Sunday, August 8, 2010
One fork of Sacramento's bike trail winds behind the Blue Diamond Almond plant, where the smell of roasting almonds can be intoxicating and where flowers line both sides of the road. The flowers are four o'clocks, or mirabilis jalopa. Their brightly-colored blossoms tend to open in the late afternoon, hence their common name. (Although in Sacramento, four o'clock is several hours too early for the cooler temperatures they need to open).
When I was a boy, we had four o'clocks lining the path through our backyard. They were a big deal to my mom and dad and they always make me think of those days when I see them today.
Now, while our backyard is home to a growing crop of the flowers, we have only red and yellow blossoms. So, when I saw that the Blue Diamond plants were also sporting white and pink blossoms, I decided it was perfectly OK to liberate a few clusters of the dried flowers and tiny seeds. The flowers produce copious seeds, each the size, shape and color of a black peppercorn. On several rides, I grab a few of the spent blossom clusters, stuff them in a pocket or basket, ride home and toss them among our red-and-yellow beds.
Hopefully, next spring will find two new colors added to our garden.