Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Balsam has magically reappeared in my garden. This fragile looking plant has the amazing strength needed to prevail against the solid hedge of rudbeckia and oregano. Notice the odd ovary that is attached to a tube that pierces the back of a petal. The tip of the ovary develops a clump of stamens that produce pollen. It’s easy for visiting bees, lured by the sweet smell, to transfer pollen to the tiny pistol that threads its way down to the ovary. Everything falls off once pollination had taken place, and the numerous seeds inside the ovary ripen in harmony with the outer wall of the ovary. As the capsule ripens it develops tanninous dehiscent lines, which split apart as soon as they are touched, giving rise to the descriptor explosively dehiscent as well as the nickname touch-me-not.
Balsam has many medicinal uses in the traditional medicines of China and Japan.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Saturday, August 11, 2018
A few surprise larkspurs have prevailed against the rudbeckia and oregano and tomato jungle that is my front garden. My friend H gave me s little twist of paper with saved seeds from her last year’s larkspurs. I had forgotten all about them, wondered what the brave spots of violet were among all that blazing yellow and green.
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Saturday, August 4, 2018
These begonias think they’re back in the tropical rainforest from which they hail. Our daily warm rain and humidity is exactly what they love.
And this drawing shows why they’re classified as synchronously monoecious: the same plant produces at the same time separate male and female flowers. On the left is a male bloom with its curly stamens; on the right is a female with her vase-shaped ovules. Let the party begin.