Six on Saturday #28, May 19, 2018

Last weekend, the weather shifted from fairly cool spring to full-on summer, with highs around 90-93 F (~32-34 C) and high humidity.  Over the past few days, the temperature has moderated, but only because tropical air streaming up from the Gulf of Mexico has brought frequent showers and thunderstorms.

Since I missed last week’s Six on Saturday (because I was attending Montrose Garden’s spring open-house and eldest offspring’s last track meet of the season), this six includes photos taken over the past ten days.  Oldest photos are first.

1.  Chionanthus virginicus (fringe tree)


There are a few wild fringe trees in the woods nearby, but I planted this specimen beside the path leading to the front door.  It’s a male tree, so its flowers aren’t as showy as a female’s, but it doesn’t drop fruit on the path in autumn. [Correction:  The internet says I was mistaken.  It’s the male trees that have more impressive flowers.]

I recently read that the invasive emerald ash borer has started attacking C. virginicus, so we may have limited time to enjoy this tree.

2. Allium siculum (honey garlic)


This species is often labeled Nectaroscordum siculum in bulb catalogs. By either name, it’s a good choice for piedmont gardens, because it blooms after most of the spring bulbs but before the summer bulbs like Crinum and Eucomis get started.

3. Cypella herbertii


This is the first flower of 2018 for my clump of Cypella herbertii.  This little irid is amazingly hardy for a plant that is native to Argentina and Uruguay.  It flowers for much of the spring and summer and remains green for most of the winter.  Even when frozen to the ground by very cold weather, the foliage starts growing again as soon as temperatures rise above freezing.  Flowers open early in the morning and usually last only one day, but each inflorescence produces new flowers sequentially for several weeks.

4. Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip poplar)


Although Liriodendron is one of most common deciduous tree species around here, I rarely see the flowers, because they open high in the forest canopy.  The twig bearing this one broke off in the wind and landed on my garden path.

5.  Terrapene carolina carolina (eastern box turtles)

The garden’s resident box turtles are enjoying the wet weather.


I hadn’t seen this adult male box turtle in the garden before, but he turned up twice this week [update: three times].  The notch at the front of his carapace is distinctive, so I won’t have any trouble recognizing him if I find him again.


This smaller female is a garden regular.  The kids have named her Penelope.  We offered her a fresh strawberry on Friday morning, and she ate most of it before disappearing into the flowerbeds.

Percy Shelley hasn’t made an appearance yet this year.

6. Mutinus elegans (elegant stinkhorn)


Look what else the rain brought out.  I’m not sure what the scientist who named this species was thinking.  Elegant?


Slugs and snails enjoy munching on the stinkhorns.  Their  smell also attracts American carrion beetles (Necrophila americana), but I was unable to get a good photo of the surprisingly alert insects.  As soon as I get close, they scuttle down to the ground and bury themselves in the mulch.

Want more Six on Saturday?  The Propagator is our host, so head over to his blog.

18 thoughts on “Six on Saturday #28, May 19, 2018

  1. Always very beautiful discoveries. Does Cypella herbertii come from a bulb or a rhizome? It reminds me of Tigridia Pavonia that I have here but I overwinter them indoors for safety


  2. What a fabulous six you’ve posted for us to see. Except the stink horn which is disgusting! The cypella is most unusual and the allium is really lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Every summer I see a box turtle in my garden, but only once or twice. It would be lovely if he was a permanent resident or at least showed himself/herself more often. The tulip poplar bloom is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tulip poplars are uncommon here. There were more popular as street trees in San Jose years ago, but lost popularity when scale became a problem and actually did quite a bit of damage. I am looking at the top of an old one now. We are a few miles from San Jose, where the scale is not so serious, but this is an old tree that is not aging well. All the lowest limbs have died. I can not see flowers if there are any up there. It is still pretty, and we really hate to cut it down. It will need to be removed soon, before it falls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re so tall, I can imagine that scale would definitely be a problem for a street tree. I see similar issues with live oaks when I visit my parents in Houston. They’re cheap and tough, so people plant them everywhere, forgetting that they grow enormous and shed acorns in biblical plague amounts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tulip trees do not get so tall where well exposed in the Santa Clara Valley. They certainly get too big for street trees, but not as big as you would think. The tree here is very tall, but only because it competes with redwoods, and is not in a chaparral climate.


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