black beauty

This gorgeous, ethereal being is a blossom which might become a ‘Black Beauty’ eggplant, if it gets fertilized.  It’s hard to imagine it not being fertilized if looks are the sole consideration.  Frankly, Mother Nature has outdone herself on this one.  I’ve fallen in love with the eggplant blossoms this summer, and I would probably plant them again just to enjoy the pretty — although eggplant parmesan and salata de vinete (a delicious Romanian recipe I’ll have to post sometime) make it certain I’d want to have these plants in my kitchen garden every season.

If possible, I’d like to have more, since this classic full-sized eggplant is not exactly generous with her fruits, and they take a super long time to ripen.  But, oh, the taste of truly ripe eggplant!  It made me realize I’d hardly ever seen a ripe one in the grocery store.

And here’s a detail you might not pick up on in the photo:  all of the surrounding surfaces are downy soft.  See how fuzzy the stem looks?  That’s because it feels a bit like lambs’ ears.  Lambs’ ears were my introduction to texture in the garden.  I can still recall with piercing clarity the first time I felt them, over 20 years ago.  I’d made friends with a wonderful plant expert at my local nursery, and she laughed with delight at the wonder etched on my face.

Plants are meant to be touched.  Some of them enjoy being caressed just as much as our kitties do.

If I were a bumblebee, I don’t think I could resist that luminescent lavender, that velvety landing pad, those stamens (or pistils?) fat with pollen.  What a seduction scene this plant has set!  The sad part is, I know that even if this flower does get fertilized, the resultant eggplant likely will not reach maturity before first frost.  I am not yet so sure of this that I am removing the blossoms, but we are nearing that moment in the season when I’ll want to discourage the plant from putting any extra energy into producing more lovely blooms, so that she’ll focus on ripening the eggplants already in progress.

How will I ever get up the resolve to rip that loveliness from the plant?  It seems impossibly cold-hearted.  Perhaps I’ll just leave them be for the bees’ sake….

This photo will be my response to Violet in Capturing Beauty‘s R-O-Y-G-B-I-V challenge.  A very pale violet, perhaps, but it still seems to fall within the range.

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