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The Daily Bucket–Odyssey of the Ancient Lotuses

A year ago,  I attempted to  resurrect a handful of lotus seeds, that had sat, forgotten, on a high shelf, for almost 20 years.  I dutifully roughed up one corner of the seed with 30 grit sandpaper, to expose the tip that would germinate, like YouTube told me to.

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I put the seeds into a vase, filled it with tap water, and kept it inside at 70 degrees F.  I changed the water now and then. After a month, to my great delight, the seeds persevered, and sprouted thin shoots.

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The shoots grew rapidly, two inches a day.

I replanted the lotuses into a 5 gallon aquarium, pressing each seedling into an inch of local mud, and filling the aquarium with water.  

Soon afterwards, the sprouts began to produce leaves.  The glass sides of the aquarium allowed me to observe the seedlings underwater. 

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The five seeds produced a total of fifteen sprouts.

But algae began to grow on the sides.  I bought two trapdoor snails, which were relentlessly effective against the algae, and which also had a litter of baby snails, with cute polka dot faces.

By now, I had quite the little indoor ecosystem in my study. And it was March.  The froggies arrived at my backyard ponds and laid thousands of tadpole eggs. 

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The leaves grew into their saucer shapes.

One afternoon, a neighbor lady came by, she’d heard the frogs ribbeting in my yard and was curious.  I scooped up some frog eggs from the pond, and put them into a bowl that I held up,  so she could see.  I could see little white embryos wiggling in the eggs, so they were close to hatching.

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Then I got a powerful heat flash, caused by my medication.  The outside of my body warmed up so much you could feel the heat from a couple of feet away. 

My hands also heated up and began to warm the bowl holding the tadpole eggs.   The embryos reacted to the welcome heat, and began swimming out of the eggs.

The neighbor lady’s eyes widened.

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“Did you just make them come alive with your hands?”

I changed the subject but she didn’t say much after that, and soon left.  

I took the bowl of newly hatched tadpoles inside, and turned them loose in the vase with the snails.  I wanted to watch the tadpoles grow and their interactions with the snails. 

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Tadpoles and snails, happy together,

However we took a long trip on the East Coast so I could see family members and their newest babies!  So cute!  So glad mine’s grown up!

We returned home after 10 days.  But the water had turned bad while we were absent.  The aquarium and vase looked like they were full of brown or black paint.  The algae had overwhelmed the snails’ best efforts, and the lotus had greatly outgrown the aquarium. 

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 The vase is barely visible, top center; it looks full of black water.

They were too big for indoors,  so I put the lotuses outside in 10 gallon planters.  Oregon’s early Spring can still freeze. But the lotus seeds came from Washington DC, so they may have adapted to the cold. 

 The tadpoles also survived the discolored water.  I moved the tadpoles outside and they rapidly morphed, months ahead of the others who had not come inside.

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When I replanted the lotuses in native mud in pots and put them outside, I hand-cleaned all the strands of algae from the plants.

The lotuses seemed unhappy, especially after evenings below 40 degrees. 

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Only a few leaves remained, but it didn’t just up and die on me.

But even in Oregon, the sun eventually comes out, and the Lotuses began to thrive.

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While the lotuses grew nicely, the algae in the center of the planter, grew even faster.

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The algae seems bursting with energy.  I wonder if those gassy bubbles become “froth” in creeks’ backwaters. 

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By Summer’s end, the lotus leaves completely covered the water’ surface.  Underneath, the algae soldiered on. 

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The snail labors away, erasing algae in its trail.

I brought the lotuses into the garage before the hard frosts hit.  The leaves are torn and frayed; they’ve seen much better days.  When they recover next year they will be two years old, and I’ll be hoping for flowers like this. 

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Earlier related Buckets 

on planting the lotuses:  www.dailykos.com/.. .

Snails: www.dailykos.com/

first leaves www.dailykos.com/…

maintenance:    www.dailykos.com/…

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What have you noted in your area or travels? Any stealthy critters in your yard? Please post your observations and general location in your comments. I’ll check back by lunchtime.

/s/ Redwoodman

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