Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Who's wort?

OK This is a little bit weird.  TPP is never a day early with a FFF.  Mrs. Phactor pointed out that yellow flowers with lots of stamens is a bit of a theme recently, and all in our front garden.  Both the cactus and peony a few posts below fall into that category.  This particular flower is an evergreen shrub with a bluish-green foliage.  It's quite a handsome plant and the bees just love it.  Some species of this genus almost all with the general common name of St. John's wort, are native in our flora, but this one, Hypericum kalmianum, is native to the Great Lakes region, so a bit north of here.  Obviously it is quite hardy, and this particular one is an ornamental variety, basically trouble free and much recommended.  Ours is about 4 feet wide by 2.5 feet tall.

Gardening in a time of plague: Chapter 3

Summer is upon us, and so is a mild drought.  Our city is raising water rates, so it will be getting more expensive to keep gardens watered.  It takes a minimum of 1/2 inch of rain a week to keep gardens going.  Sensitive plants need more water, some are better at dealing with dry conditions than others.  Two senior citizens did manage to distribute 2.5 yards of wood mulch onto gardens and paths to make things  look much better. Several plants are candidates for relocation, but until the soil moisture gets better it is a risky undertaking.  The Phactors have decided that ostrich fern should be added to the list of never plant this plant.  It looks OK but it's rhizomatous and tends to take over whole gardens. 
New additions do get preferential treatment when is comes to water.  Until they get well rooted you have to keep watering them.  Nothing too delicate has been added to our gardens making it pretty easy to keep up.  A couple of small hostas are an exception but being small means watering them is not a major project. 
 A largish patch of Sorbaria, the so-called false Ural spirea, sort of looks like a sumac, but has fuzzy looking plumes of white flowers.  It's close to being on the do not plant this plant list; it is a spreader and was threatening to consume a neighbors' garage.  The trespassing portion was removed and a couple of hosta were found in the process. Unless you have room for such plants, do not plant them.
At least gardening gives us an outdoor activity and exercise.  And weeding helps you maintain a healthy frame of mine, giving the opportunity to get rid of poor choices without getting depressed over politics.  The amount of damage one person can do in just 3 years is hard to believe.  A niece is getting married in July and in October.  The earlier event if just too untimely for us presently and we hope things are better in 3 more months.  Sadly this is part of the havoc wrought by this pandemic.  And mostly all you can do is to keep the gardeners well supplied with margaritas, a nice self-sterilizing liquid.  A few people have visited to have a socially-distanced reprieve to break up the quarantine a bit.  It's outside and the gardens are big.  

Friday Fabulous Flower - Prickly subject

This is a native plant to Lincolnland and it grows naturally fairly close by around the Havana sand priaries to the SW of us.  This plant is tough as nails and you just need a sunny, well-drained area to grow it.  Basically this is a near prostrate succulent shrub.  The flower is fairly large and certainly is part of our unintended theme of big yellow flowers.
This is a prickly pear cactus, Opuntia humifusa.  This image also shows the modified leaves quite well to the left of the flower.  These will not persist.  Sometimes you see plants where the flowers have a much redder center, but the smaller bees (green ones TPP usually associates with leaf-cutting) was observed just wallowing in all those anthers.  Regretably the flowers do not last long, but a plant can flower prolifically with lots of flowers.  This is a first time event for our gardens  and the plant a relative newcomer (3d year).   

Friday Fabulous Flower-Shade loving

TPP was poking around in the shady recesses of our gardens and there under a huge burr oak and a bottle brush buckeye (that is in heavy shade), he found this member of the Logania family.  In actual fact this may be the only member of the Logania family that is native to Lincolnland.  And it is a stunner of a native plant that only recently has found its way into native plant nurseries.  This is Spigula marilandica, the Indian Pink.  Wow!  Does this flower stand out in heavy shade? This is only the second year it has flowered, so it's still a bit exciting.

Friday Fabulous Flower - Floriforous native

TPP has missed Friday again, but this was ready and the image is from last Friday.  You plant natives because generally they are tough, but this one also provides gobs of colorful flowers.  TPP first saw this species on road cut embankments on a trip west. And it required a stop for a bit of roadside botany.  It's pretty easy to identify this plant family, Onagraceae, the evening primrose family.  The flowers are large and they have a long floral tube, which is the kind of thing you associate with hawkmoth pollination.  This used to be called Oenothera missouriensis, but now it's O. macrocarpa. This plant is just behind a south-facing retaining wall, so the spot is hot and prone to be dry.  The plant is only about 1 foot tall and wide (see the knock-out rose provided for contrast and size comparison) and yet it has about 2 dozen flowers open.  And they are all a bright, clear yellow in color.  Individually they don't last long but flowering could go on for another 2-3 weeks. While native it is listed as quite rare here in Lincolnland.  Cultivars are routinely sold and it is perennial.