All Those Arms

I tend to change the names of people, places and things.

Just ask my students and family.  New names are the norm with the FLOWER.

So I call this Life Saver plant ( Huernia zebrina) by the name Starfish plant.  Which is NOT its correct name.

Star Fish plant/ Huernia zebrina

This is not due to senility.

It’s  because this plant reminds me of a starfish story I used to tell my students.

Starfish/Seastars are capable of regeneration. If they lose an arm, they grow a new one.

This is important to know if you are harvest oysters.

You see starfish eat shellfish.  They use these arms to pull open the shell and stick their stomachs inside to secret acids that dissolve the guts of the victim. Then they slurp up the goo.  Yummy.

Oyster fishermen  in the past tried to kill off the competition by chopping them into pieces.  This only multiplied the problem, because if a piece of the central disc was left on the arms, all those pieces became new starfish.

So the lesson here is to know your enemy.

Okay… back to the plant.

Star Fish plant bloom/ Huernia zebrina

The Life Saver plant likes to drop arms around.


If these land in a neighboring pot, the pieces produce new plants.


So all those arms are a way of reproducing asexually.

So the Life Saver gets called the Starfish at FLOWER’s house.

It’s no surprise that Wingrid loves this plant.  It’s the extra arms she can relate to.


Anybody want some Starfish…I mean Life Saver plant parts?



Saving the Tigers

Some of my plants are too precious to leave their survival to chance.

I put my new Tiger lilies at the top of my precious list.

I know they are supposed to survive in zones 4 through 9.

I am in zone 7, so I should relax and leave them out, but…

Some winters are extremely cold, others are soggy wet.

Our soil is red clay so things rot. I have to put pebbles under plants to ensure drainage.

Why would I risk the only lily the mama deer did not eat?


These Tigers are the only lilies that came through the “deer delicatessen ” month uneaten.

So both the bulbs and the bulbils are coming in.

I removed the purple bulbils from the stems.

I immediately popped these into some cactus soil in shallow pots and watered them.

Label these babies in the pots.


Then I removed the yellowed plants from their giant pot.


I shook the damp soil off the roots.


I let these dry a few days and then knock off the remaining soil.


I store them in a cardboard box full of damp vermiculite separated be used packing paper.  Separation prevents the spread of diseases.


The big, heavy, empty pot will have to stay outside.

Always keep the label with the bulbs.

If you think you will recognized them in the spring,

you are either young or very optimistic.

I always have WTF (What’s This Flower) moments in spring.

Now these Tigers , big and small, will be safe through the winter in my workshop with my hundreds of other precious plants.


The FLOWER knows she is forgetful and plans accordingly.

FLOWER in the Fall



ATTENTION: Worker Bees

Calling all worker bees.

It’s time to stop making honey

and fly to the polls.

Do not let the smoke confuse you.

The drones think they own the hive.

Rise up and use your voting power.

Ignore the media buzz.

Vote with your heart.

Choose love over hate.

Choose hope over fear.

There is no OTHER,

just US seeking justice for all.


This is your call to wings.

Swarm the polls.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Your fellow worker bee FLOWER

Daddy and the Big Planes

It’s been a big week for my daddy.

You have seen posts of him with his little model planes.

This week he went to see some real World War II planes.

He looked rather tiny rolling around under these giant aircraft.


The Collins Foundation brought their ‘Wings of Freedom Tour ‘ to Statesville’s  Airport.


There was a B-25 Mitchell named the TonDeLayo.



Also a B-17 Flying Fortress, the Nine-O-Nine.



Daddy’s favorite was the B-24J -Liberator called Witchcraft.



We got to see some lucky folks take rides in a P-51 Mustang.


Daddy enjoyed talking with one of the pilots about the different motors used in the P-51.


He also met a Vietnam veteran whose dad, Roy E. Guy,  was shot down in Germany.



Mama was a good sport  during the event, as usual, despite being cold.

My sister was Daddy’s wingman,  rolling him wherever he pointed.

I, of course, was the reporter, photographer and spy.


He claims that last year’s Liberator is his last model plane.

I hope this is not true. My daddy just loves planes. He was like a kid in a toy store.


I must include this cute little dog, who waited patiently while his daddy got up in a plane for a photo.



Moses Cone Manor

Between the mountains and the sky of North Carolina


is a mansion


with a view of a lovely lake in the valley below.


I have rocked on the porch


and climbed the stairs to wander its rooms and peek out its windows


and think of a time,  when a man with a vision


could see it to its fruition, by age fifty one.





Embracing Change

This is the first fall that I have accepted the change in season

without the usual waves of melancholy that follow.

I am ready for a change.


I will finishing up two long term projects in the coming months.

When these are completed, I will be moving on to a new challenge.


Let the chips fall where they may as the leaves fall in the coming days.

It may be maturity or tiredness.  No matter.


I am ready.

Bring it.




Sierra Nevada Brewery near Asheville

We stopped be this lovely establishment, the Sierra Nevada Brewery,


as we passed through the mountains yesterday evening.

We did not have the time to take a guided tour and do a tasting.


We did enjoy strolling through the upstairs and looking down on the huge vats


and peering through windows at the bottling machinery.


There were lovely gardens with many annuals and vegetables.



There were even some hops vines growing up on trellises.

I had no idea hops had such a nutty aroma.

It was a nice break in our journey.


If you find yourself passing through the North Carolina mountains,

you may want to drop by for a meal and maybe a drink.


Coffee Cups Cause Trouble Again

I featured this particular elephant ear last year.

At that time it was planted beside one of the fish ponds.

I was thrilled with its placement until its cupped leaves filled up with

caterpillar poop from the oaks above.

Thus the post entitled “Coffee Cups Caterpillar Crapper.

Later in the season, the leaves filled up with tiny acorns, then falling leaves.

I considered the oak tree above to be the issue,

so this year I moved it to the front of the house.

Today’s heavy rains from hurricane Michael filled the cups with water.


The plant fell over onto its Mojito elephant ear neighbor,


which flopped over onto the giant Frydek elephant ear cluster.


We had ourselves an elephant ear avalanche.

Colocasia leaves are supposed to tip and dump water,

not hold it until the whole plant flops over.

This domino disaster has ruined my prized  Mojito.


Where can this plant go where it won’t cause any more trouble?


Coffee Cup Colocasia compost.