Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ima Sumac lover


I would never have done it: staghorn sumac is a consumate, irrepressible and probably reprehensible weed. It's the sort of plant you don't even want in your neighbor's yard (since it will find its way into your yard before long). You'd enjoy having it across the street though (at that neighbor's, you know, the one with the offensive bumper stickers and 90 decibel leaf blower?). But someone (Dare? Mike?) went and planted one along the Cheesman park fence in the Rock Alpine Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens.
And I love it. This was several weeks ago (don't go rushing out to see the spectacle today or you will be disappointed). For once the camera caught the fiery glow, that incredible blending of orange and red, and the refulgence that makes sumacs fulminate even below overcast skies. Notice the soft purple Viburnum mongolicum right next to it (what a nice foil!) and the green leaves of a seedling fastigiate English Oak (Quercus robur) that found a perfect place to grow.
There's lots to be said for the world's weedy, trashy trees, (like sumac, or even Ailanthus--another story). A world of nothing but taste and elegance could get pretty dull after a while. We need these ostentatious, unruly things that blaze and crackle with positive fury. Just let fussbudgets swoon!

1 comment:

  1. I won't do the Ailanthus(oh that smell at bloom time..)but love the staghorn Sumac, especially in the fall. Our native species in my area has all the bad attributes you said it has... but the staghorn behaves so much better here,and great with grasses as well!

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