Monday, July 28, 2008

What's blooming now?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

California Poppies, Eschscholzia californica and Big Beige Beetle

Of all the flowering seeds I planted this year, the California Poppies are my favorite. The colorful and numerous flowers are just what we need during the hot months of summer. I thought I bought "Thai Silk" but surprisingly I was able to dig up my old order and found I actually bought "Mission Bells".

Only the normal single petaled common orange ones were the first to bloom so I was quite disappointed and thought the seed company sent me just the plain old regular ones but several weeks later the first of the other colors started to appear. This turned out to be a great selection because the texture of the flowers differ as well as size. The largest ones are almost 2" across and the smallest about an inch.

I get the feeling of deja vu as if I've written this before...oh well, the flowers are new and the plants are blooming well now.

These are photos of the Grapevine Beetle, Pelidnota punctata also known as Spotted June Beetle. This large beetle about an inch long was in the house crawling on the curtains. It is probably a female. The males tend to have a darker orangish color and are smaller.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Found new (to me) a wholesale plant nursery - happy as pigs in a wallow

After seeing the lily Conca d'Or my wife took to the office, a co-worker told her about a nursery that sold plants (mostly perennials) cheaply and gave her a list of plants available. Of course we had to check it out this weekend even if the nursery was about 25 miles away.

21 plants in 5" and 6" pots for $90!!! Let's add $10-15 for gas. The old beastie Toyota Previa is a gas hog despite having only 4 cylinders - that still makes it about $5 per plant and most were cheaper because we bought a tree peony that was $12. Several of the plants, Erygium, Agastche, Lobelia and Ascelpias were only $2.34 each. The $90 included a 10% discount because we bought more than 10 plants?

We were mainly looking for perennial plants blooming at this time of the year. Their list included hundreds of plants and when we went there we weren't disappointed. Here are some of photos the blooming plants we bought. They also had some specimen and native plants which I was glad to see. I bought a Kirengeshoma which I tried to grow from seed but was unsuccessful. I also bought a tree Peony. The nursery guy said it was a species tree peony crossed with a herbaceous peony - P. lutea var. ludlowii, a bright deep yellow with woody stems which wouldn't require staking.

I also tried growing Aconitums from seed without success but they had them at the nursery so I bought two - Aconitum h. "Sparks". They had a great selection of Echinaceas as well. Black cohosh, Eryngium (sea holly), Agastache, Cimifuga racemosa, Lobelia siphilitica blue, Asclepias tuberosa to replace the one that died several years ago, Stokesia, Anemone h. Pamina (red), and a couple of dwarf bleeding hearts Dicentra ex. Aurora and s. Alba rounds out the plants purchased.

(Lobelia siphilitica also known as the Big Blue Lobelia and Blue Cardinal flower, as native of the eastern U.S. has an interesting name. Apparently at one time, it was used to treat Syphilis although the plant is quite toxic thus siphilitica.)

Of course when we got home we realized we should have picked up several different kinds of Brunnera, and other plants we passed on because we thought we already blew the budget when we filled up the large pull wagon. We thought we had surely spent several hundred dollars and almost fainted when the bill was less than a $100! I'm sure we'll go back in a couple of weeks.

For those who live in Central NJ and Bucks County PA, the nursery is called Russell Gardens Wholesale. The address is 600 New Road, Churchville, PA. Phone: 215-322-4799. No mail order. They also have a regular Nursery which sells normal priced plants so make sure you go to the Wholesale part of the operation which is at the bottom of the hill not the top. Hours: M-F 8am-5pm sharp!, Sat. 8-12 sharp!, Closed Sunday. Happy plant buying!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oriental Lilies and Bat Skeleton

The Oriental lilies are really blooming up a storm this year. We bought the lilies about 3 years ago and they've increased in size and especially height. The large white and yellow lilies are about 7 feet tall and very fragrant. They always remind me of the artist Singer Sargent's painting "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose".

This bat skeleton was found on a rock lining our small pond. At first I didn't know what kind of animal it was but the long bones of what would be the equivalent of our fingers were the clue that identified the skeleton. Unfortunately the bones were too fragile to save for our collection of bones, skulls and skeletons. I didn't know bats had so many sharp teeth!
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Location: Zone 6, New Jersey, United States

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