaves are much smaller.

So now we know these plants are Compass Plants and not just another sunflower. 🙂

 

Solanum carolinense (Horsenettle) on 7-17-19, #603-25.

Of course, this is the common ‘ol run of the mill Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) we may all love to hate. One of its common names, Tread Softly, says a lot! While it is a member of the Nightshade family (along with tomatoes) and its fruit may look like cherry tomatoes, DO NOT EAT! The Wikipedia says:

“All parts of the plant, including its tomato-like fruit, are poisonous to varying degrees due to the presence of solanine glycoalkaloids which is a toxic alkaloid and one of the plant’s natural defenses. While ingesting any part of the plant can cause fever, headache, scratchy throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, ingesting the fruit can cause abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory depression, or even death. “

I may have not taken a photo of the Horsenettle if it weren’t for the flower below which I noticed the day before…

 

Solanum dimidiatum (Robust Horsenettle) on 7-16-19, #602-25.

Ummm… As I was working I noticed something a little unusual… While I do have a lot of Horsenettle in my pastures and hayfield, some of the colonies in Kevin’s pasture have these blue flowers. While it is true that some in my pasture do have a slight tint, they are mainly all white. So, I took photos and found that these are Solanun dimidiatum commonly known as the Robust Horsenettle. While I did find it particularly interesting this was a different species, I won’t be collecting any of their seeds. One Horsenettle plant is plenty. The Housenettles are not really nettles in the sense of what nettles are. Ummm… What I mean is, they are not true nettles they are just called nettles. Kind of like the Sacred Lotus not being a Lotus. GEEZ!

I have seen a few plants that looked like the Black Nightshade which I sprayed because they looked pretty shady to me. I had one growing at the farm last year in an area behind the chicken house. I took a lot of photos of it one day and the next day it was completely gone (no trace whatsoever). I thought that was very strange that the plant grew so large, flowered and even set fruit and then the cows must have eaten it. What else could have happened to it? Maybe the Wood Chuck or a bunch of squirrels?

 

Verbena stricta (Hoary Vervain) on 7-16-19, #602-29.

One of my favorite wildflowers is Verbena. The interesting thing is that the species growing on Kevin’s farm are different than the ones growing where I live. This one is Verbena stricta commonly known as the Hoary Vervain. The species growing in my pastures and hayfield is the Verbena hastata commonly known as the Blue Vervain. I mainly noticed the difference by the Verbena stricta‘s broader leaves and larger flowers. The one thing that makes them very similar is getting photos that aren’t blurry… While Plants of the World Online list 147 species in the Verbena genus native to most parts of the world, Verbena hastata and Verbena stricta are native to most of the US and Canada.

I am finished for now because I ran out of photos. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed this post because I learned A LOT. I am thankful I found out about Eurasia, too!

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always, always, be thankful! After a week of heat and no rain, I am thankful we finally had rain this morning and as I am finishing this post.

 

 

 

 

Friday’s Find

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) on 7-12-19, #600-2.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well and doing your best to enjoy the summer. We have had some hot days but it cools down nicely in the evening. I hadn’t been out to the farm where I have been working on the thistles for 12 days until Thursday. Friday I made my way to an area where I had been watching a colony of plants. I had been waiting for them to flower so I could make an ID but they flowered while I was away.

While I was in the area I noticed an Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed). I have these growing along the lagoon at my house but I hadn’t taken any photos for some strange reason. This species of Milkweed grow pretty tall, up to around 6′, and have nice broad oval leaves. There is another species that is similar in Missouri but they may have gone extinct since none have been seen since 1933.

Asclepias syriaca is known as the Common Milkweed, Butterfly Flower, Silkweed, Silky Swallowwort, and Virginia Silkweed. This species was one of the earliest North American species described by Jacques-Philippe Cornut (French physical and botanist) in Canadensium Plantarum Historia in 1635. Many species of insects feed on the Common Milkweed.

Although the plant’s latex contains large quantities of glycosides which makes it toxic to livestock and humans, the young shoots, leaves, flower buds, and immature fruit are edible (raw). Apparently, it can be cooked like asparagus. I read this information on Wikipedia.

According to Plants of the World Online, there are 206 species in the Asclepias genus. It is a member of the Apocynaceae Family (family of Milkweeds) which currently contains 358 genera. Version 1.1 of The Plant List (updated in 2013) listed 410 genera and 5,745 species. It also lists a WHOPPING 10,568 synonyms (genus and species synonymous with other species) PLUS 3,928 species names that were still unresolved… Well, that was several years ago and those numbers have changed due to the effort of many botanists and horticulturalists. So many species had/have multiple scientific names. It is a continual work in progress.

 

Arilus cristatus (Wheel Bug) on 7-12-19, #600-1.

While looking at the Milkweed I noticed this assassin bug. It is the dreaded Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus). The Wheel Bug is one of the largest assassin bugs. I have seen these many times on the farm but didn’t know much about them. I found some good information on the North Carolina State Extension website. They feed on a number of insects including aphids, caterpillars, beetles, and many other problem insects. They inject their prey with a toxin that kills within 30 seconds. Their bite is said to be more painful than a wasp sting so it is best not to handle.

Debbie Roos has a great article titled Birth Of An Assassin Bug! on the North Carolina State University Extension website. The article also shows photos of their eggs.

 

Daucus carota (Queen Ann’s Lace) on 7-12-19, #600-3.

Earlier there was A LOT of Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) on the farm, and there still is for that matter. I mean, where would they go anyway? Now the Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) is flowering. Daucus carota is a member of the Apiaceae Family with carrots and 441 other genera. There are 45 accepted species in the Daucus genus.

While the Queen Anne’s Lace flowers are kind of similar in appearance to the deadly Poison Hemlock, their leaves have a mixture of tripinnate leaves, fine hairs, and a root that smells like carrots. Poison Hemlock have larger leaves and the plants grow MUCH taller. I ran across this YouTube video, Poison Hemlock Identification and Yarrow Comparision, that shows the difference between Poison Hemlock, Queen Anne’s Lace and Achillea millefolium.  While their flowers may look similar to people who don’t spend a lot of time in nature, the leaves of Achillea millefolium look nothing like the other two.

Since summer is here, it seems like the interest in “foraging” has returned. If you are interested in this, you really should invest in a field guide to take along with you, or even someone who is experienced. Ummm… Also when you do this, I suggest leaving your cell phones behind or at least turn them off. When you are out in nature, be out in nature and leave any distractions behind. Take time to be aware of the beauty and life around you. Sit quietly someplace with your eyes closed and allow your other senses to observe as well. Sometimes we see best with our eyes closed in nature. Be aware that we are all one with EVERY living thing.

 

Daucus carota (Queen Ann’s Lace) on 7-12-19, #600-4.

Flowers are used in arrangements and will change color depending on the color of the water, similar to Carnations.

Plants are beneficial companion plants attracting pollinators and improving the microclimate for some vegetables. Some states have it listed as a noxious weed and considered invasive in pastures when established.

Now for the plants I was keeping an eye on…

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-5.

I took an interest in these plants growing along the highway because I don’t have any like this at my place. I have seen them here and there, normally where there is a ditch or a creek.  It may sound strange but I had no clue what they were even after seeing their flowers but the name Teasel popped into my head on the way home. Well, I guess I must admit, the name didn’t just pop into my head. We are not alone and when we talk to ourselves we are actually talking to “them” as well. GEEZ! It is kind of hard to explain unless you have done the same…

OK, even though you might think I am a bit whacky, I will explain. Once you realize you are not alone and we have guides and Angels and so on with us all the time, when you talk to yourself you are also talking with them. They are here not only to guide us and watch over us, but they are also here to learn from us and our human experiences. They are very OLD and knowledgeable about many things. So, when you have questions about this and that, just ask. You will be surprised at how you receive your answers.

Anyway, this plant is, in fact, the Cut-Leaved Teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus). For some reason, it is a member of the Caprifoliaceae Family, also known as the Honeysuckle Family, which consists of mainly shrubs and vines. It was formerly in the Dipsacaceae Family (the Teasel Family). Plants of the World Online list 21 accepted species in the Dipsacus genus. There are a few other Teasel species found in Missouri but their flowers are a different color and their leaves are also different.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-6.

I think they have already flowered but they are still very interesting.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-7.

They are monocarpic, living for several years before flowering then dying. The flowers attract bumblebees, bee flies, butterflies, and skippers.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-8.

Its leaves are oppositely arranged around the stem. The pinnately lobed leaves are around 16” long. The base of the leaves clasps around the prickly stems.

 

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cut-Leaved Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-9.

There is quite a colony in the ditch that apparently aren’t old enough to flower. The leaves of immature plants are usually unlobed.

For more information about this plant, visit the Missouriplants.com, Its Wikipedia page, or just type in Dipsacus laciniatus. There are several state websites with good information.

Well, that’s it for this post. Until next time, take care, stay positive, be safe and always be thankful!

The New Rescue Japanese Beetle Traps

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all doing well. The new Japanese Beetle Traps came in the mail on Monday. I sent the company an email about the issues with the first two traps I bought from the local Farmer’s Co-op. I sent a link of my post to her and she said she was glad to see I had caught so many beetles but was sorry to hear about my issues with the traps. She said they had a lot of complaints about the same reason I did so they changed the design. They changed it in October 2018 although the first two I bought the first part of July were the old design. I replied with a couple of links from people who had “re-engineered” the top part of beetle traps and fit them in funnels (like the ones you use to pour oil into motors) and fit them onto 5-gallon buckets. I thought that was very ingenious and maybe they can make a kit to use with buckets.

I didn’t put the traps up until Tuesday evening because I wanted to take one to the Farmer’s Co-op to show them the new design. Well, they had a full box of the old design they just got in. I showed them how the zipper on the old design cut the bags when they were opened and closed and how the new design works. They didn’t seem to enthused. 🙂 🙂 🙂 I may have “implied” the ones they were selling were no good. Even though I said customers complained so the company changed the design. She said, “That is what they sent.” I guess they came from a warehouse and had them leftover from last summer.

 

The top part of the trap is basically the same as the old design (although not as colorful).

 

With no sliding zipper to cut the bag…

 

You just simply pull it apart.

 

It is kind of “velcro-like”.

 

To close, you just press the two sides back together. Pretty simple.

 

Then you snap the “funnel” in place.

 

I must admit, the attractant does smell pretty good.

 

The attractant slides into place at the top of the trap.

 

As you can see, packing tape doesn’t work all that well sometimes. Maybe duct tape would work better but it would be a pain removing it when you have to dump the bag. You would pretty much have to cut the bottom and retape it every time you needed to dump it.

 

All setup and ready to go next to the shade bed. I put them both where the old ones had been. I didn’t get bombarded with beetles since it was 8 PM when I hung them up.

 

I am not sure how easy it will be to reseal the bag with it hanging, so I may have to take it down and put it on a flat surface. That’s easy enough to do as long as it works.

Even though some retailers may still be selling the old version, many people don’t have as many Japanese Beetles as there are here so they probably won’t have an issue.

Well, that’s all I have to say for now. I did take a few other photos for another post. Until next time, be safe and stay positive!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY Plus A Few Photos

Echinacea purpurea on 7-4-19, #598-1.

Hello everyone and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! As always, the city had their 4th of July celebration at the park down the road from where I live. There was a steady stream of traffic going by most of the day. It rained this afternoon which kind of put a damper on things, but the fireworks display went ahead as planned. I must admit, they do a pretty good job for a community the size of Windsor. I can see the fireworks pretty good from the backyard which lasted about 30 minutes.

Despite it sprinkling most of the afternoon, including one pretty good downpour, I did manage to go out about 6 PM and take a few photos. I took photos all week but have been tardy writing daily posts. Ummm… How many times have mentioned something to that effect? 😐

Last July 4 I moved the plants and plant tables from around the shed in the other yard to the front and back porch. That was because of the Japanese Beetles.

So, in alphabetical order…

In the above photo, the Echinacea purpurea, which may be the cultivar called ‘Magnus’, is now flowering up a storm. The bank in town has a HUGE patch of them I have been meaning to photograph. The Purple Coneflower is one of my favorite plants. GEEZ! I can’t believe I said that because I try not to have favorites! I like the way the petals droop and like the feeling of the cones. Echinacea purpurea is a very beneficial plant in many ways.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ on 7-4-19, #598-2.

Out in the shade bed, several of the Hosta are starting to flower. The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ has a lot of buds but they haven’t peeked their way through the foliage yet. Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ has been an awesome performer over the past at least eight summers. I bought it while in Mississippi at the mansion and the first photo was taken on April 15, 2012, but it seems like I had it longer. I really like its dark green, puckered, and corrugated leaves. The clump had gotten very large and has been the best performer of all the Hosta in my collection.

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ on 7-4-19, #598-3.

Even though I just brought the Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ home last June 7, it has become quite a show-stopper. Very bight and cheery for sure and starting to flower.

 

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on 7-4-19, #598-4.

The Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ is always a dazzler. Its leaves change color with age which just adds to its interest. It isn’t a big plant, but it puts on a big show!

 

Ledebouria socialis var. pauciflora on 7-4-19, #598-5.

I purchased the two Ledebouria socialis (Silver Squill) varieties last October and have really enjoyed them as companions. The above photo is of the Ledebouria socialis var. pauciflora which used to be Ledebouria pauciflora. I like the silvery leaves with the small green flecks.

 

Ledebouria socialis var. violacea on 7-4-19, #598-7.

The Ledebouria socialis var. violacea is really growing well. It had many more bulbs than the other one when they arrived. This one was the species Ledebouria violacea but the name changed also.

 

Ledebouria socialis var. violacea new growth on 7-4-19, #598-9.

The Ledebouria socialis var. violacea also seems to be a bit more of a spreader. These plants are VERY, VERY easy to grow even through the winter in the house. You don’t even need to water them through the winter, in fact, it is best if you don’t.

I am STILL waiting for the two new cultivars to arrive… I think he is a bit behind.

Hmmm… My computer just notified me I have a new memory from summer 2017. Weird… Now I am wondering how it came up with that idea. 🙂

 

Mammillaria hahniana on 7-4-19, #598-10.

The Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is starting to bud again. It isn’t looking like its normal fuzzy self because it is wet from the rain. This is our fourth summer as companions.

 

Mammillaria pringlei on 7-4-19, #598-11.

The Mammillaria pringlei (Rainbow Pincushion) is also starting to flower. This is our third summer together.

I took photos of all the cactus and succulents several days ago but they haven’t made it to a post yet.

 

Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ on 7-4-19, #598-12.

I was delighted to see a flower on the Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’. I was amazed that it even returned this spring as it seems most perennials I have bought have not, especially in the north bed.

Let me see… How many perennials have not returned here? I don’t even want to think about it. I have amended the soil with “the good stuff”, added new soil with LOTS of “the good stuff”, raised the whole area only to have it sink during the winter.

 

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 7-4-19, #598-13.

Hmmm… While the Rudbeckia hirta (the native species) have been flowering for a while now, the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is STILL in bud!

 

Schizura ipomaeae (Morning Glory Prominent)

I took the above photo this moth a few mornings ago but wanted to share it with you. It was just sitting there trying to blend in with the porch raining. Later I found out is it the Morning Glory Prominent (Schizura ipomaeae). It reminded me of a post called Rainy Season from June 4 on the SKYEENT blog. The second photo on the post is of the Buff Tipped Moth which looks exactly like a decaying birch twig. I find many moth species camouflage very fascinating.

A lot of insects do some very interesting things. There is a small wasp that fills the windchimes on the back porch with grass. It was kind of funny, actually. I had noticed the grass in the wind chimes but didn’t say anything to mom and dad about it. I just kind of ignored it as weird. There is a lot of weird around here sometimes. Anyway, one day dad and I were on the back porch and this small wasp comes flying in with a piece of dry grass about a foot long and somehow manages to put the whole thing in one of the tubes. Dad said it always does that and sometimes the wasp drops the grass and has to get another one. I didn’t notice the wasp last summer and a lot of the grass has fallen out by now. I have been hoping it would return so I can take photos. 🙂

OK, I am finished now. It is 12:35 AM and it is now the 5th of July. It is raining and thundering which will make for a good night sleep (hopefully).

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

 

Rescue Japanese Beetle Trap #2 Video

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I bought another Japanese Beetle trap Tuesday afternoon. Within three seconds the first beetle was in the trap. I looked out into the yard north of the shade bed and I could see Japanese Beetles coming out of the grass and heading toward the trap.

I decided to make this video…

 

 

The first trap hasn’t been getting as much activity since I put up the second one. Most of the beetles were coming from that area in the first place because of the Chinese Elms.

Wednesday morning a man came to recharge the AC and he wanted to see the traps. So, I showed him the first one then we went to the new one. Beetles were coming from everywhere but there weren’t that many in the trap yet.

Then at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon…

 

HOLY COW!!!! THE TRAP IS FULL!

 

I went to get a bag to empty the trap, but on my way, I stopped to check the first bag…

 

Hmmm… No wonder there weren’t many beetles in the trap. There is a hole in the bottom! That’s weird! So, I taped the bottom with packing tape.

 

I went to the new bag, opened the zipper and emptied the trap. Then, when I closed the zipper, there was a tear all away across the bottom. The zipper makes a rip all across the bottom above the zipper! How’s that for a design flaw?!?! The bag is supposed to reusable!

 

So, I had to put tape all across the bottom of the bag. I guess it is still reusable as long as you use tape.

I am now going to send an email to the company. Did I miss something in the instructions perhaps? There are videos online about this product, like how to use it… It shows a different way to open and close, you just pull it apart and seal it shut like a ziplock bag (without a zipper). Mine is new and it isn’t made to open it that way. It has a ZIPPER!

While it is true the trap works, which I definitely can’t complain about, why does the bag rip when it is supposed to be reusable? Maybe most people don’t have as many beetles, but I highly doubt I am that unique. I did see some traps on Ebay that didn’t use bags…

Well, that’s it for now. Until next time, be safe, stay positive and always be thankful… Even if your Japanese Beetle trap springs a leak. 🙂

UPDATE!

I did send the company an email with a link to this post. The email was promptly replied. The customer rep said she was glad to see the number of beetles I had caught but was sorry to hear about the problem with the bag ripping. She said that because of customer feedback with the same issue they redesigned the bag (like the one in the video I watched). She said they would send me two new traps to try and review. 🙂 Now, I will go to the Farmers Co-op and tell them the news. LOL!

Trying Out A Japanese Beetle Trap

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Last week when I bought chicken feed, I noticed they had Japanese Beetle traps. I asked if they work and the guy said, “Yes, but you don’t want to be around it or put it close to where you are sitting or working.” So, I decided I would bring it home and give it a try.

A couple of days ago when I was mowing next to the Canna bed, I noticed something was eating the leaves. It was Japanese Beetles.

 

I checked the roses behind the house and sure enough, they were eating the roses, too. Then I noticed the Miniature Hollyhock had fallen victim to something and there were no leaves or flowers left on the plant. There was a dead caterpillar stuck to one of the bare stems, though. So, I guess that is it for the Malva sylvestris unless it grows new leaves.

I didn’t get the beetle trap set up until Sunday afternoon. I attached it to the support wire to the light pole about 20′ away from the Canna bed. This morning, Monday, I checked the trap when I was getting water for the chickens. There was already about 2″ beetles trapped in the bottom of the bag.

 

I checked the trap early Monday evening when I was about ready to start mowing again. The trap was already half full and the beetles were flying around it. Good thing it is reusable…

The trees in the background are Chinese Elms which are the main reason the Japanese Beetles are so bad here. There are five trees in “the other back yard” and near the chicken house, two or three behind the chicken house, and two by the pond. By the time the beetles are finished, there will be no more shade under those trees. The shade bed where the Hosta are growing is under two Chinese Elms and a Maple.

 

Setting the trap up is simple and the “attractant” slips into place on the top. There are no harmful chemicals.

 

The bottom of the trap snaps into place and acts as a funnel. Beetles aren’t the most coordinated fliers and they can’t figure out how to fly out of the trap. I’m not sure how full the bag should get before I empty it…

I can easily say the beetle trap works. I put it close to the Cannas because I want to get the beetles away from them. I may need to get another trap to put by the shade bed. Depending on how fast they fill up, I may need several…

The Japanese Beetles feed on more than 300 species of plants. They only live for a few weeks, but the females lay more eggs every day. The eggs become grubs which feed on plant roots and can cause a lot of damage to turf grass. Around the first part of June, the grubs become a pupa and emerge from the soil in late June. That’s what it says online, but that could vary from location I’m sure. I have been watching for them, and it was like they weren’t here, then the next day they were. They have just gotten started and have barely even begun on the Chinese Elms. Even though I catch thousands over a few weeks, I am anxious to see the end result. Will I catch enough in time to still have leaves on the Elms, or will enough not get caught they will destroy the shade anyway? We shall see… I suppose the more traps I have the more effective they will be.

I had the Calla Lily on the back porch and it was doing really GREAT there. This evening I noticed the Japanese Beetles were eating its leaves so I chased them off and moved the pot to the front porch. There is nothing in the front yard to attract them, so I have no issues there. They found the Calla on the back porch because it is close to the roses. The sad thing is, the Calla was flowering nicely but now it doesn’t look so good. The damage was done in just a few hours time.

I am getting about ready to write my first review for Thor, the mole repeller. One seems to be working better than the other, but I really have no complaints. Of course, the moles are bad in certain areas because of the Japanese Beetle eggs and grubs. The worse thing about the moles is they tunnel under plants, pushing them up or leaving a hole under the plants where the roots should be growing. When watering, the water also runs down into the mole tunnels.

*ADDITIONAL INFO ADDED THE NEXT DAY:

  1. The bottom of the bag has a zip-lock feature that makes emptying the bag easy. Just be ready for the beetles in the bag to drop into another container you can close quickly. I used a plastic shopping bag and tied it in a knot. You will lose a few but I am sure they will go back in the trap.
  2. Do not place the trap close to where plants are they may be attracted to. The beetles will come from a pretty good distance and may be attracted to plants instead of going into the trap. Place the trap at least 30-40 feet away from where they are feeding to lure the beetles away from them.

Tuesday morning when I went to dump the trap there were beetles swarming around it. I could see them flying from the “other yard” where the elm trees are. Being empty at noon, I will be able to see how many have accumulated by 6 PM. I am not sure how full the bag can get before it should be dumped. It was a little over half full when I dumped it.

To be honest with you, I don’t like harming any type of nature. Even when I spray and dig thistles and feel bad about it in a way. Like the Japanese Beetles, the thistles are not native but so many other plants aren’t either. But they are living beings (or plants, which all have a spirit). Most invasive plants and critters are not native. Most native species are not invasive because nature has made away to control the native populations. Hmmm… I better stop with that… Well, my family is not Native American either but we are all native to the planet. Then again, so are invasive species. OK, I better stop thinking about that or I will go take down the beetle traps.

My plans for writing a post a day went by the wayside, even though I took photos. I am not very good when it comes to making a schedule. It is just in my head. 🙂

Until next time, whenever that may be, be safe and stay positive. The heat is upon us with no rain in the forecast, so be careful. I suppose that depends on where you live. But, regardless of where you live, be safe and always stay positive. Always be thankful for your many blessings. I better stop with that and also say I hope you GET DIRTY (in a clean way). 🙂

Another Flower For The Echinopsis Mirabilis

Echinopsis mirabilis on 6-22-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I have been watching the Echinopsis mirabilis (Flower of Prayer) pretty closely for the past few days because it had two buds getting close to opening. Earlier this afternoon, around 4:30, I checked on it and both buds were standing up like they were going to flower once it was dark.

Echinopsis mirabilis at 7:46 PM on 10-26-19.

Then at 7:46, the buds looked like this… Hmmm… One was drooping! Now, how did that happen? Why is one drooping when it was standing up around 4:30? Somehow I must have goofed and maybe it flowered the night before…

 

Echinopsis mirabilis at 10:20 PM on 6-26-19.

Then at 10:20 PM I went out and saw the flower had opened.

 

Echinopsis mirabilis at 10:21 PM on 6-26-19.

It is quite exciting when the Echinopsis mirabilis flowers!

I know I say this a lot, but I have taken more photos and I am behind posting. A few days ago (maybe it was last week), I mentioned I was going to try and post every day I take photos, which is about every day. Well, as you can see that didn’t happen. Here it is 1 AM as I am finishing this post.

Sooooo… That’s it for now! Be safe, stay positive and always be thankful.

Twenty Inches In Twenty Days!!!

Amorphophallus sp. on 6-22-19, #593-4.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I took a lot of photos yesterday and many plants have grown A LOT in the past week. None as fast as the Amorphophallus (Voodoo Lily), though. I was almost speechless when I saw them as was taking photos on the front porch on June 22. It was just shy of 20″ tall! Twenty days after I noticed it peeking through the soil on June 3. What is even more amazing is…

 

Amorphophallus sp. on 6-16-19, #591-5.

It was only around 6″ tall on June 16. So, in only SIX DAYS it grew approximately 14″. Last year, one of the bigger plants came up several days before the other. This year, they came up at the same time.

 

Amorphophallus sp. baby on 6-22-19, #593-5.

Last year there were nine offsets and so far only one this year… I am sure there will be more.

Next spring I think I may separate the two bigger bulbs. I am especially curious to see how big they are.

You can read about my journey with the Amorphophallus by clicking HERE.

Debbie Lansdown, a faithful reader and friend from the UK, sent a link to the Amorphophallus titanum (Titan Arum) now in flower and on display at the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh.

One of the worlds biggest and smelliest blooms… They stayed open until 10 PM on Sunday so people could visit this AWESOME plant.

Amorphophallus titanum has the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world and is a native of Sumatra and can grow around 10′ tall. The corms produce a single petiole and give rise to a single tri-branched leaf which produces many leaflets. Plants can grow to around 20′ tall and the leaf structure can grow to around 16′ wide.

Of course, such a HUGE plant must be from a HUGE corm. The worlds record is from a plant at the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh weighing 339 pounds (153.9 kilograms). It reached that massive size in only seven years starting from the size of an orange.

I read that information from the Wikipedia page about the Amorphophallus titanum.

Until next time… Be safe, stay positive, and remember to be thankful. GET DIRTY when you can. We had rain AGAIN, so more delays for working on the south bed. I may just have to do it in the mud. 🙂

 

More Wildflower ID & New Friends

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you doing well. I took a few wildflower photos as I was working on Wednesday. It only takes a couple of seconds to whip the camera out of my pocket and take a few photos.

The thistle battle continues at a friends farm but I think I have made great progress. On Thursday I was at one small area along the boundary fence and almost fell over. I looked across the fence and saw a patch of hundreds of Musk Thistle flowers laughing at me. I had very few thistles here this year but that doesn’t mean there won’t be A LOT more next year. The seed is good in the soil for many years. You have to have a plan and understand you have to stick with it. Not that you can’t amend it, but you have to have a goal in mind. Even though the seeds will come up every year no matter what you do, the goal is to get rid of the flowers before they go to seed. They come up from seed and remain in a flattish rosette the first year and flower their second year. I am not a fan of spraying, believe me, but sometimes you have to do it. For the most part, digging them up here has worked fine because I never did have that many and just in the front pasture and a few on the pond bank. My friend has a MUCH BIGGER pasture and digging them all would have driven me nuttier than I already am. 🙂

OK, here we go… In alphabetical order…

 

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

I first posted about the Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) a few weeks ago. I have none of this species here but there are quite a few of them in Kevin’s pasture.

 

Asclepias viridis (Green-Flowered Milkweed) seed pods on 6-19-19, #592-3.

This Milkweed is also known as the Green Milkweed, Green Antelopehorn, and Spider Milkweed. Many Milkweeds are favored by the Monarch Butterfly and Milkweed Tussock Moths, but apparently, this species sheds its leaves before they arrive. The latex sap is toxic to humans and animals so I guess that is one reason the cows avoid them.

 

Cichorium intybus (Chicory or Road Aster) on 6-19-19, #592-12.

There are quite a few Cichorium intybus, commonly known as Chicory or Road Aster growing in the pasture, and along the highways and back roads. You can’t miss them as they are one of the very few blue wildflowers blooming now. It is one of the many members of the Asteraceae Family along with Dandelions. The roots of the Cichorium intybus var. sativum is ground, baked, and used as a coffee substitute. Although the leaves are a bit strange, they can be eaten in salads. It is also closely related to Cichorium endivia which is also called Chickory and Curly Endive which is popular in salads. An extract from the root of Cichorium intybus, inulin, is used as a sweetener and a source of dietary fiber. Other common names include Blue Daisy, Blue Dandelion, Blue Sailors, Blue Weed, Bunk, Coffeeweed, Cornflower, Hendibeh, Horseweed, Ragged Sailors, Succory, Wild Bachelor’s Buttons, and Wild Endive. I found all that information on Wikipedia… There’s more but I am exhausted… OH, one more thing… I found a cluster of these plants with near-white flowers, kind of bi-colored, but the photos were blurry. So, I will have to locate them again and take better photos.

 

Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) on 6-19-19, #592-14.

This delightful Dianthus armeria commonly known as Deptford Pink or Pink Grass grows just about everywhere in Kevin’s pasture and a few areas here on the farm. Although it is considered a native Missouri plant, it is not originally from North America. Although they are plentiful in “poorer” soils, they don’t compete well with other plants where the ground is more fertile. In other words, they are not pushy. The leaves are high in saponins which makes it fairly unattractive to livestock. Most photos online show plants with white spots on the petals, but as you can see in the above photo, these seem to have maroon spots. Hmmm…

 

Erigeron sp. on 6-19-19, #592-16.

There are LOTS of this Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) growing just about everywhere. I haven’t correctly identified the species because there are likely to be several that look so much alike it is hard to tell. The same is true for Symphytotrichum species. 🙂 The two genera mainly differ in petal length and type of catalysts, but there may be up to three species of each growing here on the farm I am sure. When I got more into wildflower ID here on the farm, I became somewhat frustrated with my many trips back and forth from the computer to the plants. Then there was group growing along the fence in the front pasture that is 3x taller than normal. Not to mention some of the colonies had pinkish flowers. When I realized they were quite amused with my bewilderment, they said, “We are quite variable.” Quite…

 

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-19-19, #592-21.

The Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) are growing in a few isolated areas on Kevin’s farm but I have not seen any here. They are also not originally native to the United States.

 

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) on 6-19-19, #592-22.

They have larger flowers than the above mentioned Fleabane. They have many common names including Ox-Eye Daisy, Dog Daisy, Field Daisy, Marguerite, Moon Daisy, Moon-Penny, Poor-Land Penny, Poverty Daisy, and White Daisy.

 

Libellula luctuosa (Widow Skimmer) on 6-19-19, #592-25.

I have seen a lot of Dragonflies over the years, but this was the first time I have seen a Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa). It flew down right next to where I was working and I got this photo first shot. That was good because it quickly flew to another spot. I chased it down and took a few other photos but they turned out blurry. I didn’t spend much time because I was on the clock… 🙂

 

Melilotus officinalis (Yellow Sweet Clover) on 6-19-19, #592-26.

The Melilotus officinalis (Yellow Sweet Clover) is a native of Eurasia. They can grow 4-6 feet tall but rarely have that opportunity in a pasture. Hay containing this clover must be properly dried because the plants contain coumarin that converts to dicoumarol when the plants become moldy. Dicoumarol is a powerful anticoagulant toxin which can lead to bleeding diseases (internal hemorrhaging) and death in cattle. Although a sweet clover, it has somewhat of a bitter taste because of the coumarin which cows have to get used to. As with all sweet clovers, they provide nectar for honeybees.

 

Rosa setigera (Climbing Rose) on 6-19-19, #592-30.

There are a few trees with Climbing Roses (Rosa setigera) growing in them along a creek. I have several Multiflora Roses (Rosa multiflora) on the farm but none of these (Although I have seen them along the trail next to the farm).

 

Terrapene carolina triunguis (Three-Toed Box Turtle) on 6-19-19, #592-37.

I almost stepped on this Three-Toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis). I love turtles and wish I would see more of them. I am not sure how many turtle photos I have taken over the years but there are A LOT in the folder.

 

Terrapene carolina triunguis (Three-Toes Box Turtle) on 6-19-19, #592-38.

This one was very shy and may have not ever encountered a human before. It would not show its face and I didn’t have time to encourage it. I always like to take photos of their faces because they come in many colors. Turtles are very long-lived, up to 50 years or longer.

 

Verbascum blattaria (Moth Mullein) on 6-19-19, #592-41.

Last week I photographed the Moth Mullein Verbascum blattaria f. albaflora in the front part of the pasture, and this week I found Verbascum blattaria. The same species just different color of flowers. Although they are beautiful flowers, several states have declared them a noxious weed… Verbascum blattaria are native to parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa but are flourishing in the United States (even Hawaii) and southern Canada. The Wikipedia article says “a study conducted in 1974 reported that when a number of Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae were exposed to a methanol extract of moth mullein, at least 53% of the larvae were killed. V. blattaria has also long been known to be an effective cockroach repellent, and the name blattaria is actually derived from the Latin word for cockroach, blatta.” Hmmm…

It further says: “In a famous long-term experiment, Dr. William James Beal, then a professor of botany at Michigan Agriculture College, selected seeds of 21 different plant species (including V. blattaria) and placed seeds of each in 20 separate bottles filled with sand. The bottles, left uncorked, were buried mouth down (so as not to allow moisture to reach the seeds) in a sandy knoll in 1879. The purpose of this experiment was to determine how long the seeds could be buried dormant in the soil, and yet germinate in the future when planted. In 2000, one of these bottles was dug up, and 23 seeds of V. blattaria were planted in favorable conditions, yielding a 50% germination rate.” That’s after 121 YEARS!

Of all the hours I have spent digging and spraying thistles, I have only taken photos a couple of days while I was working. Most days I haven’t had my camera with me. Most of the wildflowers on Kevin’s farm are the same as here, but there have been exceptions. Once you have a good camera and some experience, it only takes a few seconds to get good photos. I am using a Canon SX610 HS which I carry in my back pocket. I have used more expensive cameras in the past, but this one takes even better photos and is so handy. Even so, some flowers are hard to take photos of.

I didn’t work today because we had a storm come in. It was nice! (I laughed at that one…) Maybe I am a little strange, but I am not the only one. Dad and I both used to sit on the back porch together in many storms. We were under the roof of course.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive and continue giving thanks. As always, a little dirt is good for you.

Sunday Photos on Wednesday

Amorphophallus sp. on 6-16-19, #591-5.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you well. The Robins are singing this morning, giving thanks for being the early bird who gets the worms. I remember walking to catch a ride for work at 4:30 AM and they were already hopping about singing. It was quite a chorus! I am just going to post a few highlights of the photos I took on Sunday.

Of all the plants budding and flowering, it is always AWESOME to see the Amorphophallus (Voodoo Lily) when it starts coming up. I stuck my finger down to where the corm was and noticed it was sending up a petiole, but it wasn’t until the 6th of June that it peeked through the soil. Then I noticed on Sunday the leaves were starting to emerge. It is pretty neat! Almost reminds me of a squid. Last year I was gradually rewarded with a lot of babies, so I am wondering how many there will be this year. Of course, it is has been three days since I took the above photo.

 

Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’ on the front porch on 6-16-19, #591-2.

This Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’ on the front porch is doing great now. It spent the winter in my bedroom but was very glad to get back outside.

 

Aloe juvenna on 6-16-19, #591-3.

The Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) is quite an interesting Aloe. It needs bright light or the leaves will stretch. In full sun, the leaves will take on a reddish color and too much will burn their leaves. I don’t like my Aloe leaves to burn and at times it hasn’t had enough sun. So, the leaves on this cluster, some being short and some longer, reflect when it has had different periods of light.

 

xAlworthia ‘Black Gem’ on 6-16-19, #591-4.

I don’t know much about the xAlworthia ‘Black Gem’ since I haven’t had it very long. I still need to check its roots to see if there is a plug wrapping around them… I am curious because I can see the plug wrapping around the Gasteria ‘Little Warty’…

 

Aristaloe aristata on 6-16-19, #591-6.

The Aristaloe aristata (Lace Aloe) and family are doing very well. I am wondering if it will flower? It is a very nice plant and I am thankful to have found it. You just never know what rarities you will find.

 

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ on 6-16-19, #591-7.

The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ is STILL flowering. This is a very nice plant and if you haven’t tried one and have the chance to bring one home, I suggest you do.

 

The left side of the north bed on 6-16-19, #591-8.

OK, I have to admit the north bed is driving me crazy. That even made me laugh! First of all, the Achillea millefolium is NOT supposed to be there. I try to pretend they aren’t there but the taller they get the harder that becomes. There are actually two there, but one decided to lay down on the job. I suppose it thinks if it lays down it is hiding. I moved the mother clump to the barn last year then these came up this spring along with several others closer to the house. I “intended” to move them to the south bed, so hopefully, I can get that done this week when I “hopefully” have a chance to work there. They need to be moved because the Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ is hidden behind them. So is the Echinacea ‘Cherry Pops’ that miraculously returned unexpectedly. Oh, yeah I almost forgot… The two Conoclinum coelestinum that decided so come up are under it. You never know if, when or where they will pop up. I also planted the Xanthosoma robustum to the right of the Astilbe but apparently, it rotted. A friend from Alabama is sending me a Xanthosoma sagittifolium so it will go somewhere between the Astilbe and the Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant.

 

Right side of the north bed on 6-16-19, #591-9.

The right side of the north bed… OK, a series of things… First off, I wanted to extend the north bed out farther. Since my son and his friend are here, and they “said they would help out”, I told them they could extend the bed. I showed Chris what I wanted him to do, in detail. When they said they were finished, they had just dug one strip from the end of the gutter to where it joined with the left curve. It was not even straight. 🙂 I had told him to turn over everywhere there wasn’t plants and to remove the grass. He said, “Oh, I thought you wanted a ditch.” Now, why would I want a ditch? Needless to say, I went ahead and planted the Colocasia esculenta rhizomes and Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’.

Trust me, this bed is normally neat and tidy but this spring has been officially weird. It has rained off and on then the soil stays damp here. Then sometimes when I have time to work here the soil is damp or the grass and weeds are kind of wet. I do not like working in damp soil because it can make it hard. I don’t like working in damp grass and weeds because the chiggers seem to be worse. I rate chiggers at the top of the “do not like” list with poison ivy, thorns (Roses), flat tires, dead batteries, and mosquitos. Eventually, this bed will look great.

 

The northeast corner bed on 6-16-19, #591-10.

The northeast corner bed looks pretty good especially since Thor seems to be doing a pretty good job keeping the moles away. The only plant you can’t see is the small mound of Achillea tomentosa ‘LoGrow Goldie’. Ummm… It is now under the Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’. So, I guess I need to move it. Maybe to the left of Thor in front of the Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’. There are a few Conoclinum coelestinum in this bed now, too. One next to Thor and a few that have recently came up under the Salvia. This is a small area but I have a tendency to pack plants in it anyway. It looked really good last year.

 

Begonias on the front porch on 6-16-19, #591-13.

Three of the Begonias are doing well but ‘Brazilian Lady’, which is normally looking great, is a pitiful sight. Normally, I keep them in the basement over the winter where they do fine but I kept them in the front bedroom this year. ‘Brazilian Lady’ didn’t approve…

 

Miniature Begonia on 6-16-19, #591-12.

The unnamed miniature Begonia did fine during the winter but half rotted when I moved the plants outside. Now I need to re-pot it.

Well, the deadline for naming this post “Sunday Photos on Tuesday” has past. I just looked at the time at it is 1:11 AM Wednesday… SO, I suppose that means I should go to bed and finish later. That screws up my next post and hoping to write a post a day. 🙂 I had to change the title of this post to “Sunday Photos on Wednesday”.

—-

OK, now I am back working on the post at 4:22 PM when I really want to take a nap. I have been digging thistles for about 3 hours.

Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) on 6-16-19, #591-15.

The Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) is going GREAT although it looks pretty much like it did the last time I took photos. I think maybe the leaves have grown a little. 🙂

 

Gasteria obliqua (Ox Tongue) on 6-16-19, #591-18.

This Gasteria has remained unnamed for a while so I have resorted to making a decision to call it Gasteria obliqua. Most Gasteria species of this type have rough leaves and very few are smooth like this one. Since those species are all now synonyms of G. obliqua, I guess that narrows my choice down to one. Unless it is a cultivar or a hybrid… I posted photos on a few Facebook groups twice but only got a few “likes” and no suggestions. One lady said it could be ‘Little Warty’ but that would be impossible. I clearly said it has smooth leaves and ‘Little Warty’ has warts. So, for now, it is Gasteria obliqua.

Gasteria obliqua has 39 synonyms!

 

Haworthiopsis limifolia (Faries Washboard) on 6-16-19, #591-20.

The Haworthiopsis limifolia (Faries Washboard, File Leafed Haworthia) is a pretty neat plant. There is a strange issue, however, with the species. Well, maybe not an issue, just issues. Apparently, there are several “varieties” which can get a little confusing when you do a little research about Haworthiopsis limifolia. You have to dig a little deeper. There are many photos online of Haworthiopsis limifolia (Syn. Haworthia limifolia) that look nothing like this plant. That is because they are not using the “variety” name. Then there are MANY websites that have the spelling completely wrong by using the name Haworthiopsis limafolia… The many “varieties” made me wonder if the name “Faries Washboard” was a common name or cultivar name. Well, the straight species is known as Fairies Washboard or File Leafed Haworthia. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says, “It obtained its name “limifolia” (File Leafed) from the distinctive, dark brownish-green leaves, with transverse ridges of raised, horny, tubercles which resemble those of a coarse file and give it such a distinctive appearance.” Hmmm… Dave’s Garden says limifolia = From the Latin limes (file), referring to the acicular or linear leaves.

 

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ on 6-16-19, #591-22.

The Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ is STILL in the pot I brought it home in. I have not decided where I want to put it to spread and pop up here and there. It seems I already have enough plants that pop up unexpectedly, but maybe for this one it would be OK. It is just the re-seeders that take their sweet time coming up that throw me a curve. Most perennials can be moved here early enough in the spring. But, from my past experience with this one in Mississippi, no telling where it will show up. I am not going to talk about the Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) in this post. I promise. 🙂

 

Ledebouria socialis var. violacea on 6-16-19, #591-30.

One of the most important discoveries of late was the bud on the Ledebouria socialis var. violacea (Silver Squill) on June 8. Then I noticed it had another one on the 16th.

 

Ledebouria socialis var. pauciflora on 6-16-19, #591-28.

Then when I went to take a photo of the Ledebouria socialis var. pauciflora, it had one, too! NICE! I am beginning to really like these plants. My plant friend from Alabama is going to send two more and a Drimiopsis maculata, which is similar.

 

Stapelia gigantea on 6-16-19, #591-41.

The Stapelia gigantea is doing very well and growing. I can hardly wait until it flowers. It is in the same group of plants as the Huernia schneideriana. It is a Carrion Plant, too, whose common name is Zulu Giant or Toad Plant. 🙂 I bought this plant from a seller on Ebay last fall and he sent SIX rooted cuttings which I put in the same pot. Hmmm…

Well, I think I am going to close this post before I have to change the title again. I was distracted earlier by a nap, then I started re-arranging the potting table on the back porch. Then I had to re-pot a couple of cactus. I need to eat dinner, but I wanted to get this post finished first. Now it is already 9:07 PM!

Until next time, be safe, stay positive and always be thankful. If you have time, GET DIRTY!

Monday Catch Up Post… Photos From Last Week

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. You will notice right off the bat I am a day late with this post. The photos on this post were taken from the 12 through the 16th. I am going to “attempt” to write a new post each day I take photos, even if I only take photos of one plant. Ummm… I took photos every day but one last week and 44 on Sunday. So, I think what I will do with this post is kind of catch up with the highlights of the past week through the 16th. Well, maybe I will think about it and have it figured out by the end of this post.

When I was mowing last Tuesday, I spotted this tiny toad running for his life in front of the garage door. I stopped the mower and picked it up so I could move it to a safer location. Over the years I have seen many baby toads, but this one is the smallest yet.

 

Mammillaria decipiens on 6-12-19, #587-2.

The Mammillaria decipiens has even more buds now. They are probably opening by now but may be closed up by the time I take photos.

 

Zantedeschia elliottiana (Golden Calla Lily) on 6-12-19, #587-5.

The Golden Calla Lily (Zantedeschia elliottiana) is now starting to flower. It didn’t flower last year so I did something different when I replanted the bulbs this spring. I read the instructions. 🙂 You are supposed to leave the upper half of the bulb exposed. I guess it must have worked since they are starting to flower.

Driving down a street today I saw a HUGE cluster of white Calla Lilies in front of a house. They were very tall and LOADED with flowers. Since I have passed by this house nearly every day and this is the first time I saw them, I guess they are newly planted there. I couldn’t tell, but they may be in a pot.

I am looking at the photo folders for each day… I already posted about the new bed at the church and new plants, so I can skip the 13th.

 

Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house on 6-14-19, #589-1.

The Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house are really doing well this year. I think I already posted about them before but I wanted to do it again. I know they are just a Yarrow and you can see them all over the countryside.

 

Achillea millefolium flowers on 6-14-19, #589-2.

But, I love their flowers!

 

Alocasia ‘Calidora’ on 6-14-19, #589-3.

I’m not sure how tall this oldest Alocasia ‘Calidora’ is, but it is taller than me. I am 8′ tall, so the plant is pretty big.

 

Alocasia ‘Calidora’ on 6-14-19, #589-4.

The other two Alocasia ‘Calidora’ are looking very good, too. I gave a lot of Alocasia to Wagler’s last summer so I am down to just a few pots. Of course, this is not all of them…

 

Alocasia ‘Portora’ on 6-14-19, #589-5.

Alocasia ‘Portora’ is one of the nicest looking with their darker stems and ruffled leaves. I purchased the great grandmother of these plants from Wellspring Gardens 10 YEARS AGO! She was almost 8 feet tall when I left her behind with a friend when I moved back to Missouri in 2013. I didn’t realize I could have just cut the leaves off and brought it.

I keep forgetting I need to re-pot the Alocasia gageana AGAIN. They are behind a shed I walk by every day when I feed the chickens, where all the plants on the front and back porch used to be. Every time I walk by, I say “I need to get those girls re-potted.” I need to take their photos, too!

 

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ bud on 6-14-19, #589-6.

As I was looking at the plants in the shade bed, I noticed the buds on the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ are different than the buds on the other Hosta. Strange I never noticed that before… Isn’t it odd how we can be around something so often and not notice certain details that make them unique?

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ bud on 6-14-19, #589-7.

Most Hosta buds look similar to this one on Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’.

 

Rudbeckia hirta, left, and Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 6-14-19, #589-8.

Somehow I think allowing the native Rudbeckia hirta to have its way in this bed was not really a good idea. I moved the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ to this spot from the north bed a few years ago to see how it would do in more sun. At that time, there was only one Rudbeckia hirta in the bed… Ummm… This bed is along the northeast corner of the old foundation of my grandparent’s old house. The house I moved to after my grandfather passed away in 1981. This was my first Hosta bed back then. When I moved back here in 2013, dad and I planted some rhubarb and horseradish we got from a friend, Ross Hampton, in this bed. Ross was the former foreman at Marti Poultry Farm. There were a lot of surviving old Iris along the north side of the foundation, which I didn’t put there in the 80’s, that dad was mowing over. I moved them to the corner of this bed… I had the Marigold ‘Brocade’ in this bed for a couple of years, too.

 

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ on 6-14-19, #589-10.

I must admit the change in the Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ has been a transforming experience. We are are here to learn from our experiences and this plant has taught me a lot. When we are down and almost to the point of giving up we have to realize the power we really have and what we are really capable of. Who we really are and what we can do. We can give up, or we can choose to live! A few years ago, this plant was down to just a few stems and now it is AMAZING! It didn’t give up!

 

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum on 6-14-19, #589-11.

One thing you might notice is the color of the flowers now. In previous posts, they were yellow… Actually, the yellow petals have fallen off and these will become seed pods. Notice the swollen clusters at the top of the photo. This is a new experience for me.

On to June Saturday, June 15…

 

Aloe maculata bud on 6-15-19, #590-2.

The Aloe maculata is very happy and is sprouting it’s first but for 2019. NICE! The Aloe maculata and I have a long history dating back to 2009 in Mississippi when a good friend brought me an offset from his grandmother’s plant. So, this is our 10th Year Anniversary along with Alocasia ‘Portora’…

Hmmm… Maybe I should do a 10th Anniversary post. I actually started blogging in 2009.

 

Malva sylvestris on 6-15-19, #590-13.

The Malva sylvestris seems to like it in this neglected spot. I have planted a few things in this area that have never taken off. I have even amended the soil with “the Good Stuff” and nothing worked. It looks like this version of the miniature Hollyhock is going to work… Hmmm… This could be a spreader if it likes it here well enough. Time will tell.

 

The south bed on 6-15-19, #590-18.

Now I have my work cut out for me… Now that the Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ seedlings are ready to transplant in their proper places. I usually put them in two rows along the wall but I may do something a little different. I’m not sure yet…

 

Possibly Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’ on 6-15-19, #590-14.

I’m not 100% sure, but the “missing” Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’ seedlings may be mostly in the yard along the bed… I will dig them up and transplant them to the bed and see what happens. It would have been nice of them to come up in the bed but… They came up much earlier last spring and were actually beginning to bud on June 3. Here it is June 15 in this photo!

 

Southeast corner bed on 6-15-19, #590-19.

I am not really happy with the looks of the southeast corner bed either. The Centaurea flowers are really neat but they are a bit sprawly. The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is still wondering why I relocated it, even though I told it why. I think it needs some fertilizer. If it doesn’t do well here, it may not return in 2020 and I have had this plant since 2013. It is nice to see the Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) flowering. The Echinacea purpurea on the left has done quite well and the flowers are beginning to open. I didn’t know the cultivar, but while I was writing captions on the photos the name ‘Magnus’ appeared in my mind. I thought, “‘Magnus’? Where did that come from?” I did a search for Echinacea ‘Magnus’ and sure enough it is a cultivar. I guess “someone” is helping me out. I guess I better listen and conclude this cultivar of Echinacea purpurea is ‘Magnus’.

I have done several things with this bed over the past three years that have worked well. I must admit, it certainly doesn’t have much PIZAZZ this year. YET… I would have bought more Angelonia ‘Perfectly Pink’ for this spot, but they were not to be found this year. You never know what will be available from one year to the next…

I think I will stop here since there are 44 photos in the next folder from Sunday, June 16… I will make another post for them then try doing a post a day. GEEZ! Once I catch up. It is Monday already but at least I didn’t take any new photos today… So, I will catch up with the next post, Sunday Photos on Tuesday. Oh, heck, it is already 12:12 AM on Tuesday.

I know I have been very bad about reading your posts for the past, ummm… Well, it has been a while. I have managed to read your new posts over the past few days and I will try to make time every day to stay caught up. I do have to make a post about an issue I am having with WordPress. I had a chat with customer service and explained the issue and he somehow got on my blog, in the reader. I copied and pasted the home page of one of the blogs I follow to show him the issue. His reply was, “That’s weird.” I told him I was thinking about writing a post about it but I wanted to see if it could be fixed before I did that. He agreed posting about it would be a good idea and said he would look into the problem further and email me what be figured out. It has been a couple of weeks and I have heard nothing and the issue still persists. SO, I will be posting about it this week. I hate to complain and I have really enjoyed using WordPress for the past 10 years.

Until next time, take care, stay positive, have fun and be thankful.

New Bed At Church & Six New Plants For Me

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and getting dirty! I am glad I was asked to help with the bed in front of the church steps. Well, maybe it was kind of my fault in a way that it needed re-planted in the first place. There has been Malva sylvestris (French Hollyhock) growing in the front bed and a couple of daylilies for several years. Two falls ago, after the “F”, I was asked to clean out the bed but I explained I usually do it in the spring (in my own beds). This spring, before I had a chance to do it, someone else did (not to mention names) and they pulled everything up instead of cutting the dead stems. Then “he” asked if I would go with “him” to the greenhouse and find some plants to put in the bed. Well, I needed a good reason to go to the greenhouses, as if I needed a reason at all. So, we made plans and went on Wednesday (the 12th). I took “him” to all four but we just brought back plants from three. I had a few ideas in my head before we went from what I knew was available at Wildwood. We stopped at Wagler’s first but I didn’t see anything that caught my eye. Mrs. Wagler wasn’t there so we didn’t get a chance to visit. Kind of late in the season anyway. Then we went to Wildwood… So, I had this image in my head with what we initially bought from Wildwood, but I wanted to go to Muddy Creek to see what they had. They were almost completely sold out but I found two plants that completely rearranged my initial plan. Then we stopped at Masts and I decided the Purple Fountain Grass would look good on both ends of the bed. Once we came back to the church and I laid all the pots out, I decided we needed more plants. Everything we bought first went on one side so I needed more plants to duplicate the same thing on the other side. 🙂 To be quite honest, the Coleus were not part of the plan but they somehow made their way to the counter and to the church…

From left to right… 1 Purple Fountain Grass, 3 Rudbeckia hirta ‘Becky Cinnamon Bicolor’, 3 Gazinia ‘Arizona Apricot’, 1 Dracaena indivisa (Spikes), 3 Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy, 1 Veronica longifolia ‘Very Van Gogh’, another Dracaena, 1 Achillea ‘Sassy Summer Silver’, another Dracaena, another Veronica longifolia ‘Very Van Gogh, another Dracaena, 3 more Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy… WAIT A MINUTE… Something is weird. Skip the last Dracaena and put here. Then 3 more Gaillardia, umm, ‘Arizona Apricot’, 3 more Rudbeckia ‘Becky Cinnamon Bicolor’, 3 more, no, 1 Purple Fountain Grass. Then, of course, the Coleus, three somewhere in the middle when it is an odd number. OH CRAP! I need another one, or maybe just take cuttings from them all and put them here and there. Hmmm… Now maybe some mulch would be a good idea. 🙂

While we were at Wildwood and Muddy Creek, I saw I needed to go back… So, on Thursday the 13th, I decided I would take them some plants as a good reason to go. I potted up a few Coleus argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ and Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum) from the south bed both of them (since I have thousands to spare). I had promised the owners of Muddy Creek some Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip (Bugleweed) so I took them as well…

 

Achillea ‘Sassy Summer Silver’.

Well, what can I say? I had been wanting an Achillea ‘Moonshine’ for many years but Achillea just isn’t something you often see at the local garden centers and greenhouses. In fact, Muddy Creek didn’t have these Achillea ‘Sassy Summer Silver’ when I went before. I picked up one for the church then went back and brought one home the next day. It will go in the south bed and it will grow 26-30″ tall.

 

Flowers of the Achillea ‘Sassy Summer Silver’

The flowers are very interesting with very tight, coarse, stiff, almost hard clusters. Zooming in or getting closer made it a little too blurry but I’ll get a good one later. 🙂

 

Silvery-green leaves of the Achillea 'Sassy Summer Silver'.

There is no species name on the label, but the leaves look similar to Achillea tomentosa. I checked online, and a few websites say it is Achillea millefolium ‘Sassy Summer Silver’. Ummm… The leaves are NOT Achillea millefolium leaves! So, I went to the source and sent Andrew Jager from Walters Gardens an email. He says Achillea ‘Sassy Summer Silver’ is a complex hybrid with multiple species in the background. One of the parents is Achillea ‘Moonshine’ and the other “unnamed” cultivar is also a complex hybrid. He also said one of the unifying species for the Sassy Summer Series is Achillea sibirica*. He went on to say he could not confirm there was any Achillea tomentosa… Other members of the Sassy Summer Collection have lemon yellow, red, pink, and orange flowers.

From previous research for the Achillea ‘Moondust’ page, which is a “chance” seedling from Achillea ‘Moonshine’ (which is open-pollinated), it is believed Achillea ‘Moonshine’s’ parents are Achillea clypeolata and A. taygetea (in a roundabout way). Achillea ‘Moonshine’ was introduced by Alan Bloom in the 1950’s.

*Ummm… According to Plants of the World Online, Achillea sibirica is NOW a synonym of Achillea alpina. GEEZ!

 

Veronica longifolia ‘Very Van Gogh’.

PREVIOUSLY, when I made the planters for a friend, I used three Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles’ I found at Muddy Creek. This time, they had Veronica ‘Very Van Gogh’ and no ‘Royal Candles’. So, I picked out one for the church and then went back AGAIN and got another one. Of course, when I went back the next day I decided to bring one home which I will also try in the south bed. According to the internet, it is a cultivar of Veronica longiflolia, and according to POWO, it is a current and accepted species. 🙂 Of course, it could be a “complex” hybrid and the internet is wrong. Didn’t that happen before? OH, NO! Veronica ‘Very Van Gogh’ is also an introduction of Walters Gardens. I just noticed that or I could have quizzed Andrew about it, too… OK, when he replies to my last reply, I will reply about this one.

Veronica ‘Very Van Gogh’ grows 18-20″ tall x 20-24″ wide. I have grown several Veronica cultivars but I have difficulty getting to return the following year.

 

xMangave ‘Pineapple Express’ after I brought it home on 6-13-19, #588-4.

While I was waiting for someone to show up at Muddy Creek, I noticed A LOT of this xMangave ‘Pineapple Express’ in a greenhouse by themselves. I have always wanted to try an xMangave or Manfreda, so this was my chance. Most of the plants they had had longer leaves, but I selected one that was wider and more compact. xMangave is a cross between Agave and Manfreda. xMangave ‘Pineapple Express’ is the result of a cross between xMangave ‘Bloodspot’ and xMangave ‘Jaguar’. Ummm… It was also introduced by Walters Gardens as part of their Mad About Mangave Collection.

I checked with Plants of the World Online, and they said xMangave is a synonym of Agave… Of course, so is the genus Manfreda. So, according to them, this would be an Agave ‘Pineapple Express’. So, should I mention to Andrew that Walters Gardens Mad About Mangave Collection is all screwed up? Somehow I think my next reply to him won’t be met with much enthusiasm… Well, you have to admit, the plant in the above photo does look like an Agave

 

Rosette of the xMangave ‘Pineapple Express’.

OK, so let’s be sensible… Agave species and cultivars always have solid or striped leaves, right? All but a few of the Manfreda species and cultivars I have seen have “spotted” leaves with a few being solid green. Some have very wavy leaves and some of their leaves are fairly narrow and they are spineless. Manfreda also differs from Agave in being herbaceous AND bulbous as is the genus Polianthes and Prochnyanthes. POWO says Polianthes and Prochnyanthes are also synonyms of Agave now.

As it turns out, testing has revealed that ManfredaPolianthes, and Prochnyanthes are Agave… It’s complicated. Most of the species from the three genera have retained their species names while a few were already synonymous with other Agave species. Now, what do you think of that? I learn something every day!

While back at Wildwood…

Sempervivum ‘Cosmic Candy’.

Mr. Yoder and I always talk A LOT about plants in a serious way. He is trying to learn the scientific names. 🙂 He gets A LOT of succulents from a distributor of ChickCharms which specializes in Sempervivum. I really like Sempervivum but there are SOOOOO many cultivars that are exactly the same and have the same parents. It is REALLY whacky! To make it worse, many plants are often mislabeled and customers and employees of garden centers can’t tell the difference. Wildwood had several Sempervivum labeled ‘Berry Bomb’ that are actually ChickCharms cultivar called ‘Cosmic Candy’. ‘Cosmic Candy’ is a cultivar of or a hybrid involving Sempervivum arachnoideum that have all the hairs. S. arachnoideum is commonly known as the Cobweb Houseleek.

 

A closer look at the Sempervivum ‘Cosmic Candy’ from ChickCharms.

The Sempervivum arachnoideum are typically green with the cobwebs and the rosettes are fairly smaller and tight. Sempervivum arachnoideum subsp. tomentosum have broader and more open rosettes and have the reddish color in the spring and early summer. More than likely, ‘Cosmic Candy’ is a hybrid of the cobwebs would be longer instead of just looking a bit hairy. Maybe they will get longer with time. We shall see. It is a very beautiful Semp!

 

Tradescantia zebrina from Wildwood.

He has quite a collection of Tradescantia species and he said he would like to have them all. I gave him the species names and he admires how the leaves are so different on some plants. He is really intrigued with the Tradescantia fluminensis var. variegata and how some of their leaves are pure white, striped, and even solid green on the same plant and sometimes on the same stem. I brought this Tradescantia zebrina home because the plant(s) I have leaves with more refined stripes while this one is less refined, more streaked. Weird… I still need to take him a pot of Tradescantia sillamontana (White Gossamer Plant). Last time I was there I took him several Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart) cuttings and a pot of Billbergia nutans.

 

Zantedeschia sp. from Wildwood.

While I was at Wildwood before, I noticed several pots of Calla Lily sitting on the floor next to the counter. I looked them over but I didn’t bring any home. We got to talking about them and he said he grew them from seed he found in one of his catalogs. He planted, even outside, and they came up, but he said they don’t look right. Although the tag in the pot says Zantedeschia aethiopica, he said it was just a generic tag he found from a supplier. Strange, though, the photo on the tag shows a Calla with green leaves and white flowers. Ummm… Zantedeschia aethiopica have spotted leaves. This plant’s leaves are more heart-shaped (cordate) while my Zantedeschia aethiopica stand straight up and has more… Anyway, he gave me a pot to see what I could do with it. I put it in a different pot with different soil so we shall see what happens.

Well, I think that is it for this post. I still have more photos I have taken over the past week to post. This week went by so fast and I can’t hardly believe it is Saturday ALREADY! I started out the week attempting to write a post a day with the photos I took every day but that didn’t happen. GEEZ! Maybe I can do better this coming week…

Until then… Be safe and stay positive! Don’t forget to be thankful and GET DIRTY!

The Usual Joys & “Are You Serious?”

Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic) on 6-9-19, #585-1.

Hello, everyone! I hope this post finds you well. It happens every year… Some perennials come up earlier than others and some you have to wonder about. Then there are the re-seeders you have to wait on to see if they are going to come up at all. You are ready to get the beds tidied up and make decisions about what you are going to do with the beds. You go plant shopping to see what is available and bring home new plants. Some plants you liked the year before aren’t available so you get to try new cultivars and new plants.

The Elephant Garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) in the above photo is now flowering in the south bed. A great example of having your cake and eating it, too.

 

Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’ on 6-9-19, #585-2.

A few of the older Alocasia went dormant and this Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’ is FINALLY waking up. Two others are still thinking about it.

 

Hmmm… Last spring I bought a Siberian Bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’. It did very well and was a beautiful plant. Once the Japanese Beetles really set in on the Chinese Elm tree and changed its environment, it started ailing. By the end of July, it was completely dead. I didn’t see anything online about this species going dormant so early, so I just contributed its demise was because of the heat and increased light. I left the label in place just in case it returned in the spring because you never know. I always say, “Just because it is dead doesn’t mean it is dead.” I have been surprised many times. Well, there is a plant coming up beside the label but there is a weed with similar leaves, which I haven’t bothered to ID. So, this is either the Bugloss returning or a weed trying to fool me… Most likely, the latter is the case. But, I am keeping an eye on it. 🙂

By the time I am finished with this post, which is likely to take several days, maybe we can tell what is really going on here.

 

Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ on 6-9-19, #585-6.

Waiting and waiting… Then all the sudden, “OH, CRAP!” Almost time to transplant the Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ and Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar).

 

Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) seedlings on 6-9-19, #585-22.

It happens every spring… It seems I need to work on the south bed but I always think I have to wait for the Celosia and Jewels of Opar to come up. Last spring the Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’ came up in abundance from self-sown seed but barely any came up this spring. In fact, I am not so sure any did and I was beginning to wonder about the Celosia. But when they did come up, they really came up! I think I am pretty safe if I don’t even worry if they will come up and just go ahead and do whatever I want with the south bed when I am in the mood. The Celosia and Jewels of Opar will come up when they are ready and it doesn’t matter where I dig. I will still have more than enough.

 

Colocasia esculenta on 6-9-19, #585-7.

The Colocasia esculenta are finally coming up in the north bed. I didn’t post photos, but something terrible happened with the BIG rhizomes… The biggest ones had crown rot but the majority of the rhizome was OK. It just made the smaller eyes come up around the rhizomes instead of the main one from the center. Hard to explain but maybe you get the picture… It was unusual, but the small Colocasia esculenta I planted in the front of the Canna bed overwintered with leaf mulch and came up long before the rhizomes I planted… I don’t know what the Xanthosoma robustum is going to do because it sort of had the same problem only in a different way. It rotted from the bottom instead of the top. Last time I checked, the top sprout had broken off but there is some kind of activity on the remainder of the rhizome… Time will tell. The temps have been weird and the soil has remained cool and damp which they don’t like…

 

Conoclinum coelestinum ‘Aunt Inez’ on 6-9-19, #585-8.

TRIPLE GEEZ! The Conoclinum coelestinum (Blue Mist Flower) I call ‘Aunt Inez’ always comes up so late. It is a perennial or sorts but these always come up from seed. Supposedly, they are an herbaceous perennial that “spreads aggressively” by rhizomes and self-seeding. Dad got his start from Aunt Inez (his mother’s sister) many years ago. They were in a good-sized group on both sides of the steps but they have declined, which may be partly my fault. I have been panting other plants where they grow which had led to their seeds being lost or not being able to come up. It was kind of tiresome waiting for them to come up then having to move them around a bit. (GEEZ! That is like in the south bed!). Then after I get the beds planted, a few come up… I am not complaining at all, and I am thankful that at least a few have made an appearance. I have tried to relocate a few in the past, but they never return the next spring. As far as them spreading “aggressively” by rhizome, I have never had that happen and it would be a good thing if they even tried. They are a nice plant with neat flowers. The worse thing about their seedlings is that one might think they are a weed and pull them up by accident. My dad used to keep an eye on me and was quick to point them out. He would say, “that’s one of those flowers. You have to be careful not to pull them up.” 🙂

 

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Cone Flower) on 6-9-19, #585-9.

The Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) “are” now budding. They have done very well and are getting very tall. I am so thankful I have these now! I failed to dig up a few of the Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower) along a back road which I wanted to plant somewhere on the farm.

Grammarly thinks “are” should be “is”. I had to remind it “are” is a present and plural form of “be” and “is” the singular present form. 🙂 We are at a stalemate and it is thinking about it.

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ on 6-9-19, #585-10.

The Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ is looking MUCH better now. I was beginning to wonder for a while if it would make it.

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ on 6-9-19, #585-11.

The very nice Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ is going to bless us with its first flowers this year. It’s first!

 

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ wannabe on 6-9-19, #585-12.

Hmmm… The Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ wannabe is getting a little bigger. It is driving me NUTS not knowing the true cultivar name. I am going to turn the label around so it can read that it says “Hosta ‘Blue Angel’.” I am sure it will tell me, “Yes, I am blue (well kind of) and I am an angel. But I am NOT Hosta ‘Blue Angel’.” 🙂

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on 6-9-19, #585-13.

The Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ definitely has no identity crisis. Its flowers are just as compact, neat and tidy as the whole clump.

 

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ on 6-9-13, #585-14.

The always glowing Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ is further dazzling us with buds.

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ on 6-9-19, #585-15.

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is looking especially AWESOME this year and flowering right on schedule. I took photos of the Hosta on 6-9-2018 and it didn’t have buds, but it did on the 14th. So, we are pretty much right on schedule.

 

Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ on 6-9-19, #585-16.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE! I had almost forgotten about the Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ (Bee Balm)! I saw it had sprouted a while back, but the Creeping Jenny had completely covered it it. When I was taking photos on Sunday, it said “HERE I AM! DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME!” I smelled its leaves to make sure it was really it. 🙂 I am very thankful it came up. Now, we’ll see if it flowers.

 

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper) on 6-9-19, #585-17.

The Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is one of those “I fooled you” plants when they are very young. You can easily mistake it for a Viola and not pull it up. Sometimes their second set of leaves may even resemble Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), which fooled me for several years at this stage. I had plenty of both in Mississippi and was always getting a little rash after pulling weeds in the back yard even though I didn’t see any poison ivy where I was working. Then one day I noticed the Violets I didn’t pull had three leaves so I thought Poison Ivy started out looking like Violets. Well, that is not the case. Small Poison Ivy starts out with leaves of three while the Virginia Creeper starts out looking like Viola species. By the second or third set of leaves, you can clearly see the five-leaved Virginia Creeper.  Some people break out in a rash similar to Poison Ivy from the sap of the Virginia Creeper as well.

One interesting thing about Poison Ivy is that it is not an Ivy at all. Believe it or not, it is in the family Anacardiaceae with Cashews, Mangos, Pistachios, and many other ornamental trees that produce “fruit” that are drupes. Many of the plants in this family produce sap with urushiol which is what causes the rash. Virginia Creeper (or Woodbine) is in the family Vitaceae along with grapes. These plants produce raphides (crystals of calcium oxalate) which can also cause irritation by puncturing the skin of sensitive people. Umm… I mean people with sensitive skin.

 

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ buds on 6-9-19, #585-19.

The Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is starting to bud now. There will be A LOT of flowers because they really like it where the biggest patch is now.

 

Rudbeckia hirta buds on 6-9-19, #585-19.

I think buds are especially neat on some plants. Here the native Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) buds resemble brown balls wrapped in golden-yellow petals.

 

Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ on 6-9-19, #585-20.

The Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ seems to be having some difficulty expressing itself this spring. It was like it couldn’t speak for a while and was always looking over its shoulder. Then I realized maybe it is the Elephant Garlic… The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ in the other end of the bed had the same difficulty until I removed the garlic next to it. This year it has gone bananananas! Maybe the smell of the garlic and the scent of the Salvia don’t mix well. Chemical reaction. LOL!

 

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) on 6-9-19, #585-21.

The Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina) are blooming once again. They seem to like this spot and I am going to attempt something… I have a plan… Top secret. 🙂

 

Vitex agnus-castus ‘Shoal Creek’ (Chaste Tree) on 6-9-19, #585-23.

The beautiful Chaste Tree, Vitex agnus-castus ‘Shoal Creek’, is looking great and starting to flower. I really like this shrub but it can be weird sometimes. It made it through the winter like a deciduous shrub instead of having to come up from the bottom like a perennial. It has been a few years since it did that. There are a few advantages to that including their stems are much stronger. Last spring it came up from the ground and next thing you know all the stems were flat as a pancake and growing horizontally because the stems were weak. I have photos to prove it. 🙂 So, I am very thankful it growing normal this year.

That’s all for this post. Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful and you know the rest.

 

June 1-8 Update

Linnaea (Abelia) x grandiflora on 6-1-19, #580-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. It looks like we are going to have a few days with no rain in the forecast. I have taken quite a few photos over the past week but have been kind of tardy writing posts. Nothing quite as exciting as the Echinopsis mirabilis flower, though. There have been a few surprises, I must admit, which will be in this post… I took a few photos on a friends farm (and along a highway) of a few wildflowers I don’t have here.

I am starting this post with photos I took on June 1 and proceeding through June 8. Some of the photos I took earlier in the week are already out of date and new photos had to be taken throughout the week. Buds become flowers within a few days. 🙂

The Linnaea x grandiflora (syn. Abelia x grandiflora) is flowering up a storm. It was getting very tall so I cut it in half (down to about 5′) in 2017. I am calling this shrub an Abelia x grandiflora, I mean Linnaea x grandiflora, although I am not 100% sure. The photos that “were” on the Missouri Botanic Plant Finder looked like this shrub. Well, I checked again when I made this post and their photos have changed… Hmmm… They are still calling it an Abelia while Plants of the World Online by Kew have changed the name to Linnaea. SO, WHAT IS IT REALLY? The name change wasn’t that recent either!

 

Linnaea x grandiflora flowers on 6-1-19, #580-2.

There are several cultivars of Abelia/Linnaea x grandiflora, but presently, the only flowers online that look the shrub in my yard are the ones from this blog. GEEZ!!! I guess I will have to go further research AGAIN, because now this shrub doesn’t appear to be what I thought it was in the first place… 🙂 On the bright side, if it isn’t an Abelia or Linnaea, I don’t have to worry about wondering which name I am supposed to use. Any ideas?

(My thanks to Jean Molnar for suggesting this shrub may be a Deutzia scabra ‘Plena’. I believe we have a winner! The cultivar name may not be correct because this shrub is likely to be close to 60 years old.)

 

Catalpa speciosa on 6-1-19, #580-6.

One of my favorite trees is the Catalpa. I love its huge leaves and its beautiful flowers. There are quite a few HUGE Catalpa in town and they are AWESOME this time of the year. I found this tree growing in the old foundation, maybe in 2017, so I removed it and planted it in the yard. It has grown incredibly FAST!

 

Catalpa speciosa flowers on 6-1-19, #580-7.

Here again, I was presented with a problem. There are two species of Catalpa that are nearly identical, Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa) and Catalpa bignoniodes (Southern Catalpa). Supposedly, Catalpa speciosa has slightly larger leaves and flowers but it hard to tell unless you have both to compare. Both are present in Missouri and their range varies from one website to another. I believe the tree I planted in the yard is the Northern Catalpa because they grow taller than the Southern Catalpa. The larger trees in town easily exceed 60′ tall.

 

Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ on 6-1-19, #580-10.

Ummm… My first experience with the gold-leaved Creeping Jenny began with my plant friend, Walley Morse, giving me a start in 2010 when I lived at the mansion in Mississippi. I didn’t bring any with me when I left Mississippi in 2013, but I found ‘Goldilocks’ at Lowe’s in 2014. I put in the center of the bed on the north side of the house, which is mostly shaded, as a groundcover. Although the Creeping Jenny does flower, mine did not for all these years. Most of the Creeping Jenny I have seen in people’s flower beds are growing in the shade. As I have mentioned in earlier posts this year, this Creeping Jenny has found the sun. On June 1, as I was staring up the steps, I almost fell because the Creeping Jenny was LOADED with flowers… Strangely, only the plants in the sun have flowers… While gold-leaved plants brighten a shady area, many of them do quite well in full sun. They make a bright area glow even more.

Then on June 3…

Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle) on 6-1-19, #581-2.

I have been spraying and digging the thistles on a friends farm and it has been very interesting. There were so many it was hard to tell which ones I sprayed and which ones I didn’t. Sometimes I knew I sprayed certain groups and they remained alive and well so I sprayed again. Then the next day they would still be perfectly fine. I finally won when I just dug them up. At home, I have the thistles under control and there were only a few this year. When I say “a few” I mean maybe 20 or so. While I have only had a few Musk Thistle here (two a few years ago and two this year in a different location I never had thistles before), my friend’s farm is LOADED with them. It is like a nightmare! I think the thistles here are mainly Bull Thistle, Cirsium vulgare, but several species look so much alike it is hard to tell, especially from photos. I am NOT a fan of spraying, believe me, and I have controlled the thistles here mainly by digging down about 2″ in the soil and cutting their stem. But, when there are HUNDREDS of them, spraying is the best option. I still plan on writing a post about the thistles but I need to make sure I have the correct ID. Sad to say, thistles are beautiful plants with awesome flowers. Ummm… All parts are edible and apparently loaded with vitamins. You can prepare the buds like artichokes. Nope, I haven’t tried it… Nor have I tried artichokes.

 

Verbascum blattaria f. albiflora (Moth Mullein) on 6-3-19, #581-16.

While working on his farm I noticed these neat flowers growing here and there. They were not growing in colonies, but rather 1-4 spaced several feet apart and only in a couple of areas. I easily identified them later as Verbascum blattaria f. albiflora whose common name is Moth Mullein.

 

Verbascum blattaria f. albiflora (Moth Mullein) on 6-3-19, #581-17.

There are several colors of Verbascum blattaria, but the f. albiflora is particularly nice.

 

Penstemon tubaeflorus (White Wand Beardtongue) on 6-3-19, #581-12.

I had been noticing several large groups of flowers along the highway so I got out and took some photos. I later identified them as Penstemon tubaeflorus, commonly known as White Wand Beardtongue.

 

Penstemon tubaeflorus on 6-3-19, #581-13.

They have particularly interesting flowers with three lower lips and two upper lips with deep throats. The flowers are a pure, glistening white.

I have been keeping an eye on the pink Achillea millefolium I mentioned in an earlier post. Unfortunately, it disappeared. Maybe a cow ate it…

Later in the afternoon…

Amorphophallus sp. on 6-3-19, #581-1.

The Amorphophallus has finally pushed through the soil! I stuck my fingers into the soil a few weeks ago to make sure the two plants in this pot were going to come up. They were slowly working on it… I would really like to know how big their corms are by now but I guess I won’t venture to check.

 

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ on 6-3-19, #581-6.

After having the x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ as a companion since 2016, it is going to flower for the first time. AWESOME!

 

Ledebouria socialis var. pauciflora on 6-4-19, #582-18.

I finally re-arranged the Ledebouria socialis var. pauciflora (Silver Squill) because I was tired of it leaning. This plant is doing very well and SOMEDAY it will start spreading!

 

Ledebouria socialis var. violacea on 6-4-19, #582-24.

I also re-potted the Ledebouria socialis var. violacea and put it in a larger pot because it is having no problems multiplying. I removed a bulb for a friend in Alabama while I was at it. OUCH! Well, he is sending several new plants that I am trading for a few he doesn’t have. So, I agreed to send him one of these since he is sending a couple cultivars of Ledebouria. Ledebouria are pretty neat plants you may want to give a try and they seem very undemanding.

 

Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house on 6-5-19, #583-1.

The Achillea millefolium in front of the chicken house is doing incredibly well this year. They have struggled the past few years because they apparently didn’t have enough sun. I guess all the limbs that fell during the ice storm provided more light for them. They are still inching their way around the corner of the chicken house. The clump I moved in front of the barn last year are doing OK but still haven’t quite gotten with the program. I need to do some research on “older” cultivars that were popular many years ago because this one has been around for a while. My start came from a friend in Mississippi who’s start was given to her by someone else many years earlier. I know it is a cultivar because they grow much different than the Achillea millefolium growing in the pasture and along roadsides.

 

Group of Alocasia on 6-5-19, #583-3.

The Alocasia are beginning to look much better after a winter in the basement. The biggest Alocasia ‘Calidora’ (on the other side of the barrel) is MUCH taller than I am. Several of the older plants went dormant over the winter and have yet to come to life. GEEZ! Once they go dormant it seems to take a very long time for them to come back to life. Normally, the bigger plants don’t go dormant in the basement over the winter…

 

Aloe maculata on 6-5-19, # 583-4.

The Aloe maculata is doing very well after being in the house over the winter. I usually keep it in the basement during the winter, but this year I let it stay in the dining room. As you can see, it has several pups that need to be in their own pots. It will start flowering soon. 🙂

 

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ on 6-5-19, #583-5.

The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ is strutting its stuff!

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 6-5-19, #583-19.

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is starting to flower…

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ on 6-5-19, #583-20.

And so is Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’. I need to do some work on the shade beds but the mosquitos are crazy there right now.

 

Equisetum hyemale on 6-5-19, #583-17.

The Horsetail is… Strange how I am at a loss for words. I… Ummm… For the most part I really like the Equisetum hyemale because I don’t ever have to worry about it. It survives and grows no matter what. The only issues are duriing the winter when the cold and wind causes the stems to fall over. Some stand back up, but some do not. Once I get in the mood, I will pull the weeds and grass around and among the Horsetail and cut off the stems laying on the ground. Believe me, there is plenty of new growth, even in the yard 10-15 feet away. But that is no problem for the lawn mower. Nothing distracts the Horsetail’s mission to grow, thrive, and be happy.

The area in front of the chicken house gets neglected quite a lot even though I had plans here originally. The soil is good but the moles work in this area more than I do. The light in this area is also weird. I have put various plants in front of the chicken house over the years and nothing seems to work well. Nothing except for the Horsetail and sometimes the Achillea millefolium at the other corner. I do have a NICE colony of Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ growing along the northeast side that has always done very well, although also neglected.

 

Malva sylvestris on 6-5-19, #583-22.

When I saw these plants at Wagler’s Greenhouse they were unlabeled. I asked what they were and she said, “she said they were Miniature Hollyhock.” That sounds weird. She didn’t say who “she” was and I didn’t ask. ANYWAY, being unlabeled always gives one side of my brain a red light and the other side a green light. At first the red light wins and I pass by. Then the negotiation between the two sides begins and the green light wins. Yeah, that is a very good way to explain my insanity when it comes to bringing home unlabeled plants. It gives me an opportunity to do research and learn. That can lead to confusion especially when there are several genera in the Malvaceae family that are similar and have similar leaves and flowers. So, you have to wait until they flower. Ummm… The flowers are similar for several genus and species, but fortunately, the flowers of Malva sylvestris are unmistakable. THANK GOODNESS!

 

Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) on 6-5-19, #583-24.

This is another “Ummm…” plant. The Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a Missouri native (and the rest of central and the eastern part of North America). It somehow thought growing in a crack in the concrete floor would be a good idea (what was the back porch of my grandparent’s old house). I first noticed it when I moved back in 2013, and although I never saw an Evening Primrose, I somehow knew what it was. I didn’t pull it out of the crack so I guess it thought I liked it. Now they come up everywhere they think it is OK along the back of the old foundation.

The Evening Primrose is an interesting plant that only lives for two years. The first year’s leaves grow in a tight rosette and spirally on the stem the second year. The flowers open in the evening and, if you are lucky, last until around noon the following day. I have RARELY seen their flowers… Of course, this is the plant Evening Primrose oil comes from.

 

Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ on 6-5-19, #583-31.

The Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ is an awesome Salvia. Well, in my book, all Salvia are AWESOME! I deadheaded these two plants on May 19 and they started right back blooming again. Last summer I neglected to deadhead once and they didn’t flower for quite a while. I haven’t made that mistake yet this summer. OH, summer has just begun… 🙂

Then finally on June 8…

Amorphophallus sp. on 6-8-19, #584-1.

The Dragon’s Tongue, Voodoo Lily, or whatever you choose to call it has tripled in size since June 3. I won’t really know what the species is until they flower, but I suspect Amorphophallus konjac is the likely candidate. Out of 223 accepted species on Plants of the World Online (as of now), there are only a few that are commonly available that would be passed along at a local greenhouse fairly inexpensive. Actually, maybe just one. Well, maybe we can even narrow that down to zero but that would leave me back where I started. Even though Amorphophallus konjac is a common Voodoo Lily, you probably won’t find it at Lowe’s or Wal-Mart.

Passalong plants are plants that reliably come up and multiply. Plants that everyone has but seldom buys. Plants you usually wind up with so many you have no idea what to do with are sometimes considered passalong plants. Plants that are very nice and you like really well that you hate to pull up and throw on the compost pile because you have so many. Then they will start coming up in and around the compost pile. Plants that you would sometimes like to go to another town and leave on people’s doorstep and run away. Never in your own small hometown because their neighbors may recognize you. 🙂 Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind. Passalong plants are great to trade with people at plant swaps because there are always people that come and have no idea what they are getting into.

Moving right along…

Aptenia cordifolia/Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata on 6-8-19, #584-3.

The Aptenia cordifolium f. variegata, or Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata, is doing very well. While I am getting used to typing Mesembryanthemum without checking the spelling my computer wants to spell variegata wrong. It seems to think it should be variegate. GEEZ! I am just reluctant to change the name from Aptenia to Mesembryanthemum because I think it will change back again. The neat little flowers are a challenge to photograph because they close in the afternoon before I normally take photos.

 

Aptenia cordifolia/Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata on 6-8-19, #584-2.

Ummm… Yes, this is an “ummm” plant. I am not going to say anything else. Just think of the first thing that comes into your mind. Ummm… Now you see what I mean? What are we thinking? This is a plant and how the bud starts!

It is times like this I wonder if the Angels are reading my mind. How does what we think affect our Karma?  I am just glad we can use the excuse, “I am just human.” After all, the Creator of the Universe and all the divine beings have a sense of humor and probably are thinking the same thing. Nature can be humorous and this is one of those times.

 

Ledebouria socialis var. violacea on 6-8-19, #584-6.

Well, isn’t that amazing?!?! I just repotted this plant on June 4 and now it has its first bud. That is, it’s first since I have had it here. I have no idea how old as these bulbs (corms or whatever you call them) are. I am very thankful I get to experience the Silver Squill flowering. I think this will be a WOW moment not because they are rare or seldom flower, but because I have never seen one in person. Supposedly you have to be careful how you overwinter these plants or they won’t flower. You have to ignore the heck out of them and don’t give them any water during the winter months. I had to keep them in a room I seldom went in most of the winter to accomplish this. Once I put them in my bedroom in April, I had to give them a little water. For some reason, and I have no idea why, some consider Ledebouria a succulent. They are very popular plants with succulent enthusiasts, too.

No, I didn’t plan using the last two photos in sequence…

I am almost finished…

Ferocactus wislizeni on 6-8-19, #584-4.

I had a photo in the last post showing the red spines of this Ferocactus wislizeni (Fishhook Barrel Cactus). When I was looking at the cactus on June 8 I noticed something very strange… The “apex” of the cactus is where the new spines are formed… How come there are three now? I didn’t notice this earlier perhaps because of the hot glue stuck in its spines. I am very glad the hot glue slid off when I was taking this photo without doing any damage. 🙂 Anyway, information on Llifle says, Ferrocactus wislizeni is “a barrel-shaped or columnar cactus that stay usually a single column; rare specimens may be multiple…” Hmmm… This cactus is only approximately 1 3/4″ tall and it is already doing weird things… I have only had this cactus as a companion since March 30, so it could get interesting. We shall see…

 

Mammillaria decipiens on 6-8-19, #584-7.

The always witty Mammillaria decipiens (possibly subsp. camptotricha) is starting to flower again. It freely flowers most of the summer and I am thankful they are white instead of pink. This is a neat cactus!

OK, now I am finished for now.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Get as dirty as you can and enjoy!

 

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.