…bring the balloon of the mind
that bellies and drags in the wind
into its narrow shed.
Herein our balloons are tangible and closer to the ground, the long-blooming Balloon Flower, Platycodon grandifloras. Before these chalice-shaped, blue to purple, but also less commonly white or pink flowers open, their flower buds swell into little sphere-shapes, hence the common name. These buds will pop audibly when squeezed, but take our word for it let them flower instead. Within the CAMPANULACEAE, the bellflower family, this genus contains only one species (monotypic) although there are numerous cultivated varieties. This species and several of its cultivars have been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit blooming from late-June to September.
This perennial is native to eastern Asia and will have stems reaching 2-3-feet high. Balloon Flower is used in traditional Chinese medicine. In Korea these plants have culinary usage. In Japan these flowers are included in the Seven Flowers of Autumn which since the Nara Period (710-794) have inspired poetry and art.
On a future visit to Mount Auburn allow yourself to also be inspired by these Balloon Flowers found at Asa Gray Garden and Cypress Avenue.
Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the Deity to be a source of delight.
Why make so much of fragmentary blue
in here and there a bird, or butterfly,
or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
when heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?…
What’s in Bloom: Week of September 27, 2021
Seven-son flower, Heptacodium miconioides, Spelman Rd.
Japanese anemone, Anemone hupehensis, several locations
Panicle hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata, several locations
Compact lobelia, Lobelia, ‘Crystal Palace’, Story Chapel
Marigold, Tagetes sp., Story Chapel
Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, Hyacinth Path(more…)
…as though you expected to find some strange presence behind you
coming through the diamond-paneled bay window of your sanctum
a crimson-flowered silk dressing gown…
Silk Tree, Albizia julibrissin in flower presents a curious, powder-puff-like flower, comprised not of petals but rather numerous showy thread-like stamens. Each stamen at one-inch or longer is deep-pink/reddish in their upper third and white at the bottom. The month of August, into late September and sometimes even earlier in late July is their long season of bloom.(more…)
…I studied bees, who were able
to convey messages through dancing
and could find their ways
home to their hives
even if someone put up a blockade of sheets
and boards and wire…
Naomi Shihab Nye
Landscape design considerations for attracting pollinators might more recently have been increasingly focused on floriferous herbaceous perennials. At Mount Auburn we include many of those but also know that trees and shrubs are an essential part of our pollinator support. Honeybees, bumblebees, sweat bees, mason bees, mining bees among numerous other types of bees, as well as other kinds of pollinators, are attracted to the expansive cornucopia of blossoms throughout the total growing season within our landscape.(more…)