Friday, September 7, 2012

facing north and other signs






It's odd that some of the sunflowers in the buddha garden aren't following the sun whatsoever, in fact they're looking toward the north. I'd blame it on hybridization or GMO crops but it was heirloom seed. 

The red amaranth, Amaranthus sp., leaves are ready for the dye-pot; a few smaller-than-normal peaches are trying very hard to ripen; and blossoms from holy basil, Ocimum tenuiflorum, and lunaria, Lunaria annua, have set seed. Holy basil (tulsi basil) is one of my favorite fragrant plants. Sometimes when the dogs and I step out late at night, I'll get a whiff of its fragrance, and then I smile because it means that a night creature has just brushed against the leaves. And I wonder who it was. Or maybe a soul was leaving the earthly plane -- in Hinduism it helps spirits depart -- in that case, I still wonder who it was. I'm saving a big handful of the lunaria moonseeds to write future new moon wishes on. I know that lunaria grows freely in some places, but it took some effort to get my lunaria garden established and I love it dearly now. 

This morning I snapped a photo of a man in front of my house who was snapping a photo of the naturalized moonflowers, Datura sp., along the walkway. I don't know who he was but he should visit here to see them bloom.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending. xx

11 comments:

deanna7trees said...

love seeing the lunaria. haven't had much luck growing it in my garden. have a good weekend.

Jeannie said...

I have confused sunflowers, too. I think the same variety. Truly odd! I have yet to try Datura. The first time I saw it was in the Grand Canyon and it was gorgeous. Lunaria doesn't do well here, perhaps the heat? I do love its beautiful seed pods. Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Ms. said...

did you know
Datura stramonium, known by the common names Jimson weed or datura is a plant in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, which is believed to have originated in the Americas, but is now found around the world.[1]

For centuries, datura has been used as an herbal medicine to relieve asthma symptoms and as an analgesic during surgery or bonesetting. It is also a powerful hallucinogen and deliriant, which is used spiritually for the intense visions it produces. However the tropane alkaloids which are responsible for both the medicinal and hallucinogenic properties are fatally toxic in only slightly higher amounts than the medicinal dosage, and careless use often results in hospitalizations and deaths.
I'll bet that's why the man was snapping pictures. We used to have lots of it around the city but the parks department pulled it all out wherever they found it. It grew in planters on a rooftop garden I once knew in the seventies, and that particular owner, a practiced herbalist, used the crushed seeds as an LSD like drug. I never tried it.

Your sunflowers turning away are so metaphorically potent as a seasonal indicator, but for themselves they have their reasons.

and how sweet the thought of night creatures, and departing souls!

Besides for dye, people around the world value amaranths as leaf vegetables, and cereals.

and what can one say but a peach in any condition is a wonderful treat.

Sara Crittenden Coppedge said...

Such beautiful plants! Nothing is growing here in the hot, dry west except rosemary and cacti! If anything does stick it's head up out of the dirt, the deer lop it off! Nice to see plants growing elsewhere.

Nancy said...

The lunaria sure is special :)
I like reading the educational information you include in your heart-full posts. Thanks to Michelle too :)

Peggy said...

Deanna, it took me years to get it going. Finally it happened and then I had to relocate it and thought that would be the end of it again. But it made it and it's literally its own little garden now.

Peggy said...

Jeannie, that is weird. I'm used to sunflowers that look toward the sun, always plant them accordingly so we can enjoy them and not just the neighbors! You may be right on the lunaria, that's why it was so hard to get going...datura is one of my favorites, too. I have a lot of favorites! ;)

Peggy said...

Michelle, thanks for all the info. on datura! I am somewhat familiar with datura, just figure many common plants are poisonous, so I let her be, other than picking up most of her pods. It actually got started in my garden when one of my little ones brought home that most interesting seedpod from a neighbor's yard!

I LOVE your comment about the sunflowers. I forget that they, too, have their reasons. Those were wise words, I must remember this, and I thank you for them.

Still waiting on the peaches!

Peggy said...

Sara, well I, for one, admire both rosemary and cacti! I have one pot of rosemary that I baby endlessly and can't grow cacti at all. :)

Peggy said...

Thanks, Nancy -- I do agree!

deemallon said...

I'll echo Michelle's comment - I love the idea of departing souls or passing nocturnal creatures! and your pictures are beautiful... I esp. love the second to last... Is that the lunaria? I think we call it the 'dollar plant' ...