About six square meters big and containing nine plants and eighteen pots my mother’s ecosystem has been running strong since the late 1980s.
During the three summer months my mother is away, the plants are watered once a month by the neighbor. Within the glass enclosure the balcony works like a hot house and the plants thrive. Several of them extend shoots that take root in the adjacent pots. Some reseed themselves in further away pots. It is very interesting to observe that they all do well with limited amount of soil.
The cacti bloom from May to July. They produce big white flowers about 13-15 cm in length that last only a day or two. After the flowers fall off, brown fuzzy tufts remain in their place. I was able to take hasty photographs of the enchanting blooms in May.
The winter months provide more humidity and my mother might add a little vitamin into their soil. I can name only two of the plants on her balcony by their common names; the spider plant and the geranium.
Chlorophytum comosum Pelargonium hortorum
The spider plant or Chlorophytum comosum is of the Asparagaceae family. It is a flowering plant native to tropical and southern Africa and it has been naturalized in other parts of the world. Variegated forms are popular houseplants, variegated meaning the foliage having two colors.
Individual flowers are greenish-white and the inflorescences carry plantlets at the tips of their long branches, which eventually droop and touch the soil, developing adventitious roots. These are roots that originate from the stem, the branches or leaves of a plant.
The plant also has stems called stolons that do not bear flowers and have roots at the nodes.
It turns out that geranium is just the common name for the members of the genus Pelargonium which are also in the Geraniaceae family as true geraniums.
“Linnaeus originally included all the species in one genus, Geranium, but they were later separated into two genera by Charles L’Héritier in 1789”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelargonium)
Pelargonium is native to southern Africa and Australia, and the north of New Zealand. There are species native to other countries also, two of them being native to Turkey: P. endlichherianum and P. quercetorum. Naturalized P. horhotum is still the most favored geranium. It is an evergreen perennial that can flower throughout the winter months if it is given a warm, sunny and sheltered location.
My brother Aydın and Gülten Örstan on her balcony in 2013
Our beloved mother passed away recently. I did not wish to make changes to the previous outline I had planned for this post. It was enough heart brake that I had to distribute her plants to fellow plant lovers and gardeners.