Diary August 2007 - Unusual Plants

It’s fun to experiment with unusual plants. How to discover neat, new ones? Well, there’s lots of ways: through family, fellow gardeners, Horticulture societies, books and magazines, seed catalogues, the Internet and garden tours.
I have a few neat ones this summer that you might want to try.
About 10 years ago, I ordered Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena ‘Miss Jekyll’) from the Thompson and Morgan seed catalogue. The description read as follows: “bright blue, semi-double flowers which seem to float amid the finely cut leaves.” “Persian Jewels’ is a mix of blue, pink and white. ‘Oxford Blue’ are taller with deep blue flowers. Two extra cool things about this plant: they have really decorative seed pods and they re-seed! Even in really bad soil! (like mine!!)
In my Favourites section, I told the story of my husband trying to help me weed the garden. It’s worth repeating:
"...My husband was helping me pull thistles from my flower beds but (smart man!) always checked before actually yanking the weeds out. “This one?” he asked. “NO!” I screamed in horror, “that’s my Sea Holly ‘Miss Wilmott’s Ghost’!” “OK, OK, just checking” he mumbled as he moved deeper into the garden-jungle..."
Sea Holly (Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Wilmott’s Ghost’) garners lots of attention in the border because it’s so unusual. The stems are steel blue. Neat little blue cones grow from the stems and are surrounded by a collar of prickly scalloped leaves. It’s about 2’ tall.

As you know if you follow my diaries, my Dad is a huge help to me. An avid gardener, he experiments with a lot of plants by growing them from bulbs and seeds.
This year he gave me a whole bunch of tiny Oxalis bulbs and I put them into a container in a very shady area of my border. They are very different. They have heart-shaped 4-leaf clover type leaves and dainty pink flowers. Apparently some Oxalis are horribly invasive when planted in the border but I’ve always kept this one in a container and it’s behaved very nicely.

Grocery store garden centres sometimes carry the neatest stuff! I’ve found some of my loveliest daylilies there! Now, of course I was going to give you the name of these two, but can I find the labels?? No. (I should have put it into the back pocket of my Garden Journal like I told YOU to do last spring!!) Oh well. It was “Chocolate” something or other. It sure is pretty! (Sorry – no photo until it blooms again!)
I’m saving the best for last: this year Dad gave me several Triple Purple Datura. Holy Toledo!! Take a look at this!

Aren’t they unbelievable???? Sure Daturas are toxic - so are lots of plants if you eat them!! But just to be on the safe side, wear gloves when picking off dead flowers and leaves. Daturas are now classified as Brugmansia. To look at them, the basic difference is that Datura flowers stand up while Brugmansia flowers hang down. Dad’s only ever grown Datura.
Anyway, my younger son took some stunning shots of the Triple Purple the day after the wedding (Yes – the wedding went very very well!! It was beautiful, so much fun and full of memories! And it sure was worth getting the garden in tip top shape!)
Here are shots of this year’s garden beauty!!