Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stapeliad gigantea blooming, bugs, and more!

Today I went by the college garden, and to my great surprise, I found the big clump of Stapeliad blooming! The buds (I call them pods because they are so huge and amazing) above were growing along one edge, so I could get a good shot.

The large (dinner plate sized) bloom is so amazingly beautiful. I used to have a whole tire of these guys, but they died after the 3 hurricanes we had in a row in2004-2005 which killed them. The horticulturist at this college garden had given me a huge clump, and I had a few years with them before they died. I'm not ready to devote the space they need to having them again. Especially since I can see them over there all the time. This is a regular garden hang-out for me!!!

Yesterday and today I noted a super abundance of rain lilies, or fairy lilies (Zephyranthes) in my yard. They come up in the summer after a lot of rain, which we have had the past 4 days or so! They are so sweet. When I discovered that they are commonly called fairy lilies as well as rain was not you can actually envision little fairies living in and around them. They are seriously enchanting!

I know the neighbors thought I was either dead or crazy as I was laying in the grass in all sorts of positions trying to photograph them! LOLOL!

Mine are mostly white with little faint tinges of pink. I will miss them when they are gone for this year!

My Cowpeas (also called Black-eyed Peas) had an amazing growth spurt in all the rain as well. The largest pods went from 4 inches to 8 inches in 2 days! Now I am waiting for the pods to develope into what looks like that there are actual peas inside...they are green right now, but in looking at this seed packet, they are supposed to be PURPLE! I am wondering if this is something that will happen to let me know they are ready??? Hmmm...should be interesting! I am looking forward to it. They look so pretty on the package, and seriously, that is why I bought them!!! Hee hee hee!

Now I must let you all know about the method I employed to control aphids today!!! I made up a batch of a recipe I found online somewhere to spray on them. It was supposed to suffocate them and kill them! YES!!! I was ready...these black-eyed peas were covered in them even though I pulled them off once to twice daily!!! So I mixed up:
3 cups of water
1 cup of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of dishwashing liquid

At around 8am, I sprayed the heck out of the underside of the leaves and the stems (where they hang out). At 7pm, I went out to see what happened. I found some still clinging to the stems, flowers and leaves, but guess what????? For heavens sake, they were 99.9% all DEAD!!!!! Crap...I couldn't believe my eyes!!! WONDERFUL!!! Tonight, I washed them all off real good with spray of water and tomorrow AM I will be back out there again to inspect. This was so amazing, I just HAD to share it with the world! I also applied my garlic powder to the soil to control the leafminers. I think once I get all this stuff figured out, I will be able to enjoy gardening more, without nearly all of the trial and error stuff you must go through first!

Now, lastly an update on the spiny orbweaver spider I showed you last. I wanted to relocate the little bugger, but sometime between this morning (I had noted at that time that he had spun an absolutely amazing and perfect round orb web), and 4pm, when I came home.....his whole round web area, and HE himself, had disappeared completely! There is a little periphery web still hanging there, but poof...he was gone. I just wonder if he might be back tomorrow, cause I already kinda miss him. Funny how these things can actually get to you a little.

Goodbye my little spider buddy!!!


Mandy said...

Those are nice! You're not alone, I usually end up on the grass or sidewalk as well to get the perfect works! I'll have to make note of the aphid killer...last year they attacked my Hibiscus tree and I almost killed it using the "over the counter" solution.

Have a great rest of the day!

Cindy said...

Those lilies just sprout up through your lawn? How charming! So much nicer than my obnoxious dandelions and oxalis (which I actually have more of than actual grass :P)

Bobbie Lynn said...

Hi Julie,
Those stapeliad Gigantea are amazing. I have never seen them before. The last photo of them look like a starfish. Just beautiful. Congratulations on finding a home remedy on aphids. I hope your cowpeas start to tun purple soon. Have a wonderful evening. : )

Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Wow the Stapeliad kinda reminds me of a starfish! Very cool! That spider looks knarly!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Julie, Good luck with your aphids... Sounds like you have found the right combination.

I love Purple Hull Peas... We used to buy them at the produce market --and I liked the taste better than the Black-eyed peas.

Glad your big spider has moved on... Hope he's not in your bed... Yipes!!!! ha

Can't believe you all have been to Cloudland Canyon. We love that place... I wanted to email you when I read your comment --but realized that I don't have your email address.


Aiyana said...

Do the Stapelaid plants have that nasty characteristic smell? Seems with such large flowers it would be overpowering. But you are right, they are beautiful and probably worth putting up with the smell! I have a couple of clumps of rain lillies that have not grown at all over the years. Two clumps never bloom, the other, the white ones do occasionally. Disappointing compared to yours and Claudes.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have read about the aphid control before. I am glad it worked for you. I have had one of those cactus that are in bloom before. It is quite the conversation piece here. They are uunusual for someone to have because you have to bring them inside for the winter.

donna said...

Your fairy/rain lilies are the best. Luv the look of them and the fact that they spring up in the grass. They remind me a little of our first early spring wildflower, Snowdrops.

The alien succulent, Stapeliad, is amazing. Sorry you lost yours to the hurricane, but nice that you have a place where you can visit them.


walk2write said...

The rain lilies are so lovely, Julie. If I had them, I'd be tempted to let the grass grow and forget about mowing! Right now the Bahia grass seed stalks sprout up almost immediately after mowing so it seems kind of pointless anyway. You're lucky to have that big garden so close by. Our Extension office has some demo gardens, but they're not exactly close to where we live. You know, I've never grown cow peas. I'll have to try them sometime. Oh, I love those spiders! Too cute!

UB said...

Such a joy to visit your home. That is a first for me putting oil on plants. I adore and love my blackcurrants, first the greenfly fell in love with them next the caterpillar, you might say I am having a busy time with soap and washing up liquid!

Teri C said...

WOW, that STapelaid bloom is awesome!!!!!
And the lilies are beautiful. I envy you beautiful garden and now you have even conquered those darn aphids!!!

Rainforest Gardener said...

I'm glad the spray worked for you! I had some on a newly purchased schefflera houseplant and just rubbed them down with a little dish soap. Lucky for me they were in an isolated spot! I have one of those stapeliads too, and its doing great in a container with hardly any water. Heres hoping that there are no more hurricanes!

Together We Save said...

That Stapeliad is amazing!!

Diane AZ said...

It would have been amusing to watch you photographing those sweet little fairy lilies. The Stapeliad bloom and spider look amazing! Have a great weekend. :)

messyfish said...

Oh I love the idea of lots of rain and flowers. Things are starting to slow down here with winter. Love the fairy flowers in the lawn. Love that you looked strange to blog about them too.

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Beautiful Stapelia blooming. I do not have any of these but I follow a lot of growers on Flickr and see there beautiful flowers. I hear they are stinky and attract flies. But who cares with something so pretty and unusual. I also love the shots of your other cacti getting ready to bloom.

Have a great Weekend!