Monday, August 2, 2010

Day in the Life of a Plant Geek

If you walk outside Twin Lakes Restaurant in Sunset Beach to wait for a table, this is what you will see.  I drove over there to see if I could find passion flowers which I had seen on this bank once upon a time, when the children were still little.  Passion flowers, Passiflora incarnata, are not uncommon at the coast of North Carolina, but it always feel like finding treasure  to come across them.  Few flowers are so uncommonly lovely.

But on this bank today, no passion flowers, just lots of catbriar, Smilax bona-nox, twining its spiny self all around, over and under.

Some Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, was mixed in, too.  This is a weed that crops up all over my shady yard at home, but rarely flowers like this one in full sun.  There will be dark berries later in summer which birds love.

Look left and see one of the last of the sailboats that will have to wait for the bridge to move so it can pass through - the new bridge will open up shortly.  Looks like wax myrtle at the left of the photo.  Myrica cerifera is one of the first shrubs you will see just beyond the dunes.

Back at Ocean Isle Beach, sea ox-eye daisy, Borrichia frutescens, grows along the canal. The leathery leaves don't mind salt spray at all. Perennial clumps of this native plant start easily from seed.  Bees and butterflies love them.
The sun is beginning to set but I still haven't found passion flowers.  My husband offers to chauffeur me around in the golf cart, so I take him up on it.

Do you see what I see?   Maybe I should have Picniked in an arrow.  There's a deer out there!  I think he saw me first.

We stared at each other for a while, and then...

He's off to the shrub thicket to hide.

We pull away and drive a few feet - "Honey, STOP!"  He's tired of hearing that by now, but he does one more time.

Just at sunset, before it was too dark, I found them!