Here’s another guest post from our friend and fellow Master Gardener, Denise:
I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to live in a number of regions of the United States. I love Rhode Island, but honestly, I am a girl of the south. Warm sunny days, green grass and flowers by the end of February – now that is living!
Of course I cannot forget southern food either, so this year, I decided to plant okra. I knew it would grow in the garden, but that is about all I knew. I planted the seeds, diligently watered and kept the okra bed clean. By mid-July there was not too much action, other then tall stalks and lots of green leaves. I thought the heat of July would spur the plants into production, but that was not the case. I did get some okra pods but they did not mature.
I was about to pull the plants out and plant something else, when I noticed the beautiful okra flowers on the plant stalks. To me, okra is not a pretty vegetable. It can’t compare to the beauty of a shiny deep purple “Black Beauty” eggplant or a big red “Brandywine” tomato. Okra pods are ridged, and a matte, nondescript green color, but the flower is absolutely beautiful. The soft, pale yellow color of the petals provides a spectacular off-set to the deep maroon color inside the flower, which is spectacular. What I found really amazing is that when the flower falls off the plant, a fully formed and almost full-sized okra pod remains in place, waiting to be picked.
The plants are almost done for the season. They stand about 5 to 6 feet in height, and are stretching for the sinking sun and getting leggy. I just may plant them along my driveway next year so I can enjoy the flowers a bit more.