Wicked plants

July 8th, 2010 Posted in Uncategorized

After a rewarding  stint of raindrop refreshment, the sunshine on July 4 prompted a celebratory backyard parade.

Gulf fritillary butterfly on turks cap
This Gulf fritillary was in the head car.

In early morning, the cat perch turks cap patiently waited in the wings for the wings: butterflies, moths, bees, and hummingbirds that arrived with the sun. The cats aren’t keen on parades; they slept it out in air conditioning.

Turks cap near cat perch
Nearby, Gregg’s mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) attracted its share of fans.

Gregg's mistflower (Conoclinium greggii)
You’ll never hear me howling about too much rain, but it can certainly take a toll on plants like Artemisia ‘Powis Castle.’

root rot on Powis Castle artemisia

This is not unusual. In my garden, these are temporary perennials. Typically, in three years, it’s time to replace them, especially when we get the rare wet winter or summer.

For the fun of it, I replaced one with Artemisia schmidtiana. We’ll see if it’s as reliable as ‘Powis Castle’. I hope so, because I rather prefer its fernier, more silvery foliage.

Artemisia schmidtianaArtemisia schmidtianaLast year, I added wormwood, Artemisia absinthium.

wormwood, Artemisia absinthium

I got it when I went to Pots & Plants to hear Amy Stewart speak about Wicked Plants, her latest New York Times Bestseller. I couldn’t leave without one of her prime suspects!

Amy Stewart Wicked Plants

I first discovered Amy through the group blog, Garden Rant, and her book, Flower Confidential.

Amy Stewart Flower Confidential

Writing this “tell all” behind the flower industry, she met hybridizers and plant enthusiasts from around the world. Some of them couldn’t resist hauling her “to the back” to see a “really special” plant. From that spun an idea for the intriguing stories behind botanical atrocities that make murderous history or just plain make us miserable.

This week on CTG, Amy joins Tom for tales of murder, mystery and mayhem, including some of the perps lurking in your own backyard!  And check out her book for more surprising revelations about dangerous plants you may be coddling right this minute.

This week, Daphne answers a wicked plant question: Why doesn’t viewer Helen Kott’s ‘Wonderful’ pomegranate produce fruit?

John’s got ideas for wicked color to punch up your summer to fall ornamental beds.

On tour, a San Antonio couple transformed a wicked garden problem into a splendidly wicked retreat.

Harvey bunny disapproves of wicked plants

Harvey’s going to watch online to make a list of wicked plants. (I also keep a reference list for plants that are poisonous or dangerous for bunnies, cats, and dogs, just in case Harv eats his notes!).

Until next week, Linda

  1. 5 Responses to “Wicked plants”

  2. By Amy/goawayimgardening! on Jul 9, 2010

    Your turk’s cap looks very lush and pretty. Since we have our new puppy I have been looking up to see what plants are poisonous. I am glad to see your list to download. There are a lot more than I had thought! Also, I have read that tomato plants are poisonous.
    Harvey is very cute!


    Linda reply on July 9th, 2010 4:16 pm:

    Hi, Amy! Yes, I am astounded at it. Can’t remember if you have sago palms, but those are especially bad news for inquisitive pups. Happy training with that sweetie pie!


  3. By mss @ Zanthan Gardens on Jul 9, 2010

    You have a lot going on in this garden for July. My Gregg’s mistflower only flowers in the spring and the fall. Maybe I should cut it back a bit and see if it will put on new buds as a result of all this rain.

    Given all your “wicked” references, I thought I’d gotten my holidays wrong–is this 4th of July or is it already Halloween?


    Linda reply on July 9th, 2010 4:15 pm:

    You are funny!

    Yes, it’s weird to see the mistflower blooming now. I do cut mine back a bit to tame it. Also, makes good bunny treats.


  4. By Kathleen Scott on Jul 10, 2010

    Yea, books and flowers and butterflies and Harvey! Great diversity in this one. Of course I love Harvey best but I was glad to see your comments on Powis Castle. I lost one in our last wet year and the survivor is looking puny now.

    I have a lot of Artemesia ludoviciana which doesn’t have that problem. Dies back in December and colonizes like crazy but deer don’t eat it and it’s hardy. Bought it bare root from Native Seed in Junction.


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