Some stories take years to develop. Some stories can be imagined and written in one day, even an hour. However, this, dear readers is a story that built itself over several months. Photos were snapped at proper intervals to better illustrate the tale. Please follow along , if you so desire, as Kitty and I explain what happened in the new Fairegarden during the summer of 2015.
It began in the birdfeeding area along the fence. Sometimes sunflowers and grasses will germinate and grow from seeds dropped to the ground by careless bird diners. This sort of thing happens all the time. Sometimes the sunflowers will grow well enough to produce large flowers and seeds to feed the birds from their own sowing. But a plant arose in this area that did not look anything like a sunflower. What could it be, the gardener wondered.
The mystery plant grew large and robust as summer progressed. Kitty found cooling shade under the large leaves, all the better to observe but not disturb the feeding birds. Warm weather storms caused some leaning in the tree like greenery from heavy wind and rains. Wires were run between the fence posts to hold it upright.
Then beautiful blooms appeared, lots of blooms, many, many blooms. It was good.
The blooms were an obvious clue, but the truth was revealed when large pods formed. This was an okra plant, but how did it get here, the gardener wondered again.
Oh yes, the old okra pod wreath was still hanging there on the fence, totally obscured by its giant offspring. I remembered seeing birds perched on the wreath the winter before, pecking at the pods. I had thought that because the pods had been dipped in polyurethane the seeds would not be edible. I was wrong. The pods were shredded by strong beaks of various finches. Some stray seeds must have fallen to the ground and found the conditions to their liking. That seems odd since there is a only a thin layer of hardwood mulch over thick cardboard all along the fence, placed there to kill the crabgrass lawn and deter weeds. I was wrong about that, too.
The first killing frost was late this year for us and the okra tree continued to grow to the sky and produce yet more flowers and pods well into November. The fence is six feet in height, so the estimate is about ten feet for the fully grown plant. Lower leaves were removed to better harvest the drying pods. Another, smaller red okra sprung up beside it. It was remembered that the original pods were from two types of okra, one of them red, Bowling Red I think.
In the shed, the pods are drying. They were much larger than their parents, as the plant was much larger than any okra I have ever grown before.
At the beginning of 2016, the old wreath is once again a feature on the bare fence, tattered pods flying like banners in the wind. The wreath still seems to be in faire shape though, and would make a nice base for another okra pod wreath once this year’s pods are fully dry. The old wires look like they can even be reused to attached them. Waste not want not is a creed observed my entire life. In case I have forgotten how to fashion such a wreath, the old post will show the way.
The original okra pod wreath was featured in the blog post linked above. The wreath hung proudly on the door of the old house for several years before being brought to the new house in 2014 and hung on the fence. There is no wreath currently hanging on our front door. Perhaps there will be a new one proudly displayed on the door soon.
*Rather than pod people, old horror movie buffs will recognize this reference as from the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, these pods are more the botanical type.