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Messages - Mikent

General Discussion / Re: Spider whisperers
September 26, 2023, 07:50:16 AM
@David Pilling

I can't do pictures for this year. The colder temperatures earlier this month killed off the spiders - at least the grass spiders, still plenty of normal spider webs around.

If you want to see funnel weaver or grass spider webs, there are plenty of photos online. Just make sure you enter the name as funnel weaver spider, not funnel-web spider. The funnel-web spider is an Aussie denizen, not US. If you see pictures of a large black spider with a sac-like rear end, that's the funnel-web. Funnel weavers are narrow, with brown and tan coloration. There's a stripe down the center of the carapace.

One of the few websites I've found that shows clusters of the webs instead of a closeup of one web is here:

The spiders I'm dealing with have somewhat thicker webs. Don't know if that's due to being a related species to pictured spiders' webs (Tennessee is 450ish miles South of me (well, SW)), being right above the beach, and therefore breezier, or something else. Most the webs I see are opaque where you can only see vague shadows of foliage (or whatever) underneath the web. In the first picture on the site, you can see one leaf of what looks like lily-of-the-valley sticking up out of the web. That's typical of the funnel weaver webs - the entire web is horizontal, anything vertical will have the web built around it (and usually anchored to it). If the web is left alone, they will add layers to it daily, until it become more like a piece of fabric (silkish) (where I presume the other common name of carpet spider came from). Their everyday webs are thick enough that if a breeze comes along, the entire web, or at least a section thereof, will flap in the breeze, but remain anchored in place.

General Discussion / Re: Uli - unidentified Cyrtanthus
September 26, 2023, 07:05:49 AM

Thanks. I'll see if I can get a picture of the bulb to you. Once we get a day with some actual sunlight - it's been dark and drizzly for a few days.

General Discussion / Re: Uli - unidentified Cyrtanthus
September 24, 2023, 02:03:45 AM

No, mine have never flowered for me. I have noticed that the bulbs are at their plumpest in late Winter (end of February). Bad time of year for me to be providing them with any stimulus that might result in blooms as they're under grow-lights in the basement at that point. Usually, after a month or so of being really plump and glossy, the outer layer of the bulb dries out a bit, and another batch of bulbils starts pushing through around the base of the bulb.

I can't recall any of the bulbs (bulbils, or one of the two large bulbs) ever having had more than one leaf at any time.

I gave my sister, who lives in the Dallas, Texas area, some bulbils recently. Maybe she will be more sucessful with providing enough stimuli to achieve blooms. Or, maybe I'll break down one of these days, and send a batch of bulbils in for a DNA analysis.

General Discussion / Uli - unidentified Cyrtanthus
September 23, 2023, 05:26:23 PM
@Uli Urban

I'm updating my labels prior to bringing bulbs in for the Winter. Was the Cyrtanthus sp. bulb you received from John Lavranos in 2014 ever identified?

I received it in BX 440 (2018), but I've seen it listed in a number of other BXes as well.

Thank you for your time and generosity.

Oh, umm, should I have entered this under Mystery Bulbs?


General Discussion / Spider whisperers
September 23, 2023, 03:27:36 PM
I'm having some issues with Grass Spiders (aka Funnel-Web Spiders or Carpet Spiders). I live on a lake (Finger Lakes in Western New York State). High humidity levels lead to lots of bugs. Lots of bugs leads to lots of spiders.

My collection of plants (largely Amaryllids) are in pots. They Winter in the basement, and then are mostly spread out along the top of the breakwall for the Summer. For the last six or seven years, I've has Grass Spiders colonizing most of the plants that are in the full sun. The 'carpet' of their webs gets so thick that I'm worried the plants aren't getting enough sun, although none have been killed off by the spiders yet (can't say the same for the squirrels).

I usually end up removing the web-carpet daily, which can be a major pain. Most of the carpets do reach the three foot maximum coverage (per my web research) by mid-July. Is there some herb or something I can grow, or sprinkle on the plants, to repel the spiders? I'm not interested in killing them, I want them eating as many bugs as they can. I just don't want them constantly burying my plants in webs.

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can render.
General Discussion / Re: Bulb sourcing
August 30, 2023, 02:22:17 PM

Where are you located? US, Europe?


Mystery Bulbs / Re: Eremurus possibly?
June 27, 2023, 10:30:08 AM
I bought  3 large starfish-shaped roots for $8 from and planted in Nov 2014 in a part-shade part of my Berkeley, CA, garden, but I haven't seen them since then. If so, this would be a miracle revival from the supposed-dead, 9 years later.

It was a starfish-shaped rootstock in contention 9 years ago, Arnold. No idea what rootstock this sudden emergence is connected to...
Thank you David and Marc for the responses.

I will be trying the procedure outlined in your link, David. I've had success with a process close to it previously, but it seemed a bit too much hit or miss. The randomness also could have been due to using homemade rooting compound. I've got a few willows in the yard, so fresh green willow switches are easy to obtain.
General Discussion / Scilla madeirensis propagation
June 03, 2023, 11:14:03 AM
I have 2 pots of Scilla madeirensis. As I was moving the pots outside today (frost free date in the area is 5-31), a rogue gust of wind snapped two of the stems off slightly above the bulbs. I now have two foot long(ish) leaves that are in very nice shape (plus a few somewhat more roughly used leaves that I already tossed).

It seems a shame to just toss the two good looking leaves. What would be the method of treatment most likely to result in either bulblets, or rooted leaf segments?


In Finger Lakes region, 6A, where we still haven't had any rain yet (last rain was 15 days ago). Although it looked like pending rain first thing this morning, that resolved into a blustery, but clear, day. Anything right up near the lake is getting a bit drenched due to all the waves crashing ashore, but more than a few feet back, it's still crispy.
General Discussion / Re: Spotted Lantern fly
May 31, 2023, 12:48:24 PM
Maybe they just like "holy" things, Arnold. Ailanthus altissima (known as the Tree of Heaven), and Evodias (named after Saint Evodius, the first Bishop of Antioch, and Saint Peter's successor).

Interestingly, the bark, and roots of the Ailanthus are used to make an industrial insecticide. Must not work on these guys.

In the Finger Lakes Region, 6A; where we're currently experiencing a mild drought after nine days without any precipitation. Yes, nine days is a long time without rain in this area...
If anyone is interested in free tubers of Mirabilis jalapa, shoot a message to my Forum inbox. I have about ten tubers available. No charge, no swapping necessary.

Some people in warmer zones may find M. jalapa a bit on the invasive side. It blooms heavily, and each bloom WILL set one seed. The seeds are large-ish and distinctively jug-shaped. It is easy to check over the area near the plant once every ten days or so and collect the dropped seeds. If any sprout (90-100 percent germination rate), they are readily identifiable, and easily pulled. I have been growing the plants for around twenty years in Zone 6A and have only had volunteers survive the winter three times.

Google Mirabilis jalapa 'California Wild Magenta' for images of plants in bloom. Several images come up for Dave's Garden, and JL Hudson (where I originally got the seeds).

Sorry, but please only reply if you are in the continental US. Again, I am not charging, but if you feel more comfortable doing it as a swap, let me know... I'm sure we can find something to swap. The tubers just started to sprout, so I want to get these out as soon as possible.


In the Finger Lakes area, Zone 6A where we can't plant out safely until Memorial Day.
General Discussion / Re: Oxalis versicolor?
December 30, 2022, 11:21:10 AM
Thank you, Robert. One of the bulbs was growing at ground level, and another with the puff of foliage/flowers about 1.5" off the ground.

I do already have the O. sp. from a BX a year or two ago. I only requested it (again) because the first time around, it wasn't identified as O. sp. Durango (just O. sp.). I wasn't sure if it was the same item, or not. It's all good; I got something I didn't have previously, I was just unsure about the petite size. I'm more used to Oxalis being a sprawling plant that usually blooms non-stop. While the pea gravel took care of the squirrel issue, I think it absorbed/radiated some extra heat when the weather got into the higher 90's. Things looked a bit crispy for a few days, then the plant adjusted, but never returned to blooming. I'll put it somewhere that is more partial shade next year and see if the plant gets bigger, or remains dainty.

Where the water in the lake must have gotten super-chilled from all the cold weather in December. After 2 days in the 50's, there is still a foot or so wide rim of ice along the shore. Lots of swans and Canada geese floating around out there.
General Discussion / Oxalis versicolor?
December 29, 2022, 05:52:15 PM
I requested Oxalis sp. from BX481 (item 98 from Robert Parks). What I received isn't O. sp., I think it is probably O. versicolor RP 2 (item 101). The flower color and leaves are dead on, however the plants (and flowers) never got any bigger than Pearlwort (Sagina subulata). It's hard to tell from the pictures I can find on our Wiki, and Google searches, since there aren't really any that include something giving a sense of scale. Is that the normal size of O. versicolor, or is the RP 2 variant maybe a dwarf?

I suppose it could also have been from the inopportune attention of a fluffy-tailed rat (aka grey squirrel) that dug the bulbs up daily until I put 1/4" of pea gravel on top of the soil (although that was many weeks before the bulbs started to grow). Said squirrel eventually offed itself when it decided to eat 10-15 Hippeastrum striatum bulbs (leaves, roots, and strawberry-sized bulbs) for lunch one day.

Zone 6A region of the Finger Lakes - where the temperatures peaked in the low fifties today, after a week around 0 F.
Current Photographs / Re: First bloom crinums
August 02, 2022, 04:59:08 PM
Welcome to the forums, Mike!

Don't plant the bulbs too close to the lake. All of mine croaked within the first few years after planting outside. I figure the constant cold breeze during the winter certainly didn't help.

The flowers look great, Tim.