Friday, June 11, 2010

Sitting on Spinach

The first swamp hibiscus flower of the season came in this week and it was a beauty, perfectly shaped and an iridescent blood scarlet that no other flower can quite match. These don't open slowly like a rose. No, they burst open over night and are usually gone in a day or so. As its name suggests, this plant likes water, so it is planted in a pot in the lower pond, where it dies away each winter and comes back new in the spring (this is its fourth year, I believe).

I'm not sure why it comes back every year. Does the new growth come from seeds dropped into the water or does it come directly from the roots? Apparently the swamp hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) is capable of both methods of reproduction, which makes you wonder how such a thing could happen. I mean, we know why humans have babies. What if we discovered that babies could also be made by sitting on cabbages or spinach? We'd think: isn't the one way enough?

I wish I knew more about everything.

My real fun this time of year is looking for the first bamboo shoot of the season. These come up from the ground at their full width (Oldhamii shoots are 2 to 4 inches in diameter), green with soft folds on top that allow them to squirm upward with amazing speed and reach their full height by the end of the summer--maybe 40 feet this year.

No shoots yet.

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