Friday, November 27, 2009

Three easy pieces...

Last summer I was lucky enough to
finally find gas plant in the wild: it happened to be Dictamnus angustifolius, very similar to Dictamnus albus v. purpureus I have grown for many years. Above you can see the latter combined in a sort of furious pastel pastiche with 'Diabolo'--that instant classic dark leaved form of ninebark and a Canadian rose in our "Perennial Triangle" in my Quince garden: the three make for an easy piece of springtime magic. Here gas plant thrives on rich, dark loam and regular watering. Below there are two very different variations on the theme: in the Rock Alpine Garden the clashing orange fury of Glaucium acutidentatum makes a stark contrast to the towering cool pinkness of Dictamnus: our hot sun and sleek steppe modernism almost lets us get away with the antichromal audacity (to coin a phrase). Finally in the last easy piece a rogue gas plant popped up in the front of one of our old rock gardens at Eudora: I know we dug this up and brought it to our new home, but meanwhile the mad patch of these at Eudora continues to proliferate and try to colonize the whole rock garden (I must warn the new owners...). I have grown gas plants with virtually no supplemental water on clay and sand, well-watered on rich loam, in part shade and blasting sun: surely no plant is longer lived, more easily grown and rewarding. I understand some people get dermatitis touching it: not I. As we descend into winter, I am warmed (by the glow as it were) with memories of gas plants on the steppes of Kazakhstan growing by the thousand, and their cousin, an essential and easy piece in all my gardens. Hard to believe we'll have all this color in less than six months!

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