Project Batwing

Today I spent the morning stalking dragonflies among some water-lilies at the local botanical garden. The first hour brought nothing but a bunch of blurry messes, but after a few exasperated shots of a nearby beetle, the flies seemed to become more accommodating. Whether the survival of said beetle helped ease the tension I don’t know, but we eventually reached an unspoken agreement that if they landed in a particular region of leaves and petals they were going to get a hot pink camera lens pointed two centimeters from their face. Perhaps I am anthropomorphizing, but the bugs seemed to enjoy it, flying to the same spot again and again as I worked to get my photos in focus, seemingly posing at times, like the supermodels of bugdom. After the string of fuzzy brown monsters I’ve recently been capturing, the jeweled tones were a welcome change.

Once certain some acceptable shots were in tow, I proudly packed up my camera and headed toward the exit, pleased that I had gone somewhere where plants could be purchased and uneventfully left with wallet unscathed.

Except that sequence of events didn’t happen exactly because at the last minute I took a rogue turn toward the bonsai collection which was too near the gift shop. Said gift shop was hosting a rare plant sale accompanied by threatening exclamations that all the unsual, available specimens would soon be gone (or considerably more expensive). So, after a pensive stroll through the tropical house, a Google search and several more events of which most are a blur I found myself instead exiting somewhat ashamedly as the new owner of a white batflower, a tropical, Asiatic plant that I am not entirely certain I will be able to keep alive. And there we go.

Thus begins Project Batwing, the epic, arduous journey of me trying to nurse a yellow cluster of leaves into dramatic, black and white flowers reminiscent of Hollywood yesteryear, armed only with the confidence earned from the success of Operation Crispy Fern and the veiled warnings of the failed begonias, pansies, nearly every vegetable and non-native plant I have ever tried to grow here (but we shall not speak of these things, at least not yet).

The batflower grows naturally in tropical regions and in a steamy greenhouse at the botanical garden. It is claimed they can live quite happily indoors but whether it can actually do so under my wardship we shall soon see.

For a start I have placed it next to the fern and given it a good soaking, choosing to stare awkwardly at it like the new plant parent that I am and mostly ignore the fact that big decisions still need to be made.

Is the batflower going to be the plant that finally gets me to build that greenhouse I’ve always wanted to build? Is there going to be tech involved for said greenhouse now that I’m 3/4 of the way through engineering? Is the flower going to live?

Tune in next time for more, same bat-time, same bat-blog-thread.