We’re in Thailand! We’ve been here one full day and so far it is everything I imagined it would be. There’s constant visual stimulation and the plants are incredible.
I had hoped to do a proper post with pictures by now, but this whole jet lag thing is real and it is kicking my butt really hard. Instead, I’ve been adding pictures to my Flickr account as I go, along with a few Twitter updates as wifi becomes available.
My spouse Davin is only shooting film on this trip so I don’t imagine he will be adding any images to his Flickr account, but you can follow along with his side of the adventure via Twitter and cellphone pics.
Our friend and fellow plant enthusiast Derek is also on this trip. You can check out his view of the trip from his Flickr account. It’s especially nice to be touring around with other plant geeks — our mutual excitement is contagious, although incredibly dorky.
Once again my attempt at Wordless Wednesdays is a complete failure. As I was prepping this image, I realized I could not post it without saying something about these fascinating flowers.
Begonia plants have male and female flowers that carry the reproductive organs on individual flowers. This flower is the female, aka pistillate flower. The yellow part in the center that looks like a twisted up pipe cleaner is called the stigma. It’s the part that receives the pollen. The entire female reproductive system is known as the pistal. In this photo, you can just see the ovaries peaking out from behind the flower.
And so concludes today’s mini botany lesson.
Inspired by a tour of Erika’s unusual houseplants, I bought myself a Sinningia. I purchased it for 2 bucks at the spring Toronto African Violet Society sale, which happened to be taking place at the Toronto Botanical Gardens at the same time as the Ontario Rock Garden Society annual sale, which I was helping out with. This is all by chance, as I am not a member of either group.
But I digress (again). The Sinningia I bought is called ‘Kevin Garnett’. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting, nor a choice for that matter — I was just happy to find one at all, and so cheaply, too. Given a choice, I would have selected a plant that produces a much simpler, red flower. Regardless, I’m happy with this one, despite the fact that it’s not really to my taste. The novelty of keeping it alive and making it bloom hasn’t worn out yet.
At home, I repotted the plant up in a little terracotta pot and placed it alongside my other African Violet Family plants. I used African Violet soil and planted it shallow, exposing the caudex like Erika’s. Mine did not come that way, but I prefer the look.
It is still early days in my Sinningia growing experience and I am not well-read on the subject. To be honest, I’m kind of winging it, going on instinct more than anything else. Whether or not exposing the caudex is good or bad for the plant is beyond me; however, months later and ta-da, my plant is blooming. I must be doing something right.
Some friends and I drove out of town yesterday to visit two farm-sized gardens. I took about a thousand photos, and yet of all of the images I could have picked to show today, I chose this one of the tiniest dianthus I have ever seen in my life. I might be on a bit of a dianthus kick. I did buy three different types this spring.
I spotted the single flower, smaller than half an inch, hidden deep among a field of mid-sized grasses and common field plants. How I noticed it — a needle in a giant haystack — is beyond me. My trusty copy of National Audobon Society’s “Field Guide to Wildflowers, Eastern Region” indicates that this plant, Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria) is not a native to North American but was brought over from Europe. The common name is a reference to Deptford, England, where it was once found in abundance.
Here’s another close up of a plant I mentioned in the post about my roof garden’s back wall, Oxalis squamata.
In it’s pot.