Monday, July 16, 2012

The Final Pots

My plan was to plant the residents of my pots into more permanent locations.  The early onset of drought conditions made me change those plans, so any necessary transplanting will take place next spring.  This Small White Morning Glory is a native annual vine that I first discovered on the property last year.  I threw a few seeds into this pot and I think every one of them sprouted.  I have noticed no plants growing where they were found lst year.  As long as I continue to supply water, this mess of plants should give me a good supply of seeds.  I’ll spread some of the seeds in a couple of suitable locations around the yard to see if they can establish permanent populations.

My work with potted plants is being phased out until I can construct an enclosure that effectively keeps out the marauding wildlife.  Most of my pots are under attack by various local animals.  I also need to create some permanent beds in which to plant the mature plants.  I originally began with pots in an attempt to learn about germination habits of the local native plants.  In the process, I managed to accumulate several pots full of mature plants. 

Here’s one of the animal offenders.  Not only do the Cottontails sit in the pots nibbling the plants, they have gone so far as to dig their nests in the center of the pots.

Squirrels and Chipmunks keep the potting soil constantly stirred. 

I had some seeds left over from my Prairie Garden expansion, so I planted them in a couple of empty pots.  I planted two species per pot, each confined to their own half.  Unfortunately, before I got a screen cover on this pot, a squirrel dug into one side and mixed the seed.

The seeds I planted were all species that I hadn’t raised since I got my first digital camera.  I grew them now just so I could get a photo record of their young forms.  Prairie Dock grows just enough to get the cotyledons above ground. 

Development of the first true Prairie Dock leaf quickly follows emergence of the cotyledons.  The impressive growth is taking place below ground.  At this stage, the root has already exceeded a depth of 12 inches.

This is the seedling of Liatris aspera, Rough Blazing Star.  The cotyledons of this species also remain stalkless at ground level.  The first true leaf rises tall and thin.  Seedlings sometimes only produce the one leaf in their first growing season.

These False Aloe plants have been growing in their pot for several years.  One has managed to produce a flower stalk, but they are way too overcrowded to do well.  The problem with transplanting is going to be separating individual plants from the solid mass of roots in the bottom of the pot.  Plants that naturally put their roots deep into the soil just don’t respond well to confinement in pots.  I’m hoping that the creation of permanent growing beds will allow me to observe the natural progress of plant development that follows  the germination and early growth stages. 


  1. Those critters aren't helpful at all!

  2. Hi Pat. They certainly can behave as pests sometimes.

  3. According to Euell Gibbons, morning glory root is edible. It's related to sweet potato.

    I think prairie dock is edible too. I have half a dozen pots of cultivated dock on my back porch. They're delicious to cook in a cream sauce and smother fish with. The acidity is balanced by the fatiness of the cream.

  4. Hi Mark. Wild Potato Vine grows around here and is edible. It's a Morning Glory that grows a large tuberous root.

    I know that Prairie Dock sap is dried and used as a gum. The tough, gritty leaves don't seem very appetizing.