A friend gave me a few seeds from her Cleome hassleriana several years ago. We planted the seeds, enjoyed the flowers, saved the seeds and continued burying them in the soil at a couple of different homesteads, spreading the joy of flowers as we moved. They are in several flower beds around our current home, both bidden and unbidden. We even have a couple popping up in our tomato patch. I can never bring myself to pull the young volunteers, preferring to let them do their thing and put on their spectacular show.
One of my earliest memories is visiting the farm of my Aunt Aubrey and Uncle Mead–my grandmother’s sister and her husband. I remember the farmhouse being rather dark and smokey (both smoked cigarettes) so we kids spent as much time as we could outside. And the cleome, or spider flower, as the old folks called them, were everywhere. We loved popping the seed pods, usually by throwing them at each other.
I still enjoy popping the seed pods, but now collect the seeds to share–Johnny Spider-Flower style.
Its been interesting to see our cleome mature at different sizes, based on nothing more but the quality of the soil they’re in, how restricted their roots are and how much sun they get. We’ve had 1-foot miniatures and 6-feet giants, all from the same seed.
Attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds, we love addition of cleome to our garden. And the sense of nostalgia they inspire in me is an added bonus.
Do you have a favorite plant that takes you back to your childhood?