Basement growing can have its rewards.

hc mcdole
2 months ago

Most of the plants are growing well in the basement but it is a challenge. I have around 90 shop lights in four rooms and space is tight in some areas. I have a 75 foot hose I hooked up to the shower in the basement which makes watering much quicker but also had to learn some tricks (turn it off and bleed the pressure before moving to another room). I use TP-Link smart outlets to control the lights. This is a blessing as I no longer have to reach over or around plants in the way to turn on a mechanical timer. I schedule them to run 12 hours a day 8 AM to 8 PM in all rooms but I have to scheduled some to run at night to share the same circuit so they run from 8:01 PM until 7:59 AM so there is no fear of a circuit trip. I can manually turn them on and off with an app on my phone (same app to configure them).

What are you favorite tips for growing in winter?

Comments (344)

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    18 days ago
    last modified: 18 days ago

    I can't finish..have a zoom class soon but a few thoughts..Don cleaned the driveway and birdfeeder "station"..

    found some resurrection fern info..mentions Illinois and Ohio but not Indiana?..I don't think I've seen any..maybe in southern Indiana?..

    I agree about the concern of driverless cars..

    what I was thinking about living online..that even MORE online shopping and business meetings etc will happen..

    reuse and recycle IS practical isn't it?..and the price is right!

    the screenshot of some info on resurrection ferns..I looked for zone information but there wasn't any here..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    18 days ago
    last modified: 18 days ago

    I enjoyed the zoom program..the speaker was Doug Tallamy..he advocates native plants..remove invasive plants..less lawn..more insects and birds..I have the same mindset..I love that he said it doesn't mean that you can't plant any non natives..he said just be sure you have native plants on your property too..

    on plants going out..April is misleading here..beautiful days and you're tempted to put plants out..then on the news one night you hear "frost warning"..I agree that it's easier to wait until you're absolutely safe..

    your begonias look so good!..I can't wait to see my outside plants and my tropicals again..looking out of the windows today it's hard to believe that my plants hidden under the snow can survive these brutal conditions..but thankfully they do!..

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    First, I want to address the comment about how this process is causing your aging to move more rapidly. Your health is far more important and stressing about this is not good for you. Take time to relax and think about things that feel better. Honestly, you will think better when you feel better emotionally. I won't go into the science of it here but we are literally smarter when happy and less intelligent when unhappy. You're making big decisions that you intend to impact the rest of your life based on your comment that you will grow old in the home. So, to make the best decisions you possibly can, do whatever you can to feel better. For some people I would recommend a vacation but many people just take their issues with them and a shift of thought is needed (and does not require a vacation). Two powerful tools are appreciation and mediation. If you add each member of the family stating three things they appreciated during the past 24 hours at dinner each night it literally programs the brain (our brains are highly programmed and filter information the conscious mind receives based on many factors) to think about things that are more pleasing. That is all it takes to feel emotionally better - to change ones focus to things that feel better when thought about. The second thing that I recommend is meditation. Many people resist meditation because they think it is religious but it is only religious when the intent at the time of use is religious--much like candles can be part of a religious practice or just romance or a source of light when the power has gone out. Meditation, however, allows the mind to rest and has many proven cognitive and emotional benefits. Simple meditation can be as easy as sitting in a quiet place for 15 minutes a day and focusing on something that does not involve thought, such as your own breathing, the sound of a motor (such as your heating or air conditioning system). Thoughts will drift in, don't berate yourself for those thoughts, just re-focus back on what ever you decided to focus on (breathing, engine, etc.). It will be easier to clear your mind with practice and it will help you in many ways (and it will slow the aging process tremendously with regular use). OK, the most important thing now addressed. Much of your stress is self imposed. Please don't take offense at this. Most of us do that. I think you have a time line in mind and you've made it a "must do" time line. Can you think of creative ways to change your time line? My folks ended up renting a place for a while after their home sold when they were building the last custom home they built. They put a lot of their furniture in one of the bedrooms, using it like a storage locker. It took away the time stress of having to deal wtih the custom home on a time schedule which was very beneficial when they ran into some problems and had to change things due to environmental concerns (a tree that was protected) and bedrock that made the plan have to be adjusted. Be kind to yourself and your family. The stress of feeling rushed is not worth it and you'll move in (if you continue that path) and wish you had made so many changes that are now a remodel--not just a re-write. Now, to the house. 2600 sq feet in a ranch style does not have to live small. It can feel spacious. If you keep the plan you have one of the first things I would do if I had to live there is change the island entirely. I would put a lower counter beginning at the wall where the 1/2 bath is and extend it so that there was a 4" opening to the dining room. I might put some overhead cabinets part of, or maybe even all of the way to the end of the counter. I would probably do part. Your path from kitchen to dining would remain unobstructed and I would not think you'd leave the kitchen heading the other direction often enough for it to be inconvenient. On the other side I would put an island that was smaller, leaving a 4' space on both sides. How much thought have you given to where the people would sit, how often you would use the eat in for meals. I will tell you that sitting at a counter with everyone facing the same way is not the best design for family conversations--an element of meals that can be more important than the food if done well because it builds the relationships. In my kitchen I have two seats that face the work area but the purpose is for their use when someone wants to interact with the cook(s) during preparation, when I want to sit and plan something, or for grandkids (when they come) to sit with an activity while I fix something or for them to sit and help decorate cookies, etc. Meals, even when it is just the two of us, are at the table where we face one another and can converse easily. I read and skimmed many of the comments. You are concerned about budget. Is the sunroom set up to provide passive solar heat gain in winter and protected from too much heat gain in summer? This can make a huge difference in your energy bills for the life of the home. A thermal wall or floor added to it can also make a big difference. Over sized eves can also greatly reduce summer cooling costs. I incorporated some unique features in our home that may be of benefit to you. I wanted our exercise room to have access to the big TV to make time on the machines less ardurous but did not want the equip set out. I came up with a sliding/folding wall that allows us to close off the narrow space where the exercise equip is housed but open it up to the media room when in use. The same sort of feature could be used between your family room and the activity room. I understand your family room is what I call a gathering room in our home which I combined with a breakfast nook. In tight spaces I really like the idea of the built-in nook seating on one or both sides. I grew up camping and our trailers always had a feature like that. They were great for card games, eating, folded down into a bed at night and had storage under the seats. I'm not sure anyone would want the bed feature in a nook but the other features are very nice. There are many pictures of them here on Houzz. I would not do a small master bedroom. Adding solar to reduce energy expenses might allow you to add some space on to the master. There are many unique ways to make kids bedrooms work larger. Look at college doom rooms for ideas and I have two idea books here - one labeled for Grandkids and another "fun" that might have some ideas on making a kids room work larger. If you relocated the laundry to where the master bedroom is and relocated the closet in the back secondary bedroom to the corner (where it would back to the current laundry room) you could move the entrance to it to where the closet is currently, have the laundry entrance before that point in the plan and use all the hallway at that end of the house as part of the master suite. That would enlarge the master without enlarging the plan, it would elminate unnecessary hallway and give you more room in the master suite to work with. I am not sure if you have to start from scratch all over again or just make some modifications to make it more livable. I, personally, would eliminate the pass thru to the sunroom. My kitchen does not have a window but it is open to the gathering room which has large windows on 3 sides. I put my sink facing the windows with a backsplash on the counter. It allows me to enjoy the view and the windows. I also have two dishwashers and love that feature. Take your time. A lot of the ideas and features I absolutely love about my house were inspired by looking at plans, both online and in a 30 year collection of home plan books that I have dragged with me all around the country. Houzz also has a lot of inpiring photo's. You're further along now but for anyone who is in the early planning stages, I put our home on draft paper to scale first and played with it over many months, rearranging, talking with my partner about his preferences. It was amazing how a single remark from him would inspire me to look at things in a different way resulting in changes we both loved. I thought about heirloom pieces of furniture and where they would fit - like my antique 6' x 3.5' rolltop and our sterio equip because we both love music. I thought about the grandkids who aren't even born yet and how I would want to interact with them when they visit. I have a downstairs bath with an accessible tub because we plan to live in this home as long as we live in our bodies. I thought about what I have loved about homes I've lived in and about what I've found frustrating so I could minimize the disliked things to the extent possible. Your desiring two dishwashers makes me think you like neatness. I struggle mightilly to be neat in a small master bedroom - - largely because there is not enough room for the furniture needed to have a place for everything. Only you know how you live. Don't give the kids more room than you, sacrificing your comfort for theirs. I learned that at 30,000 feet on a 6 hour flight with a walkman with dead batteries. I had six hours to contemplate why my kids had Ipods and I was carrying an old fashioned walkman, old headpohones and CD's. It is easy to do - giving our kids more than we give ourselves but I had a 6 hour flight to contemplate it and came out on the other end deciding I was worth it and if my having something meant they did not have the next newest gadget that came along so be it. Afterall, if you're unhappy that is going to have more negative impact on the kdis than a small room. I understand the mudroom and equipment needs. Have you considered installing ceiling hooks and a fan to help things dry? Could you combine the space with the laundry room? A pulley system would allow even a child to lift the bags off the floor easily. What use will you use the space for after the kids go?
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  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    Interesting about the resurrection fern. I have no idea what its range is and if there are variants of it the further out you go.

    Oh yeah, zoom meetings are becoming a standard way to meet these days. It helps during COVID but also to get drivers off the roadways too.

    I've done a lot of Amazon shopping this year but still do grocery shopping at a store. I see a lot of stores where you can place an order and then have the store load your cart and be waiting for you to come pick them up in the parking lot.

    I agree with your zoom meeting speaker - get rid of invasive plants for sure. If we got rid of non-native plants then our yards would look like the forests in our area - kind of boring for the most part? At least they would take a lot less hands on gardening. We have a small front yard with the standard grass that comes with the house. I try to keep grass to a minimum in the backyard because I don't want to mow. When I go hiking I want to cut trees down at the river's edge so I can get a better view - not cool but that is how the human mind thinks - destroy anything and everything that infringes on our "rights".

    Oh yeah, when we moved into our first house and started planting spring annuals and the azaleas were about to bloom, we'd run out and cover everything we could when they predicted a freeze or heavy frost. A few years of that got old so we learned not to plant too early and don't worry about the azaleas or magnolias - some years you win and some you lose. Part of nature.

    Yeah, most of our hardy plants have evolved to survive these harsh conditions - cold winters, hot summer, floods, droughts, and other weather calamities. Hail storm, wind damage, lightning damage, etc. Even forest fires can have unexpected surprises such as Yellowstone had a lot more flowers after they had devastating forest fires many years ago.

    Some silhouettes yesterday before the day time lights came on. The back light is from an overhead can light (we have one in each corner of the two semi-finished rooms). The 3 tanks are covered with very thin painter''s drop cloth which keeps the humidity very high and a lot warmer too.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    I could try contacting the Indiana Native Plant Society and ask about the resurrection fern..

    I like sure is convenient..

    my sisters have had food delivered..we still prefer going in too..

    I think there's a difference between an invasive (bush honeysuckle) and a non native (crepe myrtle)..cared for non natives deserve a place in our gardens I think..

    sometimes removing a tree benefits adjacent trees..before we even made the offer I told Don.."that leaning box elder in front that's been topped needs to come out" was out the month we moved in..

    if I ever have any begonias inside during the winter I'm going to be aware of humidity..I hear you speak about it and I see you covering plants with clear containers..your begonias look better than other pics I see..humidity must make a difference..

    I took this screenshot today..I've been aware of this plant for a long time but haven't had one..have you tried it?..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    That is the best time to have trees removed - before you sign the contract - have it included. It would've saved us thousands but we didn't know how many trees we wanted to keep or remove back then. We've had a tree service 3 times thus far.

    Most of my begonias do not get any "extra" humidity. The only ones that do are high humidity types from steamy jungles of the south Pacific or baby plants or recent cuttings so they are in a terrarium type environment for a bit. The rest are in open air with one room that has two furnaces and one big vent to the outside (kind of cold on mornings like today). I do not know the humidity level in the basement but it feels comfortable when I go down. In summer it can be quite humid so if I had work to do down there I would turn on the AC while I am working up a sweat. HAHA!

    I did try Acanthus 2 to 3 times along with Rodgersia, Darmera, Gunnera, Aruncus, and a couple other large leaf beauties. I guess it is too hot here for them to do well. If I did it today I would put them in very big pots so I could move them about and make it easier to water (no tree roots to contend with).

    This isn't the A. spinosus. Usually called bear's breeches or Grecian Pattern or Urn plant. Back in 2007. Looked stately enough.

    The only one I ever had luck with is Petasites japonicus Variegatus (giant butterbur) which took many years to get a good spread. I think the variegated one is not as aggressive as the normal one.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    we had 3 trees removed soon after we moved in..technically the sellers paid for the work..we offered thousands less than asking and the trees were one of the reasons..I've lost track of how many times we've hired tree least 10..would've been more but Don has removed trees..did I show you the ironwood he removed last summer?..the top broke off and fell during the winter 2020..

    I guess I overestimated how many of your plants are covered..true the bigger plants aren't in covered containers..but I'd noticed quite a few pics where the cuttings have covers..

    I like your agapanthus better than the one in my screenshot..that's the one I've seen as a motif on columns, urns etc..I don't have any of the big leafed plants you mentioned but I'm familiar with them and admire all of them..

    it was actually pretty tall..all of this was the trunk..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    found the pics from when part of the tree fell..3/22/2020 we woke up to this..the red mark (pic below) shows the trunk of this tree..we were didn't touch the house..some arborescens hydrangeas took a hit and needed pruning..but they grew back and looked ok by the time summer came..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    Some trees can be pretty tall and still not that big around. I cut a poplar myself and it was 50 feet long. I don't even remember if I had a chainsaw then. Maybe a bow saw? The big diameter trees I wouldn't touch. I will let the young guys with small chain saws climb up and take it down limb by limb and hope they don't cause too much damage or fall off themselves.

    It was really scary watching my dad take down his last trees - he was 80 then and could not move very fast or fast or even moderately slow at that time.

    I can't find the pictures back then so I will post some bird pictures of the same year - 2010

    and one of the big trees on our hike this year that came down with the remnants of one of the hurricanes that came through. Late November 2020

    I asked her to get in the hole so I could better show how big this was but she declined.

    I did stumble into some camellia shots back in 2017 (March 1st)

    Loropetalums were blooming as well
    Korean viburnum

    saucer magnolia on the other side of the fence.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    l love your cheerful bloom filled photos..what beautiful birds..

    tree work IS dangerous..we know our limitations..when Don says "I can do it" I trust him..but when he's as old as your Dad was I think I'll be calling someone Lol..I hope we reach a point where the trees don't need work..
    I remember that picture of the huge fallen tree..what a rootball!..I would've declined the offer to climb into the hole too..

    your shrubs have so many blooms..they're really beautiful..

    we had a magnolia just like that at our very first house..the last time I drove by that house the tree was there..I should go by in the's not far..less than 15 mins..

    more snow last night..the tree branches and birdfeeder are covered again..Don gets to use the snowblower again..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    Aren't you glad you aren't in Texas right now?

    Here is a close up of the purple saucer magnolia that day.

    Same day (March 1, 2017) and the flowering quince 'Scarlet Storm) was magnificent back then.

    the other two camellias

    the magnolia a week four days earlier (Feb 26)

    star magnolia last year (Feb 25). I hope it waits longer this year.


    Italian arums were up and looking nice


  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    Finally found the folder with my dad cutting several trees down. I guess I was off two years - it was 2008. The trees don't look too big either (tall but not that big around). My wife was driving his old Ford 150 with 3 speed on the column pulling the rope attached to the bumper. When he cut the last tree she dropped the clutch and killed the engine. I was a bit excited and told her to get the engine started and haul A$$. She did and in the nick of time. I have a sequence of photos but because I can only post 10 at a time I will skip a few.

    Tension on the rope

    The old truck

    The driver

    Coming down

    Note all the leaf litter in the sky as it is coming down in these next two photos

    and down.


    Back in the early 2000's he hired a couple free lancers to take down four giant silver maples (about 30 years old) because his 22" bar was too small.

    My wife walking around one of the bigger logs.

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    That was back in 2003. I took a picture right after we parked. I then cropped the photo and ran it through several filters. I can't remember the filter back then. Grunge?

    Then I made a collage with 4 different effects and a gradient background. Printed it to 8x10 and framed it for my mother. I called it Chainsaw Mac

    Cool tree frog on a pecan tree.


    Found this scanned image from my mother's film camera too.

    Having fun between trips to haul the cut/split logs.

    It was a lot of wood to cut, split, and haul back then. This was a month later.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    16 days ago

    yes at the moment Indiana is nicer than Texas..what a nightmare to be in Texas now..😪
    blooms come so early for you!'s not fair! Lol..
    thank goodness the truck was out of the way in time to avoid an's nice that their property's big and open for tree work..our land feels crowded with our trees..
    those giant maples would be frightening to take down..
    what fun pictures of your Dad..your mother (and you) must love them..🙂
    what a memorable day..working outside with your family..
    isn't it true that it takes 10 times longer to clean the mess up than it takes to cut the tree down?..
    when my parents moved in 1976 to a stone house with over 2 acres of land my Dad removed most of the shrubs and small trees..they were scattered all over and he didn't want to mow around them..he didn't even really ask my mother..she'd come home and there was a pile of debris and bare spots..🙁..I was too young and ignorant to suggest keeping or moving them..they should've included them into island beds with perennials..their yard was still pretty and had trees but not nearly enough for you or thing that was great..their vegetable garden..I wonder if there's any pics of it?..I didn't grow anything (too young, dumb) since my parents had enough for the entire family..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    16 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    I have great pics of my parents old house but not on my I Googled and found a pic..they lived here from March 1976 to May's a big lot..there's more land in back than in looks a bit sad to me..not as well maintained and the new owners have removed some trees..

    it's me Lol..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    The truck was a long way from the tree so that wasn't a problem. The problem is having a 78 year old man with a back problem cutting a tree that he wants some tension on the rope and when it starts to fall for the truck to continue straight path to pull it the way he wanted it to fall. There is no way he could run or even walk fast if the tree went the wrong way.

    My parents had two young guys with some big chainsaws take down those four giant maples. The deal was to take them down and cut the trunk only in smaller pieces. The rest of the clean up was left for my dad (and us) to cut, split, and move to a firewood location. He was miserly in that respect. I would've paid double for these guys to do all the extra work.

    When my parents moved into their house it was bare red clay with some trumpet vines and some weeds here and there. It was hotter than Hades since they didn't have AC nor any shade trees. And your dad sounded like mine where he had the back 40 planted in veggies, strawberries, raspberries, and some fruit trees. Most of the veggies would rot on the vine because he always over planted.

    With digital I take pictures of lots of stuff and that includes going back to my parents' place. Oh if digital had been around for 100 years, huh?

    The bird caption could be labeled in so many ways such as "Did you take out the trash?" and that is just for starters.

    I have a tiny insect problem on a couple of my bigger leaf begonias. One is on a top shelf and one is right below it on the floor. The backs of the leaves looked a bit strange as they would start looking ugly so I usually just cut those off and attributed it to old age. BUT when one of the newer leaves (not old by any stretch of the imagination) I kept it in a plastic baggie for 2 to 3 days and finally brought it up to my computer so I could look at it closer with my USB microscope (not great but certainly affordable - about $40). This insect is too tiny to see with the naked eye and I doubt I could even get a good close up with the expensive macro lens on my big camera. Maybe if I put it on a tripod with extension tubes, then maybe.

    Here are a few images I got yesterday from my curiosity.

    I finally spotted an adult (I am guessing adult) on the top surface). The previous photo was the underside.

    This might be the best image thus far. It looks like a nymph a millimeter away from the adult looking insect.

    Here is the microscope as close as I can get it without taking off the standoff plastic guard and I am pressing it into the leaf to keep the critter contained. I wished I could post a video clip as it is a little more interesting.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    14 days ago

    you have to admire how gutsy our parents were..and so practical compared to people was hard for them to admit "I'm too old to ...." wasn't it?..

    my parents had raspberries too!

    digital would've been great..but aren't we glad to have the old pictures that we do have..

    I love that bird're right..lots of captions would be funny..with Don's hearing (no hearing aids yet but I KNOW he has hearing loss) I could do one that says "CAN YOU HEAR ME?!!"

    oh no! have insects on some plants 😪..when I started buying gardening books I was amazed and saddened by the quantity of books about bugs and diseases..the biggest downside to gardening..I'm sure I have pests too..I have some leaf imperfections..brownish yellow spots..some holes plants are in my kitchen and I hate the idea of spraying them..

    I can show you something today!..I wasn't paying much attention and I don't know when this appeared but today I noticed my Alocasia x 'Calidora' is getting a bloom..I don't think it's pretty but I'm happy that it's doing well enough to bloom..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    Each generation has to take the bull by the horns, don't they? You might wish there was a tool to do a job but the tool would be 50 years in the future like smart phones, digital cameras, and computers in the house. Hard to imagine life before these were invented.

    So gutsy? Probably yes looking back on it but back then it was the only way to do the job unless you had money to pay some other person to do it.

    What kind of raspberries did they have? Seems like my parents would only have black raspberries.

    Get the Verizon guy "Can you hear me now?" except he started working for another phone company I think.

    Oh yeah, film cameras were great in their day. They sure beat hiring an artist to paint the family scene, right?

    If everyone saw only bugs and disease when starting gardening, we'd still be living in the stone ages. It's good to be informed but bad to be scared off trying to grow a potted plant. HAHA!

    If you don't have an insect on any of your plants, then you're doing it all wrong. HAHA!''

    Okay then, you are going to have a bloom on your EE! Plant sex! I should learn how to pollinate arums one of these years.

    I mixed 3 gallons of spray this morning and it took 2.5 gallons to spray every plant.

    I got up at 3:30 this morning and I am about to fall off my chair writing this. I better quit before I do.

    Here's looking at you!

    This rex from Walmart looks extra special recently.

    3 different canes on the same shelf looked inviting this morning.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    12 days ago

    Houzz is so dysfunctional..yesterday 4 notifications (all hosta forum) that said "today"..then this morning "1 new notification"..had to scroll down to find it..shouldn't a "new" one be at the top?..and it's yours from 2 days ago!..

    I went to see my Dad yesterday..he's doing well..I do admire the older generations (parents, grandparents)..they seemed more grateful than many people today..I do try to be grateful for my blessings..

    it's warmed up a the 40' snow is shrinking but there's so much it'll take awhile to disappear..

    I just saw a robin!..

    my parents had red raspberries..I took very few of them..I preferred to just buy blueberries and strawberries Lol..again young and dumb..

    I'm ashamed to admit it but I've called or texted Don when he's upstairs..I'm trying to save my voice!..another good reason to have a smaller one level home..

    you bet film cameras were great! regrets about what we spent right?..

    bugs don't stop me from growing plants..there are people that think plants are gross..I pity them..I just wish our ecology was balanced and we didn't have problems..only in a dream world..

    I don't have any pollinating knowledge..but since I have just one bloom I don't think? I can pollinate..I had the same circumstance last year..tried to spread some pollen..never got any red seeds..

    what an effort to spray your "jungle in the basement"..but with 2 months to go before going outside it seems worthwhile..

    I love your critters..the frogs and lizards are so really do have a "jungle" in your basement!..

    great looking rex and spotted canes..they're putting me in the mood to go browsing at Lowe's..Home Depot..and Walmart..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    What's happening with your dad? The last time I visited my mother in TN was New Year's weekend. I want to go back but with COVID all around, it seems risky. MY son in law is in the hospital with it as I type. Been there since Friday and he came down with it the Friday before. He has pneumonia now so while some folks show no symptoms, others it can be deadly or is deadly (my hair cutter's uncle died of it the week before).

    The sun coming through the windows today is so warm I had to reverse the blinds to block it out. HA! We hiked yesterday and I only had a long sleeve shirt on - normally I would have a sweatshirt with a hood on top of that. Still too early to declare winter over.

    We had black raspberries. My mother said as a child she could eat all the red raspberries they could find but her grandparents' black raspberries were off limits. I do love black raspberry jam and pies.

    Oh yeah, we had two sets of walkie talkies but now they are in a drawer collecting dust. How the cell phone has changed our lives - so easy that my 11 year old grandson has his own. We disconnected our home phone a few years ago so now just have cell phones for communications. The bad thing is now all the vendors are contacting us on our cells. I set up call protect (AT&T) but that is a double edged sword. While it blocks any calls that is not in my contact list, there are some calls that I need to let through such as a new doctor or Best Buy delivering our new dishwasher on Saturday. GRRR! Either turn off the feature and let all the annoying calls through or block the all and hope the other party leaves a voice message (except I have almost all my alerts turned off).

    Film was great in its heyday. Not so much today. I bought my first digital camera Christmas 1999. I thought it was a joke - Kodak 3MP, 2x Optical zoom for $800. I had to buy a card reader that hooked up to the parallel port (Y splitter with the printer) and a Y connector to the Keyboard port for power. What a PAIN that was. After reading in my first batch of pictures I was sorely disappointed - the gutters looked like stair steps so I was let down. Later on I went back and maximized the viewing window - all of a sudden all the stair steps disappeared and I was suddenly happy as a lark - this was great! It would take 2 more cameras before I got my first DSLR and a book that changed my attitude on taking pictures. Take as many as you want. The initial cost for the camera/accessories was the big cost but thereafter it was free until you decide to do any printing. Anyway after that first camera I never took another film picture.

    I am not going to let Debbie downers get me down so much that I quit growing plants. Bugs, disease, flood, drought, freezes, unbearable heat is not enough to get me to throw in the towel. There was this one guy who said all or our begonias are diseased and we should destroy them all. THEN we could buy disease free ones from him. HAHAHAHA!

    Red seeds? What's that?

    I doubt I will be moving my horde out in 2 months. Probably around Mother's Day or so. The task to spray isn't that bad. I use a gallon sprayer and move from shelf to shelf, room to room, trying to spray all visible leaves and attempt to spray the undersides too. I think I did it all in less than an hour. This is my 3rd time this year an I would've skipped it if it hadn't been for the discovery of these new "bugs". I've only seen two plants so far with the bugs on the leaves but I don't want to risk it and have them spread. I also found out that there are predatory thrips as well as the sap sucking ones that we hate. I'd prefer to go all organic but sometimes you just have to act before any further damage.

    Those frogs, toads, lizards/anoles, and skinks are kind of cute but I prefer them outside. If I catch them and it is warm outside I usually move them out there to go find a hole to hibernate in. Yesterday's hike by the big pond and swamp was loud with croaking frogs and the peeping spring peepers. I guess they have to get their mating in early? Seems too early for me but nature knows best.

    I am still cutting leaves and putting them down. I wished it was warmer for faster growth but that will come soon enough. I was sweating in the basement this morning since it was 54 outside. If it keeps this up I will have to run AC when I work down there. HA!

    I did one leaf of Fireflush and have no trays to use so am using this salad container with painter's drop cloth on top.

    What higher humidity does to a rex begonia and the Ecuadorean Philodendron.

    Aerial roots.

    From the other side. I am so glad I put this philodendron in a tank. My first one died fairly quickly so nothing like any other philo that I have. My second one (this one) is about 4 years old now) and Logee's had it on sale half-price for $75 just a few weeks ago. It is back to $150 (if available). I might start propagating this and sell it on eBay. Crazy what people spend today.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    Dad is coping amazingly well for losing a spouse of 67 years 8 months..recently my sisters have been taking him when they run errands..he doesn't get out of the car but he enjoys getting out..

    I'm really sorry to hear about your son-in-law..I hope he's improved since you wrote this..I think everyone I know knows someone that's had Covid..and sorry to hear that an acquaintance has passed sister's sister-in-law's elderly father (90's) passed from Covid at the beginning of the pandemic..

    our weekend was pleasant too..but as you said winter's not over..

    in the good old days when I've had desserts in a restaurant garnished with raspberries they were always red..I like both..raspberry danish filling is usually red isn't it? are the black ones more of a delicacy?..

    we dropped our landline too..we kept the number for Don's mobile..we still get spam calls too..Don says the same thing..if it's a "real" call they'll leave a message so he doesn't answer unfamiliar numbers..but if there's a call I'm expecting I do answer..

    I have unused film! doubt outdated..our "new" camera (our second SLR) is 25 years old..time flies!..I remember buying've owned many more cameras..I don't have the skill to use your equipment..and too lazy to learn Lol..does your wife use your cameras too?..we've had just 3..but we've already had 8 phones with cameras!..4 each..

    some people are never happy..they wear me out Lol..plants aren't effortless but the reward outweighs the hassles..
    the "perfect begonias" guy is delusional..I see comments where people make unbelievable claims "my plants this or my plants that"..I don't try to correct them..they wouldn't listen anyway and I have work to do..Ha!

    that's amazing to me that you could spray all of those plants in that amount of time..your years of plant experience have made you an expert..

    I'd relocate the critters too now that the weather's're been more than accommodating!..

    my kitchen gets warm even in faces south..has 2 skylights..a French door..a window..overhead lights..then when you cook and add more heat it's tropicals like it..

    well you have a couple of months to create some new plants..I don't blame you for increasing your inventory..

    I've seen plants advertised for unbelievable much as I love plants they're out of my league..

    we're basically on the same schedule to put our plants out..I wait until Mother's Day's the smartest thing to do here..

    wow..the rex has so many roots..what's the proper way to replant it if you wanted to move it?..or does the plant just stay at the same height in a new pot?..

    a pic of a Jack-in-the-pulpit in my backyard when the seeds were still green..I do have red seedheads in my yard but couldn't find a pic on my I Googled and took a screenshot of a picture I found showing the red seeds..have you seen them in Georgia?..Alocasia seeds are similar..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    Wow, that's pretty good for your dad. My dad passed at 85 and was married for 63 years at that time. My mother still lives in the house, does her things including driving to town and visiting my sister in the next town (about 25 miles), mowing, going up and down the steep basement stairs which is a concern for all of us.

    Yeah, we keep hoping to hear positive results every day about my SIL's COVID condition. COVID seems to hit some folks very hard and some not at all. My sister in law tested positive but had no symptoms but her husband had it really bad but seems to have recovered.

    It is already 55 Deg F here this morning and it started out at 30.

    I think red raspberries are cheaper because they are more firm? Or do they keep better than black? There is a taste difference between the two. If I buy raspberry jam, I always seek out black. Fresh raspberries are usually 99% red but I don't know why.

    I went on AT&T's call protect as it cuts out all numbers not in my contact list. So today if I am expecting a call from a doctor's office or a delivery or even a call back from dropping the car off for maintenance, it is best to turn off the call protect (if I remember though). This feature allows the caller to leave a message but it is up to me to check my voice mail though - I usually don't and I have no alerts turned on too. I turned it off Saturday for our dishwasher delivery - good thing I did because within 30 minutes I got a call from the delivery guy BUT I also got two more calls from annoying charities or sales people.

    Geez, my first SLR was a Canon TLB way back in my Navy days (1972 - 1976) and I had my Navy buddy pick up the better model on his last Med trip as I got out the year before he did. It was the Canon EF. Then at work my friend got the Canon AE-1 so I got one as it was an improvement over the EF. That was my last SLR film camera. I used to buy the Kodak 110 models but after a while you want something better - hence the SLR. When digital came about I got a Kodak to start out ($800 which was ridiculous) in December 1999 (my Xmas gift I guess?), then to a Nikon Coolpix 5700 a year or two later (but the sensor went out after 2 years), back to a Kodak with similar specs as the Nikon, then my first DSLR in 2006 (Canon 20D). Lots of compacts, one super zoom, 3 more DLSRs (40D, 7D, 80D). Olympus Tough series for underwater, GoPro Hero 7 Black, Sony for my wife (almost a super zoom), and I don't know remember the rest. For cell phones - we started in 1996 after the Atlanta Olympics with Motorola flip phone, then Nokia, back to Motorola, and then iPhone 3S, and then I went to Samsung Note, Note 4, Note 8, and now the S20 Ultra 5G blah-blah. My wife stayed with iPhone after her 3S to the 4S, 6 whatever, 8 or 9, and now 11+. Who can keep up with it all? They do good photos for 90% of pictures but have some weaknesses (I won't go into details).

    Who is the perfect begonias guy? Is he on GW? I usually reply if I have something to add, otherwise keep my cool.

    No, not an expert but let's say an advanced amateur. The thing I want to impart to anybody who wants to read/listen is: "If I can do it, then anybody can do it." This is not rocket science but some folks like to talk a good game.

    I may capture Mr. Froggy today since this week seems to be very nice and warm and the spring peepers and bull frogs are busy croaking and peeping when I last walked two days ago.

    This morning the frog is in its same spot as yesterday. Hibernating or preserving energy?

    The sun makes a huge difference coming into the house through a window. I had to reverse the blinds in the living room a while ago because it was too warm. Our deck monitor is showing 85 right now - that's solar energy for you.

    I am not trying to create any inventory for myself but for some of our club members while also playing around with different methods and observing what works - too succulent, too wet, too dry, too cool, etc. Some cuttings take easier than others - why? What are the tiny insects that I can't see with my naked eye? Are they detrimental or just annoying.

    I've got a hankering for a much better microscope so I can see the "microscopic" one cell animals for example.

    Okay, I was going to say where are these unbelievable plant prices thinking you meant CHEAP. But the rest of your statement made me realize you meant EXPENSIVE - out of your league.

    That's great that you can move your plants out on Mother's Day. Because I have so many I don't have the luxury to take them all back in if a frost warning was issued. A lot of folks can listen to the weather report and take plants in on a moment's notice. That would take me a couple of weeks doing 4 hour days. That being said I like to be sure that the trees are leafed out and no danger of cold weather before I start the annual pilgrimage.

    I would probably cut the leaves off that rex and then trim the bottom roots, put it in a bigger pot and put it outside if I wanted to move it out of the terrarium. The leaves could probably make 60 new plants if I divided 10 to 12 leaves.

    Oh yeah, I gathered seeds of Jack in the Pulpits in the woods and they are so easy to grow from seed! I want the Asian ones since they are larger and much more flamboyant. Check out PDN for some great examples.

    The next pictures are in the woods from last year.

    Here is one of mine that I grew from seed back in 2011, setting its own seed. I haven't looked at this area in years so hopefully they are still coming up every year. I can't recall what the small tree/shrub is in front of the plant though.

    July 2011

    and its bloom earlier that year - first week in May

    and ready to pick berries in September.

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    PDN Arisaema page

    The other thing I would like to get once the prices come down are some of the Chinese may apples and Chinese Rhubarb (tried growing it from seed a few times - get it to germinate and then forget about them and they dry out - really hard to find seed of it).

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    my Dad turned 90 October 11 he is with my sister running errands..he had a fish sandwich and a chocolate shake at McDonald's..🙂

    I went to Dollar Tree and Lowe's today..I bought 24 plant trolleys..someone posted a picture of some on a Facebook group..I thought hmmm just a dollar..I called a store to see if they had any..she said we did but sold them all..called a second store..she says "don't see any more..hold on I'll check in the back"..comes back and says "we have a box of 24"..I say "can you hold it for me?" I drove over (less than 15 mins)..decided to take the full unopened box and decide at home..she said "no returns but you can get store credit" for me..saucers are a pain but I'm getting "spots" on my deck..

    then I stopped at Lowe's..I did see some Angel Wings..but without grow lights and weeks to go until they could go out I want to wait..I did buy an aloe for $2..almost leaf has a bad tip..leave the leaf right?..posting this part now..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    your Mom is so active for her age!..Dad walks decently but we encourage a walker..he "cheats" a lot at home Ha!..after my errands today I stopped by his was on my way was so pretty my sister and I followed him and we walked to the end of the street..

    Covid is best wishes for your son-in-law..let's hope he takes an upward turn soon..

    Don said he heard our temperature was 52 today..I never looked at my was sunny and felt great..

    I'd pick the black raspberry jam too..

    there's no way to completely stop sales calls is there?..everyone I know gets them..

    oh my!..your camera collection brings back a lot of memories..I remember the camera names from TV commercials..they caught my attention more than other commercials because I did like taking pictures and I'd wonder "should we get one of those?" wonder your pictures are so have years and years of photography under your belt..

    it seems like there's a begonia guy named Tim? on GW..not sure..I was joking about the guy you mentioned saying that only his begonias were pest free Lol..

    I think you're right..success with plants takes hard work and constant learning because there's a lot to know..but even without knowing everything you can grow beautiful plants if you love them and work with Mother Nature..and ask for help..find the answers to what you don't know..

    Mr Froggy looks sleepy should take video when you release him for your grandson..

    my Dad had a nice sized area of grass showing grass at my house..we still have snow..

    I know nothing about loops? (loupes?) but was that a loop in your picture? you examine with a loop then remove a suspicious leaf for the microscope?..

    so "basement growing" is a winter hobby that's productive and a teaching opportunity..sounds worthwhile to me! other club members do this too?..

    I did mean EXPENSIVE..I can't believe people would pay an unknown individual $1,000 for a plant..I wouldn't..
    posting again..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    I watch the forecast like a hawk before the pilgrimage..I've had to move the most precious ones into the garage a few times..but in my case it's not hours and hours of work..

    wow!..the rex could make 60 new plants?..that would be fun to watch..

    when I moved here I was so surprised to see the red seeds the first time..I didn't touch them..I read they can irritate skin so I've never collected or planted any..mine are smaller than the ones in your pictures..they are spreading..I let them be..hate to lose's a few babies..

    I'd love to go to PDN..I have a catalogue from a few years ago..kept it for reference..they do have unusual plants..they've sold out on quite a to have one with the purple/wine colored "hood"..

    I saw Chinese may apples on a Gardener's Diary..I like them too..

    forgot to say I bought a few seeds at Dollar Tree..I'll take a quick picture and post it..but posting this first..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    11 days ago

    the box rings up $ these seeds cost $1.50..don't know why but I really love bargains Ha!..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    That's good about your dad still going strong at 90. My mother turns 89 this year.

    I saw your posts yesterday on the phone. I never heard of plant "trolley" before and by the pictures on the phone, it was hard to make out what they were. So today on the laptop I see what you are saying - plant saucers. How big are they? I bought several Panterra pots last year for the convention but COVID got in the way so the convention was cancelled. This year I started potting up in these new pots in case we do put on the convention. Now I wished I had bought matching saucers EXCEPT they don't make 14" saucers for the biggest pots I bought. I bought 10", 12", and 14" pots. I think I already showed these?

    Ah they good old Aloe Vera plant for a couple of bucks is hard to pass up. I quit on that plant long ago as it gets pretty big if you treat it right and pups a lot.

    So your dad still lives at his house then? That's good that you and your sister are close by and check up on him.

    I think my SIL is improving enough to go to a regular room once one becomes available. Hopefully his progress continues and may come home by the weekend. That's a good thing because the first few days sounded touch and go. Well, just got a message from my daughter that he may get to come home today - that is great news!

    It was 69 on our hike yesterday - warm in the sun but walking between the hills, a bit chilly as the hills seem to funnel the wind down through those passages. The frogs were certainly noisy yesterday but stopped in unison as a hiker went by the spring pond (the spring dries up when it starts to get hot and dry.

    Well the problem with blocking calls is you might block some calls that need to come through so for now I am going to turn blocking on and try to remember to turn it off if I a expecting a call from someone not on my contact list.

    I always liked photography. My first camera was a Brownie that I bought with my "paper route" when I delivered the Base Newspaper in Puerto Rico. I don't remember how long I did that as I was there from 2nd grade through the 4th. Color film was a luxury but once in a while I did buy it as a 9 or 10 year old. Oh my, that was such a long time ago.

    Ah, gotcha on the begonia expert now. The guy I was talking about is a wholesale grower so he does do good work but to suggest to destroy all our collections and buy from him the same plants was absurd in my opinion. You may get disease free plants but won't they get the same things when you move them outdoors or even indoors? Oh well, it turns out he had some other issues and lost a lot of his stock plants (winter freeze or forgot to turn on the irrigation system one weekend or something like that).

    Yes, thank goodness we don't need a PhD in botany to grow plants. HAHA!

    I did catch Mr Froggy this morning as it was in the same spot for the 3rd morning in a row. It felt like he peed in my hand so I opened my hand and he jumped to the floor. I kept going after him until he quit hopping away and caught him a second time. This time I kept a firm grip on him until I got him out to the HLWS and released him there. It was chilly (40's?) but it is already 64 now and supposed to get to 72 this afternoon.

    What's worse? Snow removal or mowing grass? Tricky question there.

    What photo do you think you saw a loupe? I have a pen sized 10x loupe (lighted) that I got as a freebie from a chemist in our department. You have to be about 1/2 inch to get it to be in focus. I do not use this for inspecting any plants unless I wanted to see something close up. I got it out last night looking at my pocketknife blade edge to see if I was missing anything. That is tedious. I will add a couple photos of it when I used it to examine seeds before I got the USB microscope.

    Here is the loupe and begonia seed I am pointing at (2016)

    What the camera could see.

    shooting through the loupe.

    Enlarged 100% and then cropped (and reduced for email) The flat seeds are not viable while the plump rounded ones are.

    Here is what my USB microscope sees (Dec 7, 2020)

    I wished I could visit all our members' homes and growing areas. I've been to a few but not everybody. Some grow in their living space, others in the garage, and a couple have a greenhouse. A greenhouse is the best way to go but it has its challenges too and may be more money than you want or can invest.

    Yes, that is what I thought you meant about cost of a plant - the exorbitant amount some will pay for a chance at a rare plant. Back when VG was still on PBS, they had a show in England I think (their winter programs were often from other places around the globe). They had a very dark orchid (most would call it black) that was insured for $50,000 because it was the only one of its kind.

    Back when I started in houseplants it was easy to move them outdoors and back inside in case of a frost or storm. 10 to 20 plants wasn't much to move around. I have no idea how many I have today. I run around 90 shop lights. Each shelf can support 3 lasagna pans or more. Then the pans on the floor. One pan may have one big plant or 18 three inch pots. Anyway 90 x 3 x 4 (average pots per tray) + many more trays > 1000 pots.

    Yes, one leaf can be split many ways. I usually discard the outer portion of the leaf but the veins in the outer edge could be used as well. A medium leaf can usually have six wedges. Bigger leaves may be 10 or more.

    Looks like you have a lot of baby Jack in the Pulpits there.

    PDN is just a tad high on prices though. They do have some very interesting plants but I like to shop locally first. I ordered 3 hardy amaryllis from them years ago. The next week I was at our local nursery chain and found two of the three amaryllis which consisted of a few bulbs in each gallon pot for less than one bulb at PDN. I canceled my order after I got the two gallon pots. Regardless those amaryllis weren't hardy enough for me but I see yards from time to time with oodles of blooming amaryllis as though this was completely normal. My crinum lilies, calla lilies, voodoo lilies, and naked ladies will just have to do for now.

    I always meant to stop at PDN on our way to our daughter's house in NC but that is when we would take the slower more picturesque route through N. GA. and west NC mountains.

    I like our native May Apples but they don't hold a candle to the Chinese versions.

    I pick up seed packs here and there if I like what I see. I just need better seed beds and more sun to really do well. In early May 2017 the begonia convention was in San Antonio. The first day tour included a visit to Wildseed Farms where they grow acres of wild flowers and harvest those for sale. The owner said we missed the peak blooming that year by a week or two. Still looked good. His latest gig was planting thousands of grape vines for wine.

    As I recall it was around 8,000 grape vines that were being planted that year.

    Needless to say I probably bought $50 worth of seed in their store that day. They are still unopened today. Shoot!

    Loupes can be inexpensive but a bit difficult to shoot a camera through. That is where a USB microscope comes in handy since you can take pictures with it.

    This the USB microscope I have (but it is not 250X, more like 30 or 60X)

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Well shoot. I wanted to post one more photo about the USB microscope (came back to edit and could only add one more photo before hitting the 10 limit per post)

    Seed pod and seed scattered on the work surface.

    Here is what the seed looks like under the USB microscope. I would hate to sort seeds this way though.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    10 days ago

    no time to say much..I have an appointment to get a Covid vaccine..

    GREAT news about your son-in-law!!!..I'm so happy for your family 🙂

    this is what I thought could be a loupe..I don't know anything about microscopes and loupes..Ha!

    my snow is disappearing and I can see my hellebores again..

    more writing later..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    I've heard them called "plant caddy"..just a rolling saucer..the Dollar Tree site calls them plant trolleys..they don't roll as well as my others that came from Lowe's..but they're much cheaper..still deciding on how many to keep..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    10 days ago

    I remember that your pots were a good dumb not to offer saucers the right size..

    we'll see if Aloe Vera does well for succulent experience is almost zero..and my lack of full sun is an issue..

    my Dad and your Mom are an be their age and not in a facility is unique..

    that was a serious situation for your great that he's improved enough to go home..🙂

    when I came out after my vaccine I was carrying my jacket and I didn't get cold walking to the car!'s miraculous considering the weather a week or two ago..

    I bought a Kodak Instamatic? with babysitting money when I was about 11? 12?..we don't have many childhood pictures in my family and quite a few of them were taken by me!..

    I hope Mr Froggy enjoyed "going back home"..

    snow removal is worse!!!..snow is cold..wet..heavy..yuck..I like to mow grass..of course my grass is minimal and only takes half an hour or maybe 40 mins..

    I had no idea begonia seeds were so small!..if you dropped them how could you ever pick them up?..I see why you need magnification..

    visiting gardens personally is the best..but thanks to technology maybe the club members can "meet" and share photos..emails..Facebook..Gardenweb..zoom..

    I'm surprised that an insurance company would insure a plant for such a large amount..sounds risky..wonder if they would try to prove negligence if the plant died? seems that I've heard stories of tulips selling for exorbitant amounts many years ago..

    I've always wondered about your plant totals..I knew they were high HaHa!..I surprised myself when I took a hosta inventory a few years ago..I had a clipboard to keep track..created descriptions for each section..when I did the math the total was 504..of course it's really more than that..some big clumps could be 15? 20? individual plants..

    that was a nice group of Jack in the Pulpits..I'm looking forward to seeing them again..

    someone on the hosta forum went to PDN and told us about it..shared pictures..she loved it..maybe someday each of us will get to see it..

    I'm planning on mediocre success with the seeds I've been collecting this winter..but with such a small investment it's not much of a loss if they don't should sow your seeds this year and see what happens!..I had fun with castor bean seeds last year..makes me want to do it again..

    I was surprised that loupes and microscopes are so reasonable..but then after thinking about it we've mentioned that our cameras, electronic equipment etc years ago cost a fortune compared to today..

    an aloe they grow do the outer leaves decline and drop off? this just the aloe's normal habit?..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    A quick search on the web will show you all about microscopes, USB scopes, loupes, magnifiers, etc. I just don't know how much power I want next. Do I want to see microscopic life or the crystalline structures? Do I need to see cells dividing? Inquiring minds want to know.

    I have a lot of hellebores in full bloom now. No snow here - thank goodness.

    I wonder how the seeds get several feet away? Birds? Wind?

    The Italian Arums are up and doing well

    one of my flowering quince is starting up.

    Here is my thicket of doublefile viburnums and some are out of sight of this photo. Which ones to take out though? I took out several last year but I want to leave some room for maintenance. I have a hard time walking through here.

    I learned something new today. I never thought of a rolling saucer as a trolley but I guess it could be. Maybe call them a tram, a stroller, or a dolly?

    The only pot size I would have a problem finding a matching saucer for is the 14". Bummer. It is amazing how much saucers are going for on eBay and Amazon. They must be indestructible.

    I bet your aloe will do just fine. Don't water much in winter and move it outdoors for summer. The next thing you know you will need a bigger pot.

    Getting to 80 used to be a big deal, now 90 is still quite a feat but more are reaching that too. I saw an 82 year old woman running half a marathon on FB. She wasn't fast but she wasn't slow walking either. I think the story went on to say she died at 93.

    Yes, my SIL is a lucky guy. It seemed very serious there for a few days. I just hope he gets his full health back.

    Wasn't photography fun as a kid? Point your camera to the subject while looking through the small hole and make sure you didn't cut the heads off people. Watch where the sun is so your subjects didn't squint. Then wait a week or two to get your prints back and marvel at the small black and white snapshots. Add to the scrapbook where I stopped the previous time. I don't even know if my old scrapbooks are around anymore.

    It was low 70's yesterday for our hike. It was marvelous. Tee shirt with no sweatshirt. Spring is coming soon.

    The few snowfalls we have had over the years usually would clear out in a day. But one winter it stayed on our driveway for days so we had to do some shoveling. If I had to do that often I could see getting a snowblower. You are right it is heavy.

    If you dropped begonia seed I doubt you would pick them up. Maybe sweep and put everything (dust included) in a large tray and hope for the best.

    Photos and videos have revolutionized how we see the world today. A picture is worth a 1000 words easily. But then sometimes you try to keep the ugly stuff out. I know I try to keep the really ugly stuff out of my photos unless we are having an ugly contest.

    Well I guess insurance companies sell policies based on risk. They are betting the product or plant in this case will stand up over time. The person buying the insurance policy has a fear that the plant will die or the car will breakdown. We've bought a few extended warranties and they usually never ever pay off. So we quit buying extended warranties on almost everything. We cashed in our life insurance years ago too.

    Oh the tulips when introduced to Europe were only affordable to the wealthy and royalty. Dutch traders often could sell one tulip bulb for a fortune. Seems like some enterprising person found out that growing tulips would increase year after year so the value of a single bulb plummeted. I saw this on TV years ago (history channel?)

    I started out trying to get a good size of Hostas too but I started having doubts about buying just for the sake of having everything possible. I knew I wanted certain sizes, colors, patterns, etc. After collecting so many I quit buying them. It takes a really unique one to get my attention today.

    I've seen quite a few nurseries and botanical gardens but there is so much more to see. Just driving through Florida might cause a plant lover to stop every mile or two to see what's growing.

    I want to make more garden beds and sow the seed direct. It seems to be the most effective way to get wild flowers to grow and show.

    All plants lose their older "outer" leaves over time and that includes aloes. Look at established aloes in gardens or the wild and you will see that it is perfectly normal.

    Some aloes I grew when I had a greenhouse. They loved the heat and not being rained on I think.

    At Nong Nooch they grew a lot of their cacti under a fiberglass roof to keep them from rotting I suppose. Most of their other succulents were grown out in full sun.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    research really is a piece of cake compared to years ago..computers save so much're right..if and when I look for magnification equipment I could learn a lot with some time gardening isn't as scientific as yours..mine's more "oh that's pretty" Lol..

    I wish my hellebores were as far along as yours..the north facing ones in front are still under the snow..I've also had seedlings that aren't close to my original plants..

    arums are on my wishlist..

    I have no doubt you can reduce the have experience from pruning your Japanese maple Ha!'s wonderful to be able to walk around the garden see and reach everything..pruning scares me but after it's done I'm usually happy..

    that's the first time I've seen a "rolling saucer" called a trolley..what I've usually seen is "plant caddy"..these were extremely cheap..not as sturdy as more expensive ones but I'm leaning towards keeping them occurred to me that we spend about as much on peanuts in a month or why not keep all of them..and they stack nice so it's not a problem to store them when not in use..

    I've thought the same thing..saucers are overpriced..I needed some large ones..found some at Lowe's..dark wheels..I bought 2 brown, 1 black..they were $10 each..and I felt ripped off!..I have used them..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    8 days ago

    back to finish..I hope my aloe does well..I like them..

    people are living longer..but I think our parents outlived many of their generation..

    your SIL is one of the fortunate ones 🙂..from what I've heard it may take some time until he's 100%..but the worst is over..I'm curious..will they want him to get a vaccine when he's recovered?..let me know what happens..

    yes taking pictures during my childhood was so much fun!..I don't know about you but I had zero guidance about taking pictures..I was on my own..if the kids in my family were taking pictures I'd try to help them.."hold the camera still".."check what's in the background" etc..Don (as an adult) took a pic of me and a couple of friends at a a hallway in front of the restroom sign that said "women"'s a case you don't know.."these are women"..Lol..

    cooler than 70 here but you could be out if you wanted..

    we don't need the snowblower as much as you might think..but if you can afford one and can store it it's nice for the few times you need it..especially at our age!..

    so has that happened?..have you swept up seeds and dust and planted it?..any seedlings?..

    I'm the slowest person for lots of is no exception..takes me too long (according to some people!) to decide where to shoot..but it can make a difference..

    we did the same..we decline extended warranties..and we no longer have life insurance..

    so you knew about the price of tulips too..they're beautiful but short lived..I don't have any!..there's other bulbs that I'd rather plant..

    hostas are great plants for my climate..but like you I'm satisfied with my current ones..there's a few I'd get if I had a chance..

    we never get sick of looking at plants and gardens do we?..

    I'd love some sunny land to go crazy with seeds! will you find your seeds and sow them this year?..

    good to know about outer new one (no tag) looks like the one in the greenhouse photo on the top right..
    love the stones with the cacti..I looked at the Nong Nooch website..interesting place..there was a photo of a tiger uncaged on a chain..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    OMG!! - Yes, computers and the web have made newspapers, encyclopedias, libraries almost obsolete. Lots of magazines have quit publishing. Most mail is now email. Film is almost obsolete too.

    I am not scientific but curious on how the microscopic life behaves, multiplies. The biologists who spend a lifetime studying their specialty are the ones tasked with how things work. To think that cholera was once thought as a disease in the air until a doctor determined all the cholera outbreaks in London were coming from water. I wonder if they had microscopes to see the cholera germs back then.

    Well your hellebores won't be far behind, I suspect. Our bearded iris start in April and finish sometime in May (early, mid?) but when we visited Yellowstone so long ago and stopped in Jackson Hole, I saw irises blooming as pretty as a picture. It was early July. Did you know that every place on earth gets the same amount of light during a calendar year? That the poles get six months of light and six months of darkness and their day is equal to one year. Fascinating but still uninhabitable.

    I got those arums from a friend of our begonia club. He had oodles in his yard and I dug many things that day when I visited. I got a few other things as well with one being the Mexican Hydrangea (Clerodendrum bungei) and he warned me that it is invasive. Looking at his back yard I had to agree but I've kept mine in a pot and up off the ground. I had the pot on the ground and the next thing I saw was at least half a dozen new shoots around the pot. Very aggressive. The blooms are worth the extra trouble.

    When a plant doesn't perform or grows out of control it is time to either reduce the size or remove it entirely. I took out my two of three Okame cherry trees as they shaded out some other desirable plants.

    This was 2018 before I cut the smallest one down. I took the next one out in 2019. Beautiful while blooming.

    That's the spirit - buy a lot of inexpensive saucers to have on hand when you need them. Nothing worse than spending a lot of money on a product and it breaks down in a year or two and now you have to either replace it or find another solution. I cut up old hoses Wednesday to put in the trash for Thursday. Three large yard bags full of hoses and I'm not done yet. I wished I knew where to donate them to but in this case I just want to get rid of them.

    I have lots of plastic containers and glass that I keep up on top shelves today in case I want to start terrariums in the future. Ice buckets (acrylic), plastic salad bowls from Party City, cake lids from any bakery shop (Sam's has the biggest cakes and therefore lids), glass in different sizes, and even salad bins that our greens comes in. It is all madness to make our plants grow and succeed.

    Because I keep all my plants in the basement in winter I put them on cheap replaceable aluminum trays. In summer I place them on the ground but that means that some insects and worms plus tree roots can come up through the drain holes. The other possibility is the roots of the plant roots into the ground such as my Weigela and several hydrangeas. I noticed a bowl of mixed hydrangeas on Wednesday had standing water so when I tried to tip it over I found out that the paniculata had rooted into the ground through the drain hole. So now do I cut the root and plant the rest of them in the ground or let them be for the time being?

    I have some saucers but rarely use them. Now I need some saucers for my "show pots". GRRR!

    Hardy begonia seed pods on Wednesday in the backyard.

    How they looked late August last year.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    I'm writing in a bit of a hurry tonight..

    who could've predicted how the world would change in our lifetime?..and an even bigger change for our parents!..

    science is fascinating..but it's over my head!..I'd enjoy learning about it..

    I checked my hellebores blooms yet..

    that's interesting how every place on earth gets the same amount of light!..I didn't know..

    I like the Mexican hydrangea..I'm going to look it up..the leaves sure remind me of an arborescens..

    at least you have nice photos of your Okame cherry trees..that would've been hard for me to remove them..were they attractive when they weren't in bloom?..

    it's great to be prepared..just go grab what you need the moment you need it!..
    I love clearing out unnecessary items..go for it!..

    you have "green" earth friendly don't throw out a container if you can grow a plant in it..Ha!..

    could you use a garden fork to loosen the soil and pull the hydrangea out?..then plant it where you want?..

    saucers or "trolleys" are a pain in the you know what..but to protect the deck or the floor (when the plants are inside) I use them..

    I hope my hardy begonia's new, small and is in quite a bit of shade..I'll be very sad to lose it..keeping my fingers crossed..

    I walked out in the back and picked up a few pieces of broken limbs..I tried to step where the leaf litter's thick..except at the curb most of our snow's gone..

    I spent a little time today picking debris out of my pots that are overwintering in the entryway..after bringing them in my mother needed help so this was a job that had to wait..I enjoyed was a gardening job..there's still more to do of course..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    7 days ago

    I checked out the Mexican hydrangea..not hardy in my zone..I was expecting that to be the case..I haven't seen them here and the name suggests a warm climate..I think I'd like it..of course if I make it to a warm climate I'm getting macrophyllas!

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    Oh yeah, the world changed a lot in our lifetime. When I started college in 1970 and my first introduction to computers. The university rented an IBM 360 (I think that was the model because it was too expensive to buy). Card punch was the only way we could make a program. It sucked big time but that was the way it was done. Turn around was normally two hours, so you either waited or went somewhere and came back later to pick up the results. Often an error kicked it out and you would go punch another card and try again. Repeat - next error and repeat. FORTRAN was so picky. Engineers carried their slide rules on their belt or made room for it with their books. UGH! I went two years, got drafted, joined the Navy for four years, and when I came back to college the scientific calculator was available so tossing out the old slide rule was a blessing. My next gig was at GA Tech and they had a room in the EE building with terminals so we could enter our data there on a 40 character line CRT and wired KB. This was input to one of two mainframes and then fed to a super computer. When I commanded it to GO, it would come back with DONE in 0.6 seconds and job is printing on LPT XYZ. I would hike myself across to campus to the computer center, locate the printer, and wait another five minutes for it to finish printing. Ah, mistake one was not zeroing in at the point where I wanted to see how close I was to getting a filter to work around 60 HZ. Back to the EE building and fine tune my request and repeat. ARGH! That super computer back then was around 10 million dollars. Today's PCs and smart phones are probably as fast as the super computers in the mid 80's. That's progress!

    I have the last recorded PBS "The Elements" on DVR and it is about the newest Mars probe (Endeavor I think) that is not just taking photos and videos and beaming it back to NASA but also drilling into likely places on the planet where there might have been microbial life in the distant past. These core samples will eventually be sent back into orbit where another gadget will pick it up and transfer it back to Earth. It took around 6.5 months to get there. I thought it was longer, like years. A few million miles away and only takes 6.5 months to travel.

    Okay it wasn't Endeavor but rather Perseverance. I had to look that up.

    One of those programs I watched explained light on earth, time zones, and definitions of a year and a day. It made sense. I think it was Dan Rather when he went to the North Pole on a Russian tour ship? Right at the pole you can walk through all the times zones on earth just by pivoting on your feet. Kind of cool? So the day at the poles is six months and then night is the other six months.

    Do not confuse Hydrangea with Clerodendrum though. That Mexican Hydrangea will spread like wildfire. I leave mine in a pot and bring it indoors for winter since it is not in the ground.

    Here is Clerodendrum paniculatum (Pagoda Flower) I keep it in a pot too.

    Here is C. trichotomum that is hardy, grows to 15 feet or so, has umbels of fragrant flowers, and has blue seeds. It is a bit invasive but nothing like C. bungei.

    I used to collect all kinds of plastic containers - no longer. Enough is enough.

    I would probably just use a shovel and cut the tap root on the hydrangea that rooted in through the pot hole.

    I don't keep plants on the deck these days or the porch. My wife doesn't like it that way so I try to keep the peace. HA!

    I have tried hardy begonias over the years but always lost them. Probably in the wrong spot. My friend brought in some rooted (a small root ball) and two different florist ivies. I put them in the pan I brought to a club meeting to give away some of my cuttings or rooted starter begonias. I put the hardy begonias and ivies in this pan. I let it alone for a day or two and finally moved it outdoors, punched some holes, and added just a little dirt. Guess what? That is where they still are but they are spreading, especially the ivies.

    As the temps start to climb, it will soon be time to start doing a lot of garden work - especially the weeding part. GRRR! Then pruning and edging and eventually mowing.

    I don't think Mexican hydrangea is very popular since it is very invasive but you can do like me and grow them in a pot taking them indoors for winter. Mine is completely leafless right now in the basement and I have several shoots in there now.

    This was 2017 when I noticed all these small plants around my Mexican hydrangea. I yanked the pot up and put it on a stone and then dug all the little saplings - gave those to friends and warned them to keep them in pots and away from the ground.

    I think the blooms are worth the extra work.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    as I type on this small phone I can't help but think how amazing it is..what can be done with this little $200 device is almost limitless!..
    reading your experience about working with computers years ago sounds to me like they weren't worth the trouble!..Ha!
    I would've never known that it wasn't Endeavor!..posting back..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    6 days ago

    I'm not joking..sometimes the science shows give me the creeps..when scientists talk about the demise of the earth I'm sad and concerned..
    I couldn't take the darkness of Alaska's winters..the summer's "land of the midnight sun" might be fun..but inconvenient if you need a typical bedtime..
    the Missouri Botanical Garden link about Clerodendrum bungei said that it was invasive..I realize they aren't the same but I wanted to show you a side by side pic of my arborescens hydrangea volunteer with a screenshot of your Clerodendrum saplings..I think they look similar..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    6 days ago

    as much as I'd like to grow all of those Clerodendrum in pots...if I overwinter one more pot I might be living alone!!!...
    both of us are trying to simplify right?..

    Don wishes we didn't have plants on the deck..but it's my best light..and they're so pretty from the kitchen window..but they're messy..and they take up space..we don't sit there much so he puts up with it..

    if you had a movable cart with plants on your deck would your wife still hate that?..just a thought..

    I remember you saying that you've lost hardy begonias..I hope mine survived..I'm preparing for disappointment..if they're goners I refuse to get upset..I'll just need to get over it Ha!..

    you're ready now for outside work!..March is here!..I've enjoyed our steady conversations during the long cold winter..but I want to say I fully understand if you can't keep writing this much..feel free to slow down! have work to do!..
    I hope that as soon as my yard dries out (could be soon) I can be outside myself..
    not good phone said "battery low unable to use flash"..took it Alocasia bloom opened..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    My wife does most of her computer stuff off her iPhone. That would drive me crazy. I like a bigger screen and a much bigger keyboard.

    Computers have come a long, long way in 50 years. I had to take two EE courses while I was in ME and didn't understand "machine code". Funny that less than two years later that is what I hired on to do. Machine code or assembly code is the native instructions for a computer but it looks like Greek when you first start. All the other languages are simpler to use but the compiler for those higher languages are still written in assembly code for the CPU you have. Intel/AMD and other micro-processors have replaced the big main frames and super computers of yesteryear. So code is written more for those chips than anything else. Motorola used to have a micro-processor but Intel won that war. Seems like the early Apple computers used Motorola while IBM used Intel.

    I am with you on the 20 hours of daylight in north Alaska in summer but 4 hour in winter would be depressing. A town in Norway got no light in winter because it was nestled between two mountains. Engineers came up with an idea using mirrors on the top to direct the available light to the town below in winter. That had to be inspiring.

    Oh yeah, I think that is why Clerodendrom bungei is called Mexican Hydrangea - the leaves are similar in size and shape and the blooms look like a mop-head.

    I am not trying to simplify at this stage of life. I know it is coming though. We do not have a coat closet but some hooks above a bench in the hallway between the garage and laundry room and a coat/umbrella stand near the front door plus whatever space we can find in our closets. This is a sore spot with both of us. I can't see anyway to add a closet to the existing house now. My closet is out of room with clothes and camera equipment.

    SO that being said I wouldn't mind having a couple other Clerodendrums when I find them. I have four indoors in winter and the one outdoors year round.

    I will have to show some of my plants on the front porch, old deck, and front yard but that goes back years. I used to keep a few plants on the main floor but no longer. Trying to keep the peace.

    If your hardy begonias are grown like mine and more or less neglected - I do water them when I see them in wilt but typically I just let them be.

    I don't know the model of your phone but I very rarely ever use flash. It takes very good pictures even in low light. Congrats on your Alocasia bloom. They are kind of neat in a way.

    I usually do my computer "work/chat" in the morning and late evening. I did put in six miles Saturday which is a long hike for me. Caring for outdoor plants will soon get a lot of my time as it gets warmer. That is another reason I like to move houseplants outside for summer - they do better and watering them is easier than indoors.

    Baker's rack on old deck 2004

    Tried Fuchsia same year but I think I don't have a handle on those plants.

    one of my favorite begonias back then was Bayberry Lane (I found that name years later). I bought it as crassicaulis but it is not.

    2005 when I used the front yard to display large agaves and begonias.

    on the other side of the sidewalk

    2009 I had the right side of the steps to the front door lined with very large begonias. I think this may have been my last year for pots in the front of the house. I still liked this years later.

    Tried these two pots in front of the garage door (20060 we rarely used.

    Here is Voodoo lily bloom last year. It does stink! It blooms mid April and the foliage comes up in June. Weird plants?

    a couple smaller ones are already unfurled while two bigger ones are almost to the point of unfurling. June 10, 2020

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    5 days ago

    Don agrees with you..he uses our desktop (a Dell..not too old..large screen)..we've had an office in all of our homes..Don likes it quiet when he uses the computer..I use my phone sitting in the recliner next to him with the TV on..not quiet at all!..but it doesn't bother me..the phone is so compact..I love the convenience..

    I'm happy that an average person can use a computer without knowing how they operate..Lol..I have no clue how to write code..Ha!

    20 hour "nights" or endless gray rainy days would be terrible for me..the last few sunny days have elevated my mood!..I love warm sunny weather..I couldn't live in Norway..I haven't heard that story about reflecting light with mirrors..interesting..

    the "Mexican hydrangea" common name does fit..

    I misunderstood..I was thinking you didn't want any more plants inside than the current amount and even cut back on those going forward..and also removing some outside me this was simplifying..maybe a better term would be redesigning..I think outside plants are almost maintenance free..they'll be more perfect if you tend to them but some plants seem to carry on without any help..

    everyone I know wishes they had more storage..I think we have fewer clothes than most people..yet we have 4 bedrooms with nice closets..the master has 2 walk ins..we have 2 coat closets..and the 2 of us use all of the closets..the nice thing is the closets aren't packed..easy to see and pull out what you want..

    extra space is always welcome..keeping some space plant free is thoughtful of your wife..I'm doing my best not to add to the plants I bring in for the same reasons..

    my big worry with my hardy begonias is our cold's understandable if they can't take it..

    it's an android..a Samsung..I didn't have the flash on but I think on auto the phone would've opted to use it but gave me the msg that the flash couldn't function..

    I like aroid blooms..they're exotic and dramatic..

    that's terrific that you can do 6 miles..we should make more effort to walk..

    seeing your Baker's rack with plants makes me excited for summer!..fuschia disappointed me too!..I love their blooms and was sad they didn't thrive..
    Bayberry Lane is huge..the biggest begonias I've had were dragon wings..they were lush and full..I paid more and got bigger pots at Menards..I've had red ones just like yours in your photo..but as you know not as tall or the leaves as large as on your big ones..I like your agaves..nice angel wings too..
    I don't know if I'd try a Voodoo lily..the "rotting meat" smell is a turn off! that an oakleaf hydrangea leaf behind the Voodoo?..are Voodoos hardy for you?..I bet they're not hardy here..

    my March 1 2021 hellebores are on the way..flattened after our snow but I have new leaves and blooms on the way..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    You should have your own laptop! We used to share the tower and I had a work laptop. I could remote into the tower (upstairs) for personal use. My wife would go upstairs and log in and knock me off. I finally got my own personal laptop and then got her one. After that we quit using the tower and would upgrade a laptop when needed. She got me a Dell tablet when I retired and I told her I didn't need one. It sits in a drawer now collecting dust. I got her an iPad on the previous cell phone upgrade and she no longer uses it but we pay a monthly data plan - we need to cancel that ASAP if she hasn't already done that. She manages the phone bill.

    That is the beauty of computers - there are many levels of expertise out there to 1) get it up and running and worry about how they all operate and connect and 2) the users who use the tools whether for work or play. You just have to know the tools you need to get started, work on typing and navigating and of course netiquette.

    I would like to visit Norway and Alaska as I hear they are beautiful but I prefer to do it in warm weather. My daughter went to Alaska in winter for snow snowmobiling, dog sledding, spending a night in an ice house (WHAT?), seeing the northern lights, etc. No thank you.

    A woman I had been email chatting with in Atlanta has been around the world many times. She says the fjords and mountains in Norway are so much prettier than Alaska. I wouldn't know as I've not been to either so have to accept her opinion on that matter.

    I am always looking for new and interesting plants to add to the landscape and even in my congested basement. I added Flying Dragon orange trees (saplings) last year and it looks like they all survived. Unfortunately or fortunately I accidentally pruned one to the ground a week ago while I was pruning dead stalks of Mexican sunflowers, zinnias, daturas, and other annuals. Not that I need excess FDO trees as I got 16 seedlings from an eBay seller and I think I lost one or two last summer - maybe my dog (before we had to put him down) dug some up chasing a squirrel.

    I planted my pomegranate seedlings two years ago in the ground (I kept them indoors each winter for two years). I just want to see them bloom now. I have Dragon Fruit plants I grew from seed as well. These must be moved indoors for winter. I just want to see them bloom. I planted Chinese cucumbers and snake gourds for their intricate blooms. I think I created a monster as one or both of them are winter hardy and can grow several feet in no time.

    The Chinese cucumber climbing the side of the house. It started at least 15 feet away to begin with.

    If you can catch the flower fully open it looks amazing with its lace like patterns almost like a delicate snowflake?

    Anyway you get an idea on my madness?

    It sounds like your closet space is ideal! Our 3 rooms upstairs have good sized closets and my wife uses one for trading out winter to summer clothing. Our master bedroom on the main floor is the problem. We both have closets but I wouldn't necessarily call them "walk-in". We did clear mine out this weekend and moved a lot of my camera gear to the bench in the hallway between the garage and laundry room. Also getting rid of junk that has been hanging around for years and years. Painful decisions - old camera gear, several laptops, many hard drives, and our last several smart phones. Clothing that I don't wear anymore or won't wear is another decision to make on whether to donate or keep.

    Yep, you have to test some of these "hardy plants" to see if they are hardy enough for your yard and region. Hope your hardy begonias make it. I also have a wax type begonia that always comes back but it is from seeds left over from the previous year. Nothing spectacular but I like that indomitable spirit in it so I let it seed as much as it can.

    Here are some of the weedy begonias last year.

    I have a Samsung too. Switched to it after my first iPhone and will never go back to an iPhone (too confusing). I turn the flash off on my phone as I don't want the phone to make the decision.

    Some aroid blooms are nice - like Callas since they come in so many different colors today. Another one is Anthurium (the ones for florists) are flashy and almost lewd.

    This was in Maui. I am sure I have many more pictures of them in gardens - just not labeled. I prefer the more fancy foliage over the flowers in this family.

    This is at the botanical gardens in Atlanta. The taller plant to the right is another species of Anthurium but not as pretty.

    this species is a climber and the leaves are almost four feet long

    We did 8 miles two years ago and I wasn't sure I could make it back to the parking lot after mile 6. It was in the heat of summer and we got turned around and did one trail twice. Never again. About 20 years ago my wife did the 3 day, 60 mile Avon challenge. We started training in early spring - a six mile loop Monday through Friday and then on weekends we usually did 10 to 14 miles on Saturday and Sunday. We put in a lot of miles before her walk in October. I dropped her off at the starting point (they stayed in a hotel the night before the start) and picked her up in Piedmont Park downtown Atlanta at the finish. There were many who couldn't finish because they didn't train so rode in a car when they couldn't go further and some young ladies had feet that looked like hamburger because they thought it would be a walk in the park? The thing Avon or Susan Komen Org don't tell you is you have to pay $1800 to even enter the challenge. Luckily all the ladies at the office where my wife worked had the registration fees paid for by the doctors' group they worked for.

    The biggest begonias I grew was Lotusland and Challenger when it comes to leaf size. The biggest one I've seen on line is baccata which is native to the small island São Tomé off the west coast of Africa.

    Funny thing about the voodoo lily. I bought two or three from PDN years ago. They started producing offsets and I gave those to some family and friends. I lost the other two but my 'Konjac' was still a survivor. The one my mother had kept multiplying and multiplying and she wanted them gone. I dug the spot up and took what was there. I put them in a cardboard box and in the garage for winter. About March one started to bloom. If the spike hadn't been so tall I may not have noticed but seeing this purple spike emerging above the top of the box was hard to miss. Then it opened - oh yeah, the smell was a bit too much so it went out on the front porch until it was warm enough to put in the ground. And apparently the spot I dug them from still had some offsets (like little potatoes) that grew into new plants so my son in law and his son dug up what they thought had to be the last of them in 2019. I think my mother said she had some more come up last year.

    March 30, 2016

    Back to the smell - while it is a bit disgusting, it is not enough for me to get rid of the plant. I enjoy the bloom and the leaves. I found it odd that while moving plants out or doing outdoor chores, that every time I went back far enough in the back, I smelled this odor that reminded me of a dead animal. It took several trips for it to dawn on me it might be the voodoo lily blooming. Yep, that was it.

    Yes that is Ellen Huff oakleaf hydrangea in the area of one stand of my voodoo lilies. It is probably 10 feet tall and that wide. I think it is a better performer than Snow Queen.

    Ellen June 15, 2020

    Oh those hellebores are too nice to get rid of as they bloom so nice and are so hardy BUT they can be a bit weedy but not as bad as Money Plant (Lunaria).

    Here is a small stand of it March 20, last year.

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    Flying Dragon Orange tree I discovered last year at our hiking park. I wouldn't have noticed it if it had not been in bloom.

    What a mass of thorns!

    My Yoshino cherries were blooming the same day (March 24 last year)

    Redbud and daffs too!

    moving in to the Yoshinos

    So yesterday we took a short hike in the park before the rains came in. It was much chillier than the previous walk on Sunday (low 70's). I just happened to look for evidence of the trout lilies emergence. Found many and some very close to opening their blooms!

    At the house camellias and Dutch hyacinths in bloom

    Wow, ten pictures go pretty fast. You should see my Begonia 'Taconite' showing blue tints depending on how you stand relative to it. One direction looks like dark leaves. Walk to the side (about 90 degrees) and you start seeing a lot of blue leaves. I may have to load a video of it to my Dropbox and link it in.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    3 days ago
    last modified: 2 days ago

    an edit..I was writing..I stopped to hang up the laundry..I scrolled back to your comment..but in the wrong spot..I'm out of sequence Lol..

    it looks like spring at your house 🌷..I've never heard of Flying Dragon Orange tree..I do see redbuds and cherry trees blooming here..but not in my yard..I'm waiting for the day to see my 4 Kousa dogwoods bloom..I planted all of them..only one was a bigger size..I read that it can be 5 or more years before a new tree blooms..
    it was beautiful today..61 degrees..I didn't walk around the's still too wet..I just fed the birds..walked to my mailbox..then we went to Target..

    maybe someday I'll try a laptop..they're bulky compared to my phone..everyone seems to have multiple devices..and they don't really use all of them biggest issue..Houzz isn't user friendly on any device..

    my parents have been to Alaska several times..I can't deny that it's a beautiful place but a tropical paradise is more exciting to me..

    why do both of us want to grow plants that need extra care?..we're plant hoarders!.. obsessed..addicted..consumed..oh well..we beautify the earth and don't harm anyone..🙂

    the Chinese cucumber is gorgeous..the bloom is beautiful..does it produce cucumbers?..

    we have it made as far as closet space since we have the place to ourselves Lol..7 closets for 2 people sounds ridiculous doesn't it?..everyone I know admits they have more than they need..and all of us clean out our closets!..

    one thing about hoarding plants..most of them live outside..some die a natural can prune them out..give them away..compost them..having too many plants is less of a problem than too much furniture..too many clothes, shoes, books, dishes etc right?..

    your "weedy begonias" are adorable..I'd welcome them all over my lot..

    my Samsung is just fine with me..several people I know have had issues with iPhones..usually I'm taking pictures outside and the flash isn't involved..

    Callas do have pretty blooms.."almost lewd" is an accurate description for aroid blooms Ha!..

    I looked at the link for baccata..bigger but looks like a begonia!..begonias are great..

    the Voodoo bloom in the garage looks so funny!'s too bad that they don't smell's so large the fragrance could cover quite an area..

    how's your SIL?..feeling almost normal I hope..Don gets his second dose of the vaccine tomorrow..we've heard the second dose can have worse side effects than the first for some people..

    I'll send spring photos when it's dry enough to take some..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    3 days ago

    I used Google to find this bloom..your Chinese cucumber was reminding me of something and I think this was it..I've never grown these..I know nothing about wouldn't surprise me at all if you've had one..

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    3 days ago

    here's a white one..

  • hc mcdole
    Original Author
    2 days ago

    Oh yeah, passion flowers (Passiflora) are some beautiful flowers, aren't they? I met a man in south GA many years ago on my way to a job in Mississippi that grew tropical Passiflora in his greenhouse plus begonias. He was almost blind from diabetes but his passion was still there for what he could see and remember.

    We have our native Passiflora that is more like a weed. I let a few grow but hoe/spray the rest. My friend called them maypops. Why? Is it because the bloom in May? She said they would pop them open and suck the pulp around the seeds, spitting the seeds out. I wouldn't do that in the past so I tried one - kind of sweet but not really worth the trouble.

    Some of the wild ones that have grown in the backyard.

    It is almost as bad as morning glories if you allow it to grow.

    and these caterpillars love it too.
    the flies and wasps love the open pods.

    At dusk back in 2007

    I always let a couple vines grow and reproduce but I don't want a jungle of them either. HAHA!

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    2 days ago
    last modified: 2 days ago

    I KNEW that you'd know about them and have probably grown them Lol..the flowers are amazing..
    ever wondered if it would be fun to plant anything and everything you like and just let it run wild? my imagination it sounds exotic but the reality might be just a big mess..😂
    we're leaving soon for Don's's a beautiful day to be out..
    look at this! the Passiflora link Indiana is on the map where they're growing in the wild!..I might ask around about them..