So I am finally back in Michigan after about a month and a half of travel featuring many exciting plants and gardens. Posts about these will commence shortly, but first I want to write about something that happened here in the Michigan garden during my absence: the flowering of my first lotus blossom (Nelumbo nucifera). You may recall that two years ago I posted about starting lotus seeds; that batch, having been started in January, unfortunately did not survive inside until it could be moved outside in spring. However, in the spring of last year I sowed another handful of seeds and the resulting seedlings spent all of last summer growing in large water-tight containers on the terrace. In late fall my dad dumped out the standing water in the containers and moved them to the back of the garage, where the dormant rhizomes passed the winter moist but not submerged and just barely frost-free. In May we brought the containers back out onto the terrace and filled them with water again and shortly after new leaves began to emerge. By the time I left in mid-June the water surface was covered with floating leaves but the plants were not yet producing any shoots bigger than those of the previous year. While I was gone, however, they appear to have progressed rapidly, and a couple of weeks back my mom captured a flower bud as it began to emerge:
Bud just emerging
It grew quite fast and a little over a week later looked like this:
The bud shortly before it began unfurling
A few days later the bud unfolded into a perfect flowers of deep pink:
The flower on the day it opened
On the second day, it opened much further, revealing a lighter coloring in the center:
The flower fully opened...
... And a close-up
Unfortunately the petals dropped two days before I got back. Now the typical lotus seed pod appears to be developing quite rapidly. When I came home, the plant looked like this:
The plant as it looks now, with developing seed pot held high
I am afraid there probably will not be any more flowers this year but I do hope that the plant will continue to grow and perhaps produce more flowers next year. Also, if the seeds manage to ripen, I might just try to raise a few more lotuses...