Tall Story


I had no idea these would even grow in Bahrain, let alone develop so well. When a plant shop salesman handed me these seeds months ago, he was also not sure what would happen. Yes, they will grow, he said, to a few feet above the ground and, maybe, give some flowers. You can try, he said and try I did, not knowing what to expect.
Bumaiah, my gardener was, however, very sure these would grow and grow well! He said sunflowers are best suited to the mild winters in Bahrain and would be an ideal flowering plant.
Some months down the line, he has been proved right. But, yesterday, even he was surprised after he returned from a couple of weeks off to see how these have grown. The shortest plant in the patch is around 6 feet high while the tallest is nearly 12 feet – and growing!
Needless to say, these majestic plants are a pleasure to watch and observe! They are just another example of nature playing with our senses.
I have personally never seen sunflowers more than six to eight feet tall, even in the fertile plains of Punjab so, quite frankly, am ‘over the moon.’And, that’s not all. At least three of the plants have produced flowers in beautiful shades of mustard – another unusual phenomenon!
A quick Google search, however, reveals this is the Mammoth Sunflower variety, grown most commonly in the world’s temperate regions, and can grow to heights of between 10 and 12 feet.
While I credit myself with willing to risk being conned by the salesman, I will give full marks to Bumaiah, who believed. Hailing from the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, he is a gentleman with the proverbial green fingers. He’s done a great job elsewhere in the small plot of land we have and made sure we stand out among the small community.
As for us at home, we are just very glad we can live our dream – and that too in a so-called desert nation, where nothing supposedly grows!

Bloom Boom

Flower Flower1 “10 am flower” or “Morning Blossom” – call it what you want but the Portulaca Grandiflora is one wonder of nature that has fascinated me since I was a kid.
It was then that we used to pluck it early in the morning and ‘colour’ our hands and faces and went to one of our mothers to judge who had ‘painted’ himself the best.
This native of South America (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in particular) blooms only for a couple of hours in the morning, mostly around 10 am.
But here in Bahrain, since the sun is up early, the bloom is generally over by that time.
I saw this in the garden today, a rare sight since we are never at home during ‘bloom time’. The carpet is think and green, the flowers colourful and the sight pretty.
Sadly, this will continue for another couple of weeks though the plant will remain ‘live’ only to flower once again in March when the short and mild winter we have in Bahrain is over.