There are a few plants that I have brought with me from Bonn and have kept cosseted in pots. Some of them are Japanese endemic herbs that I use often and that I figured would not be easily available here in Valencia, such as mitsuba (trefoil, Cryptotaenia japonica). I have an unusual purple-leafed variety, C. japonica ‘Atropurpurea’, bought at one of the plant sales at the Bonn Botanical Garden. I had never seen it when I lived in Japan, but purple mitsuba created a sensation in the UK some years ago, though more for its extraordinary colour than for its culinary use. It’s survived the Valencian summer quite well in the shade of an arbutus tree. Here it is, displaying an interesting plant phenomenon known as guttation — when root pressure forces a plant to exude water through leaf tips or edges. This occurs when soil moisture levels are high but the stomata (leaf pores) are closed, usually at night.
The other herb, myõga (Zingiber mioga), whose flower buds and tender young shoots are used for flavouring and pickling, as well as adorning, Japanese dishes, is in hibernation at the moment, having lost its leaves during the hot summer, but I expect it to leaf out again with cooler temperatures. It has been discovered recently to have anti-cancer properties.
But one of the plants whose flowers never fail to delight me is the hototogisu (toad lily, Tricyrtis formosana). It doesn’t have a very conspicuous bloom, like a peony or rose, whose beauty is apparent from a distance. One has to approach a hototogisu really close to fully appreciate its arresting beauty. It has bloomed non-stop from March last year up to now. It’s kept the trefoil company under the arbutus tree. It’s winding down now for its winter rest.
And the other favourite plant that I just could not leave behind in Bonn is a Mediterranean native, though I have yet to see it here in Valencia. It’s a cyclamen, and I am looking forward to its enchanting flowers soon, but even its leaves are just as enchanting.
Today marks the 290th entry in my grace journal that I began just over two years ago, in which I note the wonders that I come across in daily life. Thank you all for reading my posts and encouraging me 🙂