Monday, May 19, 2008
We were trying to find a short cut to the bank of the Irrawaddy river at Mandalay, Myanmar. On the map it seemed easy enough to cross several blocks and we will get there. Actually, it was easy enough... but we were not prepared for the reality. It cuts through a very poor part of town, full of shacks assembled from any materials that the dwellers can lay their hands on. On top of that... there's no river view! We were greeted with an earthen great wall - a levee that was about 10 m above the shanty town! As i was scaling the dusty loose earth i couldn't help imagining a raging river laden with flood waters during the wet monsoon threatening to breach the levee and wipe out the shanty district. Walking on top of the levee i saw some bamboo dwellings build on bamboo rafts with various buoys on the swallows of a drying river. Some 20 m away i spotted a very distinctively sliver white pricky plant (above) facing the drying river. It had beautiful bright yellow poppy-like flower. My instinct was to look for seed pods but it was a young plant with the first flowers. Its existence would be ephemeral given its loose footing on a levee. Sad thoughts aside..would you agree that this plant should deserve a place in a dry garden:
After some research, it is a well-known weed Argemone ochroleuca from Mexico and had a string of common names like Mexican poppy, pricky-thistle and so forth and has naturalized to most of the seasonally dry areas of the world. Despite its weedy status, i was looking forward to grow this plant but getting this weed proved elusive. Today with luck, i am given a handful of seeds thanks to my friend who had just visited a semi-desert area in India. Okay, luck was secondary, i actually prep my friend with a list of what to look out for when he's there!