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My new echinacea bloomed last night...'Evan Saul', an F3 hybrid between E. purpurea and E paradoxa.

Yes, it really is that color.

In other news, the dozen cops I passed on my way to work yesterday were replaced this morning by old people in very new cars and very dark glasses, crawling along the highway at 40mph. Grrrr.
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The banana (Musa basjoo) that the guys planted out in the rose garden is already shredded by the winds. It'll perk up in a few weeks. Really.

And, completely unrelated...

In case anyone didn't hear me squeeing about it yesterday evening, my peach tree at home FINALLY has peaches on it. I planted it the first spring we were in the house. It was a gift from my advisor at KSU--a seedling from a white, double-flowered, weeping, white-fleshed peach that her sister was growing. The variety is supposed to come true from seed, and so far, I've seen all the advertised characteristics but the fruit. The first year, the deer ate the tree off just before it bloomed, it didn't bloom the second year, and every year after that it's gotten hit by a late frost just as the peaches were forming. So...cross your fingers and hope for peaches this summer.
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Got things watered, puttered a bit, then we sat down to eat lunch and order more trees for the orchard here at school. That turned into a quest for a "Yellow Glass" sweet cherry*, and that led me here, and I somehow lost a couple of hours.

* It's a variety Donna saw mentioned in a KSU publication on small fruit varieties for Kansas. It's well recommended, but finding it--yeesh. We found ONE catalog source, a small family-run fruit nursery, where it's sold out. Bugger.


Mar. 2nd, 2006 02:01 pm
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Finally got a chance to sit down. Had the Russian Volunteer in this morning, and that little gal can work. Damn. She worked through a BIG pile of repotting, went through at least one bale of potting soil by herself, and kept Donna and I scurrying to keep up with her for 3 hours. Impressive, for a 4'6" white-haired whirilwind.

Bri got the aquarium set up in the back house, to start the Victoria water lilies in--or will start them, as soon as the water gets up to temp. It's very picky stuff...the seed will die if it dries out, it won't germinate if the water's under 85 degrees, fertilizer only at certain stages. But it'll be soooo cool to have one in here.

Ah, that's right, most of you don't know what these are. Here is a closeup of them, at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This shot shows the thorns on the underside of the leaves (keeps critters from grazing). In flower. None of these shots show the size of the thing....the "care and feeding" sheet Bri got with the seeds says to give each plant at least 100 square feet.

Wait, found one that shows the size. Your standard publicity shot of these, no date on the photo. The trick to the shots of people standing on the leaves of these is that they often put boards under the leaves, or carefully inside them, to distribute the weight.
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I shouldn't read Cyndi's Catalog of Garden Catalogs. It gets me in trouble.

For instance, that's how I found Squaw Mountain Gardens and their AMAZING selection of Sempervivums.

I direct your attention to this page, and suggest that you scroll down to 'Centennial' and 'Casa'. Those are some of the coolest things I've seen today, and I've done lots of looking.

Edit: I sent Donna to this website to look at Semps. She just declared that she needed to go home and put on new underwear.
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We're making an order to Plant Delights. I've got four things so far, and am trying to decide between a selection of the new hybrid echinaceas.

My list so far:
Hemerocallis 'Autumn Minaret'
Eupatorium fistulosum, giant joe-pye weed
Hemerocallis 'Tetrina's Daughter' (no picture, but the description is in the middle of this page
Yellow Russian hollyhock

And I'm trying to decide between these:
Echinacea 'Evan Saul'--it's orange, what's not to love? (E. purpurea backcrossed with E. paradoxa a few times.)
Echinacea purpurea 'Fragrant Angel' -- a white echinacea, but fragrant, and nice form
Echinacea purpurea 'Vintage Wine' -- a really rich color, also fragrant
Echinacea 'Sunset' -- another lovely lovely orange. I've seen this one in person, and it really is that color. (Another E paradoxa hybrid.)

What do my peeps think of any of these?

Donna's drooling over this, saying "it's a nasty looking thing, and I've just gotta have it."

Edited to add: I decided on Echinacea 'Evan Saul', because it's orange, and I just can't resist.
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Donna just ordered seed for nicotiana 'Perfume Deep Purple'. Be still, my beating heart. (No, that's not sarcasm, it really is a fine, fine thing. And it's purple, which is fine all by itself.)

While I'm plant geeking, I've got a few piccies for folks to take a gander at. These are all things we're trying to justify spending the greenhouse budget on:

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius and Amorphophallus titanum (a superstar in the plant geek world)--Donna already has Amorphophallus konjac, so we need these, too.

Alocasia 'Portodora' and Colocasia gigantea 'Thailand Giant Strain. I direct the viewer's attention to the potential heights as noted in the descriptions. Oooooo, really big plants.

And, because I am both perverse, and easily amused, Hosta 'Little Stiffy. Go read the blurb. I'll wait.

Funny, no? That was written by the morning speaker from the conference/trade show yesterday morning.
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We got two new hibiscus today, from one of Donna's former students. Yes, hib's are buggy nuissances, but they're soooo pretty.

Anyway, Robert brought us Black Dragon and Etoufee. Both in 4" pots, so it'll be a little while until they bloom, but ooooooooo.............
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I'm running a bit behind this morning, so I'll try to keep this short.

Was a responsible adult, and called Mom last night, to let her know that By's working Xmas eve. She's rather used to that, and pretty understanding about it. We only talked a little bit, because she was leaving for church when I called, but she did tell me that Sis's husband went back into the army in reconnaissance. Not sure how much of a target that's going to make him. Probably not as much as his mouth will.

Remembered to bring in a loaf of homemade bread to share at work today. Did not remember to grab the dvd's to take back; had to stop the car in the driveway and run back in for that. Ooops. And I did remember to bring in my new catalog for Nichols Garden Nursery, who sells a lot of herbs and hoity-toity vegetable seed. I'm particularly tempted by the non-seeded, dwarf lemon balm. Although, I've got so much of the lushly-seeding regular kind in my yard, I'd be hard-pressed to figure out if it was seeding or not. Still, a very cool idea.
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Just for Tristan, who was disturbed by the idea that there might be a coleus variety named "Armegeddon":

I found one. Edit: I am corrected. It is "Apocolypse", not "Armegeddon". I kept looking, but didn't find a coleus "Armegeddon". Oh, well.

It's not as obnoxious as I'd expect from a plant by that name, especially a coleus, but there it is.

Coleus 'Christmas Candy', however, is as bad as the name suggests.

And because my boyfriend is a Star Wars geek, I offer for your viewing pleasure coleus 'Darth Vader'. For the Potter fans, feast your eyes on coleus 'Lord Voldemort' (also rather tamer than I'd expected for the name). The Trekkies can enjoy coleus 'Vulcan'.

A vegetative illustration of where I and most of my friends are going, if my mother's church is correct: coleus 'Satanic Embers'.

I think 'Sedona' is my favorite. Such a wonderful mellow shade of orange.

Edit: today's winner of the "Strangest cultivar name given to a rather normal plant" is coleus 'Brave New Artichoke'. (I shit thee not, it's for sale at . Really. Go look for yourself.)


Oct. 20th, 2005 09:54 pm
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I graded lab ID quizzes for Donna today, and just have to bitch about some of the consistently missed answers. This'll mean much more to my plant geek friends. The rest of you, well, just google for pics of the varieties, you'll get the idea.


Because so many of the class have been mixing up the same flowers through the entire semester, Donna put most of the troublesome ones on the last quiz at the same time. They were: french marigold, calendula, garden mum, zinnia.

Now, would those who are even remotely familiar with these flowers tell me if I'm nuts? Because I just can't see how people can NOT distinguish between them. They look different, have very different odors, wildly different foliage and stems.....I'm just confused as to how half the damn class got all four mixed up. Not only that, but some of the brighter pennies in class gotthose four mixed up with things not on the quiz, like goldenrod and asters. In what universe does calendula even remotely resemble the common native goldenrod??? Grrrr.

They never want me to teach herbaceous, that's all I can say. These kids think Donna's being soooo horrible to them, they don't want to see what it'd be like if I taught it. Because I'd teach it the way I was taught, and no being nice about it, no dumbing it down, no cutting out the difficult or rare things (so, 200 plants instead of 140).

I say again, grrrr.
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Came home with another load of plants last night--all pots of small trees and shrubs, this time. Pawpaw, persimmon, soapberry, vitex, some ilex and viburnum cuttings. They're lined up in the yard, because they're all too recently transplanted to go directly into the ground just now. Oh, and I brought home a Very Big Thyme was eating one of Donna's flowerbeds, and she was getting rid of it completely. (Very Big Thyme Plant = had to have By get it out of the car for me. We cut parts of it off, and it was still 2' across.) So the car smells really nice, even this morning--thyme and citrus and that slightly bitter resin smell from the vitex.

I'm wearing my Chemical Annie hat today. Joy, oh joy. Probably will be spraying all day, there's that much to do, and the weather's good for it. (Which will mean I'm going to be extra cranky tomorrow--my hands have hurt, a lot, the past two mornings, and today's activities will just make that worse.)

By'll be home late tonight--they've got that show this evening. Don't know if it's invite only or not--it's the collector's sale. Guess Robyn's already heard from people who say they're planning to be there, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for a busy and profitable night for them.

Still waiting to hear about the greenhouse job. Donna asked her higher-ups the beginning of the week, and got the same "we don't know yet" answer. *sigh*

Note to self: remember to take my pile of branches home tonight, so I can start working on that fence.
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New Boss is off today, neither Other Dave nor I have any motivation (as in, we've both napped a bit already this morning), we're not expecting PT staff in today, and the shop grunt is listening to his headphones and dozing on a van seat out in the wash bay. My excuse is that, while I did get to bed right after last night's phone call, I kept waking up with really odd dreams. The shop grunt's excuse is that nothing went out yesterday, so he's already cleaned everything, and looking forward to a boring day. And Oher Dave has a fairly serious family medical issue that came up this week, so he's been running distracted all week.

Did a little shopping last night, for some girly stuff. I now own a bottle of nail polish remover, and four (!) colors of nail polish that I actually intend to use as nail polish, and not as shiny enamel paint. Picked up a couple of other things that I can't mention here, because they're supposed to be a surprise for someone. :P

Was a responsible adult last night and did HSA business. I *think* I'm ready to take over as secretary next week. And really, this will be the worst one, since the upcoming meeting is committee heads elections. Still getting used to the idea that this could be the year that outs me completely--as an officer, I've got to put my right name on things. I'm pretty sure that Mom's not web-savy enough to find me listed thusly on the HSA webpage, but HSA does make it into print in the metro sometimes, and who knows what newspapers she reads in the library. Ah well. We'll deal with what comes. (In a lot of ways, it'd almost be a relief for her to find out by accident--if I told her, it'd be me starting the fight. And it will be a fight, either way, so I'm just avoiding the subject until I absolutely have to face it.)

My wonderful husband brought me two of the world's best snickerdoodle cookies last night, the ones from Le Monde bakery. I spent the evening admiring them; I may eat one tonight, as a treat. They are fine fine things.

By's working at least part of the day for Robyn today; not sure how much, as she's getting twitchy about his hours again. He's planning to run out to Tandy Leather for tools and a book and some leather for a project after work. (We'd half planned to do that trip tomorrow, but the silly humans aren't open Sunday or Monday. Kinda hard to have a 4th of July sale if you're not open that day, but no one asked me about it.)

Brought extra knitting today. Between my intent to run at least two truckloads of water today, and the expectation of being purely lazy when that's done.....not sure I'll actually get that far, but it's extra motivation to get my work done so I can knit, and I certainly need the extra motivation today.
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Having been a responsible adult all morning, even so far as having completed the much-dreaded Dances With Poison Ivy, I now get to reward myself with a trip to my favorite nursery, with Donna in tow, to spend the taxpayer's money. I think a pot of sandalwood-scented bamboo is going to follow us home :)


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