A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Rosemary's Exclusive Talent
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rosemary has an exclusive talent for seeing beauty and garden worthiness in plants that I often not notice. A case in point is Lathrys vernus the spring flowering member of the pea (and sweet peas) family. The Royal Horticultural Society says of this plant:

These pretty, ground-hugging spring peas can be found to the right of the main track to the Fruit and Vegetable Garden, just after crossing the bridge over the stream. At a time of year when yellow flowers (daffodils, primroses, celandines) and blue flowers (bluebells, Anemone blanda, grape hyancinths) predominate, it is refreshing to come across an unusual plant with distinctively different colouring. Grown at Rosemoor for the first time in 2004, Lathyrus vernus proved to be very popular with our visitors.

Of the plant itself the RHS says:

This is a clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with upright, angular stems, mid- to dark-green leaves, with two to four pairs of sharp, pointed, pinnate leaflets, up to 8cm (3in) long.

The flowers are produced in short racemes of up to six flowers, 2cm (0.8in) in length, reddish-purple in colour and becoming shaded greenish-blue with age.

The plant may cause mild stomach upset if ingested.

Rosemary rapidly loses interest in the plants that make her excited and she shifts to her next find. When she noticed roses I thought she was crazy. She dragged me to boring meetings of the Vancouver Rose Society that featured slide shows of badly photographed roses. Worst of all the chairs of VanDusen's Floral Hall were hard. The same happened when she had a preference for hardy geraniums. When I became interested in the geraniums she was into ferns. And so it has been through the years as our garden changes as our interests shift. If this were not the case and both of us loved roses (as I love roses) we would have 1000 roses and nothing else!

Bless Rosemary for her exclusive tastes.


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