Field of Science

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.


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. 

Two Tulips?

 Some time back Ms. Phactor planted a bag of mixed tulips, species tulips.  One species has done quite well and it is very cheerful, it is either Tulipa tarda (the late tulip?) or T. urumiensis (and they might be taxonomic synonyms), but TPP doesn't know tulip taxonomy very well.  The flowers only open when the sun is shining.

More pinky flowers

 OK we just celebrated peak blue, but some of the early flowering shrubs are making things pink.  The earliest flowering Magnolia in my collection is a hybrid (M. x loebneri); it looks a lot like a star Magnolia and that is one the two parent species.  The flowers are quite pink with fewer tepals and no smell at all.  The plant grows like a star Magnolia too.  

Friday Fabulous Flower - early spring color

 It's actually a Friday and TPP is posting a new blog.  Is this possible?  March was pretty warm, so now April is compensating by being rather cold. This FFF is a really nice shrub for early spring color so as you want pink.  This is a very tough plant, tolerant of midwestern soils, and it flowers at a very small size, but seldom does it grow much more than 4-5' tall.  Yet you seldom see this azalea for sale in a nursery, but it is widely available in catalogues.  It handles spring frosts very well even after the buds begin to show color.  The plant shown handled 23 F without any damage.  However it is  apparently tasty to shrub nibbling bunnies; so mine are caged.  Also oaks don't like it and even if it gets severely damaged by falling oak limbs it grows back pretty fast.  This is the Korean Azalea (R. mucronulatum) and the most common variety is 'Cornell pink'.  These shrubs do nicely in the middle of mixed hedge-row beds, and TPP highly recommends it.

Friday Fabulous Flower - early bloomers, but very cheerful

 Here is another harbinger of spring.  The Phactors have many dozens of bulbs in our gardens, many of them varieties of Narcissus, and most of these are fairly good at needing fairly little attention.  Some have the yellow perianth and corona that we would call "daffodils", but others are more exotic with orange colored flower parts that are not necessarily in evenly spaced whorls.  

Hello, spring

 Nothing quite says spring more than crocus.  They just barely peak above ground and up shoots a flower. For whatever reason the earliest crocus are always gold colored.  This makes them extra showy, except bees can't see this color like they can the white, striped, or lavender colored flowers.  This clump of volunteers decided to grow under  European beech tree.  It's a nice contrast the splash of color among the leaves and against the bark.  It flowered earlier than the FFF snow trillium but it isn't a native wild flower.