Seasonal Design with Rita Calvert
Lucky me, to be able to visit Selby Boatanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida for the holidays. The real beauty of the exhibit this time of year is the night viewing schedule where all of the plants in the tropical house might look a bit scary or just plain awesome.
My friends and I were asking the docent about the various plants, particularly the fascinating carnivorous pitcher plant. The pitchers of the American plants consist of tubular leaves with lidlike hoods that secrete nectar. The pitcher is lined with stiff hairs pointing downward; the bottom portion contains a watery liquid. Insects attracted by the nectar get caught in the hairs, slip downward to the throat of the pitcher, and slide into the liquid, where they drown. The plant then absorbs phosphorus and nitrogen from the insects' bodies.
So this season when you're planning your own garden, get advice from Lisa Winters who will be giving a class on that very topic within the next two months. Watch for it-"Attracting Pollinators".
Pitcher plants are dioecious meaning that male and female flowers grow on separate plants , and only begin to flower once the upper pitchers are produced. As a little "aside", our gal murmured, "All plants think about is sex!" as she walked away. Yes, we had to laugh. We don't think of plants from the sexual standpoint, but it is the "raison d'etre" of the plant world.
Lisa explains that the whole 'thing' is about the pollen which goes from male to female. The entire job of the plant is to reproduce and carry forward the species. Many botanicals have created clever ways to pollinate. Insects, wind, birds, bees, turtles, bats and even lizards in the desert are the vehicles which transport the pollen.
Homestead Gardens plants have sex. Come and get them to produce little buds.