Problem Areas and Wild Weeds, ETC. Part 1…

Hedera helix (English Ivy) on the steps of the old foundation…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Friday was very windy as the 90° F temperatures attempt to blow in for a few days. To be honest, when those cool temps start coming, I wouldn’t mind 90° 12 months a year. Maybe in the 80’s.

I was working on the plant family Araliaceae so I went outside to get a photo of the English Ivy growing in and around the old foundation. Then I noticed something growing that hadn’t been there before. The next thing I knew I was taking more photos and even found a new wildflower in the foundation. That triggered an idea for this post. There are areas and plants that need some attention. Has anyone ever asked you, “Is it a wildflower or a weed?” Well, there are plenty of both here and sometimes what was once a wildflower becomes a weed. The word invasive comes to mind… Since I moved back here in 2013 I have noticed how some species are invasive one year and the next they have all but disappeared.

The above photo is the English Ivy (Hedera helix) that has engulfed the basement steps on what used to be my grandparent’s old home. I lived in this house for six years in the early 1980’s and I don’t remember it being here. Now that there is just a foundation, it has run rampant on one wall and a few other areas. It is hard to believe the nine varieties of ivy I grew in pots in Mississippi were the same species… Battling this stuff can get rather ridiculous since it wants to get into the beds next to the foundation.

Mixed in with ivy on what used to be the back porch was a vine I hadn’t noticed before. Then I walked around to the northwest corner, looked into the basement, and found a good-sized mess of it. I first thought it was Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet) like what started growing in the Multiflora Rose in the front pasture. With a closer look, I discovered is was something different…

Ampelopsis cordata (Heart Leaf Peppervine)

I took photos and uploaded them on iNaturalist and found out it is “likely” Ampelopsis cordata, the Heart Leaf Peppervine… I say “likely” because no one has had time to approve the observation. Once it gets approved the photos and observation will become research grade.

Ampelopsis cordata (Heart Leaf Peppervine)

It has likely been there for a while by the looks of it, I just haven’t noticed. Some invasive species grow very fast, though. Information says it is native to the southeastern U.S., but it has been observed in half of the United States and parts of Mexico. It is considered an invasive species outside its native range… YIKES!

 

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper)

I have been battling the Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) in the foundation for a long time. I have it almost whipped, or so I like to think. It has also tried growing on the barn and doesn’t like to give up. It is growing on a lot of the trees north of the chicken house and in the fencerows by the hayfield.

Euphorbia dentata (Toothed Spurge/Green Poinsettia)

Then I found this plant in the basement that is “likely” Euphorbia dentata whose common name is Toothed Spurge and Green Poinsettia.

Euphorbia dentata (Toothed Spurge/Green Poinsettia)

I didn’t want to crawl down into the old basement to get good close-ups so I just zoomed in… It is said to be highly variable depending on its growing conditions (prefers damp areas). This is an annual species and it makes me wonder how it got in the basement in the first place. For sure, it is likely damp down there. 🙂

 

Guess…

I know, I know… A lot of people love the Crape Myrtle but I prefer calling it Crap Mrytle. There were 3-4 growing along the house in the 1980’s and I thought they died one spring. I planted a row of Red Barberry to replace them but the next spring the Crape Myrtle started coming back up. Dad didn’t like the Red Barberry because of its thorns, but I guess he liked the Crape Myrtle. There is only one left in this spot and it has likely been here since 1958 or so. Dad even put two on the south side of their house. GEEZ!!! I will admit, the HUGE Crape Myrtle “trees” growing at the mansion in Mississippi were OK and the one growing at a house across the creek was AWESOME with its beautiful mottled trunk. It was HUGE and AWESOME! I can’t believe I said that! The first time I saw Crape Myrtle trees was when I was living in California for a few months in 2008. I was amazed! They only grow as shrubs here and come up from the ground each spring. The squirrels love their seed pods and nearly drove me insane at the mansion. I had pots hanging in the trees and the squirrels would jump in them to get the seeds. Needless to say, I had to relocate the pots…

Anyway, I will move on from that…

Then, I looked toward the chicken house to my own mistake…

Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail)…

OK, so I should have known better. Actually, I wasn’t 100% sure what would happen, maybe 75%. Anyway, let’s go back in time for a minute so I can explain myself… I was living at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi and I got acquainted with a lady who had an impressive yard. It was so impressive it was in a magazine. I will not mention her name because I am sure she wouldn’t want to be known for this plant. Anyway, when I was at her house for the first time, she had been battling the Equisetum in her backyard and told me how bad it was. She gave me the start of several perennials, one of which I still have. However, she did not give me the start of my Equisetum. Instead, she warned me and didn’t want it at the mansion. Driving around Leland, I found this yard with  HUGE Agave protoamericana and Equisetum growing along the side of her house, in the front yard by the Agave, and even in the ditch (which she kept mowed off). Well, I stopped and got acquainted with the lady and she told me I could dig up some Horsetail… SO, I did. I was very careful with it and kept them in pots. That was in 2010… The next year I put all the plants in the same pot and they took off. I brought the pot with me when I moved back to the farm in 2013 but I still kept them in the pot (which I kept enlarging). I even brought it inside for the winter. After a couple more years I told dad I was thinking about putting it in front of the chicken house. Nothing seemed to grow well there and the moles were bad in that spot. I told him if I did, they might spread like crazy. He said it was OK and we could just keep them mowed off. It seemed to be a slow process at first, but it took over the area in front of the chicken house on the north side. It started growing in the grass, somehow got across (or under) the concrete slab in front of the door t the other side. The Equisetum is no longer just in front of the chicken house…

Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail)…

It started coming up in the grass where I mow then spread into the area that used to be the peach orchard (a LONG TIME AGO). I have ideas for this area and it doesn’t include the Equisetum…

I seriously do like Equisetum hyemale, but I learned my lesson. I will not give any of this to anyone else even though I could probably take 100 pots or more to the greenhouse. It is an amazing species that has been around since prehistoric times and I can see why.

I walked around the south side of the chicken house to get a photo of a complete nightmare…

Ambrosia trifida (Giant Ragweed)…

The area behind the chicken house is impossible to mow because the roots from the Chinese Elms are sticking up above the ground. The Ambrosia trifida (Giant Ragweed) have taken over. Until a few years ago, the pollen from ragweed didn’t bother me that much. Last fall and this fall I think it has gotten to me a little more. This stuff likes to take over areas it knows I can’t mow.

I walked around the barn into the pasture which will be part 2… I think I will venture farther and take more photos for a few more posts. That way my posts won’t be so long and take so long to get ready.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay well and always be thankful!

 

 

 

 

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.