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Intriguing Specimen From A Kitchen Garden September 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature.

Today, for Smithsonian Museum Day, we went to Cracker County, a living history museum, at the State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

While we wandered the grounds, costumed interpreters churned butter, ran the printing presses in the print shop, cooked rabbit stew over open flames, scrubbed laundry using lye soap and ribbed washboards, forged metal, caned chairs, carved wood, fashioned baskets, and entertained children in the schoolhouse, the church, and at the lasso demonstration.

The train depot, moved from Okahumpka FL, contained a model railroad.

And boasted a little red caboose fitted out as a doctor’s office.

The most intriguing thing we saw was loitering about the kitchen garden.

Not in the garden proper, but hanging about the fence . . . mini boxing gloves.

We thought someone had quilted ornaments and hung them to dry.

Further examination revealed the delicate organic nature of the blooms.

We asked around; no one recognized the plant or its alien pods.

Stumped, we clumped around the grounds looking for “Claude,” the gardener. 

At last, we learned the name of this mysterious kitchen garden specimen. 

Aah . . . that’s better!

Do you recognize the plant?  Ever seen one before?  Do you recall when and where?  Do you remember its name? 

First one to post the correct answer below gets bragging rights!  If no one guesses the plant’s name, I’ll gladly tell you on Tuesday.


1. Piglet in Portugal - September 29, 2012

oh, Wow. what beautiful flowers. I thought they may have been sweet peas, until I scrolled down. Be interesting to discover what they are

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

I wonder if anyone will recognize the plant, PiP. We had never seen anything like it. We started pointing it out to other visitors and they were clueless too.

Discovering its “secret identity” became our quest. We must have talked to every docent on the museum grounds about it before we found “the right guy.”

2. Andra Watkins - September 29, 2012

I love the marbling.

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

The blossoms were 6-8″ across . . . like flying saucers! 😯

They looked like beautiful marbled Christmas ornaments, especially against the green leaves. Nature rocks!

3. sufilight - September 29, 2012

How beautiful!!! Looks velvety. Now I am curious as to what they are, so will be checking in again! 🙂

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

The blossom felt smooth and delicate . . . lighter and flatter than a squash blossom.

4. Marcella Rousseau - September 29, 2012

I’m taking a wild guess – flower from a cranberry bean plant?

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

That’s an excellent guess, Marcella . . . but, no, not cranberry bean blossoms. 😉

5. Three Well Beings - September 29, 2012

What a delightful Saturday adventure, Nancy! I have no idea what the little “boxing gloves” and beautiful flower are, but it will be great to learn more about it. I’ve never seen it before. We are out of town and went to an historical site today, too. I knew of the Smithsonian Day, but didn’t realize we needed to show a membership card. It was okay…it wasn’t expensive to begin with, and then they gave us a nice “break” due to our age! Ha! I’ll wait to hear your research results on Tuesday! 🙂

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

Glad you had a chance to “time travel” today too, Debra. It’s always fun to blast back to the past. We printed our tickets at Smithsonianmag.com. Amazing and diverse museums and aquariums participate each year.

Discovering this beauty hanging out on the fence added delight to the day. 😀

6. bluebee - September 29, 2012

You sure know how to distract a girl from her work, Nancy!

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

Bwahaha! I know there has to be a gardener out that who’ll be able to give me both its Latin name and its popular name. If not, I’ll spill the beans on Tuesday. 😉

7. sweetdaysundertheoaks - September 29, 2012

Oooo I think we have seen the little boxing gloves but not the beautiful blooms. Spill the beans?

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

From little boxing gloves . . . big beautiful blooms blossom. 😀

sweetdaysundertheoaks - September 29, 2012

Oy! I think you are trying to help here!!… 😀

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

Maybe I’m trying to throw you all off the scent. :mrgreen:

8. sweetdaysundertheoaks - September 29, 2012

Sweet Potato Plants!

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

Nope . . . but I think that’s a GREAT guess too. 😀

sweetdaysundertheoaks - September 29, 2012


nrhatch - September 29, 2012

Nope . . . not fudge. 😛

But they did sell fudge in assorted varieties, including Maple Walnut, in the Cracker Country General Store.

They also sold pickles, honey, and Sassafrass Candy.

9. ryoko861Irene - September 29, 2012

No idea but extremely pretty!

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

It made me wish I’d created it. I also wish I’d been the one to dream up Zebras, Giraffes, and Hippos. 💡

10. wightrabbit - September 30, 2012

Thanks for sharing your visit to Cracker County, Nancy ~ a great way to spend a Saturday! I have never seen the boxing gloves or animal~print velvet flowers but I wonder if they are members of the Orchid family?

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

Nothing I’ve read about the flower mentions it being a part of the Orchid family . . . but, as I studied these photos, that thought came to my mind too.

Orchids are showy, varied, and diverse . . . why shouldn’t they adopt this beauty? 😀

11. bluebee - September 30, 2012

I spent far too long looking (unsuccessfully) for the answer on the internet this morning (when I was meant to be working!!) and my husband walks in from his golf game and just comes straight out with it. I didn’t believe him and thought he was pulling my leg, but, no, he’s right. (20 years married and he’s still full of surprises :-)) In my defence, I was looking for a vegetable, not something that is likely to kill you if you eat it (or smoke it like a Dutchman, haha) Am not going to spoil the fun outright… 😉

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

Well done,BB ~ your husband is CORRECT! Maybe he’s seen it growing on the golf course? “D.P.” does well in any number of environments.

In any event, I’m glad he’s still full of surprises after 20 years!

bluebee - October 1, 2012

Haha – Apparently it grows in Durban, the city in which he and I grew up 🙂 (he obviously has a better memory than I do)

nrhatch - October 1, 2012

It’s a well traveled plant, at home on several continents ~ your husband made its acquaintance in Durban, Sidey bumped into it marching up a garden wall in Pretoria 30-40 years ago (comment #19), and I found it in a kitchen garden in Tampa.

Thanks for playing along, BB!

12. Put That In Your Pipe . . . and Don’t Smoke It! « Spirit Lights The Way - September 30, 2012

[…] every resource at her disposal to identify the intriguing specimen we saw loitering about the kitchen garden at Cracker […]

13. Intriguing Specimen From A Kitchen Garden | Pattu's terrace Garden - September 30, 2012

[…] Intriguing Specimen From A Kitchen Garden Posted on 30/09/2012 by gardenerat60 Intriguing Specimen From A Kitchen Garden. […]

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

Thanks for sharing the mystery and intrigue with your gardening blog, Pattu!

Nature rocks!

14. sweetdaysundertheoaks - September 30, 2012

Well well! That was a tough tough tough one!

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

We puzzled and puzzled til our puzzlers were sore . . . then, tired of head scratching, we cheated and found someone in the know to ask. :mrgreen:

I’m glad that BB and her husband solved the riddle in such short order. It tends to confirm what I’ve long suspected . . . at any given time, we’re just 2-3 steps away from answers we seek (to questions that bother us so).

The key is to find the RIGHT person to ask. 😉

15. gardenerat60 - September 30, 2012

My blog friend Ananya Mehta says it is Calico Flower, also called Dutchman’s Pipe!

nrhatch - October 1, 2012

Well done! Calico Flower is a great name for it too! Thanks.

16. Karen J - September 30, 2012

Okay, now I have a pretty good guess (thanks to the blatant clue 😉 ), but I’ll let you sit on it ’til Tuesday.
It’s clearly NOT Dutchman’s Breeches, which are a) not a vine b) don’t bloom in the fall AFAIK and c) Pink, not giraffe-print-purple!

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

Thanks, Karen! Hmm . . . I wonder if Jack-in-the-Pulpit wears Dutchman’s Breeches?

Nah. He’s probably dressed in a wee kilt! 😉

17. Christine Grote - September 30, 2012

Nature is full of fascinating things and you found one here. I ‘m clueless.

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

I thought you might recognize it, Christine.

If you want a clue, see BB’s response above (@ #11) . . . or check out the links in the next post.

18. flyinggma - September 30, 2012

What a fun way to spend the day. I love watching as older crafts such as glass blowing and blacksmithing being demonstrated.

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

It’s FUN to step back in time and see the craft work. But after watching the daily chores, we were glad to return to the present.

19. jannatwrites - October 1, 2012

Those flowers are certainly unique. I have no idea what kind of flower it is, so I’ll be checking on Tuesday!

nrhatch - October 1, 2012

Since BB solved the riddle, links to the answer are in the next post ~ “Put that in your Pipe and don’t smoke it!” post.

20. SidevieW - October 1, 2012

That’s called “dutchmans pipe”. I spent quite a while back in the 70’s searching for its name. There was one house in Pretoria that had it covering the garden wall. I find it quite fascinating

nrhatch - October 1, 2012

Sounds like your reaction was much like ours, Sidey ~ we felt compelled to track down the name so we could read up on it.

Congrats on having the answer at your ready disposal after all these years!

21. spilledinkguy - October 1, 2012

I LOVE museums! And Train stuff? I’m always ‘on-board’ with that!!!

nrhatch - October 1, 2012

We love Choo Choo’s too!
“All aboard!”

22. Karen J - October 1, 2012

Thanks for the clue-in on Cracker Country, too, Nancy. I passed it on to my younger daughter, who lives in the Tampa suburbs – she’s delighted, and will be taking their 2 1/2 year-old daughter over there on the next “Open Day”. (Oct 20, IFIRC)


They’re not geared towards “general admission”, more aimed at school-based tours, so ‘regular Joe and Jane and their kids (or not)’ have to plan ahead…

nrhatch - October 1, 2012

That’s exactly why we chose it for Museum Day . . . because it’s only open to the general publix once a month and then 10 days (or so) in conjunction with the State Fair.

The event on October 20th looks great ~ Tall Tales. Guided tours and stories during the cooler evening hours. It’s open one Saturday in November and December as well ~ with crafts, etc. similar to those we observed.

23. Marketing Mascots « Spirit Lights The Way - October 3, 2012

[…] These stacked wooden crates of oranges and sweet potatoes caught my eye at Cracker County. […]

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