Saturday, May 31, 2014

FFTD Bonus A Gardening Hazard 5-31-14

Ticks are small eight legged arachnoids in the Sub Order Ixodidae and are plentiful in woods and gardens. They are ectoparasites living off the blood of mammals and birds.  They are disease vectors for Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and more. I am not at liberty to tell you where this one and its four brothers were found. My wife is my permanent hero. My doctor who is an infectious disease expert has put me on a 
week of dicloxacillin.

Friday, May 30, 2014

FFTD Bonus Red-tailed Hawk 5-30-14

My son Gordon took this image of a red-tailed hawk looking for lunch.The red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicencis) is the most common raptor or bird of prey in North America. Raptor is from the Latin for take by force. It is noted for its extraordinary eyesight and hunts in flight. This hawk has obviously found something of interest. The red tail is brick red above and light buff orange below.

Flower for the Day Weigela 5-30-14

Weigela (Caprifoliaceae) is a deciduous bushy shrub that grows behind the shady wildflower garden. I have multiple colors but my pink is doing the best this year.

The blossoms are exquisite.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Flower for the Day Iris 7 5-27-14

Then how about some multi-colored iris.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Flower for the Day Iris 6 5-23-14

Have a great Memorial day Weekend.

New this year.



Don't say it. Don't even think it. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Flower for the Day Allium 5-22-14

These beautiful big balls come in pink and white.

The flowers are produced on a scape which is a botanical term for a long leafless flowering stem arising directly from a bulb.Examples of scapes include amaryllis and surprise lily. Allium is from the Latin garlic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Flower for the Day Iris 5 5-21-14

The iris just keep on coming. It is the best 
blooming iris year ever.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Beetle comment

This comment came through the pike regarding the Catterpillar Hunter Beetle.
 I am very much into beetles, having studied the mating preferences of soldier beetles for a decade or so.  (One interesting discovery, with regard to penis size, was that 'one size fits all.').
One-third of all animal species are beetles.  A famous evolutionist was once asked what he thought about God, and he replied "He has an inordinate fondness for beetles."
The Fiery Searcher is indeed a beautiful beetle. 

Flower for the Day Columbine 5-20-14

This red columbine is my mainstay - delicate and understated. As an example of the classic 
columbine it compares favorably with the larger more complex showy cultivars in the neighborhood.

Monday, May 19, 2014

FFTD Bonus Fiery Searcher 5-19-14

The woods in Warren County were hopping last week with large emerald green beetles. They are quick moving  Catterpillar Hunter Beetles,  Calosoma scrutator, also called Fiery Searcher. They had extremely good hunting as catterpillars and green worms were everywhere including on the back of my neck (the worms not the beetle).

Flower for the Day Iris 4 5-19-14

Fields of Iris in their prime.




Friday, May 16, 2014

Flower for the Day Iris 3 5-16-14

The iris continue to bloom in many colors and forms. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

FFTD Bonus What gardeners do. 5-15-14

This is what gardeners do. I had just set up the front hose system which I use in addition to the inground irrigation system. I heard a loud hisssss from the garage and when I checked I found that the hose from the inside water spigot to the outside was putting out a huge spout which was covering all neighboring structures with cold water. After turning the water off I found that the hose (a veteran of many garden wars) had ruptured spontaneously. There was nothing close by that could have caused this large crack.
"No problem", I say to myself, "I'll just cut out the section, and re-attach the ends." I look at my hose repair shelf and find I do not have the right parts. "This could ruin your day," I think as I head out to the nearbyhardware store. I get the most expensive brass connector and cut off the bad section of hose, insert the connector, using brand new rubber washers, and tighten down the screws - I have done this multiple times. My screw driver does not work well but I have it water tight. 

I turn the water on and voila it sprays worse than before. I take everything apart and start over and there is no improvement. It is getting dark so I quit for the day. The next day I go back to the hardware store and get a new huge 
Phillips head screw driver and some white plumbers tape to get a better seal. The result unfortunately is the same. It holds for about 10 seconds and then explodes apart. I throw in the towel and purchase a new 100 foot garden hose. I hook up the new hose and the only leak is at the spigot which connection I tighten with a wrench. Finally dry and working.
Not done yet I have to thread the hose along the back of the garage wall and then along the side wall and out the door, 
around the corner, under the azalea bush, across the front walk to the front yard. I can use the hose outside but it takes 
me almost a week to move all the accumulated garage treasures from two corners. I am able to partially fill a small
dumpster with stuff I don't really need but was saving for when I did need it. The new hose system is finally back to 
where it was before the "blow".  It didn't really ruin the day - it was more like ten days. That is what gardeners do. 

Flower for the Day Miami Mist 5-15-14

This lavender and white miniature is called Miami Mist (Phacelia purshii). It was growing in a churchyard in Warren County. The flowers grow in clusters. If you don't look closely you will miss the lace like fringe on the petals.  Phacelia is Greek for cluster and purshii refers to its namer, Frederick Traugott Pursh, 1774-1820.  Flower Identification thanks to Claire.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flower for the Day Spring Beauty 5-14-14

Along with the showy flowers this time of year are my favorites, the miniature wildflowers that dot the floors of the woods and fields.This small pink perennial, Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica), is the most widely distributed of 
Missouri's early spring flowers. It is 'just there' until you bend down to inspect its delicate beauty at close range. The pink color is caused by the dark pink veins in the petals.
And as a bonus its rootstock is edible. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Flower for the Day Iris 2 5-14-14

With rain , sun, and warmth  there has been a super-bloom in the gardens.The iris are the most showy but we also have columbine, peonies and daisies in 
great abundance. Orange beards are popular in this offering.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Flower for the Day Bearded Iris 5-12-14

This is the first iris of the season. This iris blooms twice a year. Iris is from the Greek for rainbow.

The beard refers to the bristly hairs coming from the flowers throats. The beard lies on the lower petals (the fall). Who couldn't love a purple beard?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Flower for the Day Phlox 5-8

The phlox look a little peaked this year.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Flower for the Day Lily of the Valley 5-7-14

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria magalis) is a dependable perennial with small bell shaped sweetly scented flowers. Regarding this strong fragrance, a 2012 biological study 
demonstrated that the aroma of these flowers, specifically the ligand bourgeanal, in high concentrations, imitates the role of progesterone in stimulating mammalian sperm to swim, a process called chemotaxis. No wonder I have always loved my Lily of the Valley.

So put that in your memory bank.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

FFTD Bonus Black Swallowtail 5-6-14

Jan noticed many of these butterflies mating on the beach at the lake house. This is a female (Eastern) black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes).  Polyxena was the youngest daughter of King Priam of Troy.
Females have a prominent blue area between its wing spots  and this gives rise to  effective dorsal wing Batesian mimicry. Henry Walter Bates was an English mid nineteenth century naturalist who offered an hypothesis  that close resemblance between unrelated species was evolved antipredator adaptation. The female markings on the black swallowtail mimic those of B.philenon reducing the risk of predation by birds that preferably prey on black swallowtails.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Flower for the Day Lilac 5-5-14

This is the time of year for lilacs. They warm the hearts of those of us who grew up at a time when almost everybody had a lilac bush in their yard. Syringa vulgaris  is in the 
olive family (Oleaceae). We don't have a lilac bush at home but yesterday I was walking by the lake house and  I smelled lilac - verrrry pungent, and there was a bush right by the 
front porch.  It is small and delicate but after Jan cut some flowers and put them in the kitchen the fragrance was so overwhelming that we had to take them out to the screen
porch. Sometimes breathing trumps beauty.

Friday, May 2, 2014

FFTD Bonus Dry Fork Creek 4-27-14

In Warren County just west of Hopewell on Highway N we came across a bridge over Dry Fork Creek. We went down a gravel road and didn't see the above sign until we were leaving. 

The creek was running by a classic Missouri limestone bluff.

There was a crystal clear deep pool by the edge of the bluff. 

And this beautiful bouquet of Blue-eyed Marys (Collinsea verna). These wildflowers are in the Figwort family (Scrophulariaciae) and are noted for their true blue color.

Flower for the Day Chocolate Vine 5-2-14

In order to"hide" the dog cage we planted chocolate vine four years ago. It barely made it through two draught years. Last year it settled in and finally took off and now it has finally bloomed.

Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata)  has compound leaves with 5 leaflets and small flowers which grow in unbranched clusters (racemes).The miniature flowers are chocolate scented with 3 sepals and give way to fruit.

Our chocolate vine flower is vanilla in color

and is delicate with a pleasant sweet aroma.