Sunday, May 27, 2012


Mollie (the wonder dog) and I were gallivanting around the local Winfield industrial park recently looking for treasure. I like to take Mollie out to where my workplace headquarters are in order for both of us to get exercise. Mollie a red border collie needs to have as much running and herding as she can get to stay happy, and I also like to search for native plant treasure. As you can see from the image below the difference between the mowed acreage to the right and the non-mowed to the left. The left being a vacant lot with piles of excavated soil from a water retention pond created in the background of the image. The owner has a manufacturing plant to the left of this lot. This year the company has decided not to mow this area except near the access road. I'm positive this is done not to let the prairie revive but to save money.
Therefore, by allowing the vegetation to grow the prairie has grown back to it's former glory. This  image is taken in the other direction. Notice the manicured turf in the background with Pinus nigra and Quercus rubra trees near the access road. Now this is what border collies love! Mollie's barking:where's the sheep? All you give me to chase are squirrels!
What a beautiful scene. Prairie recovery at it's best with limited resources. Sure there are a few non natives and noxious weeds, but overall it's pure. Alchillea millefolium-western yarrow, Koeleria macrantha-June grass, Vicia villosa-hairy vetch, Psoralidium tenuiflorum-wild alfalfa, Amorpha canescens-Leadplant, Mimosa quadrivalvis - catclaw sensitive briar, Dalea purpurea- purple prairie clover  and various other grasses, milkweeds, too numerous for me to ID.
I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder, however I don't understand why more people don't do this. Common yarrow and trifoliate clover.
Amorpha canescens
 Mimosa quadrivalvis-Catclaw Sensitive Briar, when you touch the leaves they shrink.
Koelera macrantha-June grass, Mimosa quadrivalvis-Catclaw sensitive plant, and Downy brome.
Delphinium carolinianum-Prairie Larkspur
Ahh, time to find treasure in this pile of debris.
What ya got in the truck Mr. Nelson, my wife asked when I returned?
Why treasure of course, mate! 
I'm happy to say everything has survived except the Snow on the Moutain(which I'm sure is too aggressive anyways).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Foliage Followup May of 12

Following Garden Bloggers Bloom Day it always fun to travel to Texas and provide some cover up foliage from the garden. As y'all will see the foliage in these photos will show a propensity towards the bold foliage of Verbascum thapsus (common  Mullien) and the light airy foliage of Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass).
Top/Top right:Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue' (switchgrass) provides a background for the garden from the street and a background on the opposite side of the garden. This provides multiple views. The Panicum and Verbascum thapsus (common mullien)provide much needed structure in this garden.
The contrasting textures here provide a place to focus the eye in this mass of similar textures.
Detailed wiew of Verbascum thapsus. Warning: Mullein seedhead! As Jenny from Rock Rose can testify these seeds are very prolific. The day after these photos were taken all the seed heads were removed. According to Wikipedia this plant can produce up to 240,000 seeds. Woah. And the seeds can be viable after a century. Woah again. So I'm playing with fire here. However the seeds do better on disturbed soil and do not compete well with other plants when germinating. 
Wide angle view with Panicum and Calamagrostis.
My other stalwart in the garden: Stipa tenuissima(Mexican Feather grass). This is another plant which is a prolific seed producer. My mother says I'm crazy for growing it. Oh well. Stipa creates a counterpoint to the bold foliage of Mullien and spiky foliage I'm beginning to add to the garden.
And lets not forget the movement provided by Stipa.

Be sure a go see the Foliage Followup @ Digging and see what's growing in the foliage world.

Monday, May 14, 2012

GBBD May in 12

Since I'm having a hard time completing my winter projects and starting (and completing) my spring projects, this will be mainly be a photo-graphical post with few if any labels. If you have a ID question, please leave me a question comment. Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!
Above looking Northeast from front of house. Front/corner Hell Strip.
Above: Looking West from east side of House to...
 Looking Northwest. To....
 Looking North. To...
East Hell strip bottom of photo and Corner Hell strip, top of photo.

Three Photos above: Corner Hell Strip-Just Grand!
Looking back.
Where would we be on GBBD without a coneflower.
Or a little blue to cool those oranges.
 Knipofia and Achillea 'Coronation Gold'.

As always to view other peoples blooms from around the world go t to see Carol @May Dream Gardens.


Friday, May 11, 2012

The Claw

No this isn't a remake of a horror movie, a new species, or some type of organic fly bait. It's actually Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed). Any guess on what's going on here? Aphids? Worms? Disease? Nope....

Over three years ago this area was growing an 20" diameter Silver Maple. The tree was removed and soon afterwards compost and sand were roto-tilled into the existing clay soil around the stump. Still no clue? Right.

Well after the tree was cut down, the stump was treated with Picloram (Tordon RTU) which is a herbicide used to treat cut stumps. If treated within 30 minutes the cambium layer picks up the herbicide and relocates it into the root system, effectively killing the roots and preventing sprouts. Because of Picloram's solubility it trans-locates readily through the root system. However it is also very soluble in the soil. Three years later the herbicide is still creating damage in broadleaved plants (dicots). It does not effect grass plants(monocots), and it doesn't effect all broadleaved plants. It has affected milkweed, potatoes, tomatoes, and goldenrod. It caused this leaf mottling and prevents the plant from blooming.

Hopefully, this will be the last year I see this and I can begin planting more dicots in the future. There have been reports of the same type of damage from using lawn clippings or compost derived from  lawn clippings or hay/straw treated with Aminopyralid herbicides which Picloram is one. Visit the Compost to glean some more information about this possible problem. Hopefully this is not a problem in your garden.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hazy and Lazy

As you can see from the photo the view is hazy, and I'm feeling lazy from all the humidity. The temperature is in the low 90's with humidity in the 70-80% range. Ouch..
Morning view: Front Hell Strip/Meadow Garden. Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue'(tallest grass), Verbascum thapsus-Common Mullein(large leafed plant), Linum perenne-blue flax(mid border), Stipa tenuissima-mexican feather grass( on left of photo), Yucca rigida(front of border), and newly planted Dalea purpurea-purple prairie clover and Sporobolus heterolpis-northern dropseed(front of border). Also intertwined is Nepeta 'Walkers Low'-catmint, Asclepias incarnata-swamp milkweed, Calamagrostis, Echinacea purpurea, and Salvia farinacea-mealy blue sage.

So many things to do this weekend and all I want to do is chill. So chill it shall be. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

White, Reblooming I Think!

Early morning rising today as I will attend the local Gardenaires Plant Sale. This group of local ladies sells propagated plants from their own gardens. The Gardenaires Garden Club was formed 55 years ago here in Winfield, Kansas. Proceeds from the sale are used to support many local charity projects including the library garden, a local park peace garden, main street beautification project, habitat for humanity and donations for the local food bank.
I purchase a re-blooming white Iris, I think? That's what the label said anyway. Also in the tray are three ground cover ginger plants. I was the only male in the group of buyers and sellers at a local residence on the outskirts of town. I was happy about the purchases as I was considering purchasing the ginger (Asarum canadese?)from a native plant company anyway.
I leave you with a early morning shot of Sambucus 'Black Lace'.