Miraculous Watermelon

My homemade watermelon trellis. Will it actually bear the weight of watermelons? I don't know. Yes, I know there are several problems other than the spindly trellis-- the tiny container, not enough sun-- but in spite of this, I have a watermelon growing.

This watermelon is something of a mystery. First of all, watermelons have male and female flowers. In the absence of bees, the flowers have to be hand pollinated for fruit to happen. There are NO bees where I live. So I was planning to do some hand pollination, since this worked very well last year with my cucumbers.

But SOMETHING ELSE pollinated my watermelons.

I'm blaming fairies.

Tomatoes!  No mystery here.  Tomato flowers just need a bit of wind and pollinate themselves.  (Or vibration from an electric toothbrush.  Yes, I tried this method.)

Basil in bloom, companion-planted with the tomatoes.  One of my fruitless attempts to attract bees.

Blaming fairies for the lack of bees.  Fairies are bee-eaters, as everyone knows.


Glory be.  Glorious.  Gloriful.

Morning Glory.  Ipomoea purpurea. 

To the Victorians, they symbolized "Love in Vain."

Moonflower, which opens at night. A relative of the Morning Glory. Its buds are spiraled like a unicorn's horn, and its blooms are white. The moonflower symbolizes "Dreaming of Love" in the language of flowers.

Botanical Study No. 3

I have three broccoli plants I've been tending since November.  They're finally starting to fatten up at the top.

Broccoli has beautiful silver-green leaves, but I'm having trouble matching the colors my eye perceives to the colors I can mix in my paints.  So I tried making a Viridometer, a green version of a Cyanometer-- a tool for matching perceived colors with actual colors.  James Gurney recommended the Cyanometer in his book, Color and Light

I went to Lowe's and got some (free) Valspar paint chips, which have these nice little windows:

...And compared them to the lights and shadows on the broccoli leaves.  The results were startling.  The colors that matched the best were much darker than I thought.  I'm still not sure how to apply this new knowledge to painting.

Dreams in Green

Lavender's blue, rosemary's green.

Nasturtiums tumbling out of their pot.  They don't exactly climb, they sort of flop and tangle around.

Baby lemon growing on my mother's Meyers Lemon tree.  It had dozens of blossoms earlier this spring, but only a few of them seem to have been fertilized.  Lazy bees.

A shamrock in bloom.  I bought it on sale after St. Patrick's day.  By the way, I have red hair. Back around St Patrick's day, a strange man saw me walking across the parking lot and yelled, "Oh, the luck of the Irish!"  Not Irish, sorry.

Baby cucumber!  Cucumber vines have male and female flowers, and I don't trust the bees to figure it out.  (Not many bees in my area.)  So I've been experimenting with hand pollination, and this cucumber finally "took."

Of all the bean seeds I planted, only this one has germinated.  It's shooting for the sky. 

Pea plant!  It may be too late in the year to start peas.  Apparently pea-plants don't like extreme heat, which Florida certainly has.  But I'm dreaming of fresh peas, lying in their pods like little green pearls...

Broccoli, so stately with its silvery leaves.  I coddled my broccoli plants through the winter, recently transplanted them to a large pot, and they finally are thickening up.

Miniature climbing rose.  I love having roses growing in between my vegetables: beauty mingling with humility.

The first tomato of the summer.  This is a Beefmaster tomato plant.  Yes, fear the Beefmaster!

When I am queen, you shall be king.

Leaves and Earth

Last weekend I went up to Tallahassee to pick up my friend Lauren, who has been teaching English in Korea for the past year. On the way to bundle her and her luggage into my car, I stopped by Tallahassee Nurseries to indulge my green thumb. I love the Tallahassee Nurseries.  When I was at FSU I went frequently: their plants are always healthy, and they pack them in a cute brown paper bag.

Peppermint, mentha piperita.  I love this herb, even though I've never really liked the taste of mint.  It smells so cold and fresh when the leaves are crushed.  It's practically impossible to kill, as long as it gets water and sun.  And there's nothing like fresh mint leaves in iced tea. 

Lavender, lavendula.  Smells.  So.  Good.  Rumored to soothe insomnia, and also good as a cooking herb.  Last week I made some blueberry-lavender ice cream, which I'll be posting about soon!

Little Lanterns Columbine, aquilegia canadensis.  Columbine flowers are so delicately beautiful that they don't seem quite real-- they look like the wild invention of a fairy tale.  But my plant doesn't have any blooms on it yet.  I tried to grow columbine from seed once with no success at all.

Snapdragon, antirrhinum majus.  I just love snapdragons.  I love the name, I love the blossom clusters, I love the rainbow of colours and varieties.  And I use them as a rain barometer for my other plants!  When the snapdragon starts to droop, I know it's time to water everything.

In her book  Hidden Art, Edith Schaeffer said, "Human beings were made to interact with growing things, not to be born, live and die in the midst of concrete set in the middle of polluted air." 

So here's my patch of green.