Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - a "rare" orchid?

 Orchids are funny, and a number of even botanists are obsessed by them.  It is one of the largest families of flowering plants.  Among the species of orchids found in here in Lincolnland they are described as "rare", "very rare", "uncommon", and one such plant has shown up in our gardens.  

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The upper image shows the whole plant, all seven inches or it from a small whorl of slender basal leaves its terminal spike of white flowers.  The lower image show the flowers a bit bigger, all of 2-3 mm long.  This a Ladie' tresses orchid, the genus Spiranthes probably S. ovalis.  This orchid is "not common" and it found our gardens' on its own.  However such plants flowering here in september are easily over-looked, so quite inconspicuous, if not actually rare.  It woes make TPP happy just to know it's there; 4 or 5 plants in a patch some foot in diameter.  Oh did TPP mention that most orchids have quite small flowers of rather small plants.  Enjoy.

Salt potatoes

 TPP has been occupied, so sorry.  Having technical problems with images.  Here's part of the back log that doesn't need illustration.  While looking for items for a together the Phactors hit on the idea of salt potatoes, a common item from our youth, so many decades ago.  So how many if you have ever had salt potatoes?  They used to come as a bag of New potatoes, which is to say small whole potatoes in a bag with a decent sized package of salt.  Basically you boil them in a brine until tender then let them dry forming a crust of salt on the skin, then you serve them hot with melted butter.  In those days we didn't use fancy stuff like parsley or chives.  The recipe isa about 1 1/2 cups of salt for 4 lbs. of potatoes.  When looking this up TPP was very surprised to find them referred to as Syracuse salt potatoes.  Apparently, this is an upstate New York thing, and we all knew Syracuse (Mrs. Phactor's home town near enough) was famous for salt.  Important that you understand the potatoes must be whole with the skin intact.  So  the Phactors had quite a laugh of this blast from the post.  

Other up coming items: new cat, fall flowers, and more.

Last day for loyal lap cat

 The Phactors have two pet cats who own this house.  The older one, a rescue cat, just turned 17 and it was like the meter had run out.  She just gradually slid into a gradual decline and she just has given up living, so we will have her put wo sleep later today so as not to force her to continue a weakened existence.  Her name was Magpie, Miss Maggie, she was a chocolate black with a little white, and a medium length thickish coat; she was my lap cat, and I miss her alreadys.  From 7 pm to 10 om each night she would be in TPP's lap or crunched in beside my leg, until it was time to go to bed.  Maggie was a housecat who did enjoy playing with the occasional house mouse.  She remained playful at times her whole life. This picutre shows her plumpish physique in a favorite place, between two kitchen windows on a window high bench.  Maggie had a big head and big forepaws, a broad chest, and slender hind quarters with small feet, as if put together out of spare parts, but she was quite agile, quite athletic.  But she lived a long, healthy life and enjoyed being a housecat; she was quite a lover of petting and people who did not necessarily love cats.



Polio in New York

 This news item caught my eye because New York state is my childhood home and polio is a distinct memory.  TPP had just started school in the mid-50s when it was announced that they had a vaccine for polio.  My parents couldn't get us to the doctor soon enough to get the vaccination because polio scared people.  Evey year there would be an outbreak somewhere and we all had classmates who wore leg or arm braces, and everyone knew someone who had died of polio.   But it seems that people have forgotten or even with a million deaths, and covid just isn't scary enough.  Science was a little too eager to pronounce polio's demise.  It's back! And aided and abetted by anti-vaxxers polio will surely make a come back.  TPP has yet to hear an anti-vax position that was convincing.  Herd immunity makes sense biologically, but if the anti-vaxxers screw it up TPP hopes they get their much-deserved infection.  Take away their passports and don't let these fools travel to places that still harbor diseases like polio (No idea if this case came from overseas or not).

Friday Fabulous Flower - Bottle brush

 This ia an aptly named plant, it does look like a bottle brush and even better is grows in the shade and flowers in midsummer.   Actually this shrub looks good enough that the flowering is almost a bonus.

 This is the bottle brush buckeye, Aesculus parviflora.  It just now is flowering, and some of ours is growing in pretty deep shade.  The only problem is that in bad Japanese beetle years the flowers can be totally eaten.   

Rules of gardening & FFF

 OK TPP was the victim of a very busy week.  What a relief to get that overwith.  And it rained after two long weeks of hot dry weather.  My rain gauge recorded 3.5"  and every bit of it was needed.

Here is a  Friday Fabulous Flower, but it is a violation of a TPP gardening rule.  This is a very pretty plant, but one of our gardening rules, based on sad experience, is never plant a loosestrife.  Every violation of this rule has ended badly.  This is Lysimachia clethroides, the gooseneck loosestrife.

It flowers in July a plus, and it does OK in shade,  but you can never control it. So says TPP.


Friday Fabulous Flower - Big leaf Magnolia

 Hello readers,

TPP is back!  A combination of too many things to do, mild depression, and a lost password kept TPP off the intertudubes.  A really sweet flower has helped with the depression, but really our country seems to be broken, and too many of the ignorant types seem to be winning.  Of course getting the password fixed has helped.  Near the front corner of the Pfactor's dwelling is a 4 foot tall big leaf Magnolia macrophylla var. ashei, and today it flowered!  A very uplifting event, especially since it is a from Florida.  It is much hardier than everyone thinks.  Although the next polar vortex will probably do it in.  Isn't it wonderful?




Blue lawn - phase two

  A good portion of our "lawn" becomes blue with thousands of Scilla blossom which we call peak blue; but our lawn is not done yet as there is a phase two.  Yes, look at how many common blue violets compose the "lawn" in late April.  It would be even bluer except for the white flowered variant.  The violets grow pretty thickly.






















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Friday Fabulous flower - Sweet Betsy

 

This particular species I always called a sessile Trillium (T. cuneatum) because the flower sits right on the whorl of three leaves.  The outer three tepals are maroon-colored on the inside surface.  The inner three tepals remain erect and almost 2" tall.  The leaves are rather nicely mottled, and a similar species was called toad shade.  

Earth Day - 2022

 Hard to believe how the years have passed, 52 of them since the first Earth Day.  I recall Earth Day  was not a big event because the anti-war protest occupied our attention and TPP was a senior trying to graduate from college and start graduate studies.  And it wasn't easy.  You had to cross picket lines to go to class, if indeed you had to go to class. Now it seems that Earth Day is not enough; more change is needed than it seems can make in the short term especially in today's political atmosphere will allow, and it leaves TPP feeling rather defeated. I can't wait for the waves to start lapping at the door of Mar-a-lago. Keep the faith people, but I doubt religion is going to play any useful role. TPP needs a beverage to revive his attitude.