The most anticipated flower in my garden bloomed today -- passiflora incarnata alba, the passion flower. I started these seeds early in the winter and have been nursing this plant along ever since, first under a cloche and then against the onslaught of the slugs.
All of my careful ministrations were worth it when when I returned from a long day of work this evening to find two blossoms quivering in the wind. The scent is tropical and the flowers look other-worldly. Neighbors gathered around for examination and discussion, as the vine is climbing my front fence. I have a feeling these passion flowers may be "shoplifted" off the vine, much like the moon flowers that grow nearby. Every morning, I notice a blossom or two has been plucked off. Such is the fate of showy flowers grown along a busy sidewalk.
I imagine a a teenage girl took one of these giant moon flowers, to tuck behind her ear, like a flamenco dancer. The petals look like rumpled white silk. I personally would pick the passion flower, although the numerous ants scurrying on the underside of the flowers would be an unwelcome surprise in the hair.
Of course, I should just rest on my laurels and enjoy the flowers, but now I am calculating the days until the first frost and wondering whether the vine will set fruit. Given the autumn chill and winds right now, it is hard to imagine I will have any passion fruit cocktails in my future. But a long Indian summer may be right around the corner, so who knows? And if not this year, perhaps next - the woman who sent me the seed says it is hardy to zone 5 if mulched carefully.