Sunday, June 12, 2011

I like big leaves

I also like taking pictures of them with my new ipad.

Although the ipad's camera isn't as good as the camera in my aging iphone 3GS, it is incredibly fun having a full view of the final photo as it is being taken. It's a necessity for compositional morons.

Now back to the plants....

I'm not all that big on flowers (I'm more of a leaf person), but Brugmansia (Angel's Trumpet) is one flower that continually lures me. First of all, just being able to bring an Angel's Trumpet into bloom in the Northwest carries bragging rights with it since it must be overwintered indoors here. Once it is in flower its intoxicating scent can be carried as far as 25 feet away, which is most intense in the evening. It's a staple in an exotic garden.

As I write this, I am listening to a segment on Coast-to-Coast AM about the disappearance of honey bees and the conspiracy to cover up the root of the problem caused by infection from commercial pesticides. If bee populations are half of what they were a decade ago, I think there is something we are doing wrong and I'd also put pesticide use at the top of the list. I'm not just talking about commercial farming pesticides. I think residential pesticides - the kind you buy at Lowe's or Home Depot - are just as detrimental.

Having said that, seeing the raspberries covered in honey bees was a welcome sight.

But back to big leaves....

I bought a piece of horseradish root several years ago after seeing it at a nursery, not having any idea what the plant looked like. To my surprise, it has huge leaves and happens to be hardier than just about anything. The leaves shoot up early in the spring and tolerate cold spring conditions really well. The leaves grow to about four feet tall and get about 8-10 inches wide.

Philodendron Selloum is remarkably "hardy" for a big-leaved evergreen tropical plant. It can take some cold - even down to freezing - without damage. I would peg its hardiness to be in the same ballpark as Strelitzia nicolai (Giant bird of paradise).

Finally, this Acanthus mollis (Bear's breeches) is leaf-hardy during a mild Northwest winter, and will quickly sprout back from the roots after a cold Northwest winter.