Bloom Day -August 15, 2016
Bloom Day - September 16, 2016

Tassels and Silk

Corn topsTwo weeks ago there was fragrance in the air. It was subtle yet distinct. Sweet but not cloying. Heady and beckoning. I walked into the garden to discover its source. Fragrance can be as elusive as a dream memory and it took just a few steps to realize that fragrance was coming from the corn patch. This sweet scent comes along for a few days each summer as the corn flowers mature and release their pollen. Corn flowers are much more subtle than phlox, dahlia or daylily flowers. Corn is a monoecious plant which means that there are both male and female flowers on the corn plant. The female flowers are aptly named 'silk' which is wrapped around the fertilized corn and peeled back when we shuck the corn. Corn flowersThe male flowers are at the top of the cornstalk and are called 'tassels' and no male ever smelled sweeter than the pollen produced by these tassels. Tassels shed pollen for just a few days and once the pollen is shed it is viable for only a few minutes. When it lands on the silk below, it germinates within minutes. It is another miracle of Mother Nature. I am not a corn expert but as a gardener, I can appreciate the process. As I walked toward the corn patch I could hear the hum of the bees, honeybees. Happy, happy honeybees were busy with the corn tassels.  Corn with beeThey seemed to appreciate the sweet smell as much as I did. Perhaps even more since it is life giving for them. It seems that everyone can appreciate the line 'Stop and smell the roses' but how many of us can appreciate and actually stop to enjoy the smell of sweet corn in a field? I wish this for everyone, everywhere.

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