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.