A Single Amaryllis

That’s all we’ve got so far in terms of indoor winter blooms. And I can’t even tell you what variety it is, because I lost the tag.

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I do think it’s a pretty nice one, though. I bought for Judy’s Christmas stocking, though it was actually too large to fit. The flower color is a nice creamy white, with a hint of pink near the tips.

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I also appreciate that the stem is sturdy and upright, even though we let the bulb lean rather far to one side.

We did attempt to force some Crocus bulbs, but that was a flop. They weren’t given enough time to chill, and so most of the bulbs yielded only leaves, the blooms that did emerge looked rather sickly. The odd thing is that I brought the Crocus bulbs inside because they started to come out of dormancy. You’d think they wouldn’t do that if they hadn’t been chilled sufficiently.

On the other hand, I still have a small sack of double Daffodils sitting in our unheated garage. They were sent to me as part of some kind of promotion. The Daffodils have been chilling since before Thanksgiving. Maybe next weekend I’ll bring some in and try to force them.

And we could always bring in some Forsythia branches. So our indoor winter blooms may end up not being so meager.

What about you – have you been happy with your indoor blooms this winter?

Squirrel: It’s What’s For Dinner

Judy sent me this article from The Guardian about chefs who are making various dishes out of squirrel, specifically Grey Squirrel. There’s a lot of Grey Squirrel meat to be had in the UK because of an organized attempt to cull Europe’s invasive Grey Squirrel population, who are driving the native Red Squirrels to extinction. The Grey Squirrels migrated from North America to Europe, where they made themselves a little too comfortable.

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No matter the season, there is no shortage of squirrels in our garden.

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Can’t You Hear Me Buzzing

So did you see the article in National Geographic about how plants can “hear” the buzzing of bees? A researcher at Tel Aviv University named Lilach Hadani found that Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) measurably responds to that buzzing sound in two ways.

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Is the nectar of this Wild Indigo getting sweeter in response to the sound of this bumblebee? And can Wild Indigo hear as well as Evening Primrose?

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Good News on Monarch Butterflies, But Don’t Get Too Excited

So the good news is that there are a lot more Monarch butterflies roosting in Mexico this winter than there were a year ago. Monarch populations are measured by the size of overwintering colonies in the mountain forests of Michoacan. This year, they are covering a little over 6 hectares (or about 15 acres), a 144% increase from the 2016-17 winter, when just 2.48 hectares were occupied.

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We Are Not Yet Frozen

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern for our well-being during Chicago’s recent spell of severe weather. We are fine. In fact, Judy had to spend this past week in Los Angeles for her job. She’ll be getting home late tonight.

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Springfield’s Old State Capitol

This past weekend I ended up staying in Springfield on my own, so on Sunday I visited the Old State Capitol. It was the seat of Illinois state government from 1840 to 1876. The building was reconstructed in the 1960s, but still has the original stone exterior.

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In Defense of Cup Plant

Just recently I read an informative post entitled “3 Problematic Plants in Native Plant Gardens and 3 Native Alternatives”. The post was on the Facebook page of Indigenous Landscapes, a native plant landscaping company based in Cincinnati. While the arguments made in the post were reasonable, I had a somewhat different take on the plants in question.

New England Aster
New England Aster

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Perusing the 2019 Plant Catalogs: Prairie Moon Nursery

Prairie Moon Nursery, based in southeast Minnesota, is one of my 2 favorite online sources for native plants, the other being Prairie Nursery in central Wisconsin. Prairie Moon gives us all natives and nothing but natives. Straight species only – cultivars need not apply!

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Perusing the 2019 Plant Catalogs: Brent and Becky’s

Now is the time of year for mooning over garden catalogs, dreaming of glorious blooms as the garden lies in frozen slumber. Fortunately, there are lots of catalogs to moon over. I have a stack by my side of the bed about 18 inches high, when they’re not scattered all over the floor. I should really keep them in some kind of file folder.

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Caladium ‘Candidum Senior’. Photo from brentandbeckysbulbs.com

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Plant Altruism

A growing body of research supports the idea that plants provide a helping hand (so to speak) to other plants. The research is summarized in an article in the January online issue of Science magazine.

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‘Italian White’ sunflower

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