Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chocolate stock: Unloved Unknown Unseen

In a garden with many thousands of kinds of plants, most of which clamor for attention with bright colors or outstanding textures or form, there are always a few modest ones that get overlooked. This little Turkish stock is a perfect example. I had to photograph it from several angles, none of which is flattering...



I guess this one is a tad better. Brown flowers (this one also comes in gray and near black) are unusual. Perhaps rightfully so. Although I have sweeps of phlox and masses of peonies here and there, not to mention mountains of cobalt larkspurs and massive masses of Glaucium and other poppies, I derived great pleasure from my chocolate stock. I believe it might be Matthiola septentrionalis. That's one of the names I've acquired it under. I grew it for several years on a flat border-like garden where the variation among seedlings was stunning: all the dullest neutral tints. They petered away in the less than optimal spot. But this clump has been luxuriating in a crevice that seems to suit it and has set heavy seed this year (hope it is viable)...


Botanical Interest Only is the category this sort of thing is crammed into. When I point it out to friends (and many saw it: it blooms for an extraordinarily long period of time--March to June) they usually chuckle or make a bad joke. Next time they visit, they are the ones who ask me its name, and a year or so later, some even ask for a pinch of seed.


Beauty can be flamboyant: Sophia Loren or Katherine Hepburn or your average advertisement in Vogue or centerfold in soft porn magazines are all immediately as stunning and accessible as a spray of fresh roses or gladiolus. And yet those I love (notwithstanding my gorgeous girlfriend, some of my photogenic friends and kids, who are certainly eye candy), let's say the bulk of those I love beginning with my dumpy self are more chocolate stock than Stargazer lily shall we say diplomatically. But give us a while, and we too beguile. I shall never want to be without my chocolate stock (although I have let many a daylily and marigold slip through my fingers...) Form does not always prevail over substance my friend!





1 comment:

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    .
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