Monthly Archives: March 2014

“Ooooh, that smell, the smell of death surrounds you” Clathrus!

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

“Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you”
Lynyrd Skynyrd – That Smell Lyrics

Last week, in my Blooming in My Yard post, I included a nasty little thing called a stinkhorn. A few days after taking the photo, the mushroom was gone, thank goodness. So it came as a surprise this morning, whilst sweeping my patio and throwing bits of dead plant debris into a nearby raised bed, that my nostrils were suddenly accosted by some offensive odor. At first I assumed I was catching an occasional drift from the nearby blooming pear trees (another notoriously nasty spring smell). However, as I continued to sweep and gag, I decided to poke around the nearby flower beds.

That’s when I spotted it, another stinkhorn! I must have hit it with a piece of plant debris and encouraged it to release its stench more quickly or perhaps just more concentrated toward my general direction.

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

It looked a wee bit different from the Clathrus columnatus I found last week growing out in the yard, but yet they are the same species. There is variation in how they appear. The link above will connect you to mushroomobserver.org. Good information!

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

Notice the brown mucous/wet mud-looking stuff inside.  I have to admit, if you look at a close-up, I could have perhaps began this post by telling you I had cooked up a strawberry gelatin desert with chocolate pudding on the inside. Would you have said “oooh and ahhh” as you imagined each tasty bite? Ha ha ha , but I digress.

Now, as a scientist, I ask myself, what makes them appear in my yard or flower bed?  Most plants like this that appear and disappear grow during periods of heavy rainfall or during a drought…environmental triggers that tell the plants “its time to roll”. Of course, most of us know that plants that stink to high hell do so to attract pollinators! For example, what kind of things are attracted to rotted meat? …Exactly.

There is a 2013 post from Dr. Dan Gill, LSU Ag Center Horticulture Specialist, in the NOLA.com online newspaper with the Times Picayune. The article is titled, “Too Much Rain Can Be Stressful”.  He is their garden columnist and provides wonderful information. In it you will see another image of octopus or squid stinkhorn (Clathrus columnatus). That image looks a bit more like my image from last week.  Dan adds some useful information regarding this species: Fortunately, stinkhorn fungi do not cause plant disease or injure ornamental plants. They simply grow as saprophytes, obtaining their nutrients by decaying dead plant material, such as wood mulch, buried wood debris or rotting dead tree roots. There are no chemical control measures. Fungicides available at nurseries will not eliminate this fungus. However, to reduce the likelihood of their reappearance, you can try to limit their food supply. Hardwood bark mulch can be removed and replaced with pine needles, or try to dig up and get rid of buried wood or large dead tree roots.” 

For me, these mushrooms are an occasional nuisance, and certainly nothing to get excited about. If I were, say, hosting a party on the patio today, I would grab my shovel, remove the offender and throw it over in some remote corner of my yard. You might be able to play a “good” practical joke on someone with one of these too.

To get a bit more botanical, I will tell you these particular mushrooms I have shared are a member of the Clathraceae family, but stinkhorns in general can be of Clatheraceae or Phallaceae.  Mushroomexpert.com goes into some great detail and mentions the battle of classification for this mushrooms, battles that sometimes exits in the plant taxonomic world. On their website there is a great page with images folks have submitted. I am sure if you think you have a stinkhorn, you will find a similar image on that album page. So check it out. Some of them are very beautiful and some are very naughty-looking (phallic).

Well, another hour has passed of me working on this blog post when I was supposed to be working on my raised beds and planting seed! I hope that someone will get something useful or entertaining out of this post about the stinkhorn.

One final note, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast or surrounding regions you might consider joining The Gulf States Mycological Society, if you have a good interest in all things shroomy! Well, maybe not ALL things shroomy. 🙂

Another great resource is Dr. Juan Luis Mata at the University of South Alabama. He typically speaks and leads a mushroom walk at The Crosby Arboretum in the late summer.

Keep Growin’
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

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Categories: Crazy Plant Things I See, Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blooming in My Yard: March 8-14, 2014

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

Often times (and sadly so) pulled out or sprayed with herbicide by many folks, this pink-flowering Oxalis wildflower pops up all over my patio garden each spring. I wouldn’t dream of spraying it out (of course I don’t like to spray anything except poison ivy), but I have occasionally moved it to a better home. And guess what? Its edible! I love the blog post on Oxalis written on Eat The Weeds. At any rate, it just started blooming in my garden this week! But in a couple of weeks there will be a plethora of pink flowers. The benefits are that it is very low maintenance, low growing, and will grow in cracks or other hard-to-plant areas.

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

The very first blooms of my rhododendrons have opened. They are a couple of weeks from peak (the perfect time for a garden party), but these blossoms will tease me until then. Remember, if in doubt, just call it a rhododendron, because “All azaleas are rhododendrons but not all rhododendrons are azaleas.” This is because their genus is Rhodendron. Read more about their classification on www.rhododendron.org.  I am so lucky that in times past someone did a wonderful job of planting trees, shrubs, and perennials in my yard. I repay the kindness by planting more as I am able for future homeowners to admire and love.

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

The wild, native Prunus pictured above, likely Prunus serotina (black cherry) is blooming now too. Although this tree is growing on adjacent property, it is full evolved onto my property. However, there are seedlings that pop up everywhere, so I may be inclined this year to dig up a couple and plant out in my yard. Otherwise, they usually end up chopped up with the lawnmower or victim to the compost.  Read Dr. Eric Stafne’s blog post on wild prunus. Look for this tree blooming in the woods on your spring hikes!

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

Last week I showed images from my fruiting pear and one of the pollinator pears. The pollinator image above is my second pollinator pear and just started flowering this week. It is likely a different species, although it does get a bit more shade, both factors that can affect timing of flowering. As with the other pear used for pollinating, it flowers first, then the leaves will emerge.

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

The blueberries are blooming! Both native, such as Vaccinium elliottii, and the cultivated blueberries (above) are flowering. I love their dainty, hanging, bell-like flowers that seem to shimmer in the morning sun. Both are edible! If you are interested in fruit and nut crop information, considering following Dr. Stafne’s blog, which includes information on blueberries. Be on the look for this native blueberry blooming this month if you are out hiking.

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

TheGardenMaiden copyright 2014, Spring blooms in my Mississippi yard

Whew! Can you smell it? Okay, okay, so its not your typical “flower”, but this final gem pictured above is a fungi that emerged near my raised bed. Known commonly as a stinkhorn, I am pretty sure it is of the genus Clathrus. ? Some good information with images can be found on East Tennessee Wildflowers: Fantastic Fungi! This is the second one in my yard this spring.

Its a beautiful day outside and I have a ton of work to do and now half the day is gone from me!

Have a great weekend and try to enjoy some St. Patrick’s Day parades!

Keep Growin’
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My 2014 Garden Seed List, oh my!

My 2014 seed list

My 2014 seed list

Seeds, seeds, everywhere! I have no idea where I will put them all as my eyes were bigger than my garden area. However, here is my 2014 seed list. I have a responsibility to get the seed growing! Waste not, want not. I plan to give some plants to friends and family to share the love. I know that being able to look at a seed catalog and actually purchase the seeds you want is a big deal! I realize there are thousands of people (if not more) who only dream of purchasing the seeds they want for a garden.  How many seed catalogs did I mark-up and dog-ear as a child with all the things I wanted to grow? I have no idea, but I know it was  lot. I hope to save some seed from my harvest to lower my seed bill for 2015. My list below represents about 90% of my seed, maybe 95% and all of the seed below was purchased through Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. in Mansfield, MO. a couple of hours from my birthplace. I have been using them for years and have always found great customer service. They are not just a seed company; the Gettles are a true gem in the plant world.

Name Price QTY Total
Blue Lake Bush 274 Bean
Item No: BN119
$2.50 1 $2.50
Purple Podded Pole Bean
Item No: BN114
$2.75 1 $2.75
Aoyu Edamame
Item No: SY106
$4.00 1 $4.00
Chinese Red Noodle Bean
Item No: LG109
$2.50 1 $2.50
Amarillo Carrot
Item No: CR114
$3.00 1 $3.00
Danvers 126 Half Long Carrot
Item No: CR102
$2.50 1 $2.50
Ozark Razorback Cowpea
Item No: CW148
$2.50 1 $2.50

Piggott Family Heirloom Cowpea
Item No: CW153
$2.50 1 $2.50
Boston Pickling Cucumber
Item No: CU105
$1.75 1 $1.75
Delikatesse Cucumber
Item No: CU109
$2.00 1 $2.00
Lao Purple Stripe Eggplant
Item No: EG143
$2.50 1 $2.50
Louisiana Long Green Eggplant
Item No: EG115
$2.00 1 $2.00
Banana Passion Fruit –
Item No: GR127
$4.00 1 $4.00
Big Apple Gourd
Item No: GD115
$3.00 1 $3.00
Collards – Georgia Southern Creole
Item No: OG109
$2.00 1 $2.00
Flashy Butter Oak Lettuce
Item No: LT157
$3.00 1 $3.00
Tennis Ball Lettuce
Item No: LT164
$2.50 1 $2.50
Honey Rock Melon
Item No: AML105
$1.75 1 $1.75
Missouri Gold Melon
Item No: AML150
$3.00 1 $3.00
Cassabanana $4.00 1 $4.00
Item No: MC101
Jing Orange Okra
Item No: OK126
$2.50 1 $2.50
Stelley Okra
Item No: OK134
$2.50 1 $2.50
Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper
Item No: HPP171
$3.00 1 $3.00
Pasilla Bajio Pepper
Item No: HPP105
$1.75 1 $1.75
Scotch Bonnet Yellow Pepper
Item No: HPP161
$2.50 1 $2.50
Tabasco Pepper
Item No: HPP106
$2.50 1 $2.50
Purple Jalapeno
Item No: HPP118
$2.50 1 $2.50
Ozark Giant Pepper
Item No: PP154
$2.50 1 $2.50
Purple Plum Radish
Item No: RD122
$2.50 1 $2.50
Giant of Sicily Radish
Item No: RD118
$2.00 1 $2.00
Amsterdam Prickly Seeded Spinach
Item No: SP108
$2.50 1 $2.50
Rugosa Friulana
Item No: SSQ137
$3.00 1 $3.00
Yellow Scallop Squash
Item No: SSQ108
$2.50 1 $2.50
Zucchini-Golden
Item No: SSQ118
$2.50 1 $2.50
Alligator Squash
Item No: SQ280
$3.00 1 $3.00
Americana Tonda Squash
Item No: SQ144
$2.00 1 $2.00
Chihuahua Landrace Squash
Item No: SQ211
$3.00 1 $3.00
Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
Item No: SQ128
$2.25 1 $2.25
Shishigatani or Toonas Makino
Item No: SQ105
$4.00 1 $4.00
Yokohama Squash
Item No: SQ108
$2.75 1 $2.75
Rio Grande Verde Tomatillo
Item No: TL104
$2.25 1 $2.25
Orange Icicle Tomato
Item No: TO124
$2.50 1 $2.50
Arkansas Traveler Tomato
Item No: TK108
$2.50 1 $2.50
Cherokee Purple Tomato $2.50 1 $2.50
Item No: TP101
Chocolate Pear Tomato
Item No: TP155
$2.50 1 $2.50
Purple Bumble Bee Tomato
Item No: TS149
$2.75 1 $2.75
Ali Baba Watermelon
Item No: WM152
$2.50 1 $2.50
Basil – Corsican
Item No: HB206
$2.50 1 $2.50
Basil – Lemon
Item No: HB107
$2.00 1 $2.00
Basil – Lime
Item No: HB103
$2.50 1 $2.50
Cilantro, Slo-Bolt
Item No: HB143
$2.50 1 $2.50
Dill Bouquet
Item No: HB126
$2.50 1 $2.50
Lavender
Item No: HB112
$2.25 1 $2.25
Lemon Balm
Item No: HB117
$2.50 1 $2.50
Lemongrass
Item No: HB162
$3.00 1 $3.00
Oregano, Wild Zaatar
Item No: HB174
$2.50 1 $2.50

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Seed and Plant Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
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