Saturday, 30 June 2012

Dracunulus vulgaris and other plants

Last week
Despite whatever vagaries the British weather throws at both or our clumps of plants, snow, rain, wind, sun, for the past 14 years the Dracunlus vulgaris have flowered for us. Also known as the Dragon Arum, and Voodoo Lily. As I mentioned in a previous post these plants provoke extreme reactions in people from love to hate to fascination. For us, they are rather splendid, exotic flowers, which happily reside with us.
The Dracunulus vulgaris below is our smallest flower, about half the size of the largest. You can gauge the size of it by the little hardy geranium flowers growing alongside. The very large flower featured above has not opened yet, but I can't wait any longer - its debut performance is missed.
For anyone reading this post, who is unacquainted with Dracunulus vulgaris, I now have a small confession to make.
On the grand opening day, when looking at its very best, the flower unfolds itself to reveal a soft velvety deep burgundy coloured spathe which in turn reveals a central spadix coloured even darker. It is at this stage that there is the most pungent smell you could imagine. It has been compared to a rotting carcass, and it is, therefore, not advisable to grow it too near to your home. The smell only lasts during the first 24 hours, H says it is ghastly. The flower is pollinated by flies who love nothing better than the smell of dead meat. After a couple of days it starts to look less than perfect, and within 5 - 6 days is decidedly floppy and has had its day until next year.
If you are in the United States, look away now..............
Ipomoea purpurea - Morning Glory are beginning their accent of the house combined with some sweetpeas. My blogging friends tell me these are a weed and a big nuisance in the United States. Here I am nurturing four plants with love, care, and attention.
Please note. Since I published this post Gina has made it clear that Bindweed is called Morning Glory in America. So all of us love Morning Glory but none of us like Bindweed. Fortunately I do not have any Bindweed in the garden to contend with. Thank you for the clarification Gina♥

40 comments:

  1. Μy Dear Rosemary,
    A post full of knowledge, color and beauty. I love flowers, I care them but I do not something well. I am glad when I see garden healthy and beautiful as yours. I'm almost desperate because a few days ago I saw the most geraniums damaged . Some worms or something else has eaten all the leaves. I sprinkle with medicine, but unfortunately I do not think they will be saved. Probably need to replace them.
    Have a lovely weekend
    Olympia

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    1. Oh dear Olympia - that is not good news about your geraniums. They are normally reasonably bug free. Is it white fly or black fly or I think that there is a pelargonium moth that eats them? Have you tried spraying them with some washing up liquid mixed with cold water. This, I find tends to suffocate the pest without spoiling the plant. If it is the moth, then you can put a moth ball amongst the leaves to make it go elsewhere.

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  2. I just made a post about how exotic the world close to you can be if you only look... and then I read your post. You just have to step out into your garden to meet 'exotic'. Very special flower you have there. I had heard of it already but have never seen it. I didn't know you could just have it in your garden, thought it had to be kept in a hothouse. Obviously not. Think its smell while blooming makes it a less desirable plant for most gardeners maybe. Even more special when you do have it in the garden then.
    Love your colourful collage. Are these really all blooms from your garden? Must be heaven there!
    Love the bright fluorescent blue of the Ipomoea Purpurea as well. A weed? The white variant is considered a weed here but not this blue one. Last year I saw them in big containers in the middle of a city nearby while passing through. Containers that had constructions in them where the flowers could grow onto. It was sooooo beautiful! No way any car would drive too fast there, you just had to go slow and have a look.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - yes, it would not be wise to have the Dracunulus in a hothouse - can you imagine the smell in there if you did? Ours have survived very cold winters, and still keep coming. The smell is something that you would not notice from a distance and it is on its way very quickly. They grow from a corm, and are very exciting to watch develop with their palmate stripe leaves and spotted stems.
      I took all of these photos this week, but remember they are not close together like the collage, but spread all over the garden, so in reality the impact is not the same.
      I do not know whether I have received crossed messages from the United States, but I was told Morning Glory is a troublesome weed. Like you, I think of the white Hedge Bindweed from the convolvulaceae family and the pale pink Field Bindweed as being weeds.

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  3. lovely photos! i've never seen anything like that lily before! i don't think I'll be putting it on my window boxes based on it's perfume... and morning glories are weeds?! never knew!

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    1. Dear Roanna - definitely not one for the window box. I was told that morning glories are considered a weed in America. I was wondering whether the plant from the same family, the white Bindweed is what they call a morning glory there.

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  4. In the Botanic Gardens in Brooklyn, near Park Slope and Brooklyn Museum, abot three or four years back, a prehistoric looking plant flowered, for the first time in many years. We walked there, from the house, and had a look at the gardens, the terrapins in the Japanese garden and, finally, we saw this "horror": a rotten meat smelling flower! It was hideous and big, but I felt quite priviledged to be able to see such a rare thing. but it wasn't nice!

    I have a gorgeous white Arum Lily in my garden, which I adore, as the flowers are so reminiscent of Art Nouveau, and Pre-Raphaelite art, which I love!

    Your Dranuculus Vulgaris is very interesting, as a plant, but very dark, too! I much prefer dear old Morning Glory. It creeps on walls and basks in the sun, in my Italy. Its scent is heavenly and I love it!

    If the USA could put up with George Bush, I'm sure they can put up with Morning Glory! Much less painful for everyone!

    CIAO!

    ANNA
    xx

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    1. Dear Anna - I would have loved to have seen that plant. I understand that it is very much bigger than my Dracunulus, and has a similar perfume, and is sometimes known as the corpse flower.
      My flower is pretty spectacular and is 50 - 60 cms long.
      I have arum lilies in the garden as well, which remind me too of Art Nouveau, and Pre-Raphalite art. I also have the beautiful Regale lily, which too, I associate with the Pre-Raphalites.
      This Morning Glory is a new colour for me to grow. Last year I grew a shocking pink one, but I also love the brilliant sky blue ones.
      Ciao♥

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  5. Dear Rosemary, It was I who complained about morning glories. I should have differentiated between the different varieties. The bindweed (we lump them into morning glories) are a terrible nuisance in our gardens and very hard to get rid off. We don't like to use chemicals so it is always plenty of hours spent in the garden to get rid of them. Most of us like the regular Morning Glory and I grow several colors and varieties.
    Your Dracunulus is fascinating. Thanks for sharing it with us. Have not seen one pictured or published.

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    1. Dear Gina - I did wonder if your Morning Glory was a Bindweed, and of course they all belong to the convolvulus family. I have added a note to the post.
      The Dracunulus is a very strange and weird plant, and that is really why I grow it. I love watching it emerge in the spring when it comes out of the ground with large spotted and pointed shoots which grow so large. Thanks very much Gina for your comments and clarification.

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  6. Wow what a huge flower Rosemary. Must be spectaculair to see the flower open. Beautiful flowermosaique.
    Great weekend.

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    1. Dear Marijke - the strange thing is that you do not actually see it open. One day it is completely closed, and then suddenly it is wide open. There is no gradual unfurling of it. It is a very, very peculiar flower, and that is why I like it.

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  7. Rosemary....I don't know about that smell. It's gotta be really, really exceptional for me to put up with it.

    Yes, our morning glories are everywhere and, on everything. It's a shame too because the flowers are pretty. Very invasive, indeed.

    Beautiful collage!! Lots of action going on in your lovely garden. BTW, I went to pic monkey, but gave up....needed to install all these upgrades.

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    1. Dear Loi - yes, it really is a flower that brings out love and hate in people. I grow it because it is strange, weird and different.
      I have heard that about PicMonkey from others. One person said she needed to download Adobe Flash to get in to it.
      Wait until you get your Mac and then you can have fun with PicMonkey, but it still might be necessary to download Adobe Flash, I cannot remember. However, it must be easy to do if I did it.

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  8. Well I have to admit, I couldn't look away, I had to see what I wasn't supposed to see… I find it interesting that the weed you speak of and morning glory are two separate things?? Wow. Well, what we have here and commomly call morning glory is very beautiful and I love it, in other peoples yards, but am warey to add it to my own. It is such a harty plant that it takes over telephone poles, climbs into oak trees and wraps its way to the top of palm trees.

    Also, the first images of that red flower is AMAZING!!! I've never seen it before : )

    ~ Marica

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    1. Dear Marica - the Morning Glory is just a different usage of words. All of the plants belong to the convolvulus family. My blue ones are a garden plant and do not grow wild. The weed that I call a Bindweed, seems to go by the name of Morning Glory in America. It looks like my blue flower but is white. There is also a small pink one too, and that is a weed. The large white does climb up trees and telegraph poles and runs over hedges - a nuisance. The one in my garden unfortunately dies each winter and I have to replace it.
      I am glad you found the Dracunulus amazing - I think that it is too. I am always surprised when it reappears each year.

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  9. Dear Rosemary,
    Beautiful photos from your garden.
    You have a wonderful garden.
    I've never seen Dracunulus vulgaris before.
    Hope you're having a great weekend.
    Mette

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    1. Dear Mette - glad to be able to introduce you to the Dracunulus vulgaris. A few more days and he will be over for another year. Pleased you liked the garden flowers. I cannot believe that it is July tomorrow, where is the summer going?

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  10. Wow, Rosemary! A stunning show! I particularly love your morning glory...

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    1. Dear Kate - I love the morning glory too, and they come in such a stunning array of colours. This one actually turns purple as it progresses to its doom during the day.
      I loved your post today, and it created lots of interesting discussion.

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  11. Hi Rosemary,

    I have to admit that Dracunulus vulgaris is new to me. It does have a spectacular flower.

    The mosaic looks beautiful! Are the photo's all made in your garden?

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Madelief x

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    1. Dear Madelief - the Dracunulus vulgaris does not seem to be very well known at all. I first saw it about 15 years ago, and then got one of my own. I was amazed when I first encountered it. The flower is spectacular, but it is a very curious plant.
      Yes, all the photos were taken in the garden this week. When they are all put together they look much more than they do spread out all over the garden.

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  12. Someone mentioned white Arum Lily. That is considered a pest here in New Zealand although I still like it but then I grew up in U.K.

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    1. I think a lot of plants can be a pest if they are left unchecked. I love the white Arum Lily too, but I have seen it growing in great swathes throughout Madeira in the countryside. It is probably a problem for them too, taking up land that could possibly be put to other uses. However, I was quite envious, as I only have two clumps in the garden.

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  13. Dear Rosemary,

    I like that your garden contains a conversation piece that evokes such different reactions!

    In your last image of 16 photos, I'm intrigued by #11, the dark geen leaf that's edged with chartruese. Can you tell me the name of that? I wonder whether it could grow in Florida?

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    1. Dear Mark - it is also surprising that hardly anyone has ever heard of the Dracunulus or seen it.
      The photograph #11 is a Hosta, there are actually two of them on the picture. One with the chartruese edges and a plain bluey green one.
      The leaves are very architectural and deeply veined. They do produce an insignificant flower, but they are really grown for the leaves. It is quite good to get one or two different varieties and put them together to form a contrast. There are many varieties from very deep green leaves to ones with cream edging, and limey green leaves.
      They really prefer to be in dappled shade, and in Florida I should think that they would require a good watering every week. They also look really spectacular grouped together in
      pots.
      If you put 'Hostas in pots' in Google images you will see what I mean.

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    2. Thank you for the information. It sounds as though hostas like the same environment as coleus. I'll be doing more research now that I have this good start!

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    3. If they will grow with you, I am sure that you will find them very pleasing. Should you put them in the ground, it is better if you put some sharp grit around them. The slugs and snails love them too. If they are in a pot it is not such a problem.
      Thank you very much for the new hippo, he sits really well on the blog, and you have cleverly managed to get the background colour exactly the same!!!

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    4. PS - Hope you do not mind, but I changed the colour of the writing.

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    5. Not at all. He seems happy to fit into his surroundings!

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  14. Good flower pictures, it is always nice to see this and the creativity with the different frames.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Thanks Filip - glad you like the flowers and the different frames.

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  15. Gorgeous photos!

    That Voodoo Lily is awesome. I think I've heard of it, but I didn't know that you could grow it in a home garden. I thought it was just for parks or conservatories. Very cool, but I don't think I'd like the smell that much. ;)

    I love Morning Glories, but haven't had too much luck growing them. My Mom had a lot of them that were so lovely. I haven't heard of bindweed.

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    1. Dear Marie - it does look as if it should be in a conservatory but is a great little or should I say BIG survivor.
      Morning Glories are strange. Once they get established and are happy they are wonderful, it is just getting them on the road to success that is difficult. They are freshly grown each year as they do not survive the winter. I usually plant them out when they are about 40 - 50 cms tall with a cane for support, and on a fine day. I make sure that they are happy with enough water. We have a frame on the house wall that they can climb up as they need support. Once they get past the first few days, they are usually well away.

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  16. You have some beautiful flowers here Rosemary, things grow so well during your summer.

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    1. Dear Karen - Thank you - I suppose the combination of rain and sun this year has suited the plants more than it has suited me.

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  17. I am simply in love with your garden! the last collage is so happy-making and beautiful!!!
    we have some limited space for herbs+flowers on our balcony only, but believe me its very crowded:-) I have planted some edible flowers like the borage&viola and mint&vervene for teas;

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    1. Dear Jana - your balcony sounds lovely. There is nothing better than being able to use your own plants to make something nice to eat or drink. Glad you liked the collage.

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  18. Gorgeous post from beginning to end, from the decoupage to the much anticipated Dragon emerging from its lair.
    I am now thinking that the aroid I had growing at the bottom of the garden that produced a foetid stench was another variety and not Dracunulus vulgaris but with it's no show for a couple of years I cannot be sure. The Dragon's petal in your photo has such a gorgeous silky luxurious look to it, very nice for the flies! This week on my travels I visited a nursery where one particular cow parsley type plant caught my eye with its petroleum coloured blue black buds, on closer inspection the entire surface of the flower head had attracted a mass of writhing bluebottles - eek!
    The Echeveria photo in your mosaic took a while figuring it out, in fact most of them are very challenging. Is the photo under the Echeveria an abelia?

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  19. Dear Paul - so glad that you did not miss the Dracunulus. The extremely large one still has not fully opened which is unfortunate as I am going away soon, and it looks as if I shall miss it.
    The cow parsley type plant sounds interesting, but obviously you were not tempted to purchase one. You have set me challenge with the mosaic. I think that the plant you thought was an Echeveria is actually Sempervivum arachnoideum - house leek. The plant underneath is the shrub Escallonia rubra macrantha. We have several in the garden all grown from one tiny cutting, so they are very easy to cultivate and do in fact look fairly similar to the abelia.
    Very clever of you to recognise that the first tondo was decoupage.

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