Arty journeys...


Friday, 4 September 2015

A Journey in Time

A JOURNEY IN TIME - 6 months (so far)

Thursday 3rd
In February a friend posted a photo of a very interesting flower on Facebook saying "it is said to be the most beautiful in the world". I was fascinated by it and wondered if I could grow one. Four days later I ordered some seeds online (£2.99 + £1.80 postage) and a couple of weeks after that five seeds arrived from Holland - with no instructions. After a search online I discovered that I had to wait patiently till April or May to plant them indoors, preferably in a heated propagator.

Three out of my five seeds germinated. One seedling grew rapidly and I was able to put it outside in a big pot in a sunny position as soon as the frosts had gone. The second followed a few weeks later. The third stayed indoors - I'll tell you why later

The plants are vine-like and have wonderful tendrils which seek out anything to cling to and then tighten their grip making strange shapes - some look like a tangle of old fashioned coiled telephone cords

I was very excited when the first little flowers opened. They have five (a couple have six) white petals that look as if they've frayed around the edges

This is the only insect I've seen paying any interest in the flowers

According to the internet the flowers close in the day and open at night - mine close sometimes but they're usually open during the day

Some of the tendrils curl like elegant handwriting

They look quite bedraggled with raindrops weighing down their frayed edges

At times there have been twenty or more flowers on the first plant that I put outside, but not quite so many on the second

Sometimes the flowers fall off and come to nothing but one has formed a . . . oh yes I forgot to tell you what it is - it's a snake gourd . . . and one snake gourd is forming on the second plant. It looks like a bean at the moment but it's supposed to grow to at least the size of a cucumber - and I hope there will be more of them

Unfortunately I damaged the third plant quite badly when transplanting it from a small pot to the next size up. The stem snapped about two thirds of the way through, about an inch up from the soil level. I really thought that was the end of it - I quickly put some tape around it expecting the worst. I have been very surprised at how well it has recovered. It has been quite slow growing but is now flowering. I feel extremely protective towards it with its taped stem so I'm keeping it indoors

The other day a flower fell off and I put it in water overnight. This one has six petals

The next morning it had become translucent

  even the stem was see-through

Friday 4th
The two plants in the garden aren't looking good this morning - during the night every one of the leaves on the first plant have been eaten

and something has had a tasty feast from the only snake gourd that has developed (on the second plant). I wonder if the little black insect with big feet has anything to do with it. He must have had some friends in to help him

The only plant that is still looking healthy is the one indoors - this looks like my only chance now for a snake gourd that produces seeds. I had been hoping to grow more next year and give away spare seeds to friends

Whether or not that happens it's certainly been very interesting to watch the development over the past 6 months

My very grateful thanks goes to my friend Karen who put the photo on Facebook in February and started me on this enjoyable little journey

and if you have read to the end of this rather long post well done and thank you very much for joining me


  1. What an amazing flower. Well done on raising 3 plants. Good thing you kept the third one indoors. Hope you get some seed.

  2. It's a beautiful plant and flower Angela, I think I'll have to get details from you as to where to buy those seeds.

    1. Thank you Cath. I still hope to get seeds from mine - if I do I will give you some - but if not .....I found out after ordering mine through Amazon and getting them from Holland that you can buy them in garden centres here that stock the Thompson and Morgan RHS Garden Explorers Children's Seeds or order direct from Thompson and Morgan.

  3. What an amazing looking flower - a fascinating plant indeed. hope you get some seeds from your indoors plant.