Flar petals and thangs

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Thanks to biologist and prairie-Black-Belt dude Dr. Malcolm F. Vidrine, the regional horticulture world has good genetic material of the Cajun Prairie region pink selections of the native Hibiscus mosheutos, Rose Mallow preserved, available for use in experimentation and research. From seed, most are typical, reverting from occasional pale-pink tones to the standard white with deep red center. But some are variations of the normal white, leaning toward the darkest pink, one I have cloned and have been calling Cajun Twilight, see it, further below.

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Even some of the whites are different in that the petals are variable, a different configuration, arrangement. This one above, has noticeably separated singular petals. In some plants, stems are green, some though, have stems that are light reddish to deep red. see stem behind flower above. Four years ago, I collected from Malcolm’s garden collection, lots of Rose Mallow seed. He had collected as many of the pink forms he could find in his explorations of the remnants of the Cajun Prairie. And I was the beneficiary of this work via my own seed collection.

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Here’s one with a rounded, circular flower form.

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a nice clear, pale pink, somewhat separated petals

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an overlapping-petalled pale pink with slight linear dark pink color in the petal folds

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a nice, even paler hints of pink, leaning to white

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This is a new one that showed up in the garden in Covington, a Hibiscus with salmony colored blossom with rays of pink in the flower petal folds. I am calling it Cajun Sunrise.

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a darker pink form at Chappapeela Park is very showy. The hummers love this Rose Mallow.

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This is the darkest of them all, a clone in my field in Mississippi, the one I call Cajun Twilight. It is a clone from Malcolm’s darkest form, a single plant he has nurtured for many years. The neat thing about these local genetic Rose Mallows are their seeming-general resistance to the Saw Fly larva that so readily eats-up the leaves of the old hybrid varieties. I experimented twenty years ago with the popular variety hybrids that are still out there today, being bought and chewed-up. We could use some local blood in the hibridization to kick the game up a notch.

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This is the Greg Grant introduction I recently spoke of (see previous post). It is a great flower form, no doubt but look at the leaf after the Saw Flies have their way, below.

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Let’s keep working on it, ya’ll.

cool video of bees and Swallowtails at the farm last weekend, see below, youtube

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Walking in the yard in Covington the other day and, low and behold, near the vegetable garden, I found a new species (for me) of Eryngium. Yippee! Eryngium prostratum, Creeping Eryngo (above). I barely saw the blue flower and was walking by and had passed it. I turned around after a few seconds to examine it and saw that the mirage was quite real! Got ‘er Identified by Dr. Platt. A petite little thing. Very beautiful when you use a hand lens, it looks GIANT!

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…like its cousin and a favorite prairie species of mine Button Snake Root, Eryngium yuccafolium (above). Eryngiums are insect magnets. Some call them Hyper-pollinator species, for the number of insects they attract, either for nectar or via predation. I am sure there are numbers of species of tiny insects that feed on the Eryngium prostrata. I love finding new discoveries in my own back yard.

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check out the cool frog we found at Abita Faltwoods last week, Hyla femoralis, The Pine Woods Tree Frog, ID’d by Dr. Platt. It was a new species for me.

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Dr. Platt showed us the identifiable trait, the interior of the frog’s thigh, where colored dots separate the species. This one is orange dots.

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…some cool lilies from the Covington garden

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My favorite Crinum for wet or dry landscapes. The beautiful, dazzling, Crinum moorei.  Rarely (never) have I seen this bulb for sale but I suspect it is somewhere, available. I got a start twenty plus years ago and have enjoyed it most thoroughly through the years.

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As Jackie Gleason used to say “How sweet it is!!”. Fragrance is like vanilla. yum…

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A Yucca-Do Nursery hybrid from twenty years ago (okay, I’m old, ya’ll), Zepharanthes La Buffarosea. A spectacular garden plant, ideal for ground cover in shade or sun. A robust plant that any specialty plant collector should have. But it is a plant also, that the beginner gardener should have, as well. Lovely, it is.

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the seed pod of Z x La Buffarosea is large and quite full of seed, which are readily grown by even the most novice of gardeners. They come up like weeds.

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This is a Tritoma, one of several I bought to experiment with a couple of years ago. This one’s from Tony Avent/Plant Delights Nursery, Raliegh, NC., Tritoma/Kniphofia rooperi. click to enlarge, Marge.

Lastly but not leastly, I am including awesome pics sent to me by my buddy Jim Foret, of the prairie garden planted by Steven Nevitt and Jacob Delahousseye in front of Hamilton Hall, at University of Lafayette, Louisiana. Steve and Jake spearheaded the effort to hunt the plants down and did all the work to plant it. This work will hopefully inspire folks to enjoy cool prairie gardens and the critters that go with them. Jim keeps an eagle-eye out to protect and keep the garden preserved, unmowed. Not everyone can appreciate such a garden but some of us get it and get what it means. Go Ragin’ Cajuns!!

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Thanks Steve, Jake and Proffessor Jim. Doing the good work, yeah.

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pocket prairies rock.

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