“Victorians Gone Wild”

by ESP on November 2, 2015

 lily pad

capt-kirk

“Evaluation, Mr. Spock.”

spock

“Fascinating. I believe this is the early stages of the unfurling of a Victoria amazonica lily pad found in the still waters of all the great rivers of the South American continent such as the tributaries of the Amazon, Earth. The first published description of the genus was by John Lindley in 1837, along with his colleague he concl…”

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Kirk

“Yes, yes…but we need to know what it wants, what it desires…

why…why it has armed itself with rows…of defensive spines?”

defensive spines

“And why were people from the Victorian era obsessed with standing on them,

Woman_standing_on_Victoria_cruziana

…a primitive teleportation device?

Spock I need answers!”

Kirk

Victoria amazonica

This Victoria amazonica water lily stopped us in our tracks at the Hill Country Water Gardens and this is a small one! The leaves of the giant Amazon water lily can grow over 2.5m (8’) across.

To answer Kirk’s question, the sharp spines on the flower buds, leaf stalks, and underside of leaves are a defense mechanism for fish and other animals like chomping manatees.

The flowers of this water lily are pollinated at night by a specific type of scarab beetle (Cylocephata castaneal) in an amazing process…

Cylocephata castaneal

 photo extracted from ssaft.com/Blog/dotclear/

…this is how it works:

The pure white flower opens as a female on the first day – emitting a pungent pineapple aroma to attract the beetle.

female_flower

The scarab leaps into the flower and is trapped in there when the flower closes the following morning. At this point the petals start to turn pink in color signaling that the flower is undergoing a rather quick sex change to become a male.

Now coated in male pollen the beetle escapes when the flower reopens, off it flies to another fragrant white female bloom (they are not attracted to male form) and so the pollination process begins / continues…amazing.

Lily_pads

Aw come on!

lily_pads

Moving along…

Oh yes, I knew she was going to get me involved in the creation of her Fairy garden.

I just couldn’t stand by and watch her putting small stones here and there and then wondering why it didn’t look very good…

oh no, I was going to get involved.

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It needed the structure of a large cedar stump, some outside illumination (naturally), a few metal insects (Thanks Bob),

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and some rather large ‘mountains’.

The rest was up to her.

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Ridiculous.

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(Relatively) cold weather is my excuse to light fires and burn things.

East_Side_Patch

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It is their excuse to boil pots full of mystery gross things…

fire

…and when fully rendered down attempt to get me to smell them.

Ju3M9Kn

“I don’t mind smelling it espatch”

Quiet Baldrick – no one is smelling anything.

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I will leave you with a few shots of a garden I designed (over a number of years) and recently revisited in East Austin.

Here it is when I started:

East_Austin

East_Austin

This time I was brought in to remedy a bare-dirt / muddy area, solution?

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Retaining walls, dry creek bed and lots and lots of rocks.

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It was great to see how other parts of the garden were filling in.

Installation

Bamboo muhly softening up the pathways.

garden_seating

A nook.

loquat

This fig ivy was so tiny when it went in the ground I remember wishing it good luck…as in a sarcastic ‘good luck but your probably not gonna make it way’.

East_Austin

Stay Tuned For:

 

“Mountains & Meteors

 

All material © 2015 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

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