These are the fruit of Vallea stipularis in various states of repair. This South American shrub has given me much joy this year. Firstly there was the thrill of buds which fulfilled all their promise with glorious flowers, blooming just above the deer nibble line. Then the excitement to find that these rosy pink lampshades had been pollinated. Over the last few weeks I have been watching the lime green pods swell, I have been poised like a coiled spring ready for signs of ripeness. Then, seemingly over night, I noticed that a fair proportion had turned a promising purplish brown. At this point I will admit that in the preceding days there is a chance I may have been distracted away from my vigil by a kitten, a pack of chocolate hobnobs or suchlike. Anyway now my concentration was focused and like a cougar I leapt into action. My heart sank, it appeared that most of the pods were empty, telling gaps remained where the treasure had once lain. It seems that the window of seed collecting opportunity is very small, the exact point of seed expulsion remains a mystery to everyone except perhaps the plant itself. In a fit of pique I picked the immature that remained, my logic that they would perhaps ripen successfully off the plant. As anyone who buys supermarket fruit promising just that, I may well be deluding myself. Too late now for advice to the contrary, it is done. This seed collection lark is much harder than it seems. Luckily there are far more intrepid, knowledgeable and darned right brilliant seed collectors than me in the world and we should spare a thought for what they have to endure to feed us our ever increasing demands for the new and exotic. One such hero is my blogging friend Diversifolius, read here about how it should be done http://botanicallyinclined.org/the-last-push-orchids-from-the-inca-trail/ Respect!