November 30, 2010

Favorite Flower of the Moment

Playing favorites is a difficult road to walk.  Someone inevitably gets their feelings hurt and jealousy ensues.  But just this once I will step out on the proverbial limb because Fer at My Little Garden in Japan is hosting a blog carnival where garden bloggers have been invited to post about their favorite plant.  If you haven't seen this blog, be sure to take a look as it is truly delightful!

Last week I stole a moment while packing for our Thanksgiving trip to venture out into the garden.  As is often the case this time of year, the light was amazing.  The Pavonia Hastata was illuminated beautifully and I took advantage of a quiet five minutes to take a few pictures.  Well, five minutes turned into fifteen because this flower was just so dang pretty!  So while I can't say that this is my all time favorite flower, it is definitely my favorite flower of the moment.

It all starts with these tiny, unassuming buds.

They open to reveal this gorgeous bloom that from the underside looks like a peppermint candy.

The flower just glows in the autumn light.

It was pretty this summer too but I don't recall it shining like it has been of late.  There is something magical about autumn light.

Interestingly, from the front the red stripes are hardly discernible, but the front of the flower is not lacking in intricate detail or beauty.

 Once the bloom is spent, a delicate tissue paper shell is left to fade quietly away.

Don't let the delicate looks of the flower fool you, this is one tough plant.  It came to my garden this summer by way of suggestion from a local nursery employee.  I explained that I had what I refer to, not so lovingly, as a hell strip and that I needed a really tough plant that could handle dry conditions, shallow soil, and shade all morning then a grand dose of blazing afternoon sun.  He recommended the Pavonia and while I will say that I doubted him (only because nothing grows in this spot), this plant has been a work horse.  It has bloomed from early summer through the fall.  Next year I will cut it back in mid spring to keep it more compact but other than that I hope to just enjoy its carefree attitude.



  1. I never knew the name of this plant, but back when I was a kid my parents gave me a 9*9ft piece of their garden to call my own, and this was one of the stars of that tiny miniature garden. I had quite forgotten it, but now I clearly remember that I had this flower in a pure white variety and one in a rather less stylish shade of Barbie pink.

    I should get some again! As I remember it, they grow willingly from seed without needing much nurturing or care, so that sounds just like the sort of work horse that you describe.

  2. I'd never heard of Pavonia before, and have nowhere to grow it (heavy clay soil) but I can see why you love it! To find something that grows at all in a problem spot is a victory, but when it is so pretty? Perfect, and your portraits of it are exquisite.

    Besides, anyone who uses a Pooh quote on their blog gets my vote!

  3. Gorgeous photo`s as usual Cat! The flower is a bit like an Hibiscus flower (to my eye anyway!)
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  4. Amazing post! love the photos!

    This is a very beautiful flower, I haven't meet it before, I will be sure to look around for it next time I have a chance.

    It looks so beautiful with its little candy stripes on the bottom and the little button of red on the front.

    Thank you very much for the lovely submission to the carnival!

  5. That is one gorgeous flower !
    I laughed at your reference of "hell strip" I think no matter where we are, we all have a section of THAT in our garden some where !
    I love the stripes and yes it makes you thin of peppermint .. even say candy canes ? LOL a seasonal craving?
    Wonderful photos ! .. that is second nature to us as gardeners I think .. photography .. we just have to capture those moments in our gardens !
    Joy : )

  6. Stunning photographs. It looks like your nursery certainly knew what they were talking about!

  7. This is a new one for me... it is absolutely lovely! L

  8. I love seeing your photo progression take us inside the very essence of this flower! It's nice to have a plant that is a delicate beauty and a sturdy workhorse too.

  9. There is something about this flower that makes me think of a ladies parasol! Your photos are magical. I know what you are saying about the fall light. It can make flowers glow!

  10. I have seen this flower many times, but have never actually thought much of it. Your post and beautiful photos have given me an appreciation for it I didn't have before! Always nice to "see" something for the first time that you've seen so many times before!


  11. Amazing photos of a sweet, delicate flower!

  12. Soren, I'm so glad these sweet flowers led you down memory lane to happy times! I hope you'll find one for your garden.

    @Plantaliscious, Yes, I do feel this tough little plant was a small victory in the hell strip! I may plant a whole group of them ;-) Thanks for the kind comment about the Pooh quote - who can resist Pooh, right?

    John, yes, it is related to the hibiscus. These flowers are a little smaller - maybe the size of a silver dollar. Thanks for stopping by.

    Thank you fer for hosting the carnival! It gave me a reason to post about these sweet flowers! Loved your poinsettias too!

    Ha Joy! You are so right on both counts - a good capture of the blooms brings me as much joy as growing them I think. Especially in the light this time of year! And I'm pretty sure we all have hell strips and oh what a feeling when we finally find something that will grow there!

    Marguerite - Yes, we are fortunate to have a wonderful nursery here in Austin called Barton Springs Nursery and you can always find reliable and knowledgeable folks there! Thanks for stopping by.

    Thanks LC for the compliments - I appreciate you stopping by.

    Dear Laurrie, Yes, a work horse it is and the irony is that it is so delicate looking! Love that!

    Jennifer, It does remind one of a ladies parasol - I hadn't thought of that. Every day I wonder when this fabulous light will fade to a more gray winter light - so far so good!

    I'm glad you found a new appreciation Tita! I have too! It always amazes me what beauty there is in the details with the right light. I've walked past this plant all summer and thought it pretty but nothing like what I've seen lately.

  13. amazing plant, marvelous photos:)

  14. It is a lovely flower. How lucky to find a plant for a difficult spot - only to discover it turns out to be a beauty itself.

  15. I don't think I've seen anything prettier than well-lit flower petals, and your photos totally do them justice. I also think this plant sounds perfect for my brutal South Carolina summers, too. Can't wait to try it!

  16. Beautiful photos of a real beauty. It is hard to pick a favorite from so many wonderful flowers. Not one I ever had, either.

  17. I have this one too, and you are right, the papery, pepperminty blooms are lovely.

  18. Magical light . . . I can see why it would be a favorite for the moment! Beautiful photos!! Lovely details.

  19. What an intriguing plant. New to me. IT looks so delicate, like the wind would blow the petals off. Wonderful photos Cat.

  20. Some nice shots there! Great angles.

  21. Dear Beste - thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit.

    Dear easygardener, I hope to be able to thank the BSN employee personally. I'll probably add a couple more to that spot in the spring!

    Dear Eliza, If it can survive here I think it can handle almost anything! Would love to hear how it works out.

    Dear GWGT, it is too hard to choose favorites. I guess that's the beauty of the garden - it's always changing and presenting us with new seasonal favorites.

    Thanks Pam, I look forward to visiting your garden and seeing them in a different surrounding.

    Dear Carol, Patty and Rosie, Thank you for your kind comments. I do appreciate y'all taking the time to stop by and comment.

    Thank you Patty,

  22. It's a stunning bloom - and all the better since it's thriving in your (love this) hell strip !

  23. I enjoyed viewing your beautiful photos of flowering buds. I love seeing the detail in flowers when you zoom the camera lens in close. Florals are one of my favorite subject to photograph as well.


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

Thanks for taking the time to visit!