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.

Pink surprise

I wasn’t expecting much action from my cacti until things warm up again in the spring, but the Turbinicarpus roseiflorus that I started from seed a few years ago popped out a couple of flowers this week. It’s a small plant, slightly over an inch in diameter, exclusive of spines.

Both photos are stacked-focus, the one above compiled from 40 separate images. As usual, click the pictures to see them larger and with better color. Open in a new window for maximum detail.

Pink and black

The orchid above is a form of Habenaria Jiaho Yellow Bird. Evidently the color is variable. I photographed it at the monthly orchid society meeting this week.

There were also a few Catasetinae with dark flowers. The darkest was the multigeneric hybrid Monnierara Millennium Magic “Witchcraft”, above, which is such a deep burgundy-maroon that it can be called black. The flowers were just starting to open when I took the picture, and they ought to be flatter when fully open. (It’s a recent hybrid, and probably not the source of Basil St. John’s black orchid serum. My best guess is that his orchid was an obscure Dendrobium.)

There are many more pictures from the meeting here.

Flower of a thousand names

The botanical garden requires masks only when you are inside the buildings, not when you are in the gardens themselves, so I was able to grab a few pictures there without suffocating this week. While the naked ladies (Lycoris squamigera) are past their prime, the closely-related Lycoris radiata is just getting started. L. radiata has all kinds of significance in Japanese culture (if you see it in an anime, you’re probably in a graveyard), which I’m too lazy to summarize.

There are more pictures from the expedition here.