Unseasonable — but elegant! — photo from commentor JAM:
Hi, I just saw these iris blooming today (November 1st) when out walking my dogs so I had to send the picture. I’ve never seen them bloom in November before! We’ve had some frosty mornings here (OK), but no freeze yet.
look at this leaf!! Unreal! pic.twitter.com/GASMQ0FAkd
— Emma Berquist (@eeberquist) November 20, 2021
Titan tater: A New Zealand couple unearthed a huge 17.4-pound potato that is quite possibly the largest on record. It could also be the ugliest. “We couldn't believe it. It was just huge.” They have named it Doug. https://t.co/hxyg7tkFGZ #odd
— AP Oddities (@AP_Oddities) November 4, 2021
And ICYMI, news of Doug the giant NZ potato, per the Smithsonian:
… Their unusual discovery may be the largest potato on record. When weighed at the local farming store, the spud was whopping 7.8 kilograms (17.4 pounds)—the size of a large Thanksgiving turkey. The couple dubbed potato “Doug,” after the way it was unearthed. The Guinness World Records entry for the heaviest potato is a 2011 ‘tater from Britain that clocked in at just under 5 kg (11 pounds). Donna and Colin say they’ve applied to Guinness to have Doug officially recognized, and are currently waiting to hear back, which can take a few months.
The couple doesn’t know how the giant tuber got there. Colin says they planted potatoes in that area two or three years ago, but in recent years they’ve grown cucumbers in that section of the garden. They fertilize their garden regularly with manure and straw but don’t take any extreme measures, so Doug’s size is another mystery. It’s likely the potato was simply lost over the years and, left in the ground, continued to grow to its unprecedented girth.
“It’s fair to say our veggie garden can sometimes get a bit feral. There are some parts of the garden you need to pack a lunch and advise your next of kin before heading in to,” Colin told Eva Corlett for the Guardian. “It’s a mystery to me,” he said. “It’s one of nature’s little pleasant surprises.”…
“We put a hat on him. We put him on Facebook, taking him for a walk, giving him some sunshine,” Colin told the NZ Herald. He built a small cart to tow Doug around. “It’s all a bit of fun. It’s amazing what entertains people.”
But all that fresh air and adventure proved taxing for Doug. Over time, he began shriveling and growing mold. Soon, Doug had an odor. So the couple made the difficult choice of wrapping Dough in plastic resigning the spud to their freezer. Next, Colin, who is an amateur brewer, hopes to give Doug a second life as a delicious potato vodka.
With a little luck (I’ve probably just jinxed myself), and the Spousal Unit’s help, this week we’ll be able to finish transplanting the surviving daylilies and digging the ferschlugging choking vinca out of the front raised bed. Cross fingers, the bed will get topped up for next spring, but unfortunately the daylilies (and irises) will have to spend the winter in rootpouches. My gardening motto: What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger… until it kills you.
What’s going on in your garden (outdoor, indoor, or planned), this week?
We’re going to focus on the yard in our soon-to-be-totally-renovated rental house next door. It has a holly bush that is awful and, from what we can gather, digging it up is the only way to get rid of it. We got these 2in thick 8ft cherry slabs at a sawmill in the mountains and they are being joined and will be a counter running between the kitchen and living room. I can’t tell you how fortunate we are to have the builder(s) we do. The main guy is an old friend and we always knew him as an artist and bar owner. It turns out he is also a high level builder with a two-year backup on jobs!
The late, tenacious irises are beautiful; Doug the Potato has a weird charm that is uniquely his own; but that leaf! Wow!
Today it will hit 5O° and I’ll finish cutting back the raspberry (and weed) canes for the winter; and though they still haven’t been fully killed by frost I’ll probably dig out the canna tubers to store for winter. For the first time in years I planted everything I ordered, but gave away 10 tulip bulbs when the company accidentally duplicated part of one order. Some of what I ordered is planted in pots because if the lilacs that struggled to recover all summer don’t make it I’ll pull them out and replace them with the potted stuff. I insulated the pots with leaves and boxes, the more fragile plants are or will be covered by the end of today. All battened down for winter, bring on the snow! Which is predicted for tonight, but probably won’t accumulate.
Question for NE gardeners….I succumbed to a sale on peonies. I expect them to arrive Monday. I read up a bit as to wintering them over and there seems to be 3 options.
1.Plant in a pot, keep in sunlight but cool (greenhouse would be great, but I don’t have one.)
2. If ground is still diggable…plant them.
3. Winter over in a cool dark basement, making sure they don’t dry out.
I am inclined to the first method and have a couple of big pots ready, wondered if any one has advice.
I have never seen an Iris blooming in the Autumn.
@raven: Nice, I love cherry.
I’m down to my pansies.
I was going to take in the begonia, who bloomed like a champ, but I’m really not set up for it and my neighbor swooped in and did end of season for all of us :)
We have twelve year old Tristan and four under-threes. I must pace myself.
Before the first frost we harvested a bunch of green tomatoes and hid them in paper bags. This morning we checked and they’re all flaming red.
@CCL: Were I to do the first method, I’d place the pots by a garage window or basement window? Cool but not freezing seems the goal. Or, basement/growlight, which one controls the best.
@SiubhanDuinne: is it just me, or does Doug look like a baby walrus?
@CCL: We’ve tried #3 with no success, they all rotted.
@CCL: Go ahead and plant them, they’ll be dormant and they’ll probably do best like that. Water the area well after, mulch it with a pile of leaves, and mark exactly where you planted them (I poke sticks or bamboo stakes in the ground) so that you don’t forget where they are in spring.
Edit: place your stake or stick or marker before you mulch with leaves, because over winter leaves blow around. In the spring you may have piles of leaves nowhere near where you planted, so don’t assume a mulch pile is a reliable marker itself.
@CCL: A cold frame might do the trick. It’s sort of a mini greenhouse. Build a frame on the *exposed* south side of your house with an angle towards the sun (say 12″ at the back and 5 or 6″ at the front). Get an old storm window (with OUT solar protection), mount it on a frame that can be hinged and put it on top.
** if the south side of your house is shaded, forget it
eta: I’ll second satby, it’s all I’ve ever done with peonies, of course our winters are a little warmer
@OzarkHillbilly: Yeah, but even up north it hasn’t been cold enough long enough to freeze the ground. If it’s frozen at all it would be barely an inch deep, and I used to just pry a frozen chunk up and plant underneath it, replace it and water the whole shebang.
@OzarkHillbilly: We had to drag ourselves up and down a frickin mountain (because we missed the road) to the mill. Our guy wanted to carry them back until we found the road and trucked em to. $100 each and the guy who owns the mill and property keeps long horn steer as pets!
@satby: Yeah, your experience should be more applicable, I’m just pointing out that my gardening is practiced in a warmer clime.
Thanks All…werebear, Satby and Ozark…the spot where I want to plant them is not yet frozen… I think I will try a combo of 1 and 2….(I really succumbed so have 4!- on sale and on a day which was otherwise depressing).
I am also a new owner of a cold frame…The Better Half put one together for me yesterday – but it’s just 16″ at the back.
Thanks for the info, Van Buren, that was what I was afraid of.
Bovines in the mountains!
Beautiful irises! There are still a couple of hardy blue hydrangea blooms around here.
@raven: Long horns aren’t uncommon around here. From what I’ve read and seen they can be surprisingly gentle.
@satby: I was thinking it looked like a walrus thinking.
O. Felix Culpa
@raven: To be admired from a respectful distance.
Not just you, although I was thinking manatee.
ETA: I like the way the guy is holding him, like he’s giving Doug a comforting little skritch behind the ears.
@CCL: Well, you’ll want to transplant them out of the cold frame in the spring as soon as the ground thaws anyway, so how tall the cold frame is won’t matter so much.
@OzarkHillbilly: they seemed nice!
@SiubhanDuinne: Manatee was my second thought!
O. Felix Culpa
@satby: I just read the exploits of your foster dog Dexter in John’s late-night thread. Yikes! What a mess to come home to. I can well imagine a few swear words were spoken, and not in jest.
That said, it does sound like the script for a pet comedy movie. Dexter’s Great Escape! :)
That looks like a fetus to me, folks. Don’t let anyone cut into that pertater until the Texass Strangers investigate.
Lovely irises. I was concerned that my irises were going to give it a go thanks to the warmer than average autumn—I saw some greenery starting to pop. It’s since cooled off quite a bit, so I hope they took the hint.
I planted the orange monarch crocus bulbs earlier this week. Coated them with cayenne and also sprinkled more pepper over the top. Still found two excavated bulbs yesterday along with suspicious looking holes. I honestly don’t expect them all to make it. I also expect a few to turn up in new locations. Hoping for the best.
“Eww, this potato has gotten moldy and stinks. I’ll make vodka.”
— The story of humanity, in two sentences
@Kristine: I love those crocuses and planted some last year and more this year. I hope they work out for you!
@O. Felix Culpa: I added a comment in answer to Josie. He’s a sweet dog that really wants to please but doesn’t know my expectations; plus his schedule has been changed on him. He’s pretty obedient; we suspect he was beaten by the way he cowers at a raised voice (which made me feel terrible). We all just need to get used to each other. But he’d make a wonderful companion for someone with a fully fenced yard so he can frolic off some of that energy. He’s a big boy, all long legs! Edit: and I call him CK Dexter Haven.
@Ken: Finally, a gardening comment I really could use.
@satby: as soon as I followed the link and saw them, I had to get some. I love crocuses and orange flowers are my favorite. The squirrels ? are the problem, of course. A friend recommended covering the bulbs with gardener’s cloth after planting, but I worried about it shifting and decided to go with the cayenne. I also sprayed deer-rabbit repellent over the planting sites yesterday, though I’m not sure that stuff works for squirrels.
@raven: Some serious variety in horn shapes.
@satby: Billie Jean needs to run too. Right now it’s deer season so I don’t dare take her off leash, so I take her to the fairgrounds in town. Hundreds of acres for her to run and roam in plus geese to chase.
Neither of which she does. She only watches the geese and stays fairly close to me. The only running she does is to build up a head of steam before colliding with Percy. Who always sounds like he would rip her head off if he could only reach it but if one looks closely his tail is going a thousand miles per hour.
I thought Doug was a furry brown animal that was kind of snuggling with the human.
And the purple iris are stunning!
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
“Has anyone here fought the Grandmaster’s champion?”
“Doug has. Doug! …Doug’s dead. Anyone who fights the Grandmaster’s champion perished.”
I planted some of the crocuses that someone talked about in the Garden Thread awhile back – Tommies. I don’t know if it was a good idea or not, but I tucked them here and there in the lawn
edit: I almost bought the orange monarch crocus, too, but didn’t. Now that I see the photos of what they look like again, I wish I had gotten some!
@OzarkHillbilly: We just did our second potty outing for the day (first was 4:30 when I woke up, I crashed at 9 last night). Clayton first, then Dex, but Clayton wanted to join the party. I let Dex stay upstairs with us for a bit, but he was non-stop looking for stuff to investigate and get into, or trying to climb into my lap. He’s almost 3 ft at the shoulder and at least 75 lbs, so that’s a nope. One of the cats backed him into a corner and I had to rescue him ?, so for now he’s back in his “house”. He has an excursion to an obedience class with another volunteer in a half hour which should work off some energy. He’s really a sweet boy just trying to figure it all out.
I mostly stay inside this time of year, so it’s a houseplant focus for me. My Christmas cactus seems to be a Thanksgiving cactus, as it’s blooming wildly.
I always just planted them.May have been a bit warmer where I was ( North of England)
Pretty! Mine hasn’t even started budding. It must have morphed into a Bah Humbug Cactus.
@jnfr: Beautiful! love the color. Your flowers are huge.
@debbie: My christmas cactus are totally crazy this year. I repotted them mid-summer – they always live outside in the summer – and they are so happy this year.
@debbie: I have read that there are Thanksgiving cactus, Christmas cactus, even some that bloom in the spring around Easter.
Mine bloomed for Christmas last year, but they are going to be totally done before Christmas this year.
What a gorgeous display!
@WaterGirl: Those are gorgeous!
My African violets have been blooming year-round. It’s nice to have live flowers indoors over the winter. It’s been grey and unseasonably chilly here in NE Illinois for the last few days, so any color is appreciated.
@jnfr: @Kristine: thank you!
Someone recommended using “orchid bark” for potting christmas cactus. I hedged my bets and did half orchid bark and half “Ocean Forest” potting soil. No idea how they would have looked with all orchid bark, but this is pretty good. :-)
Beautiful! I used to have 7 or 8, but gave them away when I moved to a darkish apartment.
If mine doesn’t bud at all this year, I’m going to make cuttings and start over. I got it as a gift and I’m not convinced the medium is totally dirt.
Where did you get that plant stand?
@debbie: If you repot, definitely try the orchid bark. Apparently if you leave christmas cactus in the pretty-much-just-peat-moss pots they come in, the peat moss hardens to a big block. (ask me how I know)
Here’s a photo from earlier this week that shows the full plant stand. Everyone who sees it wants it. That’s how I got mine. More than a decade ago some vendor had one at the farmer’s market, displaying something. I wanted it. I begged to buy it. :-)
No luck. But they had just bought theirs so I raced home, called the store, they had only one left, and they saved it for me so I could run right over and buy it.
Lucky! Do they get any direct sun? Mine did best in a north-facing window.
@debbie: The right side of the plant stand is less than a foot from the corner, and there is a sliding glass door just a foot from the corner on the wall that meets the wall the plant stand is on. The sliding glass door is on the south wall.
So they get lots of sun but it’s all indirect, if that makes sense.
@WaterGirl: Those are gorgeous! I have one that spends the summer on the east facing balcony, then comes inside to bloom. I’m seeing little pink tips, so its happy. By the “leaves” I think this is a Thanksgiving cactus.
Doug the ugly New Zealand potato looks to me like Rodin’s “The Thinker”! (I guess Doug has had several years of contemplation as he grew to that size.)
@CAM-WA: Doug is “The Thinker”, except with a beaver.
It does, thanks.
@satby: He sounds so sweet and like my dear departed Sophie, who had a serious case of FOMO. I would take a look at him since any dog I have must be cat friendly, but 75 pounds is just too much as I get older. Best of luck to CK Dexter Haven! Love the name.
I love the story about Doug the Potato, and as a brewer I heartily approve of his potential John Barleycorn-ization into vodka.
J R in WV
Wife ordered a bedroom suite made of local cherry by a friend. By coincidence their wedding anniversary is the same date as ours, so we often find the four of us eating out that day. We always wish them well. Same small restaurant several times now. We don’t eat together, we just see them at their table across the dining room.
Queen sized bedstead, now we wish for a king because the youngest dogs love to sneak into bed, in the wee hours. It gets a little crowded at times, but cozy and warm, they’re quiet and cuddly. We love cherry wood also too !!
J R in WV
Holy shit, those are two scary strange sets of horns.
Matadore takes one look, says “No way I’m getting in the ring with those — you can’t get over THOSE horns with a sword!” I don’t think the one on the right would do well around here, too wide for these woods! what, close to an 8 foot span of horns?!
Had a friend named Doug that I used to call “Past Tense.”