Things in the garden #3

This shrub is a stunner if you ask me — lovely foliage, and look at those flowers! They have a deep red, velvety appearance that the photo doesn’t quite capture. Since I bought it last week it has been flowering constantly and profusely. The only question is, what is it?
maple_hibiscus

The label said maple something and the seller said it was a maple, though she may simply have been telling me the only English word in its Thai name. At any rate, I thought, I ain’t never seen a maple with flowers like that.

Quite a bit of sleuthing later, I found this image from an equally perplexed person — my plant, but a different colour. I had to agree that the flower looks like a hibiscus. After a bit more searching I’m pretty confident that it’s a Hibiscus acetosella, aka maple leaf hibiscus, red-leaved hibiscus, African rosemallow, false roselle, cranberry hibiscus, maroon mallow and red shield hibiscus. I’ve seen pictures of the pink one with leaves just like this plant, and another with flowers this colour but more maple-like leaves — but maybe the leaves change shape as the plant gets older. Apparently it grows several feet tall and needs pruning to prevent it becoming straggly. I will be delighted if it grows big.

This brunfelsia shrub looks rather unassuming at the moment…
brunfelsia

…but in full bloom it could potentially look like this. A member of the nightshade family (again!), brunfelsia is known as the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow tree for its flowers, which start off purple and fade through lavender to white, with all three colours appearing on the plant at the same time. I bought it at the Or Tor Kor plant market near Chatuchak. I like its natural, shrubby shape, though it has a lot of branches growing in one direction. I’ve turned the other side to face the sun and cut back one branch that just looked silly.

4 thoughts on “Things in the garden #3

  1. It’s bitterly cold here right now, so I’m grateful for the plant posts. :) I am 1000% done with winter! Can’t wait to get back out in the yard and plant tomatoes. Oh and get rid of my shoes. I hate wearing shoes, LOL.

    Btw, was surfing through Tumblr and saw this amazing artist’s work posted, immediately thought of you. http://valeriehegarty.com/home.html

    • I’ve bought tomato seeds — just need to get the containers and make sure I’m using the right dirt! I’ve actually started wearing shoes a bit more (well, flip-flops), as my heels were looking and feeling like the face of the moon. There will be more plant posts, including some pics from the nearby big park/garden, where they have some fascinating flora.

      I love the crows’ banquet! To me, her work is kind of like vanitas paintings with bigger teeth.

      • I LOVE THE VENETIAN BIRD YOU’RE MAKING! There are no words for how much I love it. The Bauta mask has always been my favorite of Venetian masks. It’s such an inscrutable thing. The others, Volto, Medico delle Peste, etc, all give off some personality to me. The Bauta is tabula rasa. :) Fabulous for a bird.

        You won’t have any trouble *growing* tomatoes. They’ll grow in anything. I’ve literally grown them in sand. Just keep them well-watered and feed them a little liquid fertilizer (I use the blue crystal stuff mixed in water, it’s called Pete’s Plant Food here, but I think Miracle Gro is worldwide) and they’ll bear fruit. The soil determines the taste of the tomato, though, so a richer one with a medium-high PH is going to taste a lot better than a commercial one, which tastes like cardboard to me. :-/

        I just checked on the Thailand seasons, looks like you’re perfect for starting seeds!

        • Thank you, I’m glad you like the bird! I find bautas enigmatically expressive — fundamentally rather sinister, but also soulful or whimsical, depending on the wearer’s manner. It’s my favourite Venetian mask too.

          I didn’t know the soil determined the taste — thanks for the knowledge! If Miracle Gro isn’t available something similar will be, and the local nurseries sell all kinds of soil. If I can grow tomatoes that taste tomatoey I’ll be a happy camper.

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