Field of Science

First of the season

In my own opinion, this is a rather good picture nice berry, a  flower at the stage of seed dispersal.  Today is the 30th of June, and this was picked this morning.  TPP grew up near lake Ontario in upstate NY, so according to the good old boys, if you got a tomato before July, you were doing well.  This year our area suffered a late frost and some "early" planted tomatoes and their tropical kin, peppers and eggplant, got nipped.  Our frost tree date is about 10-15 May, so TPP was not in a hurry before then and soil in boxes tends to warm up pretty fast.  Now this image doesn't provide a very good size metric, and indeed this is a so-called "cherry tomato"; generally rather small.  Mrs. Phactor ate this nice little fruit a few seconds later and declared it delicious.  These golden colored cherry tomatoes do seem to be sweet and tasty.  And here it is a whole day before July, the very beginning of our 3 month long tomato season.  That's it, 3 months to get tasty garden tomatoes.  It just doesn't seem fair, but it does represent a challenge.  The cherry tomato is a lot more like its wild cousins in being composed of 2 carpels (seed bearing leaves), which can be easily seen when the fruit is cut in half.

A look in the rear view mirror

 TPP doesn't pay too much attention to such things, but every now and then it helps to look around where you've been and maybe decide about where you are going. It turns out that The Phytophactor was born almost 13.5 years ago, and that's a long time in the blogosphere.  It actually started in Zurich when time loneliness weighed a bit heavy in evenings and it took a long time before the blog was noticed. There's some good stuff way back there. That's nearly 3200 blogs and a thousand over 2,000,000 page reads.  Don't know how many words or plants or flowers that have been abused  in this dubious accomplishment.  The blog has only been trolled really once by a creationist biochemist, and he was a real pain and as usual he really didn't understand evolution at all.  

No idea about changing directions very much.  Politics is just too ugly to write about; it gets depressing real fast when you think about how many people could find a reason to vote for the last guy who was president.  TPP cannot imagine how your thinking works.  After all once a jerk, always a jerk, and as a New Yorker, this guy has been a known quantity for a long time and no question he lied about bone spurs.

TPP reads that the students over at Indiana University are suing because the university wants them all vaccinated for the fall semester, and les petits pois think their constitutional rights have been violated.  They do not think they are in any danger from covid even though over 600,000 prople have died.  And the biggest danger to us older people, even though vaccinated, is to be around unvaccinated people.  So what responsibilities do these poor things have to society?  When much younger TPP remembers that he never had a school class that didn't include classmates who wore leg or arm braces, all victims of polio.  Then a polio vaccine was developed and our parents rushed out to get everyone of us vaccinated.  The last case originating in the USA was in the late 1970s.  And then there is/are measles.  Oh, don't get me started.  Dear IU, not sure college students this dim can be educated.

And that condo collapse in Miami.  How awful!  It doesn't take much imagination to wonder if southern  Florida's attempts to ignore and mitigate rising sea levels are at least partly responsible. They seem to think that raising sidewalks is all the solution they need.  

TPP understands that venting is a fundamental function of blogging.  So for now TPP isn't going anywhere, but now blogging is just so old fashioned, so quaint.  It's sort of fitting.  See you all around.

Friday Fabulous Flower - Lily


A number of years ago either because a charity garden tour wanted to include our gardens for a show in June, or because she wanted flowers for a friend's June wedding, Mrs. Phactor planted a lot of lilies in our perennial gardens.  And the majority of them flower in June.  On the whole they make for a lot of color in an otherwise rather dull time of year.  This particular lily, an Asian lily, is an ivory cream color, the variety name has long been lost, but every year it has a huge, handsome display.  Friends had a fluffball of a cat, a flouncy thing, named Lily appropriately.  She's long since gone, but she was quite handsome.  Enjoy.

Friday Fabulous Flower - Fruit stage


Flowers at the stage of seed dispersal, i.e., fruit, tend to get over looked.  Next to our patio is an old TV antenna that makes a good fire escape and a great plant trellis.  In this case the plant is our Magnolia vine, Schisandra chinensis.  The flowers now at the stage of fruit development made an interesting pattern. Each more or less light green axis is from a flower and on it are oval fruitlets from each of the ovaries on the receptacle of this flower.  The larger oval ones will mature, the smaller ones are abortive fruitlets, but they all will turn scarlet in color.  What is unique is how much the receptacle elongates after pollination such that the bunch of fruitlets looks more like a bunch of fruits.  Since they are spaced our the individual fruitlets stay solitary rather then fusing laterally like the drupelets of a raspberry.  Enjoy?

Hostas - Palntain lilies

The Phactors have a lot of shade provided by several notable big trees.  And you do not have perennials in your shady garden without a healthy representation of Hostas.  In one area the big varieties grow; in another area next to the patio, the little varieties grow.  We make no attempt to collect or represent anything more diverse; just a bunch of plants that appealed to us at the time (oh, pretty!), for some morphological diversity to make things interesting.  Over the weekend a number of plants were dug and replanted in an attempt to make them happier, to grow better and look better.  A few other plants were mover around also.  It's always funny how some plants respond so well to new locations, a others show their displeasure by dying.  And then there is the worst part.  In a moment of insanity, TPP bought the Ms. the massive tome ( over 1000 pages) called the Hostapedia.  And now an effort is being made to keep track of the names of varieties just for the heck of it.  You can also download the definitive hosta list with probably almost 30,000 varieties, of which our gardens have a not paltry 65 varieties in a very asymmetrical distribution among plants having several hundred really old fashioned varieties that came with the property, and then 1 or two of all the rest.  This helps describe both our hobby and senior exercise program.