Field of Science

Fall color of a different sort

Well it's the last day of September, and summer like temperatures persist.  So our tropical houseplants can remain outside for awhile longer.  Because of this a tower of cucumber vines continue to produce and so do other summer garden plants: eggplant, tomato, zucchini.  And our gardens are quite green because of recent rains and the lack of cool temperatures, so chlorophyll continues to be synthesized so no fall coloration to leaves at all.  However one of our tropical plants (actually it belongs to the F1 but because she has a plant eating cat it continues to reside with us.) is quite colorful, a croton (Codiaeum variegatum), in the spurge or euphorb family.  Not only are the leaves variegated but that is combined with bright red coloration and the various combinations make the plant very attractive and colorful.  The flowers are rather small and insignificant.  It's the foliage that counts here.

Garden Ornament

This was gracing the front garden of the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs Arkansas.  Particularly with the floral bonnet shading her head, this lady had a certain appealing quality about her.  That she was doing so well so late into the season argues that she had been frequently watered.  But she certainly looks ready for a garden party.  Enjoy.

Friday Fabulous Flower - An itty bitty orchid

Sorry, while traveling TPP didn't have time to post.  Our gardens have a bit of a wildish quality about them, and one clue that the gardens are doing well is when plants propagate themselves especially if very desirable.  Last fall TPP spotted a spike with a number of fruits on it clearly growing on the wild side of things.  It looked a bit like an orchid, and when it sprouted this spring it was pretty well confirmed, and for safety it was caged particularly after stoopid raccoons demolished the grass pink orchid that the F1 purchased for Father's day.  At any rate it is hard to know where this particular plant came from, but since orchids have tiny seeds (sometimes called dust seed) they can disperse long distances.  Well, it finally decided to flower about mid-Sept., but TPP has never recorded this species locally, but like many small things, it is hard to know if rare or just mostly not noticed very often.  This is an easy genus to identify because the small white flowers spiral around the spike and the genus is aptly named Spiranthes, perhaps S. cernua, the nodding ladies tresses.  The flowers individually are pretty small at about 4-5 mm long.  This is a variable species, so if you have a better idea please let us know.  There are two flowering stalks in this image that stand nearly a foot tall. There are a few grassy leaves at the base.  You can understand why this plant is easy to miss.  But when plants like this show up on their own, you are doing something right.