Monday, September 28, 2009

Autumn Kinkitis

I don't have the best of the garden to share today, but there are signs of a transition into our kind of fall.  The garden had taken quite a beating the last few weeks between the heat waves and the painters.  And then, surprise, the painters are finished.  Nice little blue and white cottage. And it was so "chilly" outside, I had to wear my bathrobe in the garden this morning to survey the plants.

My tomato is still producing, despite the heat-damaged foliage.

My leafy begonia did not survive the heat. I hope they will produce new leaves from the bulb. I keep watering them.

The path the painters made through my bed to get at the side of the house. It will take some time for this to recover.

My rose bush suffers from heat-melted blossoms and painter sanding dust. I will have to hose off each plant in the garden to give the leaves a chance to breathe again.

One echinacea dried to a crisp by the heat, while its neighbor still blooms. Nature is mysterious. We never know which plant the strong sun will toast and which it will leave to flower.

There is some good news.  Despite the heat some plants have fourished.

Witness my peony rose. Four buds!!

Dragon-Winged Begonia

Rabbit-foot Fern

Staghorn Fern

 Jupiter's Beard

Salvia Chiapensis reblooming!!

If the cool temps remain, even for a week or two, other plants will start to recover, more blooms will appear and my fall garden will flourish.  With every loss comes new life. How happy that the garden shows me this truth in every season.

Now I've got to go to the garden center for a new hose. This one has permanent kinkitis. Who says I haven't been watering!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bird of Paradise

So here it is again, my Bird of Paradise.  It has decided this is the year to bloom and bloom.  I'm so excited to see all this activity after nine years of solitary blooms.  This deserves its own post. Here we go.

Before they bloom they look like


this, then


  I love the way they start out green and become shades of red and orange with the outer covering of the blossom wrapped in layers around it's special charge.


 Then they turn their heads to the side to prepare to bloom.

Then one morning I walk out to see that it's just opened up to reveal one blue petal and two orange. They just slip out of that tightly wound bud and stand away from the bud in petals sequentially farther away from their sprouting place. You can still see the reddish and orange color on the stem and a bit on the bud itself.

Here you can see that two more orange petals have emerged and one more blue. The red stem shows more in this photo.

Here's another view of my special beauties, showing even more of their character. I've not done anything different to my Birds this year. They've unfurled their feathers just because this was their time. Nature is mysterious and wonderful when it surprises us like this. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Blue Glory Bower

Monday, September 21, 2009

Love those Leaves

Passion Flower
Ornamental Sweet Potato

Variegated Ivy

All leaves have their own personality, especially the ones from different plants.  The above  three leaves have three or five lobes, but on closer examination are quite different.  The Passion Flower leaf reaches its veins into each of the three lobes and has parallel veins, while the Sweet Potato treats each lobe as part of the larger leaf and does not have parallel veins.  The colors of the Ivy almost obscure the veins in this leaf.

At the expense of not getting too technical in this post, I will describe some leaves and leave the others for you to notice the difference. It's only because of this post that I've started to recall some of my high school biology and look at leaves as individuals again.  It's so easy to see the flowers and forget about the leaves that engender them.

Polka-dot plant

Some leaves are more spectacular than the flower, as the above two.  The Polka-dot leaf has veins that do not follow the pattern of the pink color, while the Caladium does. The Caladium looks as if its sap ran deep pink in the middle of the leaf.

Australian Tree Fern

Staghorn Fern Frond
 Mother Fern Leaflet


The ferns are a world all their own.  Leaflets grow off of the main stem in different shapes and sizes.  The spores on the back of the Mother Fern leaflet can form new ferns.  I love the gentle curve of this leaflet.

Yarrow Leaf
Boston Fern Leaf

But even ferns are similar to the leaves themselves, as in the two leaves shown above.  The Yarrow may have a more complex form, but both leaves grow out from a central stem. 

Cranesbill Geranium

Plumbago Groundcover in Fall

These leaves show the different colors that leaves can have. The colors in the last two photos show on the leaves in different places, some year-round, some due to their exposure to the sun or the turning of leaves in fall. The succulents have no visible veins.

Mexican Heather
Hen and Chickens Succulent

Some leaves form a recognizable form, while others have their on creative chaos.

 Purple Oxalis

Two of my favorite leaves. Seen close the Forget-me-not has a wonderful contrast of colors.  The various colors and the form of the oxalis speak for themselves.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do Plants Talk?

As I work among my flowers, I find myself talking
to them, reasoning and remonstrating with them, and adoring
them as if they were human beings.  Much laughter I provoke
among my friends by so doing, but that is of no consequence.
We are on such good terms, my flowers and I.
- Celia Thaxter, 1835-1894

I also talk to my plants. I can hear their voices answering me.

 Many people talk to their plants. A recent study agrees with Prince Charles' comment two decades ago, saying that it was very important to talk to plants and that they respond to us.  In this study the Royal Horticultural Society found that tomato plants grew faster when read to. 

The idea of talking to plants appeared in literature in the nineteenth century when Gustave Fechner wrote that he believed that plants had emotions and that humans could promote healthy growth through these emotions by talking to them. Later Luther Burbank wrote that plants may not understand the spoken word, but could telepathically understand the meaning of speech.

Some forty years ago in The Secret Life of Plants the authors affirmed these ideas by experiments proving that plants feel the emotions of their gardeners from some distances away and respond. 
Some of us are even so sensitive to our gardens that we know without seeing them that they need something.  It could be water or more light, or even just our presence speaking with love and admiration for these special beings.

We can have an effect on plants and they physically respond. But do plants talk to us? They have no possibility for speech, but can they communicate in different ways? In the seventeenth century it was believed that plants had souls. In Islamic philosophy this is believed to be the case.  Having a soul connotes a basic consciousness.
Every tree, every plant, has a spirit. People may say that a plant has no mind. I tell them that a plant is alive and conscious. A plant may not talk, but there is a spirit in it that is conscious, that sees everything, which is the soul of the plant, its essence, what makes it alive.

—Pablo Amaringo, Peruvian ayahuasquero
I agree with these Indians.  A spirit inhabits every tree and every plant, even flowers.  They do speak to us, if we know how to listen.  Most gardeners have cultivated the fine art of listening to their plants' voices.

The temple bell stops
but I still hear the sound
coming out of the flowers.
- Basho, 1680

There is a new apparatus that measures the messages of plants and posts them on Twitter.   It will help gardeners know when their plant needs to be watered.  For those of us who have cultivated listening to our plants, this machine could be fun, but unnecessary.  Our plants talk to us and we respond to their needs.  Could there be anything more down-to-earth for a gardener to know?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Bird of Paradise
The Bird of Paradise are really blooming now. Two blooms have opened and I have three more. It's a happy plant this year.  They've come back into bloom since the heat wave is over. 
Passion Flower 
Also the Passion Flower is the hummingbird's best friend with lots of blooms, as well the ants in the photo.

Firecracker Sage

Autumn Sage
The Autumn Sage and the Firecracker Sage started blooming in the heat and are gathering for a profusion of blooms.
Orange Zinnia Profusion Mix
Wildflower "Jupiter's Beard"
My garden doesn't have a plethora of blooms. However, it does have some little gems, which I share with you. Enjoy!
(See May Dreams Gardens for GBBD)