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 sp.? cv. ? 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!

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.

 

C. a. ‘Thailand Giant’ Flower And…

Hello folks! Friday evening I was watering the plants and noticed the Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ was starting to flower. It was to dark to take a photo then, so I wanted until this morning. Since I have been back here on the farm none of the Colocasia esculenta have flowered. The tuber, or whatever you call them (I keep forgetting) on the Colocasia gigantea and the biggest Colocasia esculenta are getting HUGE! I need to take a photo of them, too.

I took photos on the 9th and 10th but I haven’t made any new posts since the 8th. I have been busy working on the plant pages on the right and have gotten many of them updated this week. SO the next few photos were taken on the 9th and 10th of September…

 

The three Colocasia’s still seem to be in a growing competition. For those of you who don’t know, the two on the right are Colocasia esculenta, descendants from bulbs I bought in 2009. I have more, but these are the biggest. The one on the left, new for 2017, is a Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant.’ The Colocasia in the middle is trying its best not to let the newcomer get ahead of it. I have news for it, though… It should realize that the ‘Thailand Giant’ is still a baby. I wonder how the Colocasia esculenta will top ‘Thailand Giant’s’ flower…

 

The Abelia x grandiflora is going to get a good pruning very soon. I am not sure how tall it is and it would be very difficult to measure. I have a way, but the old step ladder isn’t that sturdy and I don’t think the 12′ tape is long enough. The Missouri Botanical Garden says the mature height of this shrub is 6′, Fine Gardening website says 10′. When I prune it I will find the tallest stem, cut it off at maybe 3′, then measure what I cut off.

 

The big Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) I posted about on September 8 disappeared the day after I took her photo. She still hasn’t showed up… BUT, the smaller one under the Colocasia gigantea is still there and I found another one…

 

The one in the above photo is bigger than the other one, kind of half grown I guess. She is behind her web instead of on the front. Never saw one do that before. I guess it doesn’t matter as long as her prey gets in the web. I tried to put the camera behind the web so I could get a better photo of her… She did not like that and started making her web bounce. So, what happens when winter comes? I only read about them dying after they lay eggs. These smaller females surely won’t lay eggs and die. Do they hibernate or what? Hmmm… I guess i will have to do some more research.

There are also quite a few Spotted Orb Weaver’s (Neoscona crucifera) under the eve of the house. You mainly only see them at night, though. BUT…. When I was mowing I saw this web stretching from one of the shrubs to the railing of the front porch. I was careful not to mess it up. SO, then when I took the photos of the other two spiders, I was surprised to see a Spotted Orb Weaver repairing the web.

I took a lot of photos of her but they were all blurry. SO, I decided to take a video. HOPEFULLY it will show up on the blog when I publish it.

 

The new shade bed is doing OK, but after it rained and rained it just stopped until last night. I looked at the rain gauge and it said 1 7/8″. Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears” is doing the best of the new Hosta and all three Heuchera plants are also doing surprisingly well. The Caladium ‘Strawberry Fields’ was awesome then the heat of the summer really got to it.

 

The south bed has went completely berserk… It is almost October already and the Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ will fall short of their usual 8-9′. The plants in the bed in the “other yard” haven’t gotten near that tall in several years. That’s weird!

 

I am still amazed by the Marigold ‘Brocade’ plants this year. I spaced them out pretty good and they filled in the gaps until there were no gaps. The plant in the above photo is 36″ wide.

I think I will leave off there. Like I said, nothing exciting the past week except for the surprise flower on the Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. SO, how was your week? Any exciting plans for this week?

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