Local Lichens

Thought I would resurrect the blog, as it’s been a while since I added anything. I guess life has a way of getting in the way of activities we think can be sustained at the time of their inception.

I recently picked up a small inexpensive camera to put in my pocket while fishing. The Nikon CoolPix S3200 is not quite up to delivering the quality I’d like, but I can still use it to capture moments not otherwise likely. I’ve been exploring its macro capabilities by focusing on a few of the lichens in the yard. These lichens were found on a Crepe Myrtle.
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The November Yard – Winding Down

This morning broke with beautiful clear skies and a cool 40 degrees. As I was walking to feed the chickens, (guess I’ll need to show them sometime!) I spotted the volunteer Morning Glory that bloomed yesterday. I hadn’t taken any pictures in the yard for quite a while, so when I returned to the house, I got the camera and took a quick tour of the yard.

Speckled Japanese Morning Glory

I have one line of speckled Japanese Morning Glories that I’m growing this year to hopefully introduce into my Princess project.  This line comes from Eiji Nitasaka of Kyushu University, Japan and is called Q0663.  The line is supposed to carry the maple willow gene to produce the dianthus type flower, but none of my grow outs to date have revealed this.  They have however shown that they carry the duplicate (dp) gene which creates a true double flower.  I was treated to two double flowers this morning!  A double double!  This speckled flower will look great on a Princess plant.

Q0663 - showing the duplicate flower

Q0663 - showing the duplicate flower

 

Here is the single flower form:

Q0663 - single flower

Q0663 - single flower

Zinnia Flower Development

This is the first year that I have seriously grown zinnias with the intent of  learning about their development, culture, and diversity.  I would like to start developing my own strains of unusual zinnia flower types.  As with most things, it is one thing the read about a subject and quite often another thing to actually get your hands dirty and see for yourself what it’s all about.  Zinnias are no exception and I’ve used my camera to help me observe these plants closely. 

One thing I wanted to learn was how the flowers develop and mature.  An early flowering Zowie hybrid was selected for the photographic study.  I hope you learn and enjoy from it as well.

I have created a zinnia photo gallery to hold the pictures of interesting flowers from this years garden.

June 28 - early flower bud

May 28 - early flower bud

June 1- early morning bud

June 1- early morning bud

June 1 - early morning

June 1 - early morning

June 1 - late evening

June 1 - late evening

June 2

June 2

June 3

June 3

June 4

June 4

June 5

June 5

June 6

June 6

Purple Princess delivers a Kikyou

The grow out of my Purple Princess has delivered a couple unanticipated results. One of the most pleasing is a small statured purple Kikyou plant with glossy dark green variegated leaves. The plant is still only 16 inches tall and the flowers are 1 3/4 inches across. As all the flowers to date have been petaloid doubles, I doubt that I have seed yet, but hopefully later in the season it will produce single flowers that will be fertile. I created a gallery of all the flowers of the complete grow out to show the variation.

26107-168-04 - star segregant

26107-168-04 - star segregant

Here is a close up of the leaf:

Kikyou princess leaf

Kikyou princess leaf

Assassin bug at work….

I made a trip to the lower Mobile delta, along the causeway, to collect river cane poles for my Japanese Morning Glories.  I use them to give the Asagao something to climb.  I really like using cane as it is long enough for the most vigorous plants, strong enough to support a wet plant in normal weather,  it lasts for one year at least, and most of all its free!  I also think it adds a nice touch to the photographs of the flowers; much better for sure than just twine, string or wire……a natural touch with a hint of the orient.

After I completed cutting and gathering the cane, I grabbed my camera to document a white flowered vine that was quite prevalent.  I find that good pictures really help in identifying a new plant to me.  It was then that I came upon this assassin bug with its prey.  By the time I got the camera set properly it was de-coupled and the nymph was trying to escape.  Here are the couple pictures I took:

Assassin bug chasing the escapee

Assassin bug chasing the escapee

..notice the large drop of yellow directly under the Assassin bug..

..notice the large yellow drop directly beneath the Assassin bug..

Underside of Assassin bug

Underside of Assassin bug

..the mortaly wounded nymph

..the mortally wounded nymph

General view of the habitat

General view of the habitat

Gazanias

The brilliant color patterns of Gazanias  always grab my attention, but I have never grown them until this year.  Recently I saw a single six pack of bedding plants at the local feed store and took them home.  Gazanias are considered a perennial here in lower Alabama and their reported tolerance for dry conditions might make them ideal candidtates for pot culture.  My recent interest in other composite flowers, the Zinnias and Gerberas, made Gazanias seem like a natural addition to the mix of projects.

I immediately set out to learn the details of their life cycle, particularly the fertilization of the flowers, seed production and germination.  One plant soon set seed, which I harvested and immediately planted.  Germination of this fresh seed was in a matterof days.  I now have several seedlings started from this seed. 

Here are a few pictures of the plant that was first to set seed.

Gazania No. 5

Gazania No. 5

...details of the color pattern

...details of the color pattern

Seed from Gazania No. 5

Seed from Gazania No. 5

First Gazania seedling

First Gazania seedling

There were 4 seedlings that were albino and did not survive

There were 4 seedlings that were albino and did not survive

Here is a Gallery of pictures of the nine Gazania plants I purchased.