Six on Saturday #31, June 16, 2018

This week has been a mixed bag in the garden–some things were good, some not so good.  Let’s start with the not-so-good.

1. Fallen sourwood tree (Oxydendrum arboreum)


A storm on Tuesday brought down a fairly large sourwood tree.  It skimmed a bluebird feeder but landed across our row of thornless blackberries.  The blackberries were supported by two strands of wire strung between to 4×4″ posts.  The wire held.  One of the posts snapped.  This afternoon, I’ll haul out the chain saw and cut up the trunk for firewood, but it’s going to be a pain in the neck digging out the snapped post to replace it.

Update:  the tree fell, because the center of its trunk was rotten and inhabited by an enormous nest of enormous carpenter ants who were not thrilled to have a chainsaw bisecting their home.  Run away!  Run Away!

2.  Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) on pink banana (Musa velutina)


The Japanese beetles have started their annual rampage through the soft-leaved plants in the garden.  Spraying with insecticides is contraindicated when the beetles are eating flowers that attract other insects or are on plants that we want to eat, so we wander around the garden knocking them off into a bucket of soapy water.  I’m not sure if it does much to control their population, but it satisfies the need for revenge.

3.  Tigridia pavonia


Finally, I have a Tigridia pavonia that blooms red.  Tigridia corms are readily available in the spring, but only in packs of mixed colors.  For the last couple of years, my plants have all bloomed in shades of yellow, but this year, I got a batch that contained at least one red-flowering plant.  I had expected to treat Tigridias as annuals, but it turns out that they are fully hardy in my garden, despite cold, wet winter and heavy clay soil.

4. Fasciated Lilium formosanum


Fasciation, or cresting, is a rare developmental abnormality resulting from overgrowth of meristem tissue.  In this Lilium formosanum, the normally cylindrical stem has turned into a flattened plate with many more (though smaller) leaves than usual.


Most sources say that fasciation in lilies is usually a one-time event, with the bulb producing normal growth the next year.  This bulb was also fasciated last year, although the effect was less extreme.  It will be interesting to see if this is a permanent, stable condition.

Also, note the stems of the ubiquitous, weedy creeping cucumber (Melothria pendula).

5. Lilium ‘African Queen’


First bloom for a bulb that I planted last autumn.  Flowers are nice, but the stem is floppy.  Hopefully the plant is still getting established and will improve in future years.

6.  African baobab (Adansonia digitata) seedlings


I ran across some baobab seeds that I had forgotten about on a high shelf for the past fifteen years.  I guess they’re still viable.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with tropical trees that have the potential to grow to the diameter of a small house and live for thousands of years, but the internet suggests they are reasonable candidates for tropical bonsai.

That’s all for this Saturday.  For more Six on Saturday contributions from garden bloggers around the world, head on over to the Propagator.

16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday #31, June 16, 2018

  1. Have you tried Milky Spore disease powder to help control the Japanese beetles? Works well for me. You apply the powder by spoonsful to your lawn and it gives the grubs some disease and they die. Once you apply it, it last for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I put it out several years in a row. Our next door house was vacant at the time so I put some in their yard, too. It doesn’t get rid of the beetles, but there don’t seem to be so many as when we moved here.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve wondered if sourwood might be a good wood for mounting orchids.
    Internet search turned up only one person who had tried it.
    Fissured bark might provide a good surface for roots.
    Your thoughts?

    Recently I read of ancient baobabs dying for reasons unknown. Hope that doesn’t happen to your seedlings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure how rot resistant it would be, but if you want to try some pieces, I could bring it to the next TOS meeting.

      I read about the baobabs too. Very odd that they died so suddenly.


  3. Those beetles look as though they have an organised plan in mind! I’m amazed that the baobab seeds grew after such a long time. No doubt about Mother Nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I see you’ve got some Baobob – I tried my hand at these from seeds I ordered on The seeds have had a 100% germination rate, but I cannot seem to get them to stay alive. I soaked them in near-boiling water for 24 hours, and planted in a gritty medium with medium water and full sun. They unfurl out of their seed, seedcoat suspended, only to shrivel up because the hard shell keeps them trapped, unable to unfold.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These ones I soaked in room temperature water for 24 hours. One was initially trapped in the seed coat, but eventually the cotyledons pushed out.

      Perhaps old seeds are easier than fresh?


  5. Lovely Six once more … I didn’t know that some beetles might be interested in banana leaves … Have you tried diatomaceous earth powder? It’s rather used for ants or spiders but why not try? I succeed my cucumbers this year: no spider mites until now.
    About the red tigridia, do you think it comes from a mutation? Mine are always yellow or pale yellow / orange but having red would be nice!
    For the baobab, I tried to grow them successfully until the stage where you are. I wanted to create a bonsai (I saw a very nice on the internet and as you said, it could be the only solution with our climates …)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oxydendrum is sourwood? Is tupelo also sourwood, or is it sourgum? I know that the common names are regionalised, but we have neither here. I think that tupelo shold be more popular than it is. It stays small enough to be a nice street tree.


    1. Somehow, I missed this comment. Yes, Oxydendrum is sourwood. Tupelo are Nyssa species. Around here the common species is Nyssa sylvatica—black tupelo or black gum. Oxydendrum and Nyssa sylvatica grow side by side on my property. They’re about the same size, but I think Oxydendrum is the better tree. Both have good autumn color, but Oxydendrum has prettier flowers.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s