Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I was at the Anita Gorman Discovery Center earlier this summer and saw these flowers blooming in the woodland garden.

I knew immediately what they were because I recognized....the leaves (sometimes I am so good!).

It's thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana), a native wildflower named for the "fruit" which sort of resemble thimbles (big emphasis on "sort of").

I thought this plant was soooo pretty so I went to a nursery and bought four of them. And of course, after doing that, I started seeing them just about everywhere on my land in Kansas.

They were growing at the edge of the woods...

By the creek in the sun...

They were lining a path deep in the woods (in clumps!)...

They grew covered with gravel dust by the side of the gravel road...

I even found them growing near dogs.

A couple weeks ago I planted them in the area I cleared and thought that finally I had planted something that would thrive because I had seen this plant growing in every sun, moisture and dirt condition on my property.

On Sunday I returned to water what I had planted in that area (even though it rained that day) and found this:

Every single leaf stem had been cut and allowed to fall where it was going to fall.

Oh, I recognized what had happened just hours before I arrived. Michael Ray and Cathy Jean have done the exact same thing to hostas! They will walk in a circle and take a bite out of every stem so that each leaf falls to the ground ending up looking somewhat like a mandala. Eat any part of the plant? Heck no. Taking down a hosta is strictly for fun. Errrrgh.

And just like my turtles, this one learned to recognize the plant that held his/her attention for such a long time. I had planted three of the thimbleweeds together but the other one was planted near where Aussie is sitting in one of the above photos. That turtle took that one down too. It wasn't even within sight of the others. It was behind the tree (!).

Can't I have just one plant that doesn't have its life sabotaged by some hungry, clumsy or bored varmint? Just one???

Dang. I was looking forward to less gardening with turtles, not more. You know? :-/


Leenie said...

Sorry you have so much "help" with your gardening. It's always something. If it's not one thing, it's another. Maybe those rhizomes will spread faster than...nah probably not.

Thimble Weed. HMMM. This spring I moved some Wind Flower starts into my garden. Looks like those two are family. Mine are thriving (may become "weeds"). No dogs. No turtles. Hope they just survive below zero temps and months of three feet of snow.

Maria said...

Oh Leenie. I appreciate the sympathy. This gardening thing is just getting ridiculous! You are right. It is ALWAYS something.

As for YOUR thimbleweed, I think you're referring to Anemone canadensis. Same family, I think it's more aggressive and blooms in the spring, not so much mid-summer. It supposedly likes to be near water while the anemone I planted likes it dry. I don't know if mine spreads via rhizomes....doesn't look like it since almost all the ones I've seen are single specimens. I definitely want to plant windflower (your anemone) in the future though. They're supposed to be kind of caustic? Well, that makes no difference to a turtle. They stomp through all sorts of things and eat all sorts of poisonous things (to humans, at least). That's why you have never heard of any culture eating box turtles. Too many possible toxins stored up in their stubborn little bodies. And regarding the survival of Canada anemone in Idaho, surely with the word "Canada" in its name, it can handle a lot of snow and cold.

Cathyjo said...

I so enjoy your post. What do you know about 3toes turtles? I have one and he live's in my bearn backyard. I think it's a he. I name him Noble.TY.

Leenie said...

My post about how I "relocated" a start of my wind flower.


Maria said...

Hi Cathyjo! Can't say that I know that much about three-toed box turtles...just that they are s m a r t. Years ago I was in the backyard dropping off breakfast for my tortoises and when I looked down I thought one of them looked a little small and then realized that it was a freeloading three-toed box turtle! He quickly learned who I was...the food lady. When he would catch sight of me with a magic paper plate full of delicious salad, I could see him scamper across the grass as fast as possible to get to me. Pretty darn cute. He showed up for a couple years but I haven't seen him in a long time. As for three-toeds in Kansas, I haven't seen one yet. I have seen a number of ornate box turtles though. I haven't had much interaction with them but I'm pretty sure they're just as smart. I have a couple friends in that area and the turtles soon figure out who will serve them berries. :-)

Leenie-I'm thinking I need a couple thousand of those things. They are beautiful!