Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tales of a Nashville Gardener-The Porterweeds

Perhaps it is our economy, perhaps a lack of audacity, but our Nashville garden centers seem tired. They sell the same old things. In other words they sell what sells, and they take no chances.

I am not talking of the box stores now, those plant crematorias with their"garden clubs" and their tasteful hanging plastic bags surrounded by chicken wire and stuffed with potting soil and annuals.

Why do none of the good garden centers sell White double Asteromea? Persicaria "Firetail"?

And here are two tender perennials to grow as annuals, available only by mail order where shipping costs often exceed the cost of the plants.

I grew both the pink and blue Porterweeds in my old Bellevue garden. I bought them as gallon plants at the old Moore and Moore on Harding, next to Richland Creek. They did not live through the winter, but it did not matter since they seeded about. I have never seen them for sale locally since, which is odd, since they are popular in butterfly gardens all over the country. Almost Eden, a Louisiana nursery, does sell them online.

Here is the Pink Porterweed, Stachytarpheta mutabilis. It will grow to 3 ft by the end of August in any sunny spot.

Here is the Blue Porterweed, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, growing in a West Meade garden.

Alan Armitage calls these "obviously a plant only plant lovers can love".

Not true, and Armitage is wrong.

This is why I do not depend on experts alone, but on my own experience and that of other gardeners.

Here are two photos of the West Meade garden mentioned, photographed today.

And here is one of the Pack of Ten who keep the deer away-

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