Monday, May 30, 2011

columbine ~ 05/30/11 ~ at home

I was given this columbine from a friend who in turn had received several as a gift in memory of her mother. I believe it was grown from seeds collected from wild growing columbine at Rocky Creek down the coast. Since recovering from my illness, I have been into surrounding myself with living things. Before I only had a jade, a geranium, and a plethora of poorly cared for spider plants on our north facing balcony. Now, I have purchased my first 6-packs of easy-to-grow plants like alyssum, lobelia, and dusty miller. I'm such a novice at growing outdoor flowering plants that I hope I can keep this columbine going for its lifespan of 3-4 years (according to Paghat's Garden). I plan to collect seeds and continue this plant on my balcony garden. Can anyone give me advice on where to cut for deadheading? Plus, I'd like to transplant this to a larger pot. Maybe I should wait until it is done flowering?

ps 09/22/11 - I want to note that in the last week, this plant has started a fresh batch of blooms.

Pacific chorus frog ~ 05/30/11 ~ at home

A friend gave me a bowl of frog eggs attached to some kind of oxygenating plant (Myriophyllum sp., aka milfoil?), duckweed, and a couple of small snails from her barrel pond on 05/21/11. Within a week 2 tadpoles hatched. They were very tiny and extremely good at hiding. I was worried the others wouldn't hatch, but when I shook the bowl, they wiggled inside their egg cluster.

The day after I took the photos above, I transferred the pond water to a 5 gallon aquarium where I had water sitting out a few days to allow the chlorine to dissipate. The agitation from the transfer released the remaining tadpoles from their sacs. There were other miniscule organisms swimming around in the water that I could only see in the sunlight. The aquarium turned green with algae fairly quickly. I siphoned off some of the water and refilled with fresh water. Turns out this may not have been necessary, because as the tadpoles get larger and the duckweed spread to cover almost the entire surface, the water has become clearer on its own.

It's been fun watching the tadpoles grow. By 06/10/11, they already started looking "pregnant" with big round bellies and could no longer cling to the side of the aquarium. Quite honestly, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these frogs once they metamorphose. My friend collected tadpoles from a pond in Seaside last year and added them to her existing barrel pond here in Pacific Grove. By the first of April, she witnessed 3 sets of frogs mating. She made a video for the sound recording; click here to listen to how loud they are.

ps 07/11/11 - The oxygenating plant the eggs were attached to is rigid hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum). While this greenery is good for aquaria and is found worldwide, it is not necessarily beneficial out in the wild.