Airing my dirty laundry

wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I got a slew of natives at the a swap from a woman in Medina Texas and then LOST them for a while. I just remembered that I left them in my pocket so I ended up having to go through my dirty laundry for them. SUCCESS!.. I am seed rich now...Asclepius texana, Asclepius latifolia, Callirhoe leiocarpa, Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacho Orchid tree), matelea reticulata (pearl milkweed vine), Sweet Everlasting, and my two favorites today, Amsonia longifolius and Thelesperma burridgeannum. I am going to plant the orchid tree today and I am torn between planting the thelasperma now or this fall. We are projected to having a La Niña develop this fall so I don't think next year will be a good establishing spring. That usually means drought. I have water in my water tanks this year but might not have that next spring. I have seen thelaspermas sprout in the summer in august when we get a nice rain so I am going for it. This type Greenthread is from the north part of South Texas. Heat is a given there, and so are summer rain events. Beautiful brown centers outlined in Yellow. I will plant them close where I can keep them moist, but I am starting them out in the ground and not in pots. Most of these seeds will be being stored and started in pots this fall . I will start the orchid tree in pots. They say it is best to use fresh seed.

I had to I tromped around the back valley planting 150 seeds of Mexican Buckeye (Uganda species) yesterday. I should have put them in earlier in the spring but someone just gave them to me and they need to be used fairly fresh . We have a wet spring with possible dry spell starting this winter , so I am going for it. They develop their roots first. We will see if I get any out of them. 1 out of 10 would be a success. I can get more seed from here this summer. I planted them in clusters of three and four and made tripods of brush over them to hide them from the deer and partially shade them from the sun. I hope art helps. I planted them behind berms that I had made out of downed limbs a couple of years back. The wet springs have already stopped dirt and leaf matter on the slopes.

It is so cool to see these measures working as I was told they would work. I am a dilettante that follows instructions. But I can easily be fed the wrong directions or choose to follow the wrong set. There is so much conflicting info out there.

I have seed from Utah and New Mexico and seeds from Texas spouting and the ones from Texas are so much more vital. The desert ones seem to be thinking and cogitating "what now"in comparison. I see a pattern here and a resounding "DUH". Maybe I should listen to this very easy finding. The proof is in the pots.

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lukifell740

You seem enthusiastic. Good luck with your plants !

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texasranger2

Maybe those desert seeds are cogitating because they suspect something weird is up since Mom is nowhere to be found. Maybe the Texas plants are giving them the business by doing the tough Texas Redneck act while your back is turned and intimidating the little guys. I hear some reptiles will start the homeward journey if they are displaced and get killed on the highway in their attempt to go home. Not that I'm saying anything critical about the native status, you know how I love foreigners from out westward (or southward). IOW, I'm no locals-only snob.

Actually I had to look up 'cogitate' and just wanted an excuse to use it in a sentence. I've not noticed my plants cogitating but maybe I'm not looking hard enough. That Blue Ephedra is definitely not a happy camper here but I don't think its cogitating, I think its gone brain dead. I hope yours fares better. I dug it up and get this. It was still in the pot shape underground, it came right out, the original root ball looked exactly like it did a year ago when I first planted it. I consider that an extremely bad sign. Its half dead on top and I don't hold much hope. Its from 'overseas' so its no native, not by any stretch. The native green ephedra has always done well but I don't think the frightening description I read "spreads in all directions like a bandy horse" will happen with this once pretty but now ugly blue one, its the kind with pharmaceutical strength ephedrine unlike our weaker native types.

As you can tell, I am in a highly serious mood tonight & I'm giving this reply my intellectual best. On that note, here's the best advice I can give on the tree seeds -- I take this directly from what I've observed with my own eyeballs of the yearly attempt of trees trying to take-over in my own yard by seeds and how successful they are at doing it, unless I spend weeks on my hands, knees or butt intervening. You know how rain washes down and deposits dead plant matter into rivets that dry out and look like a mess of piles and squiggley lines? (messy on my gravel that is) Well, those piles always sprout 100% better than the seeds that are loners and not deposited in piles of debris. Thats my tip from Ma Nature on how to plant a lot of tree seeds. Just let them come up in mounds of dried up debris, no digging is necessary. Tree seeds also love to collect thickly at the base of any living plant with plans to overtake it. Those ones hiding under leaves or inside your grasses always seem to be successful.

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docmom_gw(5)

I've started putting piles of twigs at the base of all transplants, since I read about "hugelcultur". I'm sure I butchered the spelling. But, it makes sense that a collection of woody debris would hold on to moisture, while also allowing for air movement around the roots. I don't think it could hurt, anyway.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

TX, I love your "serious" moods, LOL. So you are saying that my cogitating seedlings are experiencing some sort of separation anxiety from being kidnapped and driven off by a crazy lady in a yellow Honda. . Next time I will yank up the whole bush so they can have their parent as a companion.... NOT.

Doc Mom, I am using fallen and trimmed branches to hold back soil and leaves on the slopes , so that does create a base that has hugel culture in the mix, kind of, but different. I see the wood as the bones of the dirt. Really forest are a whole bunch of rotting wood. Up where you are , Doc Mom, things rot quicker, and then the humus sticks around longer. Hugel culture really is a spongy mass in the woods up north. Here where things are dryer, rot is a much slower thing. Especially if the wood is juniper. Red Oak rots quicker . Wood does the driftwood thing in becoming desicated more than rotting until a wet year comes around. once broken down , it seems to disappear, flows down hill or the bugs and bacteria eat it. Masses of soft humous is a rarity. I did see some under a red oak in the back valley. I piled a bunch of brush on it so it would not flow into the canyon and get carried away in the next flood event this spring. Compost disappears quickly here. The holding factor of wood on the ground is hugely important here. Even the twigs are a factor. they are the finger bones holing onto the dirt. I leave the big logs too. Nature rewards a mess.

Tx, I have two red turning (in New Mexico) Bluestems that I collected on my trip . and they are acting very different even as tiny babies. The South-of-Cuba Bluestem (rt.550) is finer and slower growing and the Gallisteo Road Bluestem ( south of Santa Fe) is broader leafed and charging in their pots. Really vigorous. I have no idea about their blueness factor. All the bluestem seem not very blue here. One thing I noticed on the trip was that there was not much bluestem in southern new Mexico in the grasslands around Artesia nor the deserts west of White Sands under the mountains of Cloud Croft and Riudosa. One did not see much bluestem till you got north of 380 (Roswell, Carizzozo, San Antonio NM line). The ground evaporation and heat might be too much for them. This might be why we Texans just don't see all these fancy Blue bluestem in our native nurseries. We just see the local hum drum green bluestem and our many muhlies. I am not complaining (yes I am).

For my next trips I think I need to focus on the southern grassland and desert mountains for my seeds I even think that the Davis Mountains and Guadalupe mountains of Texas ( lots of mohave rattlesnakes, maybe , I need a companion). I am already planning my next trip. LOL.I really like traveling with no destination in mind. The mountains above Tuscon on the Mongollan rim is calling me. They have more moisture and would be more similar to Central Texas. There is a place called Dripping Springs (an abandoned health resort) in the organ Mountains that could be calling my name to.

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texasranger2

Your car is not big enough to yank the mothers.

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Campanula UK Z8

HugelKultur (sp?) just means 'hill culture' and generally allows for both drainage and moisture retention by keeping humus at the base as a resevoir whilst raising the plantings so they are able to keep free draining...but as a rule, additions of extra organics with perennials are usually a good thing. I might be a bit concerned about leaving large air pockets in the soil and would cover the twigs with a layer of finer soil.

Oh thelesperma. It has been ages since I last sowed that - back in the days of my 'Californian Meadow' which rapidly morphed into a miniature Karoo, but yep, I agree, cosmidium (as I knew it then), along with the very similar coreopsis tinctoria are terrific annuals for that late summer easy flash. I am rather keen to get tall tickseed (coreopsis tripteris) growing in my eastern woodland edge.

I have some interesting penstemon growth appearing...but naturally, every label went astray so I don't have a scooby what I actually have growing - very different to the more familiar garden hybrids though. Fine leaved, glaucous, crinkly, even quite bronzed foliage. Will wait and see (as usual).

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I just up potted my Penstemon triflorus this afternoon. They are one of my charging texan rednecked plants. I took a nameless cogitating desert guy and there was a mass of them the pot. Rosettes of a 16th of an inch, but with hairlike roots 6-12" long.I planted some of them out in the field with sun shades and markers. We will see. I do not know if these are annuals or perennials , So I put some out in the field and am saving some to grow longer in pots.

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texasranger2

Here is my kind of a 'Lost Seeds' story:

Last year I planted about 4 seeds that were left over from the pack you'd sent me of Penstemon cobea. The previous year's sowing attempt had been a failure 100%. These were seeds stuck down deep in the fold of the packet (you know how it is). I often save empty packets in case I need names later. It was one of those bored things you do when you just want to plant seeds and start throwing in stuff when rifling through your old seed stash.

Anyway, 3 sprouted and stayed very tiny all last summer having miraculously survived the heat and my neglect in a 4" pot in the shade. I planted them in the ground last fall. This spring they all took off except by that time I'd done a 'campanula' number and forgotten what they were. This happens a lot around here. I knew it was a penstemon so I figured once they bloomed I'd know. Gosh, they are simply ravishing! The photos I've seen and the Sally Wasowski(sp?) book doesn't do them justice. I'd seen them in the book so I knew right off what they were and who they'd come from. The really nice thing is how much they stand out among other plants. You'd definitely see these going down the highway at 70mph and want to stop the car to go take a closer look.

Hog that I am, I want more plants so I'm going to sow seeds from these.

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Campanula UK Z8

The old garden hybrids are super-easy to propagate from cuttings (even for me, the cutting murderer)...which is why me, my friends and offspring all have numerous huge clumps of penstemon. They are so obliging - just whip the top 4inches off (at a leaf node), remove the bottom leaves to leave a nice bare stalk, bung in pot and cover - wait 6 weeks- roots guaranteed. I have done early cuttings, planted them out and had flowers from the cuttings in the same season. Honestly, there are very few plants I take cuttings off (asters, shrubby salvia, dahlias, begonias maybe and clematis) but penstemons are fail-safe...so have a go as well as waiting for seed.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Tex, I know....I love that penstemon...but it does (for me) seem to be a short lived guest (maybe 2 yrs flowering)...so it does sound safe to save seeds (and cuttings if you can make it work...never tried).

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texasranger2

I would have never thought to root them. Barron, penstemon behave like biennials for the most part in my yard, they are all short lived but I figured it was because I'm growing the SW types and maybe the conditions aren't quite ideal but they seem to do well, just short lived. I always get hundreds of seeds & I throw them around in late summer like chicken feed and have plenty of blooming plants each year.

Here's the P. cobea shot today


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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I just love to see the plants grown from the seeds I have sent. Makes me feel all funny inside, silly me. Tex, those are beautiful luscious blooms! Great photo of it too. I have had them growing for years in my garden. I have a 6 year old clump by my very pointy and sharpe Agave striata falcata ( to keep the pesky deer away). Definitely not a biennial. They seed very easily for me when I purposely plant them in pots. Things don't volunteer often out on my dry hill. I see them volunteering in the shade probably because it stays wetter there longer but they don't bloom there. I saw four under the oak tree while raking live oak leaves that I need to move to a better spot.. I plant half at the end of the summer and half "winter sown." I cold stratified some in the refrigerator this so called winter because we had no cold this year and had great luck with germination. The plants come back year after year growing more and more stems. The one 6 year clump has 12 stems on it. I have always wanted to get the purpuria variety that shows more lavender tones. I am trying to plant many more each year in the fields. Maybe the deer won't find them all if I have a zillion of them.The starts often don't make it way out in the field because I can't water them all. I forget where they are..The P. triflorus stick around more than a year or two also.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Btw, the missourri strain of P cobaea is bright purple throughout (much prettier imo). You can acquire from Missourri Wildflowers if you want...seed as well as plants.

Here's a link to a friend of mine's photo of it: Penstemon cobaea

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texasranger2

You can't go by the picture. I really can't emphasize enough that photos do not do it justice. Its the dramatic solid whiteness from a distance that makes it so outstanding, I mean it really stands out. I look out from the upstairs and its stealing the show. That plant would show up as a huge visual break out in a field and I know I'd have to stop the car, get out and walk over to see what in the world it was.

Don't get me wrong, the purple is pretty too. Gee, did I misspell it? Looks like I did.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I've seen the southern (Oklahoma, Texas) variants of the plant and I do love it...I just like the Missourri/Arkansas purple ones better. The purple ones are shorter.

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texasranger2

I ran across this website looking for white vs purple so I could cast my vote. It looks like there are various shades of pink in between. The camp is located somewhere around the Dallas/FW area, its a restoration prairie from what I can tell. Quite a sight. I like reading stories like this and I absolutely love treasure hunts.

LLELA---penstemons

I have a couple other Texas imports via wantanamara blooming. Two Manfreda's have put up tall stems, I'm guessing my adopted plants are probably blooming later than those in Texas, it wouldn't surprise me if those down there have opened by now. One kind has a small short stem but a larger spotted one has a stem taller than me, 5'8". I like these planted among native grasses.

The Blackfoot Daisy's have naturalized a little area among some bluestem. Only one seed that germinated from those very old seeds you sent, you'd told me they might not be good but seemed one seed still had a bit of life. After 3 years, its done its job. That original plant died last year in the spring flooding rains but there's others all growing all around now, like you said there would be. Its another white blooming plant I adore. Its one of the longest blooming of all my natives.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Lad Bird Johnston has a population that is very variable between the white and purple with all shades in-between.The flowers are very large and luscious. I do hanker after some of their seed. I get a bit of variation into pink , but not much. Maybe their's is from Native American Seed co. There is a spot on the roadside , just down rt 12 from me that has hundreds of them blooming right now. They are very white on the tall bank. I do need to stop and look for their seed in a couple of months. I like to make sure that the gene pool has some depth to it. maybe I should actually buy some seed for a change.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Here are some of Tx's seeds that have found a happy home and a couple of wet springs to germinate in in a row. They like clay and hate caliche. I found out the old fashion way. The galiardia is different from the local variety.

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texasranger2

Sally W. says "Some Indian Blankets get only 6" tall and make broad, neat mounds. Others make colorful one foot balls although most are ungainly. You must have that first type.

Mine are bigger than one foot but they do form balls. The whole plant pulls up or sometimes blows away down the street like a tumbleweed but they are tidy compact plants, not ungainly. Each forms hundreds of blooms. I've got some that have wider yellow band and some with almost no yellow, mostly red. They vary. I imagine in rich soil they'd look awful, fall over and get much larger and leggy.

I love them in fall when they are covered in fuzzy balls in late afternoon sun. They also attract fireflies.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

A 30' moving van backed up over the patch of flowers today. It is a dirt road to my shop. Its inevitable but it still irritates me mightily and puts me into a lousy mood. I think the flowers are not too bad off. I didn't have the heart to look to closely. I looked at it from 70' away, chicken that I am. They were bringing in my next job. I will be yanking invasives on the sly now....... Back to the grind.

These are coming up close as grass so I don't think they will make the ball. I think they will make a BLANKET.

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texasranger2

I've cut plants way back down by the street and they recover very fast so those will probably be fine.

I especially like those annual gaillardia along with Desert Marigold, Blackfoot Daisy, Flame Flower, Helianthus annum because these plants are in for the long haul and bloom from spring, through summer heat and into fall without stopping. Its the into summer heat part that makes them especially good. If someone wanted to plant a meadow or prairie garden in the city without creating a mess like people talk about with prairie gardens, I can't see how they would with these growing along with the classic prairie grasses. These are all low growing and well behaved.

That little Kansas Four O'clock blooms all summer into fall too. Did your seeds take hold? I've got them coming up here and there all over my property (exploding pods). Its OK since they are only about 3" tall. Plains Penstemon blooms all summer too. I've got two that volunteered last year but they are still small.

Lobeleaf copper mallow is another long bloomer, spring to fall. Its tall but I can't imagine anyone calling it thuggish or overwhelming and its no flopper. Lots of stiff stems covered in blue foliage & orange blooms currently. For some reason some stems break at the base especially in spring. Maybe the wind that snaps them? I have 3 seedlings and am hoping to get another red blooming one. The only thing is, the plant takes up a big space which I am always short of but I did plant one down on the H. Strip.

I let one Mentzelia decapetata come up last year. Same exact spot as last time. Its growing a tall center stem now and should be blooming in a month or so. Did yours make it?

I finally figured out I've got a Pink Yucca that is a different kind than H. 'parviflora'. I I.D.ed as H. campanulata the other night. Its larger in every respect, has a bloom stalk that's practically as tall as me with flowers that are more yellow but not like the yellow blooming Hesperaloe. I got the seeds from a huge cluster growing at Will Rogers Park some years back. I think I sent you some but can't remember. The night blooming type hasn't bloomed for me yet but it did defy the zone limit. I think its hardier than they say.

*CORRECTION: That H. campanulata bloom stalk is 8 feet tall, I just measured it. The leaves are almost double the height of H. parviflora. I saw the first hummingbird of the season on it yesterday.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I hav a hesperaloe that sends a bloom stalk up to 10 ' when it blooms. It is one of those being consumed by the sumac. It blooms a bicolored pink and cream flowers. It is the H. campanula , I think. I also have a bunch of H. funifera var chiangii.

I have a few of the Kansas 4 o'clocks trying hard to make it. I even see some coming up from seeds in both in the ground and in some reused potting soil that I used to pot up some hesperaloe seedlings into larger pots., and I have one that I grew in the pot that got put out in the ground earlier this spring. The cheatgrass has been trying to take over that spot. None of the Mentzelia made it. I think I need to give it more shade and nicer sandier soil. No putting it in caliche Marl slopes and washes. I thought I had one out in the cactus garden, It made it through the summer but it disappeared over the winter. I was heart broken.

I need to get some replacement copper mallow when I find one and put it in a POT out of reach of the deer. I do have a 2 types of desert mallow that is actually blooming out between some agave. Any night now those deer will swoop in , probably when they come in looking for the Yucca rupicola blooms. I am enjoying them right now. Don't know how long it will last.


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texasranger2

The Mentzelia has a tap root. I'm wondering if maybe certain plants with a long tap root aren't suited for marl or thick caliche? You had the same problem with the Desert Marigolds and both of these are biennials. Its not a problem dry or too much sun on either of these, I know that, they love both, the more heat and sun the better.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Could be. I have some a few desert marigolds that come back....not many.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

YEA! I have germination of the Anacho orchid tree and Mexican buckeye that I planted in the pot as a control and safety. No tricks, just plain pop it in the dirt in the spring and stand back. That is less than 2 weeks. The seeds were fresh. I guess I should go and check some places out in the wild where I planted the buckeye.

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