Thursday, May 25, 2017

Alien Smells

In almost every instance, we go with what we think is right.  Native plants hold a special stature for us in part because they have always been here where we call home.  All plants are native someplace on this earth and it is easy to see how early colonists would have wanted to bring something from their former home with them when they first came here.  Dame's Rocket would have been an easy plant to pack.  A few tiny seeds hidden away would have been certain to grow in the new world.  It is a survivor and now is commonly seen in flower in roadside ditches.  We have intentionally introduced it into our gardens in several locations.

This plant has much to recommend it as a garden subject.  Its colors range from purple to white with an occasional pink flowered plant.  Each evening a pleasant scent fills the air close by this plant.  Its leaves are a little coarse but that only points to the plant's strength.  If the seeds are allowed to mature, new plants will be numerous.  Seedlings are easily removed if caught early and a few can be left in a chosen spot.  We prefer to see this plant as a colonial garden treasure rather than a common ditch weed.

Autumn Olive is an invader from Asia.  It has been here since 1830.   Our single specimen is about eight feet tall and has suffered numerous vicious pruning attacks as is grows into the lane right of way.  Late frost frequently takes the flower buds but when the shrub flowers it is spectacular.  Its scent heavily fills the air and is carried on the breeze for a considerable distance.  One only has to approach the plant to enjoy the sweet smell.  Horror stories abound about the invasive nature of this plant but we have only found one plant on our land.  A smaller younger plant grows just across the lane but we have found no others.  We will leave well enough alone.  No attempts will be made to kill this plant and no effort will be expended trying to get new plants either from seed or cuttings.  We will look forward to another year free of late harsh frost so that we can once again enjoy its wild sweet scent.

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