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Archive for the ‘jack-in-the-pulpit’ Category

Two years ago I blogged about my Mother’s Day gift: more plants for my garden. We went out and purchased some ariseaema (aroids) from a specialty nursery. That fall, I planted all the bulbs in the ground (including anenomes & crucuses) and Murphy dug half of them up. I think he ate them.

Of the three ariseaemas that I planted, two survived. And of those two, one is in bloom right now. It’s in my lovely little prayer garden (that needs a lot of work still).

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My garden is behind this rather funky fence. The story behind the fence is… the dog. He can jump over the 4′ tall plastic green fence, so we had to be creative to keep him out. There are plants in there that I don’t want stepped on, and they’re not all ariseaemas. Fuschias, a bracken fern, the borage. Oh, heck: all of the plants except the grass. The grass has to go.

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We have a lovely view into the neighbor’s backyard. Eventually, we want to plant some clumping bamboo along that chainlink. This year, I planted some climbing nasturtiums and a trumpet vine for the hummingbirds. The borage works pretty well, too, but eventually, it gets so large that it falls over. (Why isn’t that fence fixed? Well, the guy who owns the rental behind us isn’t real keen on fixing it and we haven’t had that many nice days on weekends that weren’t taken up with something else.)

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The grass is going to GO. I intend to put a pond in there. The rock is natural: I want to pump the water over the rock in a natural waterfall effect.

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You can see why we’d like to hide that fence… I planted sunflowers along the wall of our garden shed. Can’t wait for them to grow! It’s always been too shady in this corner for most flowers, but now I have full sun and I can go wild with flowers.

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The borage is a hummingbird plant. My goal is to attract hummers and bees. Borage is also an edible herb – maybe one of these days I’ll get my act together and try it in salads. Right now, I just like it for its sheer size and the fact that hummingbirds love it.

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Right now, this little plant is the star of this garden spot; ariseaema tortuosum.

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A little jack-in-the-pulpit with it’s very own parasol leaves.

Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Hope you can imagine my corner of the yard like I can. My biggest hurdle will be the pond – and a permanent decorative fence to keep the Murphy at bay. I’m thinking something natural with an arch. The yard drops quite a few feet on that end of the yard and maybe the pond could extend into a series of small pools? Imagine yellow Japanese irises and Pacific tree frogs croaking. And lots of strange plants like the arisaemas.

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To all my friends who are mothers, whether naturally, by marriage, spiritually or through adoption: Happy Mother’s Day.

Don took me shopping yesterday. We were looking for some specific plants to add to our garden (his gift to me for bearing his children). We had to find a nursery that carried the plants he wanted to buy: not everyone specializes in odd plants. The one we found doesn’t have a web site and has only been in business for a little over a year, specializing in orchids. We weren’t looking for orchids, but Hana Farms has recently expanded to include ariseaema – and we were looking for aroids. (A little free advertising for the nursery: they’re located at 1600 SW Borland Road in Tualatin. Right under the freeway, across from Southlake Foursquare Church).

Their collection was a little disorganized, but the gal working there knew where everything was and directed us to three very interesting plants, one of which will eventually grow to be two meters tall. We picked out ariseaema tortosum, ariseaema speciosum, and ariseaema costatum.

We already have arum italicum Miller – the house came with this particular arum growing wild in the yard. At first, I thought someone threw out a houseplant because the leaves look so much like a philodendron. I learned yesterday that philodendrons are aroids.

We also have the dracunculus vulgarius. We dug it up when we moved out of a rental some 20 years ago on the theory that the next residents would never appreciate it and it’s unique aroma as much as we did. It was a solitary plant then, and we have moved it several times as we moved around. We even kept it dormant in a box when we lived in an apartment with no yard of our own. It has multiplied to the point where we had seven in bloom at once last summer and it looks like we will have easily that many blooms again, in just a few weeks’ time. It smells like rotten hamburger and does not make a very good cut flower, but you can’t have everything.

Last summer, I sat down and painted a watercolour of some of the blooms.  Dragn Flower

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