Along the Garden Path

A few monarch butterflies are still here

Gardener’s Optimism, a Cereus Surprise and Metasequoia Flowers

What a difference a week makes! After hauling in the greenhouse plants on a warm, humid day, we now have a chill in the air and frost warnings. I am reminded that gardeners are the ultimate optimists as I walk the garden path this week. I miss abundant flowers in the gardens, but the greenhouses are full and fragrant and jasmine (Jasminum officinale), heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens ‘Amareto’) and gingers (Hedychium coronarium) are blooming. This morning I was surprised to find the Night-Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) blossoming with a dozen spectacular flowers. The scent was glorious in the enclosed glasshouse and a reminder that there are always surprises with plant life.

Love-in-the-puff (Cardiospermum halicacabum) flowers, pod and seeds

Continuing my optimistic thoughts, I layered on my clothes to brave the brisk temperatures, thankful it is not the summer’s endless heat and humidity. The bright sunshine’s sideways slant makes it hard to see; however, it does cast the most beautiful shadows from trees and plants, adding another dimension to the landscape. Our annual vines on the bamboo arches are going to seed — and what little miracles seeds are! The Love in the Puff (Cardiospermum halicacabum) has the tiniest white flower but produces a green puffball made up of three black seeds, each with a perfect white heart on it. From such a small beginning the seeds are full of promise for future gardens.

Dawn Redwood Tree (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) cones and male flowers

There are changes going on with the Dawn Redwood Tree (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) also. The tall deciduous coniferous tree on the path from the mansion heading east is monoicous, having both male and female flowers on the same tree. The male flowers (strobili) are in six-inch-long catkin-like clusters that cover the tree. These will ripen in early spring with a wave of pollen for the female cones, which are now green and waiting to ripen. The cones produce a myriad of tiny seeds that can germinate to a majestic tree. Such possibilities!

Come for a visit and discover the wonders of our green-growing world.

Click here to see Gail’s video of the Night Blooming Cereus.


Featured Image: Night Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)