The last few days have been cold, rainy, and damp. Combine that with reports from the north of snow flurries and frost and I guess it’s time to face reality…. eventually. Let’s make one more visit to the tropical garden while I sit indoors waiting for things to dry out.
Although autumn is never welcome around here I am grateful for the rain and the possibility of seeing green grass again. I did break down and water the front around the middle of last month but my brief sprinkle just provides life support and doesn’t bring on a lush flush of green. A green lawn does seem to set things off so much better…
Actually a green lawn just means more mowing so I guess I’ll embrace the summertime tan, but being that the autumn rains have returned, something green to set off the soon to be falling red maple leaves would be nice.
But cool plants don’t really need much to set them off anyway. This year time under the growlights and a little stay on the heating mat have given the swan plant seedlings just the head start they needed. Gomphocarpus physocarpus is the official name but the plant goes by several other names, all more colorful than that of ‘swan plant’.
The tall graceful willow-like plants are attractive enough in their own right, but the real draw for this plant are the interesting seedpods. Pufferfish milkweed and balloon plant are more common names describing this feature.
In case you haven’t noticed, the pods seem to form in pairs and the puffiness is joined by a vegetative hairiness which leads to several other descriptive names. Since Tammy over at Casa Mariposa already broke the ice with her sure-to-make-you-smile plant support post on “All the Wobbly Bits“, I’m going to introduce the male version here, which also needs support on occasion. Family jewels plant, Bishop’s balls, and hairy balls plant are additional common names which more worldy and less discrete eyes have given to this plant.
I’ve seen swan milkweed listed as a cutflower, but I’m not sure what bouquet they could find their way into (outside of a bachelorette, or bachelor-bachelor party favor). I think my best bet is to leave them out there swaying in the breeze and not bring them inside, least of all feature them in one of Cathy’s Vase on Monday posts!
I’ll leave you with a more respectable showing of my most reliable unknown dahlia. It’s sandwiched into the rough and tumble of the front border but I feel the color goes perfectly with the aged seedheads of ‘Karl Foerster’. I guess there are some good things about the end of summer and maybe even I can finally let go.