Lessons from a Dead Ear

I keep seeing the empty spot where it should have been. (Under the left window)

I need to fill it in with something so I will quit chastising myself.

Frydek belongs there, but it is gone because of me.

Yes, I cried when it died. It was my fault, you see.

I am overprotective of everything, including my plants.

It is exhausting.

I used to dig up my ears and bring them all in to overwinter.

I thought they needed protection from freezing. Protection from rotting…

I do not do that anymore because of Frydek.

I brought them all in the fall of 2018. To keep them safe.

Frydek was dug first and put in the bottom of the barrel.

Layers of peat and paper were piled up in the barrel.

Ear, peat, paper, ear, peat, paper

Somehow water got in the barrel. Frydek was in the bottom.

Frydek rotted. Frydek died being protected.

I left all the ears out last fall. They all survived.

Frydek is gone. Its space is still here. All the other ears are here.

Reminding me that I need to quit over-mothering everything.

I will try to remember that because of Frydek.

Flow

https://floweralley.org/2018/08/04/a-new-leaf/

 

 

A New Leaf

If you want to know if a plant is happy,

check out its new leaf.

I have been watching my new elephant ear, ‘Frydek’ for the past eight days.

I wasn’t sure if it would like the its new spot up against the house.

Its first new leaf has expressed approval of the new location.

It came up furled, as usual.IMG_0831

Then a few days later, it started to open

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and show its colors.

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Then it drooped a bit in the rain.

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Now it is standing up big and strong.

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The new leaf is twice as big as the leaves that formed when it was in the pot.

Frydek likes its new home.

I wish I could “turn over a new leaf” in just eight days.

FLOWER

Art on Every Leaf

I love all Elephant Ears/ Colocasias.

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I have many varieties.

 

My favorite is Mojito.

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Every leaf is a different mosaic of blacks and greens.

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No two leaves are alike.

 

 

Even the tiny leaves have beautiful patterns.

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They thrive in shade or partial sun. They love water.

So lovely. So easy.

Mix it up with a Mojito.

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FLOWER

Before or After?

Frost is a four letter word to a gardener.  (Ok.  Not really, but you know what I mean.)

There are many tender plants that need to be lifted BEFORE frost.

There are also plants that must be “bitten” by frost,

and then taken inside AFTER the first frost.

This count-down is not quite as dramatic as the “Countdown to 32″/freezing

that I blogged about last fall, but it is an important time for bulbs, corms, rhizomes or tubers.

I finally wrote a BEFORE and an AFTER list inside the cover of my gardening journal.

Here is my ‘rule of thumb”.  (Gold Nugget is what this was called when I taught biology.)

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If mostly water (turgor) holds up the plant, it needs to be bitten and wilted down by Mr. Frost.

Also: Does the plant look “done” for the season? Did it bloom weeks ago and is the foliage wilting down? DONE.

I know this is too simplistic. What it means is,  if you cut down plants with juicy stems you will be hauling in a lot of water.  The plant needs to bring in nutrients and drain its own water out to start dormancy.

Also, frost seals the tissues to prevent rot.   Think of it as a “cold cauterizing.”

When the time is right .   Dig up the bulbs, corms, tubers or rhizomes.

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Clean off the soil, wash, dry and store in labeled bags with dry peat moss.

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Here are MY lists for ZONE 7.

BEFORE:  Callas/Zantedeschias (Hot Chocolate can stay out, but bring one in as your stock plant just in case),  Acidantheras,  Glodiolas ( babies and mamas)

AFTER: Elephant Ears/Calocasias,  Dahlias,  Tuberoses (babies only)

Your lists will be different based on your HARDINESS ZONE.

I always err on the side of caution and bring in some of each of my special plants to use as stock plants.

Wet winters can be as bad as cold ones because roots rot.

 

POP QUIZ

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Thomas Edison Dahlia

1.  Before  or  After?

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Hot Chocolate Calla

2. Before or After?

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Priscilla Gladiola

3.  Before or After?

Featured Image -- 378
Mojito Elephant Ear

4. Before or After?

 

(Answers =1 dahlias/after , 2 callas/before, 3 glads/before, 4 elephant ears/after)

FOLLOW the FLOWER to FROST.

 

 

 

 

I’m All Ears

Is there an elephant in the garden room?

An elephant ear that is.

There are many reasons why I love these plants.

I love how their leaves catch the breeze.Little ones dancing

It looks like a party with each leaf doing its own dance.

I love how the midrib of the leaf channels water down below,

like a good tropical plant should.

Sharing the rain drops.

non-variegated leaf pattern

Each leaf has a different color pattern,

even the non-variegated kind.

mosaic mojito leaf
Mojito

differing pattern
Patterns like a mosaic or hieroglyphics.

Venation
Marvelous venation.

Their venation is an architectural marvel.

The huge leaf stands out from the stem

like an

umbrella on its handle.

Now that you love them, too.

Let me bend your ear and tell you their secrets.

Their Latin name is Colocasia esculenta.

They grow from Taro corms, not bulbs.

They like water and will even do well

in the shallow edge of a pond.

They must be dug in the fall after the stem freezes and bends over.

If you leave them out for the winter, the parent will turn to pink mush.

Pups may survive and grow from the dead parent corm.

These will come up in June or July.

Friends, Romans, countrymen…

Follow the Flower!