Friday, July 1, 2022

Odds and Ends


My sister commented yesterday that her Crape Myrtle trees have pretty much stopped blooming.  Usually they bloom from mid-June to September. 

I told her it’s because the trees realize it’s not July, it’s September.  I say this because we’ve had an unseasonably, irritating, hotter-than-hell April, May, and June.  Therefore, no matter what the calendar says – it’s time for September weather which means it’s going to be less hot very soon.

Do Not Burst My Bubble!

Across the street from me are large fields that historically plant cotton or corn.  Currently, the farmer using those fields has planted cotton.  I bring this up because in addition to being very warm, it has also been very windy and very dry.  Honestly – off and on, it’s been like

Okay, maybe not exactly like that but local dryness in addition to the Saharan dust makes it pretty close.  Plus, it totally makes my allergies bad, terrible, awful, dreadful, and horrific.

Back to Cotton - Did you know that cotton is a member of Malvaceae – the mallow family. It’s related to hibiscus, hollyhocks, and okra. 

In many states it’s illegal to grow cotton without a permit that states you’re growing a small amount that you don’t intend to use for commercial value.  And, while it’s actually a perennial, it is grown as an annual to help control pests.

The farmer said to the boll weevil "I see you're on the square"
Boll weevil said to the farmer "Say yep! My whole darn family's here"
(We gotta have a home, gotta have a home)

The boll is the seed pod with a cushy material surrounding the seeds.  Way back and long ago (like 6000 BC) some enterprising person figured out the cushy material could be spun and woven into fabric.  Here's a Bonus! cotton bolls come in different colors – brown, pink, green, blue and yellow.  Who knew!

And speaking of the Malvaceae family – do you enjoy hibiscus tea?  I do.  I decided, once upon a time, to try to grow the type of hibiscus tea is made from.  Another did you know ….. there are more than 300 species of plants go by the name “hibiscus,” but only roselles (Hibiscus sabdariffa var.) have the edible calyces surrounding the red fruits that make tea.  It’s a fairly hand’s-on plant needing a specific amount of composting, fertilizing, pruning, and general petting to produce.  Unfortunately, my planting attitude leans toward “Grow damnit or I’ll jerk you out of the ground and throw you on the burn pile”(Of course, this could be why I am not a farmer – lack of patience.)

It's a perennial in subtropic areas or can be grown in a container if you live in the cold part of the universe.  It’s something a little different to plant.  My plant did moderately well, produced enough of the fruits for a couple of pitchers of tea.  Unfortunately the following year we had THE GREAT FLOOD OF 2017 and it drown.

Obviously you can tell that there’s nothing fun going on here as I am talking about odds and ends.

I have my next Earth Lab at Hesed House coming up soon.  While the program should be good and interesting, I am currently in a state of total panic about “will anyone actually show up???” 

You should come!

Guess I’ll close for today before my brain spits out any other weird plant stuff.


1 Jul 2022


  1. I love the sword and pen joke! Hang in there.

  2. I did not know that cotton and hibiscus are related! Yes, I enjoy a nice cup of hibiscus tea every once in a while.

  3. I love hibiscus tea. It's so comforting. That last meme with the Swordfish? Bad. Really bad.

  4. I'm trying to remember if I've ever had hibiscus tea... I'm going to have to track some down!

  5. My crapes refuse to bloom when I don't prune them.

  6. I've never tried hibiscus tea, the flower is pretty. I didn't know it is related to cotton. I love the gardening tip! Happy 4th July

  7. Poor you with allergies in those conditions.

  8. Our crepe myrtles are starting to bloom - for this region they seem to be right on time, maybe a bit early. I do love hibiscus tea and its Egyptian cousin Karkade - in fact, I just made a pitcher of it.