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!