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 Funky, Fun Garden Plants

 By Valerie Garner

I have a love for funky, fun and uniquegarden plants. Here's one to try.It's called Sea Holly, and it's actually in thethistle family. Sea Holly is a perennial garden plant, which means you plant it once and it comes up year after year, somewhat depending on your climate.

This plant never did fail to bring attention andcomments from people seeing my garden. It grows about3-4 feet high, very branchy and the branches are abrilliant electric blue color. It's stunning!

The only drawback to this lovely plant, in the fallyou must cut it to the ground and burn or compost theplant. Do not let it go longer than that, or it will be casting seeds and you'll soon discover it's family trait ofbeing a thistle, if you know what I mean. The following spring, it'll come back again to it'sbeauty.

It is an easy plant to grow and does best with fullsun, or as much sun as is available to you. I live inthe Pacific Northwest, U.S.A. so we get a lot of rain andfairly mild summers and yet it seems to be enough forthis plant. You can search for Sea Holly seeds in seed catalogs or sometimes you can find it in some nurserys. Aninternet search would surely find you a source forthis lovely plant.

I thought I'd let you know about one of the coolest,funky plants for outdoors I've ever run across. It's calledEvening Scented Stock, it is NOT the common stock, however.

This is an annual plant, that needs to be sown early spring, directly into the soil where it is to bloom and grow. I recommend planting it nearby windows and doors, porches, etc. This plant really doesn't look like much in and of itself, it's not a pretty plant per se..but when about 5:00 PM rolls around watch it do its stuff! This plant has a VERY powerful fragrance similar to hyacinths or lilacs. At the gentlestbreeze it sends a waft of fragrance to die for. This is why it's so excellent to plant near a window, door or pathway. When you open up your screen in the evening, this will scent your entire house.

One place that I have found the seeds for this rare plant is atFragrant Path, PO Box 328, Fort Calhoun, NE 68023

Here's another one to try. This one is called Autumn Crocus.In this case you can tell a lot by it's name. You generally purchase it as a bulb, which are usually quite large. It does return year after year without needing to re-plant it.

In the spring it shoots up a lot of foliage, this is preparing the plant for it's autumn blooms, be sure to just leave this alone. Come about mid June or so, this foliage starts looking like it's dying, again just leave it be. In late August/early September, when most of the flowers are past their prime and the garden is starting to look sparse, out comes the AutumnCrocus, with their beautiful lilac colored blooms. They bloom for quite a long time when few things are blooming. A fun plant, give it a try!

This one is an annual (only lives 1 growing season) plant called Love Lies Bleeding. It's as strange as it's name.It is very easy to grow. You just simply direct seed itin the soil (full sun preferably) where it is to grow inthe spring. It's height seems to vary greatly. I've seenit be as small as about 2 feet high, and reach up to 6 or7 feet high. It's "flowers" are long, burgandy coloredropes that hang. It is simply stunning. Always getsattention! It will usually re-seed itself so you'll getnew plants the following year without doing anything.It's best to try to find this seed in an unusual typeseed catalog. It is in the amaranth family.

Here's the last one. Ever tried the hellebore family?There are many varieties. They are perennial whichmeans they come back year after year. These are best planted in shady areas, but where they will get sun in the winter, like under leafed trees or something of that nature.

What is so unusual about hellebores is that they bloomsomewhere between Dec. and March. There are very fewplants that do that! One variety is called a ChristmasRose. It's quite striking to see flowers in the midstsometimes of snow.

These plants usually must be puchased at a nursery.Check out your local nursery for this wonderful familyof plants.

About the Author
By Valerie Garner, mom and proud grandma, and owner of Joyful Designs in Soy (Candles) at:

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