Friday, January 2, 2009

Late flowers

Late November and early December were pretty harsh this year, with up and down temperatures and lots of cloudy and stormy days. The purple flower in one of the pics is Sutera phlogiflora, from Silverhill Seeds. It bloomed all summer and fall, first in a pot on my terrace, then in the school garden till well after frost. By now it appears to be toast, but I am curious to see if it will either resprout or resow, considering that it comes from fairly high altitudes in South Africa. The yellow daisy is Senecio seminiveus, which reaches the highest elevations in the Drakensberg. It overwintered outside in a basement window well in a pot last winter, so I planted it out in the school garden near the brick wall. It spread like crazy, rooting wherever it touches the ground, but no flowers appeared until very late, opening in November after the first frosts of late October. The pic where it looks wet from a recent rainstorm was taken on December 10th, after Chappaqua had some very cold frosts and all other flowers were long since gone. I wish it would bloom earlier, but I value it for its incredibly frost resistant flowers when all else has given up. In fact when I went in earlier this week to check on my classroom collection, the senecio still had some decent flowers on it. Weatherbeaten yes, but still a fresh yellow color, as though it was merely waiting for a thaw to resume growing. Judging from what seems to be the trend of late around here, it may be waiting a long time for a decent thaw, this winter is starting off on the severe side, with frequent snow and cold fronts passing through.

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