A couple of weeks ago, we walked down to Oklahoma to see about the wildflowers. There were some, but mostly just the promise of those to come. Last night, we returned, and saw the trout lilies in bloom here and there. Lots of mottled leaves, as I said before, but not that many blooms. The ones I dug from here last spring and planted in my shady garden are in bloom right now, which is why I wanted to check how things were going in the woods.
I guess it's time I confess that the 1949 Morning Glory seeds that I was entrusted with failed to germinate for me. With seeds that old, it was a bit like playing Russian Roulette with them, but I had high hopes that I would get at least one seedling. Kay Jones appears to be the only one of the many people that were sent seeds that had any success. Woo hoo, Kay!! Boo hoo, me.
On the other hand, I started some seeds tonight that were a tad bit fresher. I had some 'Irresistible Chocolate' Morning Glory (Ipomoea nil) seeds left over from last year, so I put them in water to soak yesterday and sowed them in some Jiffy pellets tonight. Most of them had swollen to more than twice their size, so I should get sprouts sooner. I did this last year, too, but didn't soak them as long and it seemed like it took them forever to come up.
I also sowed some Japanese Morning Glory 'Double Blue Picotee'. That one was so pretty last year, and I'm pretty sure I saved some seed from it, but I forgot to label it and I have several bags of morning glory seeds in my seed box. I'll direct sow a few of those in a few weeks and if I am able to collect seed from them later this year, I'll be better about labeling!
Grandma is doing better in dealing with the loss of Elvis. She misses him terribly, and while she says she won't get another cat, in the next breath she told me about seeing "Elvis' twin sister, or maybe even his mother" outside her window. She said she would invite her in, but she appears to be pregnant. Now wouldn't that be something ... a litter of kittens born in her garage.
Actually, last summer a mama kitty did give birth in the corner of her courtyard garden. They were the cutest little things (most kittens are) and I would have taken the little brown tiger one home except when I saw them they were just three weeks old. Shortly after that, the window washers came and put their ladder near the kitties. Mama wasn't happy about that, and she moved her babies. We didn't see them for several weeks and by then they were too skittish to catch.
Anyway, the memorial stone we got for Elvis' grave is finished and was shipped today. I'm guessing it won't be here until early next week, since it's coming from Idaho. There's a card traveling around the country (Florida > Texas > Arizona > Ohio) being signed by family members that will be given to Grandma along with the memorial stone.
The trillium is blooming now, but even those are not at their peak yet. Spring Beauty is still quite abundant and here and there you can see some wilted Dutchman's Breeches. Those are done for the year. I didn't see any violets blooming yet and I know there are a lot of them here, so more patience is needed. It's nice that the wildflower show is spread out like this, as we'd hate to have it explode all at once and be done, although what a sight that would be!
As we walked out of the woods, I looked down and saw what I recognized as a nice big clump of Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides). I'd been wanting some of that! I took note of the location (on the edge of the creek bank) and we returned tonight to bring it home to join the other woodland treasures in our shade garden.
Now I can just hear some of you shouting at me, "I can't believe you are digging up those wildflowers like that!" I can assure you that it's highly unlikely that another soul has ever set eyes on that Rue Anemone. This is in a quite remote area and to be honest, in the thirty years we've lived here, I've never once seen anyone back there where we found it. And we aren't destroying it, just relocating it to another spot not far from its origin.
Neither are we raping the woodland floor - there is plenty of everything there and a few plants will not be conspicuously absent. We love walking in those woods and don't want to destroy the beauty that is unique to that area.
One of the wonders of Mother Nature is her ability to reproduce and I have no doubt she will continue to make more of each of these. I would imagine that these very species once resided on our property anyway, until someone cleared most of the trees that were once there in order to build the house where we live. So we're just replacing what got taken away over thirty years ago. How's that for justification?
The Butterfly Breeding has come to an end. My hopes for a male and female and new eggs were dashed early on, because the first butterfly to emerge only lived about a week. Maybe long enough, but the second butterfly never did seem very healthy the entire time it lived, which was about 2½ weeks. I never did see either one of them fly.
But my mom still has one living! With a life span of two weeks, hers has outlived its life expectancy by two weeks so far. Home for it is her bathroom, where it has been flying around since its emergence. She just keeps the door shut and it can generally be found in the window, but it returns to the orange slice she has out for it to eat. She reports that it is pretty lethargic by now, but it's hanging in there.
Abby continues to adjust to life here and while she is still pretty skittish most of the time, she can also be a little love muffin. One night I awoke around 1:00 a.m. and noticed that there was this little warm body under the covers, plastered to my rib cage. It was dark, of course, but one touch of her velvety soft fur told me it was Abby. She slept the entire night under there.
She still hasn't taken up Simon's offer to play tag or wrestle. At just 7½ pounds versus Simon's 16 pounds, maybe Abby is playing it smart, although she's got enough spunk and quickness, I have no doubt she could hold her own against him.
I need to add another pest to the list of those I've battled. Last week, I noticed one of the brugmansias in the basement had funny-looking leaves. They were curling under, so I picked up the pot and looked under them. Great. Aphids. Now just where did those come from? I'd not had any the entire winter, in fact hadn't had them anywhere, not even outside.
So far, it seems that they are only bothering two of the many brugs I have down there. I took both of them upstairs in the shower and washed them off, then applied GardenSafe Fungicide 3-in-1, which is also a miticide and insecticide. This seems to be working. It's what I used on the white flies and that took care of those, too. I got it at Walmart and it wasn't expensive.
I've got sprouts in some of my winter sown milk jugs. Right now, it's looking like I'll have about a 50% success rate with them, which I'd say is pretty good for the kind of winter and spring we've had. The one that looks the best is ... you won't believe it ... the Shirley poppies! I said I'd not been able to grow poppies period, from seed or by transplanting, and now I've got oodles of seedlings. No one is more happy about being made out to be a liar than I am!
Kara has seedlings in all six of the jugs she planted back in January. She's tickled and I'm excited for her. She was so sure this wasn't going to work. I'm not the kind of person to say "I told you so," so I won't say it.
And finally, the hellebores that spent several weeks under a couple of feet of snow this winter, have emerged none the worse for wear, although they did have some pretty ugly foliage that needed pruning away. They are recovering, with new spears of growth shooting up through the soil and even a bloom or two.
I have visions of having nice, mature, flower-laden hellebores like those of my blogger friend in The Netherlands, Yolanda Elisabet, someday. But for now, I'll enjoy the blooms one at a time.
*Photo of aphid from www.ars.usda.gov