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Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Unrelenting Genetic Drive to Reproduce

 I'm starting this post with a picture from another year because it's prettier.

globe thistle

These are globe thistles. It's not really a thistle, The genus is Echinops (which means spiny). The leaves look prickly, and the ball-like flower heads look spiny, but all those parts feel soft when you touch them.

Anyway, I used to have a whole row of these in my flower garden when the house was down by the road. They were here when we bought the property in 1971. Despite complete neglect they have refused to die, although they are getting pretty crowded out by grass. Alive is a good thing because I really love them. Here's what the flower heads look like in full bloom.

globe thistle

They aren't blooming yet, but they are in bud. I want to move some of these up to the driveway flower bed that I have been cleaning out. You know that transplanting a plant while it's in bud is the very worst time, right? But there are still quite a few plants, and I decided to move the smallest and see if it would survive. If it even lived, then next year it would blossom.

I moved one plant on June 12. Here's what it looked like on June 17. I was pretty sure by then that it was going to live. Even though it's very droopy, some of the leaves perked up every day, so I knew they were drawing water up from the roots. The recovery never quite made it all the way up the stem, but I watered it heavily at least twice every day.
transplanted globe thistle

Here it is today. The lowest leaves have yellowed and wilted, and it still looks droopy, but can you see the real difference?
transplanted globe thistle

I'll help you out. Even though the upper stem can't recover to be completely vertical, look at what the bud is doing. It's turned upwards to the light and is getting larger. If a plant can be said to have desires, those are to find light and produce seeds. That means to create a flower. Despite some really tough odds, this plant is going to live and reproduce. It is putting all its energy into that flower head. Forget the leaves, just get water and nutrients to the top! Unrelenting.
globe thistle bud

Today was much better, weatherwise. We had 0.6" rain this morning, which cooled things down. It got a bit steamy this afternoon, but never made it to the really high temperatures. It was too wet to do any real gardening.

I edited. Gotta keep at it.

See Spikey Things


Ann said...

The resilience of plants simply amazes me. I've seen things grow in the worst conditions.

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "When Mama and Dada had the palm trees in the rock area taken out, they relocated a bunch of plants including Dada's beloved Baja Fairy Duster. The Fairy Duster turned brown and looked dead and stayed that way for a month, during which they tried to find a replacement for it and couldn't. Then all of a sudden a few buds appeared, and voila! The Fairy Duster has taken over its entire area. Plants, so resilient, even when Bean pees on them!"
Bean: "Ayyy, for the record, I had nothing to do with the Fairy Duster turning brown."

The Furry Gnome said...

I'm always amazed at how plants reach out for the sun.

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- of course we know not even asphalt or concrete can stop a determined plant!

Lulu- I had to look up the Fairy Duster. We have totally different plants here that you could pee on. But Dada knows this- he used to live in my latitude.

Stew- The chemistry of it is fascinating!