Very late, very white

With the end of the growing season fast approaching, and cold weather sneaking its way into the garden every night, there are a few plants that are surprising me right now. Yesterday I showed the thriving volunteer tomato plant with it's many small tomato flowers as one example. Today, it's fewer flowers, but more impressive ones.

Specifically, white flowers. Even more specifically, the single white flower from this Datura inoxia.


I've shown you the spiky seed pods of this plant before but I wasn't expecting to see its flowers this year -- I thought it would be next year for sure.

But then the smaller of the two plants surprised me, and this bloom opened.

It's a long flower -- more than 6" -- and has a pleasant fragrance. I think the fragrance would be stronger if this had bloomed during the warmer parts of the year, but it's nice anyway. There's something about white flowers that is special. I'm not saying that I'd want an all-white garden, but sometimes when you take the colors out of the picture, the beauty of the form can really shine through.

And shine is what white flowers really do, as they seem almost to glow, even in shady spots. Maybe I should say *especially* in shady spots.

I still find it hard to believe that this:

Comes from this:

I also find it hard to believe that I've got a few other white flowers in the garden right now, like this Nicotiana (flowering tobacco) :

I can't believe how long it took for this plant to establish and flower. The self-sown seeds do seem to take a long time to germinate and the plants are slow to get to flowering size, but where were these guys a couple of months ago? This is the latest they've ever started flowering in my garden.

Like the Datura these are quite fragrant, especially in the evening.

I think if I want to see these earlier next year I'll have to start some plants from seed inside this winter.

By contrast, a plant that I will NOT need to be starting indoors is the Cleome. Based on the number of plants I had, and the number of seeds that each plant drops, I'll have about 35,000 of these plants next year. Although they're usually done blooming by this time, they seem to be having a resurgence right now, and this white one is looking particularly nice:

Most of them look pretty ragged, as they've spent their energy flowering all summer and producing hundreds of seeds. There are a few like this one that are fresh and beautiful, and I'm not sure if they're new plants, or just plants that have gotten a "second wind" with the cooler temperatures.

I'm thankful for these late blooming flowers of pure, brilliant white. Their vibrancy adds energy to the garden at a time when a lot of what's in it is just about out of energy. Including me.

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