I like early mornings. I need the time to myself, to wake up, to think about the day ahead, to breathe the outdoors. The light is soft and even in the warm, humid Texas summer, the morning walk through the garden is calming, refreshing. I love the sunrise, the sparkle of light through the trees, casting shadows, then not, across the garden. I replenish the bird feeders and baths and notice the changes in the garden. I feed the fish in the pond. This morning ritual doesn’t take much time and is a good way to face each day.
While my eyes are bleary, at least until the caffeine kicks in with its magic, I’m often surprised, and usually pleased, by the bits of news the garden has for me. Recently, I was in my front garden and was flabbergasted when I spied a bit of pink underneath a Mexican Orchid tree, whose flowers are decidedly white.
What ho, you frilly, pinky thing! The anemone-like flower was low to the ground, highlighted by the rising sun to its east. Its plant companions, a Purple Heart, Tradescantia pallida and a low branch from the Mexican Orchid tree, Bauhinia mexicana, are there, always, but made room for this new resident. It reached out, made sure I noticed–an American Basket flower, Centaurea americana.
Some time ago, my blogging buddy, Shoreacres of the beautiful Lagniappe and the thoroughly charming, The Task at Hand, mailed some basket flower seeds to me, which I happily spread out in autumn of 2018–and then, completely forgot about. I never assume the seeds would germinate (because seeds will, or won’t, and I go with the flow) and particularly not in this shadier, rather than sunnier, spot. I’d spread the seeds in the same garden, but primarily in the part of the garden where the west sun bakes, figuring that the sun-loving annual would be content to grow there. I recall having extra seeds and tossing out those extras in this area; here we are, nearly two years later, a single American Basket flower in bloom.
I’m tickled pink.
Thistle-like in structure, its filaments are soft, not prickly. American Basket flowers are native to Texas and a number of other states, typically growing in prairie-type settings. I checked that day and for the next few days, for interested pollinators. I never saw any, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t visit, only that I didn’t see. Basket flowers attract butterflies and native bees and I hope that some found this specimen, though it was so low to the ground. I would love for some pollination to have happened, so that I enjoy another surprise again next summer.
I’ll have to wait and that’s okay. The basket flower find reinforces the commitment to my early morning strolls and especially, to the connections that gardeners and plant lovers share.
With grateful appreciation for the many knowledgeable garden/nature bloggers who share their seeds (thanks, Linda!), tell stories, and express their love of the natural world. Today, I’m linking with Anna and her lovely Flutter and Hum and Wednesday Vignette.