Friday, July 29, 2016

Flower fo the Day Trumpet Vine 7-29-16

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) grows an a fence. It is quite aggressive  and I must loosen the roots on the large
runners or would destroy the fence. Most trumpet vine flowers in the heartland a red but we have flowers that are a creamy
delicate orange. It only blooms if I do not cut it back too much.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Don's Blog Mushrooms III 7-27-16

There were heavy rains last week and over the week-end this mushroom emerged in volume. They were coming from the ground and contained the detritus that was above their developing cap. They are funnel
 shaped and quite large and rain water has collected in their caps.
Our mushroom expert Justina and one of her mentors think this is Lactarius yazooensis. It is inedible as well as unpronounceable.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Don's Blog Mushroom Spore Prints 7-26-16

Part of the process for identifying mushrooms is to make a mushroom spore print. Our friend Justina Bricka at Innsbrook has done this recently to help identify some chanterelle mushrooms. Here are images of her spore prints:


To help understand this mysterious process here is some help.

Making Spore Prints

by Michael Kuo

While a single mushroom spore can't be seen by the naked eye, a pile of many spores can--and the color of a mushroom's spores, seen en masse, is a crucial identification feature. Obtaining a mushroom's "spore print" is therefore an essential step in the identification process.

Before going through the nuts and bolts of making a spore print at home, it is worth noting that mushrooms frequently make their own spore prints, in nature. If you have ever noticed colored dust covering a leaf or the ground beneath a mushroom's gills or pores, you have probably witnessed this phenomenon. Tightly clustered mushrooms, in fact, frequently leave spore prints on one other, since caps overlap.

In order to make a spore print at home, you will need to have a relatively mature mushroom. Buttons, young mushrooms, and mushrooms with some kind of a covering over their gills or pores (a partial veil) are not likely to drop spores in order to make a print.

Remove the stem from smaller mushrooms and place the cap, gills or pores downward, on a piece of paper or glass. For larger mushrooms, slice off a section of the cap and use only the section. Place a cup or glass upside-down on top of your mushroom, to keep air currents away.

While some spore prints can appear within a few hours, it's often best to wait overnight, just to be sure. When you remove the cup and lift the mushroom cap, you should find a "print" like the ones illustrated to the right. If you have been careful not to move the mushroom while the print was developing, you may find that the spore print reflects the pattern of the mushroom's gills or pores, since the spores fell directly downward.

Some field guides advocate using black paper for spore prints, since white prints show up more easily. Then again, brown and black prints don't show up on black paper as well as they do on white paper. I have solved this problem for myself by using glass, which can be held against light and dark backgrounds, rather than paper. In fact I usually use a microscope slide, since I will also be examining spores under the microscope--but if you are not going to be using a microscope, any (safe) piece of glass will suffice.

The color of the spore print is what you will compare with descriptions from field guides and keys. Interpreting color can be very subjective--and mycologists have tried several times to "standardize" the interpretations, without much success. But while subtle differences (like, between "white" and "creamy") may be perplexing, distinguishing a white spore print from a brown one or a pink one is easy enough, and it will help you enormously in identifying a mushroom. More information on assessing colors, of spore prints and the mushrooms themselves, can be found on the page for the genus Russula.

For mushrooms belonging to the Ascomycetes, like the morels and false morels, a spore print is obtained using a similar method. However, since these mushrooms have tiny spore jets that forcibly eject the spores, you will place a piece of the cap on the paper or glass and expect the spore print around the mushroom section (as well as underneath it, if you have placed the spore-producing side downwards).


Gymnopilus liquiritiae

Psathyrella gracilis

Agaricus spore print

Bolete spore print

Clitopilus prunulus spore print

Cuphophyllus virgineus spore print

© MushroomExpert.Com

Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2006, November). Making spore prints. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Flower for the Day Rattle Snake Master 7-25-16

This is rattle snake master. In case of a rattle snake bite a potion made from boiling its roots 
will reportedly produce salutary results. 

The plant does have nice little balls.

Friday, July 22, 2016

FFTD A walk in the gardens after a light rain this morning

I was almost out of flower images on my computer so I walked around the gardens this morning after a light rain.

This is cleome and the first dahlia.

This is rose campion which stopped blooming a month ago.


My first zinnias from seeds are coming up.


The finches are in heaven.


This is rattle snake master.


The iron weed is slowly spreading.


And - for what ever reason this is my last of a very large stand of gladiolas.
Or as Paul would sing, "Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio?"



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Flower for the Day Monarda 7-21-16

Monarda is also called bee balm and horse mint. In the wildflower gardens it has replaced the yellow crown beard. It can grow in sun and shade.

It is delicate and hardy and deer resistant.

                     Her Garden

              I let her garden go.
                           let it go, let it go
       How can I watch the hummingbird
                   Hover to sip
                   With its beak's tip
The purple bee balm—whirring as we heard
                   It years ago?

              The weeds rise rank and thick
                           let it go, let it go
       Where annuals grew and burdock grows.
                   Where standing she
                   At once could see
The peony, the lily, and the rose
                   Rise over brick

              She'd laid in patterns. Moss
                           let it go, let it go
       Turns the bricks green, softening them
                   By the gray rocks
                   Where hollyhocks
That lofted while she lived, stem by tall stem,
                   Dwindle in loss.

Donald Hall

The Selected Poems of Donald Hall
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Flower for the Day Black-Eyed Susan 7-19-16

We have two types of black-eyed susan.  Rudbeckia hirta is the most common form and has been in the front garden for thirty years. It is also called brown-eyed susan, brown betty, glorious daisy, English bulls-eye, and yellow daisy. Its eye is fairly flat.

The other type is newer to our garden and is called Rudbeckia maxima. It is taller and has a much larger eye. Incidentally Rudbeck was the mentor of Linnaeus.

Wild American Beauty: The Black-Eyed Susan

By Ray Allen, Founder of

Who was Susan anyhow? And exactly what was her relationship with Sweet William?

Ever wonder about one of America's favorite wildflowers? Who was Black-Eyed Susan? Her story is one of the grand romantic tales of the wildflowers. And beyond legend, her name graces several of our most important and popular wildflower species. (By the way, the flower's eye, or center, is not really black; it's dark brown, but that's not important.)

Black-eyed Susan

Who was she? Well, no one's sure, but the legend says it all comes from an Old English poem of the post-Elizabethan era entitled simply, "Black-Eyed Susan," written by a very famous poet of the day named John Gay, 1685-1732. (Painting above by Winslow Homer.):

All in the downs, the fleet was moored,
Banners waving in the wind.
When Black-Eyed Susan came aboard,
and eyed the burly men.
"Tell me ye sailors, tell me true
Does my Sweet William sail with you?"

There are several stanzas, explaining that her William was on board, "high upon the yardarm", and quickly scrambled down for a fond farewell with his lady love. It seems he was off to the high seas, but promised ardently to be safe and true:

Though battle call me from thy arms
Let not my pretty Susan mourn;
Though cannons roar, yet safe from harms
William shall to his Dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye.

This charming poem tells one of the great "Legends of Love" in our wildflowers, and every summer even today, it plays out just as the poem describes. Here's how it works:

Even though it's not a native, if you seed wild Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) with common Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), they'll bloom beautifully for you at exactly the same time. Because both are basically biennials, and her gold plus his bright reds and purples blooming together is a sight to gladden any gardener's heart.

Since Susan is a North American native, this tale tells us English colonists must have given the golden beauty her name when they arrived in the New World. However, since most all the Black-Eyed Susan species are native to the Great Plains, plant experts have wondered for years how our colonists on the east coast could have given this wildflower the name it's had for centuries. But some recent research in Maryland (where "Susan" serves as the State Flower) shows that the plant was growing there during the colonial period. So like today, Black-Eyed Susans were probably across the continent from the beginning. Today, they are common in all 50 states and across Canada.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Flower for the Day Blackberry Lily 7-18-16

Our blackberry lilies  (Belamcamdia chinensis) were a parting gift from our friend and neighbor  Russel Kraus as he was moving from his Frank Loyd Wright house many years ago. The lilies love the small berm where they live.

In the iris family they have iris type leaves, lily like flowers with red dots and in the fall they form really interesting pods containing black colored  berries.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Flower for the Day Tiger Lily 7-15

Jan purchased some tiger lilies (Lilium tigrinum) in the early 70's. They have thrived and we have four large stands by the side of the house. We love them but so do the deer.  I spray the buds with deer-off which works most of the time.

If you look on the upper right side you will see that the  deer have eaten off the tips.

A Tiger-Lily

Of life my love a riddle makes,
All sweetness when I please her;
A lily when the whim she takes,
A tiger when I tease her!

With kisses oft of shy surprise,
She smiles in fond love-languor;
Sometimes with frowns and flashing eyes,
She looks superb in anger!

A checkered path of glooms and gleams,
Fate to our feet hath given;
One half our life a jungle seems,
The rest, a little Heaven!

With words as sharp as claws she tears
My heart-strings all unheeding,
Then soothes me with her lily airs,
And music of her pleading.

O lily fair! O tiger pet!
Whatever mood may hold you,
A double love must sway me yet,
And to my bosom fold you!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Flower for the Day Stargazer Lily 7-14-16

The stargazer lily is a hybrid produced initially in 1978 with the intention of creating a oriental lily
that would be upward facing. Mine are pretty but have never faced upward. I find them interesting 
for the little growths on the under side as well as their striking color.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Flower for the Day Oriental Lily 7-13-16

We are beginning Garden Dog Days. It is boiling hot.
We still have a few lilies coming up.
Here is a new one for this year.

A whisper of the gentlest sort — A poem about lilies

A whisper of the gentlest sort
The Lilies Whisper Poetry
Poem by: Deborah Amar*

A summer day can never end
Or so it seems each year
The longer cycles of the sun
Make cloudy skies seem clear

Each time the wind begins to chime,
And end begins to near
A whisper of the softest sort
Flows gently to the ear

The scent and sight enough are great
Yet lilies live for more
The lilies whisper poetry
As none have heard before

The lilies whisper to the day
That sends the breeze below
It touches ground that none can see
Where lilies lively grow

Beautifully arrayed in white
And drinking from the soil
Free to whisper their poetry
Without the need to toil

But flowers do not last the year
And newer buds must bloom
So short the span of lily life
To give new blossoms room

The lilies whisper poetry
That none shall ever know
For just as summer cannot last
The lilies cease to grow

But beauty lives from that which dies
And leaves something to last
For lilies whisper poetry
For lilies of the past

*"Reposted with permission by the author, Deborah Amar:"

For more information on the Ozarks Reginal Lily Society visit this link:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Flower for the Day Thyme Mats 7-11

I grow thyme between my stepping stones. Wooley thyme (Thymus lanuginosis) is very easy to grow. It grows 
upwards with small branches which bear beautiful lavender flowers. Elfin thyme (Thymus serpyllum) takes a little more time and love to grow. It grows closer to the ground and has tiny lavender flowers. Elfin thyme is an aromatic semi-evergreen that slowly forms a dense mat. Both can be stepped on without problems. 

Wooley thyme is the silvery mass in the center and elfin thyme is the darker green mass down to the right.

Wooley thyme flowers on the raised branches.

Wooley thyme.

Elfin thyme on the low growing mat. Both have interesting spicules coming of the edge of the leaves (lower right).

Don's Blog Chanterelle Mushrooms 7-11-16

 My mushroom hunting Innsbrook friend Justina, came by a few days ago to show off some of 
her fresh chanterelle mushrooms (Cantharelus cibarius). She found an abundance of them growing in grass in a nearby woods.

Cnanterelles are yellow or orange funnel shaped fungi which are described as meaty.
On the lower surface below the smooth cap it has gill-like ridges that run almost all the way to 
its stem. I can attest that it smells like apricots. They are high in vitamins C and D and very high in potassium.


Justina reports that Chanterelles are the most popular wild edible mushroom in the world.
She sautees these delicate beauties in butter. In the 1600's they were popular with
royalty. I have complete confidence in Justina's mycologic ability but I only eat mushrooms 
from the store.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Flower for the Day Hosta 7-9-16

The leaves of these hostas were severely damaged several months ago by 2 different hail storms.
Interestingly the stems and  flowers were unaffected and are now blooming. I see this phenomenon when the deer literally eat all the hosta leaves and they still flower.

The delicate down facing hosta flowers are difficult to photograph. I am no longer flexible enough to lie on my back and take their image from below.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Flower for the Day Poinsettia 7-7-16

We got this poinsettia as a Christmas gift from a friend. It was small but pretty. In late February Jan got tired of the color and started to push for disposal. In March I found it in the garage near the trash can. I moved it over to the garage window and kept watering it. In  April I found it near the trash again.
I moved it outside and kept watering it. It was slowly losing leaves. In May I put it in the ground and fertilized it. Currently it is thriving and growing green leaves.

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) originate in Mexico and were introduced to the US in 1828.
I am supposed to put it in the dark for at least 12 hours a day for several months in the fall for the leaves to mature red.
We shall see about that.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Flower for the Day Yellow Crownbeard 7-6-16

I have had large fields of yellow crownbeard for many years. It
is in the aster family.

It grows four to five feet tall and is very hardy and deer resistant.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Flower for the Day Yellow Hot Poker 7-5-16

Gardens change through the years. Until now I have had a wonderful patch of red hot poker also called torch lily, in the from garden. It has disappeared but I still have some yellow hot poker (Knifophia) in the side garden.

My Australian Torch Lily 

From Africa, the Torch Lily came to me, without flower
In seasons, less than winter, green long fronds, wave
In cold winter, wary, small green nobbled stalks upright, bow:
To all, in my native Australian garden, proud, saved.

Before its time of grandeur, my Lily, not yet in shine
Teases me to guess how high its stalks will rise
Day by day, I look for flowers, poking heads in line
The day of grandeur slowly comes, a Red Hot Poker surprise.

A beauty in yellow, below in flower, creeps up cone red hot red
The Yellow Honey Eater grabs in flight, a stalk, drinking nectar
Soon, all in turn, nectar eaters come to drink in the red heads
In time, not long, grandeur fades, back to stalks, seeds, no star.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Don's Blog Beach Scene VI June 2016

The last night is always interesting. Everyone is mellowed out and ready for the next adventure.
We are emptying the icebox and eating fresh grouper with all the weeks leftovers for sides. We have begun to put away the toys (umbrellas, stunt kites, fish lights, beach quilt)and pack up our swim suits.

We walk the beach at dusk. That is Gordon, Adam, and Blake in the foreground. I always want to come back.
I wonder if I will.

Don's Blog Beach Scene V June 2016

This mystery started at home and ended as part of the beach scene. Several months ago Jan lost her favorite ring. It was a 14k gold ring from a designer in Palm Beach and she has worn it every day for over 40 years.  It was unique with rectangular edges. She had gone to our local jeweler to pick up another ring, replacing her gold ring with it and putting her gold ring into her purse. When she got back to the car she checked in her purse for her gold ring and could not find it even after a thorough search. . She described the moment as feeling that she had been kicked in the stomach.

She went back to the jewelers and they remembered that she had put it in her purse. After looking through her purse again with Jan they offered to check their security tape. When she returned home we went through her purse multiple times and carefully searched the car. After several days she even had the Lexus dealer remove both front seats of the car but to no avail. And that was that.

Then we are at the beach house and I hear a shrill scream, "Don, you have got to come here and look at this right now." I went into the other room and found that Jan had needed a bite of her special stash of dark chocolate which she usually kept in a baggy in her purse. To keep the chocolate from melting she had put the baggy in the refrigerator. When she opened the baggy she found her chocolate:

     And when she opened the wrapper this is what she found:

And this:

 Miracles happen at the beach.