Read about Carla Black by clicking here.

The agony and the ecstacy of -

Waiting for my First Lotus Blossom
by Carla Black, Panamá
Click images to enlarge

The first standing leaves of my lotus showed their unexpected vigor the first week of November, 2006. This wasn't my first plant - I had sowed seeds three and a half years earlier, and tried a couple of times since. None of my previous attempts produced plants strong enough to hold leaves above the water. The sprouts were cheerful and strong, but later their little pads would languish, then fade away. A tuber even behaved the same way. I had no real hope that these seeds, sent by a friend in Singapore after his visit to the famous Bangkok plant market, would fare any better. I planted all eight seedlings in one 50cm (20") washbasin and went on vacation. I was thrilled to return home to standing leaves! Just weeks later, the shocking surprise was a bud! I had been content to have a lotus plant that looked the way it should - I never dared to hope for a flower!

After what must have been five weeks of watching the bud slowly grow taller and swell up, I thought the happy day was finally at hand. The flower had to bloom soon, so on a Saturday I began the photo journal of my first lotus blossom. That lovely pink color was a sure sign, right?


By Wednesday I was seeing a little progress, but not as much as I had anticipated. It had grown taller, true, but I didn't see more color. The pink was all sepal and no petal. 

 
Eight days had now passed since the first photo; it was the second Sunday, and nothing yet. When would this bud pop open? I certainly felt like a novice lotus bud watcher: a bit embarrassed by starting the vigil a whole week early, but still hopeful. I could see encouraging changes: the sepals had puffed out a bit, and the whole bud seemed to become lighter weight.

Tuesday night and the signs were clear now. I could actually see a bit of the petals peeking out, and they were pink! I was happy to know my first lotus flower would bloom in color rather than plain white - I will surely appreciate those subtle beauties, but only after a glamorous blossom or two.  
 

Finally! On Wednesday, a week and a half after starting my photo log, I had my first ever lotus flower! It seemed like a long wait, but of course it wasn't. Though I had worked at having lotus for over three years, this plant is less than six months old - remarkable, really. The very same day an email arrived in our Victoria Adventure mailboxes. Clair Ossian in Texas needed photos of a cross-section of a lotus flower stem as "part of a long-going research project concerning the Nymphaea species and the lotus species that were used and illustrated in scenes and objects from ancient Egypt." 

Anything for the sake of science, I thought, as I contemplated slicing the peduncle with a razor blade. Well, almost anything; Clair had to wait for ALL of the petals to scatter to the wind before I cut! 

Clair was pleased with the photos (not least because they proved the point of view in the issue at hand!), and said so in an email, signing off with this cartouch which reads, "Clair is satisfied." I am, too! It's not everyday I get a hieroglyphic thank-you note. It was a lovely end to a lovely flower. 


Now I really must consider separating the eight plants which are still entwined in the original 50cm (20") basin. But maybe I'll wait for that second flower to bloom…

 

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