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Plantidote of the Day 2012-05-25

twig's picture


Verbascum thapsus


Thanks to Corrente's Valley Girl, we have a near-mystery plant. To really see what it looks like, though, you need to click on the image to get the larger one with more detail. Anyway, up until just hours ago, this was going to be a mystery plant. VG shot it in Maine, during one of her summer sojourns. But some flickr friends spotted it and id'd it right down to the variety -- possibly. It's hard to be definitive with a family this huge and just one image. But for now, I'll take their word for it.

Mullein is an herb that has been used as a cough remedy, among other things. It was also used to repel evil spirits -- the perfect plant for an election year! There's a comprehensive piece on mullein here. It looks easy to grow, as long as you're in zones 3 or 4 through 9. Thanks very much, VG -- another hat tip for your vast collection!


Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

Click on the image for the full-size version. Click here to see the entire series.

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insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

For several years, I have been getting the Heronswood Blog email written by George Ball. It's an interesting look at gardening from a producer's point of view.
Today's blog is written by a frequent guest blogger Nick Rhodehamel.
It discusses a very timely topic.

In the past day or two, Plantidotes had a few comments about Heronswood and today I received an email with this..

Submitted by lambert on

It seems they can be biennial or perennial. (How can that be?) I'm looking for perennials, and maybe this would work....

Submitted by lambert on

Well, I guess the peonies are the fallback, then!

jerztomato's picture
Submitted by jerztomato on

George Ball purchased Heronswood for its elitist factor. Like any big company it thinks prestige of an exclusive business will rub off. I don't think Dan Hinkley and Robert Jones should have sold out to Burpee but my guess is they needed the cash. Burpee left them alone for years even though they(Burpee) owned Heronswood. They lowered the boom in 2006 when they thought they could make a killing in the real estate market.
The problem with many of the plants from Heronswood is that they really are suited for the PNW and are hard to grow in the rest of the country. I know, I purchased from them when I lived in NJ.
Heronswood would be a lovely place to live. If I owned it, I'd open it to Garden Conservancy a few times a year.