Plantidote of the Day 2012-07-04
Lily of the Nile, African lilies
As close to fireworks as the plant world gets, at least in my backyard. Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Try not blow anything up. Unless, of course, you meant to do that.
Now about the plant: If you live in a mild climate (Zones 7 through 11) where frost is not an issue, agapanthus is a low-maintenance garden perennial that looks good even when not in bloom. The long, strappy leaves stay shiny and bright all year long, making the flowers just frosting on the cake. If you're in a colder area, one source suggests planting the rhizomes deeper than usual and using mulch to get them through winter. Or grow them in containers and bring them inside when it gets cold. There are a surprising number of color variations in the purple/lavender family, including a newish one that's nearly black, and a pure white variety that makes an excellent contrast when planted in amongst the purple.
Readers, please send twig (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 csomments.
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