27 Apr

So, all these plants in my little balcony garden are growing incredibly well. I must admit that I’m actually surprised they’re still alive.

But I noticed about two weeks ago that there were some strange things I hadn’t planted starting to sprout. And I knew I hadn’t planted them because I once dabbled in botany, where I learned the difference between monocots and dicots. See, I recognized the contamination because there were dicots growing with the monocots.

There were tons of little sprouts; I’ve had to weed them out almost every day! I had decided to let one grow so that I could see what type of plant it was going to grow into, but I think I’ve figured out what these contaminating plants are: Monster Flowers.

A Field of Monster Flowers

We are surrounded on 3 sides of our condo complex by these giant stalks of flowers. Having no idea what they are, GP and I dubbed them Monster Flowers because, well, they’re pretty monstrous in size. This one is almost as tall as me, and I’m 5″8′.

The King of the Monster Flowers

I think they must be some sort of thistle. The actual flower part is thistle-like:

See? Thistle-y

Really, they’re kind of cool. One day this spring there was nothing there, and the next day a bunch of 1 foot high plants had sprouted. After a few weeks they had reached several feet. And they continue to grow. The only bad thing is their seeds. They release these little puffs that remind me of the puffs that come off cottonwood trees.

Giant puffy seeds sprout from these enormous flower heads

I find these things all over our balcony, and I’m pretty sure all the watering I’m doing in my planters is helping their germination there. Hence, the source of my garden contamination.

However, the monster flowers are not the only interesting inhabitants of the balcony garden. We’ve also been playing host to a number of frogs and now a family has moved in.

New neighbors


4 Responses to “Contamination!”

  1. Leta April 28, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    The dove had to build that nest and have the egg in just one day, because it was not there when I left! Fast work. We saw 2 doves flying around your porch – I guess they were looking for a home.
    I enjoyed my visit so much and miss all of you!

  2. MizFit April 29, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    love love love the thistle pic.

  3. the Bag Lady May 3, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Those are some huge thistles! (If you see them in bloom, break off the flowers so they don’t go to seed – help eliminate them for the sake of the farmers!)

    So very cool to have the bird nest on your balcony!

  4. Elizabeth May 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    That is definitely a thistle, and I understand that you have to be very careful (as the Bag Lady said) to keep them from spreading, pretty as they are.


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