More digging

I spent some time digging more elephant ears and cannas yesterday just before dark. I left some cannas in the ground as an experiment, and thought I would remove half or so of one large planting.

But the planting decided that it wanted to stay in one piece.


Digging the tropicals, finally

Because it's been so mild, there has not been any urgency in digging up the tropicals. Yes I dug and brought into the garage some of the papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) and the upright elephant ears (Alocasia macrorrhiza) quite a while ago, but the plants with tubers or rhizomes I've not worried about. Elephant Ears (Colocasia esculenta and others) and various cannas have been fine out there -- the ground has not yet frozen.

With temperatures falling well below freezing and not coming much up above it again for a few days beginning tonight, I had to start some digging yesterday. Above is a bucket of mixed Colocasia tubers, straight from the ground.


What follows the rain?

Eleven inches (28cm) of rain this month in St. Louis (officially), with at least 9" (23cm) of it coming in the last four days. What follows heavy rains in late December?

Well, two things. The first is fungus, or at least fungal blooms. My wife noticed these crazy orange/reddish things from the window.



So much of the country is having a bad time with extreme weather, it seems wrong to complain about our own weather here in St. Louis. No blizzards, tornadoes, or anything else violent, but we have been getting more than our fair share of rain.

It's been raining pretty much non-stop since Christmas day afternoon, when we had quite heavy storms -- the dry creekbed on the south side of the house will get a makeover this summer, letting it carry much more water. Or maybe there's another solution. I enjoy spreading pretty river gravel around, but carrying it up from the bottom of the hill more than once every year is getting old.


Christmas Sunrise

Merry Christmas! or so the sun seemed to say yesterday morning.

It was a beauty...


A little pond work

The other day after cutting down the bananas and preparing them for winter I decided it was also time to remove the pond netting.

I usually don't leave it up this long because it will get frozen into the ice, but since we haven't had any of that yet I've been able to keep it in place extra long. Hopefully this kept more leaves out of the water -- there seemed to be a lot of them in there last year!


Wednesday Vignette: Aloe question

My Wednesday Vignette this week is a question...

...a question about aloes. Specifically, one type of aloe. More specifically, the one potted plant that is too close to my desk chair and hence gets a fleshy leaf snapped off once in a while when I move back too far.


Boldly Green

Sunny winter days are when I really appreciate the bamboo in the garden the most.

Especially on a day that alternates between grey and stormy then sunny, the green is so uplifting!


Finally putting the bananas to sleep

Although temperatures still don't have me concerned -- it's just been so mild, just barely getting below freezing a few nights -- I figured that it was time to get the Musa basjoo banana ready for winter.

I've just left it alone so far, except for the effort I went through to save the leaves that will insulate it.


Looking back: Kauai

Not much going on around here recently, so I thought I'd take a look back to a time before I had this blog, to a place that I'd much like to visit again: Kauai

It was our first and only (so far) trip to the Hawaiian islands, and it was amazing in so many ways. Since I don't remember every detail, I'll let the photos do the talking.


Random Thursday

Why does it seem like I've been doing the "random" posts more often lately? Probably for two reasons: the first being that I've not been doing much in the garden lately of course, so there's not much to post about out there.

The second though is that I seem to be snapping more one-off photos of interesting things while out and about lately. Those photos pile up and then it's time to wrangle them into a post lest they be forgotten. I'm starting today with a mosaic of the St. Louis skyline...


Terrarium produces

The other day I did some pruning of the terrarium succulents, leaving me with lots of propagation material.

Here's what I did with this pile of trimmings.


Totem pole cactus: not doing it right?

One benefit of having to bring so many non-hardy plants indoors for the winter is that I get to look at them a lot more than I did when they were out in the garden. One plant that I'm looking at a lot (and loving what I see) is the totem pole cactus (Lophocereus schottii f. monstrosus).

I picked up a small one of these a few years at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where the Henry Shaw Cactus and Succulent Society were having their annual plant sale. I was so excited to find one of these locally, as it had been on my want list for a while!


Invasion apparent

This is one of the times of the year when the invasion is most apparent here in Missouri, at least in the St. Louis area.

The invasion I'm talking about is of bush honeysuckle, the shrubby Asian plant introduced to this country 100 years or more ago, which is now the predominant understory shrub in much of Missouri.


Terrarium refresh, step 1

It's time again for my annual (or biannual?) terrarium refresh, where I do some pruning, digging, planting. I have to warn you, the images in today's post won't be so pretty.

That's because the terrarium is quite overgrown. A few light-loving plants have hogged the "temporary" lights (that are taking a long time to replace) resulting in a tangled, ugly mess.


Wednesday Vignette: Fire?

Anna at Flutter and Hum hosts the Wednesday Vignette meme, and today's vignette is a scent. For whatever reason the last few nights we've been out later than normal, and entering the house each night gives me quite a shock.

It started on Friday evening, when opening the front door I was met with what seemed like the smell of burning plastic -- my first thought being that there was an electrical fire in the attic or in a wall somewhere.


A little bit of sun

Today is at least partly sunny, with temperatures reaching about 15ºF above normal.

Since I have little time today, this sunshine was the perfect excuse to jump outside and snap a few photos of the light's effect on the front garden.


Thinning out the seed stores

Like many gardeners, I buy a lot of seeds -- especially in the mid-to-late winter months, when seed catalogs hint at the excitement that next season's plants will bring. The problem is, I rarely use more than a few seeds from any packet each season -- maybe half a packet in a crazy year.

So I end up with a lot of old seeds packets, partially full, sometimes 8 years old (or more). I decided to clear out my seed stores this weekend, or at least make a start on it. First step: the flowering plants.


Inside aloe

One of the pre-winter tasks that I did get done is bringing the potted succulents indoors. Because of some furniture rearrangement since last winter, there's not the room for these upstairs that there was before.

This means that some of the plants are in strange, temporary places right now. A little of a hassle to walk around, but it gives me a chance to see some of them in a new light -- literally.


Not enough curves

I realized something this morning when looking out the bedroom window over the garden.

I don't have enough curves out there. Something bold that catches the eye yet harmonizes with the surrounding plants and structures.


Wednesday Vignette: Morning Sun

It's been a while since we've seen the sun in the morning. It seems like it rained for at least five days straight, and has been overcast and grey. Yesterday afternoon was nice and sunny though, in that wintery way.

The sunrise this morning gives me hope that there will be more sunshine today. The shadows of my garden (part of it at least) are the subject of this week's Wednesday Vignette, hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum (not a car blog).


So random

Time for more random observations.

I had such a hard time keeping this pot wet enough this summer. Now I can't keep it dry! (I want to get some of the water out so I can bring this indoors, but it just keeps raining!)


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