Saturday, 30 August 2014

Guess what it's going to be!

One of the most satisfying activities in botany is looking at a plant in bud and imagining when the bud will burst, how fast the growth will occur, and what the final structure will look like. It's like opening a parcel at Christmas - the anticipation just as good as the end result. 

The photo below shows a developing flower of Scabiousa 'Butterfly Blue'. The flower head currently seems to be a flat plate covered in tiny balls of green dough. Just by looking at these tiny structures there is no way to know what they would grow into. In a garden environment, no one really knows when the growth will happen, as it is entirely dependent on temperature. Plants grow much faster at 22 degrees Celcius than at 15 degrees, and so it's really all down to the weather. 

If you would like to see the final form of the flower enjoy a little google image search on "Scabious 'butterfly blue'" or have a look at the photo on the Missouri Botanical Garden website. There are some truly stunning close-ups out there and the vibrant blue is quite surprising when we know that those petals were just little green balls of dough a few days earlier. 

Next time you are out walking, have a look at some of the buds that you see in your neighbourhood and try to guess what they will become. Watch for the seasons changing, and the warm temperature that brings about their transformation. Plant grow quickly, but not so quickly that you cannot see their growth unfold over the course of a few days. See if you can catch them at it!