Monday, August 3, 2009


Much like the beginning of the summer, Alexandria, Virginia saw days and days and days of rain this past week and weekend. At times it was so torrential i wondered if it was hailing. (My parents in North Carolina did have hail, grape-sized.)

I was kind of glad that the garden was getting watered without me, but when I went out to inspect the weeds that had surely sprung up, i was horrified at what I found.

Here is a photo of a healthy zucchini plant, on or about July 7, 2009, so almost two months ago. (Note, that it has grown much much bigger, but this gives you an idea of what it looks like.)

Now, a week ago, the leaves of this plant were so large that they reached the newspaper on the right side and were equidistantly stretched out all around. With beautiful squash blossoms beaming at me every morning and zucchini growing. Did you know that zucchini blossoms open in orange glory early in the morning and look like tiger lilies, sort of? They don't stay all twirled up all the time - in the morning they are open and glorious. I notice this from my shower window in the morning and I have been meaning to post about it for you.

Well, that is unlikely to happen due to this tragedy:
The leaves have been shredded and beaten into the ground.

Here is the horrifying closeup.

It would be impossible for photosynthesis to occur with these shredded leaves, not only because the leaf area does not exist anymore (mostly) but because the xylem and phloem in the stems has been destroyed. Xylem (zylem) and phloem are the tubes in the stem that carry the and water throughout the plants. I remember this from 7th grade biology, believe it or not. Our teacher made us sing a song about it, a really simple song, and she told us at the time "you feel stupid now, but you will remember this the rest of your life" and she was right. So: xylem carry the water up, phloem carry the food down. (i.e., xylem carry water from the roots up to the leaves, where photosynthesis occurs, and then the food is made there in the cells, and the phloem carry the food down to the roots, etc.)

So, in this plant, the xylem and phloem is pretty much brutally bashed out of commission:

Those are the main stems of Plant 1 and Plant 2. they were beaten open by what I can only imagine was hail and now there are ants taking up residence like it's an open house. I see no evidence of either xylem or phloem.

Then there are such exhibits as this:

Stems such as this have just given up.

After coming to terms with the devastation, I reminisced over times gone by.

Photos like these remind me to Carpe Diem. Look at all the sturdy xylem and phloem.

If you think I am not shedding a tear, I am. Mister Siren and I had words over a lack of sensitivity to the destruction. It was like losing a child. I'm serious, people! I was looking forward to a bountiful harvest of zucchini all summer, and i get - - - - - destruction. I feel like a pioneer in a year of famine or something.

There were other casualties:

My husband tried to repair the damage with scotch tape out of sympathy for me and his own dinner salads.

If the plant does not repair itself, all of these tomatoes will be at stake

Please mourn with me. This is way too sorrowful to mourn by myself.

RIP, zucchini.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Ouch. Sorry. I really didnt even remember that I knew what those terms were! Thanks for the re-biology lesson.