15 November 2008

japanese lanterns

Gardens @ House on the Rock / Spring Green, Wisconsin
I've always loved Physalis alkekengi, more commonly known as the Paper Lantern Plant. My first memories of these as a small child were at my grandmother's house in western Pennsylvania. She had a pond by her house that was full of goldfish and frogs and when we'd go visit I couldn't wait to get to the pond - fascinated that there were goldfish swimming freely - not in a bowl! Growing along the edges of the pond were clumps of japanese lantern plants that in the Fall displayed these beautiful orange seed pods. I remember opening a few up and finding a large perfectly round berry inside each one. It's funny as I'm sure these grow everywhere but her pond is the only recollection that I have of them - which is fine because when I now see japanese lanterns, they are associated with lots of good memories.

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