We had our first real frost last week. It got down to 34 over the night and frosted the windshield. In my experience, the garden survives the first front only to succumb to the second, harder, killing frost. Anyway, the frost event meant I have to bring my tenderites inside.
October is lovely. It’s the only month that it is is safe, (cool enough and dry enough) even pleasurable to open the windows. In humble explanation of the f-ugly fly paper, the open window weather means we are testing our holey, ripped screens, that are torn beyond repair and would you believe, not removable! Can anyone tell me how to clean the outside of window with un-removeable screens? (My arms are NOT made out of silly putty.) Humph, maybe the screen will rip more, so I can peel it back to wash the windows. They are those stupid paned windows too, real panes, not one piece of glass. Awful to clean and the glazing is coming off. I’m just waiting for a pane to pop out. (Curse you landlord, “reaping where you have not sown” (Thank you Karl Marx for the quote) Hmmm. I apologize for the rant, but I’m feel, how should I say, punchy this morning! Actually I’ve been feeling punchy this entire year. I think my entire tone has become more conversational in a deranged sort of manner, now that I don’t have to continually deal with documents written in contrived legal-speak. Anyway. It’s all too much to think about. So overwhelming. The bad economy and everything else this mad world throws at us. That paragraph was almost exhausting. I think I can now continue in a more subdued tone.
Those aren’t even all the plumerias! I cringe to think how much more space these plumerias will take up with they are all in 3 to 5 gall on pots, or when I have to move. DH is so sweet, these stay in our bedroom all winter. (tiny house) I hope it will look more manageable when the leaves come off. There are also a few avocados, a strawberry guava, and an annona squamosa jammed in there. Definitely not healthy in term s of air circulation again. Good thing the leaves are already coming off. Sign. Summer is really over and Indian summer too? Where is it?
Last week the plumeria seed pod finally popped open.
There were almost forty seeds in the pod, approximately 20 per side.
The seed are stacked like shingles. Their tails are attached to the pod.
The collage shows the first 60 days when most of the development occurs.
Above is how the pod looked just before it split open. I thought there was something wrong with it, since it looked brown and mushy (think of the texture of a vanilla bean) . The drying seems to be the final stage of ripening that causes the pod to split open.
Due to the genetics of plumeria, seeds of pink cultivars, like this one, or red, produce the most variation in their offspring. Seeds from the classic white are more likely to produce 50% white offspring.
The unseasonably cool month of May brought us over seven inches of rain, almost two inches above average. The combination of cooler temperatures, rain, and cloudy days kept my plumerias languishing in dormancy. I feel like they hate me because they are almost a month behind schedule.
The back row is my blooming size plumerias. L to R. Orange blossom special w/seed pod, Ammaron’s curly white, J.L. Pink Pansy, and Miami Rose.
Front L to R. Four one year old seedlings, White Shell, which just underwent an emergency repot, looks like there might be some blacktip preventing the claw from opening. Hopefully it will improve since the application of Immunox. In the front right is a seedling of Celadine.
One of the exciting things happening right now is the seed pod is finally at the final stages of ripening after nine long months. I found a thigh high just in time to cover the pod before it started to split open. A regular pair of pantyhose would probably work even better, because the crotch could pull directly over the branch supporting the pod, but, by all means use whatever you have on hand!
At first, I thought the pod was rotting, as it blackened, wrinkled, and looked like just going mushy. Then when I looked closely I saw the bottom of the pod was splitting open. This is so exciting! I now publicly pledge, “I will sprout no more than 10 plumeria seeds.”
The seed pod on my plumeria has been quickly developing, since it was pollinated about a month ago. At three weeks the two follicles of the seed pod abruptly split apart.
According to the Plumeria Society of America, flowers can be pollinated by thrips, moths, butterflies, and hummingbirds, or self-pollinated by the wind. Thrips can crawl inside the narrow tubular receptacle to transfer pollen to the pistil tucked deep inside the flower. Hummingbirds, which are integal to the pollination of deep-throated flowers, are able to stick their long tongues inside the narrow tube of the flower. In the past I tried to hand pollinate the flowers, as the great amateur hybridizer William Moragne, Sr., did in the 1950s, with no luck.
After four weeks the follicles are beginning to swell noticibly as the cells enlarge, filling themselves with water. Since pollination the pedicle, the base of the flower attached to the infloresence, has swelled and hardened-off to support the weight of the developing seeds.
Right now, I’m expecting the seeds to be ready for dispersal some time after next June, which would be exactly eight months. Each follicle will ripen into a separate pod, containing anywhere from 20 to over 100 seeds, depending on the vigor of the cultivar, which can vary greatly. The pods will continue to mature while the plant is dormant. I’ve already brought my plumerias inside, since it’s been in the 40s during the night.