Last Wednesday we went to a large nursery (vivero) in Portoviejo to get some more flowers for our new flower beds. We spotted two two-foot tall sunflower plants that had buds almost ready to open and asked how much they cost. At $3.00 each or two for $5.00 we could not resist getting them both. Two of the largest buds opened up this week.
This afternoon I went out to get some close-up pictures of one of the most amazing and intriguing flowers I have ever seen.
The sunflower plant produces several flowers, but each flower is actually a spirally mass of hundreds of flowers or florets. This was the first bud to open and you can see scores of brown and yellow pollen laden flowers opening up from the outside rows inward.
This next bud opened up a day or two later than the first and only has one or two rows of inner florets opened.
Because of its dark background it is easier to see the interconnecting spirals (known as the Fibonacci sequence for you mathematician types) radiating out from the center.
This younger bud will likely blossom within the next week.
More are coming!
The bright colors and abundant pollen calls out to numerous pollinators who work diligently gleaning nectar and redistributing pollen to this and other flowers.
You can see the pollen laden legs on the small bee in the next picture.
Whoops! Not a pollinator!
While we were at the vivero we got into a buying frenzy and bought a few small $1.00 plants the names of which we did not know. But for one dollar!
We got what turned out to be a beautiful red carnation flower.
Likewise we got a couple of small $1.00 ground cover type flowering plants for the wall-mounted bamboo planter near our front door.
Mary used to have some of these plants, called Portulacas, at her home in the United States. Their petite blooms are only about one inch in diameter, but add a splash of color to our entry area.
We got two larger gardenia plants which we planted right in front of our front porch so that we could enjoy the beautiful aroma of gardenia flowers in the mornings.
They complement the unusual bloom of the shrimp plants in the same planter.
Mary worked to re-pot several small cacti and succulent plants that we discovered around the yard. These are growing in a pot on our front door step until we can decide on another location.
We also purchased a number of different herb plants which we read were good to position around chicken coops. For now they are taking root in pots near our bedroom window.
We have hanging baskets around our porch and they are really starting to bloom.
Mary was happy to get this Chenille Cat-tail plant! Its’ unusual blossoms attract hummingbirds.
And these White Splash Geraniums:
Last but not least, the small limon trees in the yard are starting to bloom their small, but aromatic pin-wheel flowers in preparation for the rainy season which begins in January.
Every now and again someone still asks us why we moved all the way down to Ecuador. We always answer that it was the friendly loving people that attracted us first to move and then convinced us to stay here.
But, being surrounded year round by so much of God’s finest craftsmanship and beauty also helps make this a place where we can say…
Life is good in Ecuador!