Sunday, August 24, 2008

Angelica gigas, Purple Parsnip

I remember seeing this plant as the "European Plant of the Year" back in the 90s, and being immediately intrigued by its size, foliage shape and the colour of its stems and flowers.

Angelica gigas, or Purple Parsnip, Purple Angelica or Korean Angelica, was introduced to North America by Barry Yinger, one of the principals at Asiatica Nursery, a cool mail-order company based in Pennsylvania. It is native to Japan, Korea and China.

It is usually listed as a biennial, although seedlings will take a couple of years to mature before flowering. It also self-sows readily in the garden under favourable conditions.

I've grown it in two gardens here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is definitely more striking in brighter light. It is also loved by the bees!

Here's to dirt under your nails.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Plant Snobbery

I had the wonderful opportunity last week to see a presentation by Dr. Allan Armitage (Canadian; currently at University of Georgia).

Speaking at a local garden centre, his main point was to "have fun" while gardening. He reviewed several plants, telling us of their attributes, and a little bit about where they came from. He minimized the fact of whether a plant was a perennial, tender perennial, annual or tropical indoor plant -- if you like it in your garden, that's all that matters.

One suggestion he had re botanical names was to "Get the syllables in the right order, then fire away." In his book on perennials, he adds, "Don't worry about sounding silly; it is only the garden snob who continually tries to correct you. And who needs snobs in a garden?"

Good advice, I'd say.

Here's to dirt under your nails.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Cool Plants in Cool Light

Sunlight does amazing things to cool plants...

Hosta 'June' in the nursery:

Canna 'Praetoria' (Striata) at Queenston Heights:

I didn't intentially plan the above shot this way, but it's definitely cool with the shadow of the flower falling near the centre on the leaf.

Here's to dirt under your nails.