Tuesday, September 30, 2008

#400: This One's For Olivia

When I logged into Blogger tonight, I noticed that, to date, I had published 399 posts since June of 2006 ... which of course set me to thinking about what number 400 should be, and honestly I had no idea what I wanted to do to commemorate the arrival of a nice round number (that even managed to surprise me). Then I thought about how this blog got started in the first place ... my dear friend Olivia in Ottawa had finally convinced me that I really should do a gardening blog and pushed me gently into taking the plunge. After some initial hand holding and (my) incessant questions about logistics, she set me on the course of creating Urban Oasis and what it has become over the past two years. Olivia has been a constant correspondent, mentor and coach for this blog over the past two years, and if nothing else (among many, many things), she taught me how to go beyond my basic 'I'm a flower documentarian, not an artist!' view of photography and take risks and experiment with how I present my subjects. Not only have I learned much, but the quality of what I've been able to do with my humble efforts here has benefited immensely under Olivia's gentle tutelage. I hope that readers older and newer have appreciated the invisible finger guiding much of what you see here in the photos ... I'm still learning (especially with the S700 since it came on the scene), and really appreciate those who come along for the ride!

One of the longstanding topics of conversation Olivia and I have had over the years relates to this simple flower (which has now achieved weed status in our garden), Datura meteloides, commonly known as (variously) 'Moonflower,' 'Angel's Trumpet,' 'Devil's Trumpet,' Jimson or 'Loco' Weed and a plethora of other not so laudatory epithets. When we first got acquainted (on a community blog I no longer frequent), she was envious that we grew these in the garden, and had fond memories of her grandmother growing huge specimens when she was a child. At that point, she had no access to plants or seeds to grow her own, and she wanted some in her garden so badly.... Despite various schemes to get the seeds past Canadian Customs (all abandoned due to this plant's bad reputation as a powerful psychoactive toxin), she finally came into possession of some plants last year and was able to grow them in her garden at last. I haven't heard whether she has them again this year (likely, as they self-seed promiscuously), but even if not, I was compelled to put up this flower in her honour.

So here you go, Olivia, I hope you enjoy this photo Fernymoss captured on Sunday as he caught one of the blooms opening ... it's not the best photo you'll ever see here on the blog, but it had your name all over it. Thanks for all the help and inspiration over the years, toots, I trust you know this one comes from the heart of the garden to you!


olivia said...

Oh IVG! You brought tears to my eyes ... :-)

Congrats on your 400 posts! It's been fun to watch your blog -- and your garden -- grow over the seasons. I've learned so much from you as well; my movie knowledge has doubled for instance ... ;-) (Which as you know only too well, was practically non-existent before I met you ... hehe.) Most definitely, your artistic eye was there all along ... it's your passion for your garden and plants in general. Now if I could only get the words to come as easily and eloquently ... :-) And yes, the infamous moonflower ... such a beauty. LOL, how we'd laugh at the situation -- weed status in your garden, non-existent here ... lol.

You know, meeting you and Fernymoss and the pups has been such a pleasure. I'm thankful that we both ended up in the café at the same time! Lots of hugs ... and here's to 400 more ... :-)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Congratulations! 400 is a lot of posts. Takes discipline and dedication.

I didn't always like Datura but more and more I'm coming to think it is quite elegant. I'm determined to try one next year.

Shady Gardener said...

It's a beautiful flower and an even "beautifuller" photograph. But, I tried it and I couldn't get past its "aroma." Sorry. I'll admire them from afar... about from my house to yours is far enough! ha. ;-)

FARfetched said...

Angel trumpet? They grow in pots here. Big pots, but my mother-in-law has a bunch of 'em.

Hmmm… psychoactive? You mean like, man, you can get off on that stuff? Far out!

boran2 said...

Congratulations on 400, IVG! Now that I have moved up to DSL I have been enjoying your posts regularly and look forward to many more! And kudos to Olivia for assisting your efforts!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Olivia,
I only thought this was as good a time as any to reiterate my thanks for so much support these past few years. Thanks again!

Ah those dark café days, *sigh* good times, eh? :-) Now, you didn't say whether you had any return to your garden this year did you? ahem... LOL

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
I don't always know about the discipline supply, but I try my best, lol.

Daturas are really pretty, but can get invasive really fast if you don't keep the pods under control (which is practically impossible). The last few years we just pull most of them and leave a few to bloom so there aren't so many the following year. Aside from the stinky foliage, the flowers smell wonderful and attract night critters like Sphinx moths and such. If you ever decide to plant them and need seeds, just give me a holler!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady!
Yeah, the leaves are smelly for sure, but nothing like the D. stramonium kind (purple flowers) which really stink! The flowers help to attenuate it though ... glad you like them from afar, lol.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
Rachel Maddow did a piece on the gas shortages down your way on her show tonight, and I of course thought of you and the Manor Clan.

Are your MIL's the same flower as this? Because there's another plant called Brugmansia that's also called Angel Trumpet, but they're far showier than these and have a nodding bloom habit. I wonder if that's what she has.

Yep, it's psychoactive, but not in a good way, in fact people have died trying to get high on the stuff. It's extremely toxic and shouldn't be ingested in any way. Thus, 'Loco Weed' because cows ate it and went crazy, not a pleasant thought, eh?

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
I thought you moved up to DSL a while back, but anyway, great to know you're enjoying the posts faster now! :-)

Btw, how's the new painting going? Looking forward to seeing you do this one... nice break from the architecture!

FARfetched said...

Could be a different plant. The angel trumpets she has are long, bell-shaped blooms. I'd need a side view of yours to say that's different. It probably is though; there's a plant they call Jimson weed or loco weed here too. Trying to remember seeing if it blooms.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
I'd bet the chicken houses that hers is a Brugmansia (they come in a lot of different colors) because they nod and this does not, until the bloom is spent and falls off.

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