Happy Returns

Every spring I get to play the "which plants returned this year?" game. Herbaceous perennials could be quietly sleeping away the winter, or may be dying in the wet, cold ground. Most things come back year after year without fail, but there are some that, well, you just don't know.

So I was happily surprised to find this Eryngium yuccifolium (rattlesnake master) in the prairie bed!


I planted two of these last year, and I believe they got lost under the foliage of other plants -- I never saw them bloom, and I forgot about them.

I'm so happy to see this Missouri native come back -- and it looks like a rabbit is too from the nibbled leaf. One of the reasons I nestled these so deeply into existing plantings is I didn't want the deer to find them -- I've grown this before and it got severely chomped by what I think was one of those hooved pruning machines. I'll have to keep an eye on them this year and make sure they're not shaded out.

As happy as I was to see the rattlesnake masters come back, I was thrilled about this one:

My cardoon! Not the ugly one that looked more like a globe artichoke (and could have been) either -- the good one with the broad leaves:

I can't tell you how exciting this is for me, not only that I'll have this plant again this year, nor that it will bloom -- and I love the blooms -- but that it will finally add a focal point and a large plant to this small, troubled bed. Yahoo!

One plant I'm not too happy to see returning:

Pokeweed. Phytolacca americana. I once considered this to be only a weed, but I've grown to appreciate its large leaves and trouble-free nature.

The problem is, there's just too much of it, and it's growing in bad spots! I'll be battling this all summer, as its thick taproot makes it almost impossible to pull out of my heavy soil. I'll keep cutting it back until it exhausts its energy reserves.

(I'll actually be planting a variety of pokeweed this year, which doesn't really make much sense considering how many I'm trying to remove -- but more on that in the future.)

So, have you had any pleasant surprises with plants returning this spring?


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Teri  – (May 3, 2013 at 9:45 AM)  

That poke is just the right size to make up "a mess of greens"! Boiled in a few changes of water, it is YUMMY!

Alan  – (May 3, 2013 at 10:50 AM)  

Teri: I'm glad you said that! I've never understood this -- it seems like a lot of trouble to boil pokeweed greens with 3 water changes (necessary to remove the poison in case you're wondering). Aren't all of the nutrients gone by that time?

Rock rose  – (May 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM)  

I once let pokeweed grow. I loved its purple berries. But then the mockingbird came and ate them and pooped all over my furniture. So I pulled it out. then I noticed it popping up everywhere. One time in my potted lemon. I now yank them out when I see a new one. I don't feel tempted to eat the greens but I guess others do because I see them canned in the grocery store. WIld areas maybe OK for it!

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