I bought this plant, black horehound (Ballota nigra) ‘Archer’s Variegated’, about a month ago and just recently planted it in the ground (still in the pot) at my community plot where it will live through the winter until I can figure out what in the heck to do with it when the ground thaws this spring.
My original plan was to get myself a white horehound (Marrubium vulgare) plant for the experience in both growing the plant and using it medicinally. White horehound is a drought tolerant herb that attracts pollinators to the garden and is best known as an old-fashioned candy ingredient and cough remedy. While at the store I was distracted by the crinkly, variegated leaves of black horehound (Ballota nigra) and all my plans were lost. I can’t resist a nice variegated plant. It’s a personal weakness.
To sum things up: a fork in the road was presented and I made the wrong decision. Big mistake.
Variegated black horehound may be stunning to behold, but good god it smells terrible. I mean, truly, atrociously horrible.
One of the things I miss most during the winter months is the sensual experience of brushing my hands against fragrant, sun-warmed herbs. Over the years smelling every plant I come into contact with has become an impulse that has landed me in trouble on more than one occasion. A rather unfortunate introduction to Stinging nettle comes to mind!
I often find myself touching plants unconsciously, before I’ve had a chance to register the potential hazard ahead. How will I stop myself from accidentally bathing my hands in the repulsive black horehound? This is one of those times when an out-of-the-way patch of garden comes in handy. Unfortunately, tiny gardens don’t have an out-of-the-way spot or back of the garden to tuck plants into — it’s all up front!
Two close friends had died the year before, just days after my birthday. We went to Montreal to get as far away as we could from the place we had seen them last. That trip did a lot to boost my spirits, but it was probably the lotus that made the biggest impression.
For nine years I pined for a return visit during the month of August to experience them in bloom again. This year it finally happened.
Unfortunately, I was only able to bring my digital camera with me. The day was unbearably hot and I was unable to lug a big camera bag around due to a shoulder injury. I’m happy with the digital shots, but of course, as a film lover, I can’t help feeling remorse about the photos I didn’t get to take. After all, it could be another 10 years before I see lotus in bloom again!
I’ve put together a limited edition printing of Lotus in Bloom notecards. There are five photos in the set. However, just a warning that we are going on a big trip during the month of December so I will be shutting down the online shop in about a week’s time.
I’m putting together a larger post that will go up later today, but here’s a preview of the lotus I saw at the Montreal Botanical Gardens back in August.
This isn’t all of it, just some of the stranger items.
Interestingly enough, the year I decide to give up on the garden is the year Operation Garden Terrorism seems to have come to a halt. Or maybe I just didn’t notice the damage because the garden looked so haggard!
Past Interesting Items Found: