Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Glorious Gloriosas

Several decades ago when we first ventured into the world of gardening, a few women of years took us under their wings and helped with our efforts.   They left the weeding to me but were generous with their gifts of plants and information.  Elle was one such person and she was the source of our first Gloriosa Daisy.  She is gone now but her gift of flowers lives on in our gardens.  Her gift came with the information that the natural color of the rays was plain yellow.  When the color became mostly plain yellow she advised us to simply buy new seeds.  So far we have not needed to do that.  One year I mail ordered a plant that was solid red.  Its influence can still be seen in our flowers of today.  I think that she would take pleasure in seeing what has happened to her original gift of plants.  She appears in my memory every time that I walk among her flowers.

If one assigns the term flower to the part of a plant that actually produces seed, then the tiny yellow specks around the edge of the cone are the actual flowers.  Pollination by insect is happening in this picture.  Soon the entire central cone will begin filling with developing seeds.  The red and yellow rays are attractive but their only function is to draw in the pollinators.

This natural mutation resembles a zinnia with its several layers of color.  If time were more abundant, we would save the seed from this plant.  It would be interesting to see the plants that grew from the seed that will form here.

This photo shows both a plain yellow flower and a dark bi-color specimen.  The variation that appears with no effort on our part is impressive.  We will likely remove the spent solidly colored flowers before they produce seed.  One year we found plants with pairs of small brown rectangles arranged in three layers at the base of the yellow rays.  Of all of the color variations that have put in an appearance here, those were my favorite.  If seed is ever offered for sale with the promise of that arrangement of color, I will buy and plant.

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