Entries to Win Afghan

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Sunday, June 23, 2024

More Yellow

 We'll do a few comparisons today. I'm starting with the Forbidden Fruit hosta. It was so not yellow last year that I thought it might have been mis-labled. However, it clearly did not get enough time outside. This year, it looks great. I hope it makes a baby soon.
forbidden fruit hosta

Here's what it looked like last year. It was one of my almost free plants. Big difference

forbidden fruit hosta

The next comparison is the sad little non-hardy Sedum mexicanam 'Lemon Coral' I got for almost nothing because it was beat up. As a reminder, here's what it looked like on May 20.

sedum mexicanum lemon coral

One month later, I am loving this. I will bring it inside for the winter, and hopefully manage to keep it alive.
sedum mexicanum lemon coral

It's similar to the Sedum 'Angelina' that Betsy gave me, which is hardy, but the 'Lemon Coral' is more yellow-green, so it's a color I would like to keep. This is the 'Angelina' starting to bloom. You can hardly tell them apart in the pictures, but in real life, the 'Angelina' is a bit more toward golden.
sedum angelina

This is the almost free Corepsis I got last year that was all battered with many broken stems. Looking happy this year!

Edited my brains out, need to keep that up. We had 1.9 inches of rain over 36 hours.

See Color of the Day - Yellow

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Almost Christmas, Almost July

  OK, I'll just get the joke over with first. Cathy and I were going to take a hike this afternoon, but someone upstairs decided to kick over every bucket of water in the house. 1.5" of rain here.

So... we came home and pulled out a jigsaw puzzle. It's a Christmas one, and it's going to be very pretty. But it has 1000 pieces, and it's a little harder than it looks. Love the bright colors. We did not get it done. But it's been two months since I worked on a puzzle!
christmas jugsaw puzzle

But the main reason Cathy and I were together is that we went to White Cloud to hear another North Country Trail hiker give a talk. This is Nancy DeJong, and she has hiked all of Michigan, a little piece in every state, and is more or less working on Wisconsin. (She says she doesn't have blue blaze fever... right.)
speaker giving a talk

I've known Nancy for quite a few years because of trail stuff, and it was nice to hear her "take" on hiking the trail. Very fun morning.

As for almost July... well, it is. And I am heading east in July. The book has to be very close to ready to go to the printer in one week. If I have to do a few final tweaks on the road it's OK, but I have to buckle down and really make progress.

Today was a rest and play day to give me enough motivation and guilt to work hard all week.

See Not Easy!

Friday, June 21, 2024

Three White, Two Oops

 Today's featured color is white. OK, don't go technical on me and proclaim that white is not a color. I am using the word according to common usage.

I'll start with the oopsies.

I've had this sedum since 1997, starting with a small pot. Now it's everywhere! But that's OK, because I like it, it's easy to rip out if it gets too agressive, and it is attractive in all its forms. Here are the flowers, which is why it's called white sedum, Sedum album.
sedum album flowers

Look closer, aren't these just adorable?

I've always thought these were Sedum rubrotinctum, 'Pork and Beans,' because they often color up like this, and the leaves are like little round beans.
redish sedum album

But they don't always get red. And I assure you every bit of this plant on my property came from that same little pot.
green sedum album

But, I am prepared to eat my ID of all these years. I did suspect that 'Pork and Beans' was supposed to be a little larger, but stuff here almost always is smaller because the soil has been so bad. But the clincher is that the flowers of this are white, not yellow as they would be if it was rubrotinctum.

Now for oops number two. I bought one of these last week. It's candytuft, (Summer Snowdrift), Iberis amara. I'd always believed these were not hardy. But the tag says "hardy to -40oF." I just double checked. That is indeed what it says. Hmmm.

So I looked it up, and my assumption was correct. Everything I can find about this says it's only hardy to 0o. Bother. I wonder if I mulch it if I can get it to live. I don't want to have a lot of plants that need special treatment in the fall. I already have two I'll have to deal with (one bought on purpose, one other oops). Well, it's pretty, but it's lonely out there. I was thinking long-term and splitting it with the purchase, but that may be a forlorn hope.

Now for the winner. I KNEW I had white globe campanula, Campanula glomerata, probably 'alba.' And my notes say it bloomed after the purple one. Check. It's also shorter, which could be useful. Here's the weird part though. I don't recall that I separated these by color when I planted them. However, all the white ones are about 10 feet away from where the purple ones are. These haven't bloomed for quite a few years, so I'm pretty happy.

It was pretty hot and damp today, but I managed to format and do book stuff for 4 hours. Only managed 45 minutes outside, but it was hot.

And now it's started raining!

See Sorting Out Sedums

Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Unrelenting Genetic Drive to Reproduce

 I'm starting this post with a picture from another year because it's prettier.

globe thistle

These are globe thistles. It's not really a thistle, The genus is Echinops (which means spiny). The leaves look prickly, and the ball-like flower heads look spiny, but all those parts feel soft when you touch them.

Anyway, I used to have a whole row of these in my flower garden when the house was down by the road. They were here when we bought the property in 1971. Despite complete neglect they have refused to die, although they are getting pretty crowded out by grass. Alive is a good thing because I really love them. Here's what the flower heads look like in full bloom.

globe thistle

They aren't blooming yet, but they are in bud. I want to move some of these up to the driveway flower bed that I have been cleaning out. You know that transplanting a plant while it's in bud is the very worst time, right? But there are still quite a few plants, and I decided to move the smallest and see if it would survive. If it even lived, then next year it would blossom.

I moved one plant on June 12. Here's what it looked like on June 17. I was pretty sure by then that it was going to live. Even though it's very droopy, some of the leaves perked up every day, so I knew they were drawing water up from the roots. The recovery never quite made it all the way up the stem, but I watered it heavily at least twice every day.
transplanted globe thistle

Here it is today. The lowest leaves have yellowed and wilted, and it still looks droopy, but can you see the real difference?
transplanted globe thistle

I'll help you out. Even though the upper stem can't recover to be completely vertical, look at what the bud is doing. It's turned upwards to the light and is getting larger. If a plant can be said to have desires, those are to find light and produce seeds. That means to create a flower. Despite some really tough odds, this plant is going to live and reproduce. It is putting all its energy into that flower head. Forget the leaves, just get water and nutrients to the top! Unrelenting.
globe thistle bud

Today was much better, weatherwise. We had 0.6" rain this morning, which cooled things down. It got a bit steamy this afternoon, but never made it to the really high temperatures. It was too wet to do any real gardening.

I edited. Gotta keep at it.

See Spikey Things

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Color of the Day - Yellow

  It seems to me that most of the summer-blooming sedums have yellow flowers. Not sure if this is really true, or just the ones I own.

But right now, the rock garden is blanketed with yellow. This picture has two different plants, but the farther one is Sedum elecambeanum. I had some of this, and a friend gave me more. It's a great, reliable groundcover.
sedum elecambeanum

Also seen in that photo is Sedum sexangulare (the stalks have 6 sides). It's not one of my favorites, but it does add a lot of color when it is blooming.
sedum sexangulare

Remember those fountain-like sprays of blue-ish sedum that look like spruce twigs? This is what they look like in bloom. Sedum reflexum
sedum reflexum

I showed you this before, but to complete the theme, and it's still blooming wonderfully, this is the Sedum 'Bright Idea.'
sedum bright idea

For the last shot of yellow, we have to go to the front flower bed. That mystery lily is looking great. Last year, it had three flowers. This year it will have four.
yellow asiatic lily

The heat got to me today. I have managed to do 3 hours of computer work and 30 minutes outside. Mostly I read a book and drank ice tea. I'd call it age, but this has been my heat MO for years. We may get some rain and a break tomorrow.

See SunSparkler Sedums