Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Is This a Perennial?"

The elecampane has flowered, and the flowers have dried and produced seed. Elecampane is a tall, leafy plant with yellow flowers on top. It’s easiest to say that it looks like a sunflower. It looks more like a sunflower than anything else but it doesn’t look like a sunflower.
A few goldfinches were playing in the back garden the other day, mostly among the elecampane. They were after the seeds, I’m sure, but it looked like they were chasing each other from flower to flower.
That’s the best I can do to describe it, professional blog poster or no. That’s my full account.
My description to my customers is just as limited.
“It’s, um, real tall,” I’ll say. “About this tall. It’s got yellow flowers on top.”
“What’s it used for?” they will invariably ask. I have a reputation as the guy with the herbal plants.
“It’s an expectorant,” I’ll say. “The young roots are used. They’re dried or tinctured. And, um, they have these yellow flowers.”
Someone may consider a purchase.
Invariably: “Full sun?”
“It likes a lot of sun. Part shade, or a lot of dappled shade, and it will be happy, too. It doesn’t mind it moist.”
They’ll stare at the pot.
“The leaves are quite striking,” I’ll venture. “It’s an impressive plant. It has flowers on top.”
I can’t do any better than that. I can’t relate to a customer, at least not while I’m standing in a parking lot during market, the feeling that you get in the middle of summer, when it’s late in the day and the sunlight comes in kinda sideways from way over west of the farm, and you see the yellow flowers on top of the elecampane, some of them still fresh, some of them fading and some of them already dried and with seed. And goldfinches rush from stalk to stalk, and then disappear into the woods, and then they’re on the flowers again. One eats a few seeds, and then another chases it away, and then the first one comes back. They dart around, yellow birds among yellow flowers in yellow light. They chatter at each other, and you can hear their wings whoosh, and when they fly from an elecampane the stalk rocks back and forth. And you can experience that, too. That joy can be yours, right there in your back yard. I want you to see something like that. That’s why you should buy this plant.


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