Winter yellows

The unusually mild weather this fall fooled some of the bulbs I planted back in October into sprouting leaves. Some daffodils apparently don’t need winter chilling to bloom. I found the above in my garden this afternoon. There is no such thing as normal Kansas weather, and out-of-season flowers are not unprecedented here. I’ve picked roses as late as a week before Christmas. After the February freeze, we can use a mild winter. Still, it’s odd.

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Five months early

Fall here so far has been mild and warm. It’s fooled the lilac at the corner of the house into blooming, and some of the bulbs I planted last month have already popped up. There may be some frost this weekend, but otherwise it looks like winter will hold off a little longer.

There is finally some decent fall color around town, the best from maples such as this one near my parish church, below.

There are more pictures here.

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Approaching the end

Today was probably the last pleasant day of the year, so I visited the nature center again. It was an awkward moment: most flowers are done for the year, but the trees with the most vivid fall color haven’t started turning yet. I did find a little color.

There are a few more pictures here.

Thistles, plums and limestone

Cirsium undulatum

I recently visited a nearby “nature center.” It’s no substitute for the botanical garden in Wichita, but it’s not a waste of time, either. Its focus is on plants native to Kansas, and there are a number of trails there that I will explore on future visits.

I did find some color there, and a plum.

Lobelia siphilitica
Cassia fasciculata, or Chamaecrista fasciculata. Or Cassia chamaecrista.

Continue reading “Thistles, plums and limestone”


I’ve finally escaped from Wichita. I now live in a city an order of magnitude smaller in a neighboring county, where I don’t hear boom cars and shouting strangers all evening. It will no longer be convenient for me to visit the botanical garden in Wichita, but quiet nights are compensation.

Waiting for me in the front yard when I moved in was the puffball above. I’d guess it’s either Calvatia fragilis or Calvatia cyathiformis. It was at its prime yesterday while my camera was packed away, and was starting to deflate this morning when I finally got a picture.

Also waiting for me were a couple of peony plants in their prime.

White, red and fuzzy

“Venus” dogwood (Cornus kousa x nuttallii)

The weatherman predicts thunderstorms every day for the next ten days, so I made time today to visit to the botanical garden while the weather was still mild.

Acer palmatum “Wolff”

There are more pictures here.


White in April

Yoshino cherry

While the crypto-British Okame cherry at the botanical garden was badly damaged by the freeze in February, the Yoshino cherry did fine. The deciduous magnolias were also untouched by the cold.

Magnolia stellata “Royal Star”

There are more pictures here

March blues

I got out to the botanical garden yesterday for the first time since November. There wasn’t much in bloom — no surprise, considering that it was -16°F just over three weeks ago. Most of the plants there seemed to have weathered the freakish freeze okay, though the winter jasmine, which would ordinarily be a mass of yellow at this time, was just a bunch of twigs. I was able to find a little bit of color here and there.

I was irritated to discover that the garden had installed numerous inspirational/motivational signs throughout a couple of sections. They’re unattractive and distracting, and they will obstruct the view as the gardens return to life. I also intensely resent being preached at. They had better be gone next time I visit.

There are more pictures here.

Update: I made another trip out there, and this time I did find a bit of yellow jasmine.

But only a few blossoms, not the usual hundreds and hundreds.