Color: Pupple* Or Turtle Purples


I had this idea for a post, anyway. It was going to be about things purple in my garden. (Yes, I know the title says Pupple, it will be explained later, stay with me now, if you would, please.)
Shown above is purple Perilla fructescens.


A few images had been collected of purple flowers blooming now, including this one of the started by seed in the greenhouse last winter Cuphea ‘Purple Passion’. Critters are gravy.


There was this one of a volunteer Verbena bonariensis, (all are volunteers of this plant here), among others. I like the orange blobs of Cosmic Orange Cosmos in the background.


The big finish was going to be the very purple and popular Vernonia gigantea, our native Ironweed. We had pruned these down by two thirds in May to be able to take a photo without standing on a ladder at bloom time, which is now. Seeds have been saved and sown with success and seedlings have been identified and moved to garden beds from seed scatterings in winter outdoors to make for a healthy population of them this year. But on the way to writing the purple post we got sidetracked. Here is the story:

The hose had been dragged up to the veggie garden with the metal spinning sprinkler head attached to moisten the soil under the frost cloth covered hoop in preparation for sowing lettuce seeds. No rain and no watering meant that the growing medium was like a dry sponge. Even if we did get the forecasted thunderstorm, the water would simply run off, not soak in, just like on the aforementioned sponge. So we were wetting it down well. While up there, it was remembered that the okra pods have been drying fast on the plants and need to be cut off before they split open. They are to be used in a fall wreath at some point in time, perhaps painted. Perhaps this year. Perhaps not. The okra patch is behind the Arborvitae. Turning to go attend to some other gardening chore after checking the pods, none were ready, we heard a loud rustling amongst the twigs and leaves. Looking carefully, spotting the source of the noise and running at full gallop to get the camera, leaping over stone steps and block walls in a single bound, this is what caused the lack of care in the descent to the house…


…A young turtle! Oh joy of all joys! Our dreams of baby turtles have become a reality.


Believed to be a juvenile female since the eyes are an amber color, and with a smoother, smaller shell, she is about half the size of previously seen Eastern Box Turtles here in the Fairegarden.


But she was not as happy to see me as I was to see her. Off she goes, trying to find an escape hatch.


Impetuous youth! No, no, no. You will not fit through that opening, my sweet thing. There will have to be an intervention.


Ever so gently, a shaking hand pulls her back from the inappropriate exit. Good. She has withdrawn inside her shell. I would rather move her about with her extremities safely tucked away.


The camera is set down, stones are moved out of the way, the lower portion of the fence is lifted a bit and she is placed in position to crawl under the wire. She was rearing to go, but in her haste, she has become lodged under a larger branch that is weighted down with piles of brush and garden debris, the habitat we have been building for over ten years along the back property line.


Fear not, gentle readers, animal lovers and wildlife afficionados, there is a happy ending to this turtle tale. The camera is once again set down on the ground, our small hands just fit through the openings in the rusty fence to lift the branch and free our little lady friend. She quickly figured out that it is better to go over the brush, not under it and climbs to disappear into the darkness within.

With a smile we return to the house, the sprinkler still running, to load the photos and write the story. The idea of using the color purple as the theme of the telling came about as we were washing our hands before grabbing the laptop and plopping into the lazyboy. There have been many sightings and two posts about Eastern Box Turtles before. The first writing was about a female, going by eye color, discovered eating fallen peaches that can be seen by clicking here-Turtle Blues. The next post, and most recent sighting was in this same area behind the Arborvitae hedge, about a male Eastern Box Turtle with red eyes snacking on fallen tomatoes. It can be seen by clicking here- Turtle Reds. Do you see where this is heading? Blue plus red equals purple. Purple is the perfect color for our little princess, don’t you agree?

*Oh, the term pupple, I almost forgot.


This is the source of much amusement here, on many levels. This box with the typographical error housed a beautiful purple glass plant mister, purchased at the Smith And Hawken store in Houston when we lived there. The mister broke long ago, but the box just happened to be the perfect size for my traveling coffee cup and spork. It fits neatly in my carryon bag and holds my precious hand made cup with bubble wrap around it for airplane trips. The fact that I take this cup with me everywhere is laughable to some family members and even some friends. But the comfort this cup offers when we are away from home and garden, (and bed) is beyond measure. Of course, there are several other identical cups stashed safely in the cupboard, made by the same Asheville potter, as back ups. And we fondly think of the Color: Pupple while sipping coffee away from home. The Pupple will now bring to mind a young turtle princess discovered by a helpful habitat providing gardener. With a camera.

And now I had better go turn the sprinkler off.

Frances

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25 Responses to Color: Pupple* Or Turtle Purples

  1. Les says:

    Delightful! I hope your turtles will be as happy and free as the Perilla and the Verbena, but just not so prolific.

    Hi Les, thanks. I would love to see lots of baby turtles scampering about! All Verbena is welcome, but those Perillas show up by the thousands. Most are pulled but they really add so much to the garden.
    Frances

  2. Cyndy says:

    oh dear Frances, I felt I was with you the whole way, capturing digitally, then ever so delicately rescuing that sweet little turtle. Her shell is just beautiful, and pupple is a great color however speled πŸ™‚

    HA Cuyndy, good one! πŸ™‚ I nearly yelled out with joy when seeing her, but didn’t want to scare her, and wanted her to still be there when I returned with the camera. Her shell was softer too. Very sweet. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. Randy says:

    Frances,
    Cute turtle! If I’m correct the female can be told by being flat underneath, the male is indented so he can mate with the female and not fall off. Or is this just a rumor?

    Hi Randy, is that right? I only know about the eye color thingey. There were some other explanations about the tail but I really don’t want to pick them up at all and scare them. If I see another, I might check for smoother or indented. Will amend the post then perhaps. I am happy just to see a young one. I would love to see a little bitty one too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  4. Carol says:

    You take your coffee cup with you wherever you go, wrapped in bubble wrap in a box with the word “pupple” instead of “purple” on its label? Since your Verbena bonariensis pictured above is a volunteer, let’s give it the variety name ‘Frances Pupple’!

    Hi Carol, yes, that is correct. You might have seen that cup in Austin, Chicago and Buffalo! I don’t know that the Verbena is any different than the straight species, but Pupple is a fun name! Thanks. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You are such a lucky lady to have young turtles in your garden, purple flowers and a pupple cup. Pupple sounds like a comforting word.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I am very lucky and know it! Pupple sounds like a noise made by a young dog! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. Glad you have turtle offspring and the ‘pupple’ typo is cute. Good rescue for her!

    Hi Cameron, thanks. Poor little thing trying to go through the small opening in the fence. I don’t like to pick up or touch the turtle at all, not wanting to scare them. She had quite a tale to tell her family in the brush pile! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  7. Valerie says:

    A lovely story today. It is exciting to see wildlife in the garden and babies are a bonus. I like to take my pillow when I travel but maybe not on a plane.

    Hi Valerie, thanks so much. We do get excitied about the wildlife here and seeing that young ones are about made my heart swell. I love taking my pillow too, but it is too bulky for air travel. I take my pillowcase instead. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Laurrie says:

    Even though she’s a juvenile, your turtle visitor looks huge! Amazing what lurks in the garden beneath the pupple plants. Love your special mug.

    Hi Laurrie, thanks. The photos don’t have any perspective for her size. She was about half the size of the others seen. So cute! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. Rose says:

    Ah, Frances, you tell a story better than anyone I know:) Love all the purple flowers, excited that you have a family of turtles, and happy that you helped the young one find her way home safely. But most of all, I’m chuckling at “The Color Pupple.” I would have kept this box, too, as a keepsake:)
    P.S., I don’t take my coffee mugs with me, but no one else is allowed to touch my Shakespeare mug or my DBG butterfly mug!

    Oh Rose, what a nice thing to say! Thank you. Isn’t that a scream about pupple? There is something so out of whack about it, love it. The box is started to show signs of wear since I have been traveling so much. It will have to be reinforced with packing tape soon. I can’t bear to be without it, as important as the cup itself! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. Jenny B says:

    My introduction to Perilla was this Summer when we visited a friend north of Dallas on our way home on vacation. She pulled up some to give me along with another Morning Glory. It has survived the summer, but just barely, looking bedraggled. I am hoping with Fall coming it will bounce back a little. Your Verbena is lovely. I grow it every year, with not much luck. I guess I love it to death because I see it growing along side the roads here with no care at all.

    What a sweet little turtle. I almost expected to see long eyelashes on her. I wonder if she realizes you were helping her escape, and will be less afraid of you at next meeting. I hope she will grow up to have many babies. I now have a variant song running through my head…and they call it pupple love. πŸ™‚

    Hi Jenny, thanks for that, pupple love is priceless! Perilla is a wonderful, if aggressive self sower. If you can get flowers and let it seed, you will never be without it. The Verbena is more difficult. The volunteers are carefully moved early spring into the beds. That is the only way I can grow it in them. I doubt the young turtle will ever think of me as anything but a threat, as it should be. They need to fear humans, not all mean the critters no harm. I did see the red eyed male turtle up there after the first sighting, again eating fallen tomatoes. I believe they live under the brushpile near there. I wonder if eyelashes could have been drawn on with the photo program? Maybe next time there is a post about her. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  11. Donna says:

    They story was so engaging. I did wait to end though to find out about the pupple. Probably a packer with slight dyslexia. I know, that is my problem and why I can not type for the life of me. I am always inventing words because of this, too. They just appear right to me, and of course, only me. LOL πŸ˜€

    Hi Donna, thanks so much. We have made various guesses as to how the typo happened. If it was on a rubber stamp of some kind, they all would have the same mistake. Too funny. I have trouble proof reading the posts. My eyes see what I meant to type, often, not what was actually written. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  12. Denise says:

    Oh, luckiest people to have juvenile box turtles in your garden. Thanks for taking such good care of her!

    Hi Denise, thanks. We are indeed so very lucky and promise to give the turtles and other creatures here the best we have to offer. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. Nancy says:

    Here in Pennsylvania there still remains a population of Amish and Mennonite folk whose fine needle skills are sometimes on display at roadside farm stands. that’s how I happened to find a “Dupple Bed Quilt” just outside Bird in Hand ( the name of a little town) PA. I was baffled until I spoke it aloud and it made perfect sense. So why not pupple?

    Hi Nancy, I loved your comment! We used to live in PA, married there and all my kids were born there, in Berwick. We have been to Bird In Hand and other Amish areas and know exactly what you mean. What a cool idea that it could have been that type of spelling. Thanks. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  14. Linda says:

    Frances,
    Thanks for a great story. You are quite a good writer (and photographer as well).

    Hi Linda, blush, thank you for those kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the turtle tale. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  15. Suzanne Holden says:

    Love today’s story! I too am a turtle fan, and used to have three little red eared ones when I was in my early twenties. Eventually we set them free in the Colorado River in Austin, where lots of their kind were living back then. I so hope that they survived and that their descendants (since it is now thirty-five years later) are still happily populating the river and maybe Lady Bird Lake there. The box turtles you have in your garden are such beauties. What a wondrous thing, to see the baby! The purple flowering plants aren’t too shabby, either. As for your prized mugs, I also have two large beautiful hand thrown mugs purchased several years ago at Clarksville Pottery (again, in Austin). They are my most precious coffee mugs, although I have never thought to travel with them. πŸ™‚

    Hi Suzanne, thanks very much, I do appreciate that! What a nice thought that your little red ears have populated the Colorado River! We are so fortunate to have the turtles, and love it when they make an appearance. I know they have plenty to eat and places to hide and live, and reproduce. It makes us very happy. As for the prized mugs, I only began traveling with mine after buying extras when the first one was broken. I bought several to make sure that the morning coffee could always be had in the special mug with the thumb rest that makes for a perfectly balanced cuppa! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  16. That poor traumatized turtle! She did provide you with some excellent photo ops.

    Oh yes, MMD, poor thing! I could tell she was panic stricken, moving very quickly and trying every fence opening. When she got stuck under the branch, I know she was so very scared. Her Momma probably had to give her chamomile tea to calm her down. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Eileen says:

    Frances, what an adventure! I like purple flowers also, but I think the turtle was something that came first.

    Eileen

    Hi Eileen, thanks. Actually I had the photos in the file already of purple flowers and leaves before seeing the turtle. I didn’t use them all, to make room for our lavender lady! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  18. nancybond says:

    Your pupples are lovely, Frances, as is your new garden resident!

    Hi Nancy, thanks, so nice to see you. She is a beauty, our little pupple princess. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. Cindy, MCOK says:

    What a lovely little lady your pupple tuttle is!

    Hi Cindy, thanks. We think so too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, I do love pupple! It’s purrrfect! It’s gotten to be one of my favorite colors for the garden…and with fall fast approaching there will be more! I’m so glad you were there to rescue Princess Pupple Turtle~xxoogail Did the box go to the UK with the cup?

    Hi Gail, thanks. It is a most wonderful color in any garden. Your painted projects show that very well. Yes, the box and bubblewrap were there with us, including on the plane for that morning coffee. You may have been to sleepy to notice. πŸ™‚
    xxxooo
    Frances

  21. commonweeder says:

    What a great story, and your usual amazing photos. We rarely see turtles around here, but we’ve got lots of toads this year. Not as photogenic.

    Hi Pat, thanks so much. We rarely see toads, I think it is the drought. I would love to see some by the pond. We used to have some there.
    Frances

  22. Meredehuit says:

    Delightful post! And how gentle you were with that little turtle. Finding a turtle in my garden would be quite the surprise.

    Thanks Meredehuit. Even though we know the turtles are around, it is always a surprise to see them. I think they are shy. Poor little thing, I didn’t want to frighten her any more than she already was.
    Frances

  23. Benjamin says:

    I have a jonesboro giant ironweed. It’s 12′ tall at least right now. I think it’s blooming but I, um, can’t see that far. I did put an airplane warning light up though. Do bees and monarchs go that high?

    Hi Benjamin, so nice to see you, thanks for stopping by. The ironweed at the fenceline was left unpruned. It easily gets twelve feet or higher each year. I can stand on a bench from the upper level near the knot garden and zoom in to get a blurry photo. It is easier for me to keep it shorter with a couple of cuts In May and June. I do think the butterflies go very high up, don’t know abou the bees. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. Lovely purple blooms Frances and sweet story about your pupple turtle. I understand about bringing a fave cup along on trips … it is a comfort thing and why not… to have your hands around something you feel at home with. ;>)

    Hi Carol, thanks very much. A cup it quite an intimate thing when it is a special one, used every morning to wake us up. So glad you get it. πŸ™‚
    Frances

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