From Triplets to Trilliums
All the dire warnings about frigid temperatures for last night, and probable death to the newly pollinated fruit on the trees and such, the severe cold didn't come to pass. Being near the lake moderates our temperatures often, and it helped last night. It got down to freezing, but not below (18-20 degrees was predicted).
But death did come. Yesterday I took this photo of Allium's triplets, born two days before and they all appeared well. Allium accepted them all without hesitation, and all were seen nursing. But this morning Josh found the dark colored one (on the right), nearly dead. Evidently the male of the trio, the more aggressive one, had been pushing her away and she wasn't getting enough milk. During the night she was just too weak and was cold this morning. Josh brought her inside to warm her and got some milk down her, but being so weak and so young, she didn't survive. Now Allium is left with one little female and one male kid. It's sad but it's life on the farm. We've had 7 new kids born in less than a week and one nanny still expecting.
The trilliums are beginning to bloom in the garden and in the woods, too. I saw some in the woods last week with white blossoms (Trillium pusillum var. ozarkanum), also known as "wake robins," but mine in the garden is the purple trillium (Trillium recurvatum). You'll find them growing in the woods along with dog tooth violets (Erythronium albidum) and may apples (Podophyllum pelatum). American Indians used trillium, which was also known as "birth root," for treating menstrual disorders and Iroquois women reportedly ate the leaves of trout lily to prevent conception, both according to the Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Most people now just look upon these early spring plants as interesting to grow.
I made my annual trek into Arkansas to rake up pine needles for the herb beds. Pine needles provide enough mulch to keep weeds at bay and yet don't hold excess moisture like straw or wood mulch does. Herbs don't need much moisture on their roots and too much even gives problems on some herbs.
Every year I give all the herb beds a good dusting of lime, then lay down several inches of pine needles. They only last one season, but it's the best mulch I've found for herbs. You can also buy baled pine straw from agricultural supply stores, in small bales like you see here.
Part of my annual pilgrimage into the wilds of Arkansas, besides getting pine needles, is stopping at Perennials, Etc. in Garfield, AR. Steve & Susan Davisson always have interesting and unusual plants. Susan showed me this unusual Japanese may apple that is growing in her woodland garden near the nursery. Unlike our native may apples, which bloom white, this one has red blossoms and spotted leaves. Very unusual and it almost looks mossy. I wonder what the apples taste like? May apple jelly is an old time favorite for Ozarks families.
Also while at Perennials, Etc. I spotted this pair of carrots and decided they would do well at Long Creek Herb Farm. I think the artist dubbed the pair, "Bunny Bait," but I'm just calling them the Carrot Pair.
Steve had attached these giant lips, nose and eyes to the tree growing beside the Japanese may apple. It's good to know other people see faces in trees, besides me.