Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ugly plants



Spring is a gorgeous season. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to see. As I wrote here, even spindly, punky volunteer trees can make you stop and appreciate their tender green buds.

But I'm having a little trouble with one or two of the plants in the garden. Like the one shown here. I don't know what it is, and based solely on where it grows (in the uncultivated forested area by the pond) I think it must be a native plant, rather than something that was put there. It appears early on - about the same time as the crocus. It has the thick green stem of a stalk of broccoli, and when it first appears the head is a cluster of tightly closed buds that eventually open into nondescript white flowers.

It's wrong, and I don't feel good about it, but I find this plant just plain ugly. Every day as I walk past it on the way to the greenhouse I try to find something to like about it, with no luck. I feel uncharitable and unkind and ungenerous, but when I leave it behind I don't like it any better than when I started.

It's not the only plant I feel an uncomfortable revulsion for - there's the winged euonymus, too. We have three or four of these shrubs at the front of the house, and before anyone protests, yes they do have spectacular fall colour. But have you looked at it when it's bare? It looks like an alien insect of some kind. Every branch, big and small, has three ridges that look like scales running the length of the branch. It makes me think of a five foot high locust. Ick. While I have worked really hard to find something to appreciate about the broccoli-like white flower, with the winged euonymus I don't even try.

As an antidote, here is a picture of the first of the fawn lilies to bloom. These are a native plant, and they are in many of the perennial beds here at Mucky Boots. The flowers start off looking like sweet drooping pigtails, and as the flower ages, each pigtail curls up so the whole thing looks like a British barrister's wig.



Added later: Thanks to expert detective work by Joyce and Yvonne, the "ugly plant" has been identified as a coltsfoot - either sweet coltsfoot or arrow-leaved coltsfoot, not the medicinal kind that grows in eastern Canada and Europe. Thank you everyone for your encouragement to find things to love about this plant!

3 comments:

Paula said...

The fawn lilies are very pretty. Boy, between your post this morning and Jenna's, I'm not sure I want to go outside today. But then, I have SO MUCH to do....

Toni aka irishlas said...

The fawn lilies are beautiful, for sure. The other plant is really not all that ugly... maybe it will grow on you!

jeanives said...

Maybe it is ugly in situ but it photographs well and looks quite fetching really.

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