Thursday, April 28, 2011

Garden 2011: Recap #2

Center:  Jo removed the cloches from our broccoli, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage.  She then covered the bed with a wire tunnel to keep rabbits from eating their fill.


1. Cauliflower (4/17/11)
2. Cherry Bell radishes (4/16/11)
3.  Comfrey does well in the spring, but suffers in our hot, dry summer.  (4/16/11)
4. Partially mulched broccoli. (4/17/11)
5. Lettuce (4/16/11)
6. Chinese cabbage. (4/17/11)


Monday, April 25, 2011

Spiderwort (Tradescantia sp)

Spiderwort (Tradescantia sp)
(probably Tradescantia ernestiana)

Spiderwort is a native herbaceous perennial common to the central US. It prefers full to partial shade with medium to wet soil and is often found growing at the edges of woodlands. There are several different species of spiderwort and these can be difficult to distinguish without either a lot more experience than Jo and I or side by side comparisons.

Sources and additional information:
Missouri Plants
Missouri Botanical Garden (Kemper Center)


Friday, April 22, 2011

Garden 2011: Mid-April Recap

Strawberries are in full bloom.  (4/13/11)

Datura (jimson weed) is coming up from roots.  It's surrounded by garlic chives shoots which have since been pulled -- for all the good that did.  Garlic chives is very invasive.  It spreads by multiplying bulbs underground and abundant seeds.  It's requires a constant effort to keep it from taking over the bed.  (4/16/11)

It's about time to remove the cloches covering the broccoli, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage, especially since the plants are trying to grow out the tops of the plastic jugs.  (4/16/11)

We've been enjoying fresh asparagus for a couple of weeks or so.  We totally replanted the asparagus bed last year.  This year's harvest is modest.  (4/16/11)

I'm beginning to mulch the broccoli bed while the plants are still protected by cloches.  (Note:  The plastic jugs have since been removed.)  (4/13/11)

It's about time to remove the wire covering our garlic before the plants grow up through the wire.  We plant garlic in the fall.  The plants come up and then go dormant over winter.  Once spring arrives, they take off growing again.  Neither deer nor rabbits eat the garlic, but we cover it with wire over winter to make certain an armadillo doesn't come through and till the bed for us.  (4/13/11)

Our potato plants are poking up through the mulch.  I cover them with a layer of fresh mulch when they do.  (4/16/11)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baltimore Bomolocha Moth (Hypena baltimoralis)

Baltimore Bomolocha Moth (Hypena baltimoralis) 
(Species information from BugGuide.)

AKA: Baltimore Hypena

Range: Eastern North America -- Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Arkansas, north to Wisconsin and Ontario.

Habitat: Deciduous forests or edges; adults are nocturnal and come to light.

Food: Larvae feed on maples.

Comments: Flies from March through October, depending upon location. Two generations in the north; two or more in the south.

Remarks: This moth decided to join me in my basement shop while I was working on some spoons.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tree Year 2011: American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) #5

A large view of the American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) shows it still appears to be dormant. Everything around it is greening up, but the persimmon shows no change. I've "seen" this tree every year for the past 24 springs, but until I started paying closer attention to it for The Tree Year, I never realized it was one of the last trees to leaf out and/or bloom.

A closer inspection of the persimmon tree, show that it is finally preparing to leaf out. Leaf buds on April 6, are shown above.

The leaf buds are opening a few days later on April 10.

Previous Tree Year posts for this American Persimmon.

Celebrate a tree in 2011.  It's easy:  Observe, photograph, sketch, or discuss and share with other tree huggers.  Please visit The Tree Year 2011 to participate or find other blog posts dedicated to trees from around the world.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)

In all our wanderings on and around our place, Jo and I have found only one specimen of this beautiful wildflower. It's growing near the bluff edge below our house, in area I'd call rough, rocky, not very fertile and "disturbed". (It was scraped off with a bulldozer not too long before we bought this place.) Most of the other growth in that area, I'd classify as brush and brambles.

(Note:  Jo deserves triple credit for this photo, especially for persistence and determination.  Shooting Star stands about a foot tall on a slender stem with flowers and buds dangling loosely.  Even the slightest breeze causes the entire plant to sway.)

Name: Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)
Other common names: Pride of Ohio, Roosterheads, Prairie Pointers
Plant type: Herbaceous perennial native to eastern and central North America.
Family: Primulaceae (Primrose)
Flowers: White to pink to purple with no floral scent.

Sources and additional information:
Kemper Center for Home Gardening
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
Illinois Wildflowers
Missouri Plants
USDA Range Map and Plant Profile


Monday, April 11, 2011

Garden 2011: Update Collage

Top Row:  Veggies sown directly into the garden on 3/22/11 are up and doing well.  They will need to be thinned soon.  These include (left to right) two different lettuce blends, spinach and chard.  (Yes, we raise rabbits.  The garden is fertilized with partially composted rabbit manure.)

Bottom Row (l to r):  Potatoes planted on 3/17/11 are starting to poke up through their mulch covering.  I'll need to add more mulch as they grow for a while.  Cherry Belle radishes planted on 3/22.  Dill is a weed in our garden, a friendly weed, but a weed nonetheless.  We first planted dill about fifteen years ago so we'd have it available for making dill pickles.  (Jo hasn't made dill pickles in over a decade.)  It grew well, flowered and went to seed.  Now, dill reseeds itself throughout the garden.  Hundreds of dill plants sprout and we pull up or hoe most of them.  Still, we allow dozen that are not in the way of some other planting to grow and go to seed.  Dill is attractive green plant, it releases a nice aroma when you brush against it, it's clusters of tiny yellow flowers attract a lot of pollinators for me to photograph, and it is a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies.


Common Shingle (Shingleteria compositum)

Recent strong and gusty Spring winds resulted a fine crop of Common Shingles (Shingleteria compositum) sprouting in our yard.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium rostratum)

Yellow Trout Lily is another woodland wildflower that begins blooming here in mid-March. This photo Jo took on March 17, is one of the very first trout lily blooms we saw in 2011. The trout lily's common name is based upon its mottled leaves. (Here is a previous post with a photo that shows leaves.)

Trout lilies are also known as Dog-toothed Violets. The numerous rhizomes on the bottom of its root could resemble a dog's jaw and canine teeth if you've got a good imagination. However, it is a member of the lily family and not a violet. Both leaves and roots are supposedly edible, although I've never been hungry enough to give either a try.

Yellow Troutlily is much less widely distributed than it's long, red-anthered cousin Erythronium americanum. It is limited to the Ozark Mountains and a few other isolated pockets in the south-central United States. Unlike the other members of its genus, E. rostratum has erect rather than nodding flowers.


Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

My blogging is starting to lag way behind both our photography and the season. Bloodroot is one of our earliest woodland wildflowers. Jo took this photo in mid-March.

Bloodroot is a member of the Poppy family. Its name is derived from the red juice that can be extracted from it's red-orange roots (actually rhizomes). Various medicinal and mystical properties have been associated with this juice in the past. However, since the juice is escharotic (a substance that causes tissue to die and slough off) and an incorrect internal dosage is toxic, the FDA recommends that bloodroot not be used by herbal healers.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Garden 2011: Broccoli and More

After transplanting the full row of broccoli, Jo watered them with a fish emulsion mixture. The dogs think fish emulsion smells like something that really needs to be rolled in. (Part #1 of transplanting broccoli into the garden is here.)

Finally Jo covered the newly transplanted veggies -- broccoli, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage -- with high-tech mini-greenhouses, otherwise known as cloches, which I photographed the following day. We're not likely to get temperatures cold enough to damage the transplants, but the cloches also help keep them from drying out and protect the tender young plants from being buffeted around in our gusty south wind. (Yes, I really do need to crank up our lawnmower and mow the aisles between garden beds.)

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the garden... While it's not necessary to make an emergency run into town for whipped cream just yet, our strawberries are blooming.


Friday, April 08, 2011

First Luna Moth of the Season

The first Luna Moth (Actias luna) we've seen this season was on the window screen outside our computer room/office early Friday morning. Based on its large antennae and tails, I'd say this is a male.  Here in the south, Luna moths have enough time to go through three life cycles before the weather turns cold again. Actias luna only live for about a week in this final moth stage of their life.  They do not feed.  In fact, they have incomplete mouth parts and no digestive system.  Their only purpose as adult moths is to find a mate and breed, and for females to lay eggs so their life cycle can continue.  For complete species details, please see BugGuide.


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Garden 2011: Transplanting Broccoli Into The Garden #1

Broccoli, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage sets ready to go into the garden. Jo usually starts our transplants from seeds, but this year she had a problem with the seed company and did not receive seeds soon enough to do that. Instead, she bought the sets at our local feed store.

We'd already prepared the bed, so all Jo had to do was lay out a center line and start digging. She'd purchased the transplants over a week ago, but a new cold front that arrived on Monday caused her to wait until Tuesday to set them out in the garden. Depending upon what kind of weather we were having, the transplants had either been soaking up a few rays under a grow light or setting out on the porch "hardening off".

And another broccoli goes into the ground. There's a hill directly to the west of our place, so sunset in the garden occurs a couple of hours before actual sunset. I thought I might have to start using the camera's flash before Jo finished planting.

Part #2 of "Transplanting Broccoli" will follow soon.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Hail Hammered Dogwood

American Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Thunderstorms preceded the arrival of a new cold front Monday morning.  Some included hail -- not a lot and not very big, but enough to damage our just opening dogwood blooms.  Some trees seemed to suffer more bloom damage than others.  I've been closely following and photographing the blooms on this particular tree.  It grows right beside our road.

Missing bracts I'll definitely blame on the hail, but I'm not certain something else isn't going on with this particular dogwood (decline? fungal disease?).   I don't know if hail damage would cause so many of the bracts to curl and twist as they've done.  I'll keep my eye on this tree.