This page is devoted to virtual visits to our gardens. Enjoy the pictures along with the descriptions of these smile makers.
Angel Smith’s—Passion Flower—2014
This exotic twining vine is called the Passion Vine. When my husband and I honeymooned in Bermuda we saw the flower for the first time. For our first anniversary he sent for a corsage made with two of the flowers. It came waxed to preserve it. We grew it one summer at our first house.
I found the plant in Tuckahoe and bought it for my husband for our 50th wedding anniversary. This year it went crazy on our upper deck. I had wintered it over for the last two years, but it is so large this year that we are not sure we can cut it back and save it.
There are many varieties of this flower with its various parts that are seen as a symbol of Jesus’ scourging, crowning with thorns, and crucifixion. They attract butterflies and are followed by edible, egg-sized fruits. It flowers on new growth. It needs to be brought indoors before the first frost and placed in a sunny window.
posted September 10, 2014
Cheryl Kelchner’s—Queen of the Night—2013
While finishing up our 2012 November Garden Club meeting, it was announced that the church had plants leftover from a weekend sale and we were welcome to take any that we wanted. Our speaker that day was Joe Alvarez, a Master Gardner and Bee Keeper. As I helped him pack up his equipment I asked him if any of the pathetic looking plants that were left were worth taking home? He told me that the plant with a few large, rectangular, floppy leaves was called Queen of the Night. It grew large but vertically so it wouldn’t take up much room and if I was patient, in 2 years it would produce some beautiful night blooming flowers. So, of course I took it home.
That first winter the plant produced one long stem growing out of those few leaves. In a few months it grow about 4 ft. tall so we used a bamboo rod to support it. In the Spring, after the frost, it was brought outside in the direct sunlight. It was very unhappy, some leaves drying and shriveling, much of the green coating on the stem turning brown and woody. As the weather cooled it did produce more leaves at the top of the stem.
The second winter I kept the plant in the laundry room and watered it once a month. Slowly it kept sending out new leaves so I knew it wasn’t dead. I did some research on line and learned that it needed bright Eastern light, but not direct sunlight. So when I took it out this Spring (2013) I put it on my front porch, to get the morning light but it stood slightly shaded by a large Crepe Myrtle, now it was a much happier plant, produced many more leaves, but last summer’s mistake left the center of the plant bare, so I didn’t think it would produce anything this summer.
To my surprise, on July 25th, I noticed a small bud growing out of the side of a leaf. This plant is unusual in that leaves can grow out from the stems or out of the sides of other larger leaves. I wasn’t sure but it looked different than the other leaflets. As its stem grow longer and the bud plumped up I knew the flower had started! I started taking photos every few days.
I did more research and learned that when the stem turns to make a J or hook shape, the football shaped, salmon-colored, striped blossom will bloom in about 4 or 5 days.
When I saw the hook I knew we were getting close! August 6th at 7:00 PM the blossom began to open. It happened sooner than I had thought so I started calling members of the Garden Club and neighbors.
Many weren’t home or had summer guests, but Angel Smith, Rae Jaffe and my neighbors the De Lussas’ came to see this night blooming wonder. By 9:00 PM it was almost fully opened and by 10:00 PM, the flower had unpacked itself, opening fully. The fragrance was strong. This was definitely the best time to experience the flower.
To learn more about the Queen of the Night, visit this site. It’s most informative and shows a time-lapse video of flowers opening.
posted October 16, 2013
Joanne Romano—Candy Corn Vine—2013
I often try to find something a bit out of the ordinary to plant each year. Here is one of this year’s curiosity plants. Actually, it is vine….the Candy Corn Vine, also know as, the Brazilian Firecracker plant—Manettia inflata syn. Manettia luteorubra syn. Manettia bicolor. This close up shows the vine in bloom. Right now it is about 6 inches high, 3 inches wide with several vines climbing up the base of my vintage, metal dress form—I think I need to paint the form a deeper color next year. Visitors delight in the flowers. It is said to be a fast climber…we shall see.
While it is an annual in this area, it can be grown as a houseplant and can be an addition to hanging baskets—perhaps next year!