Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Attack of the Giant Primrose or Serendipity in the Garden

Pulling into my driveway after work yesterday evening, I admire the Evening Primrose growing next to my garage. Picture a plant so big it towers over the lanky daylilies, a monster of a weed, over six feet tall, growing in a large clump that sprang to life from the scattered seeds of last year's flowers. The dusty green foliage and bright buttercup yellow flowers glow against the Tar Heel blue wood siding. Last summer, serendipity made me spare an anonymous seedling and later realize that what appeared to be a three foot high weed actually bloomed nicely in August. Identifying it as Evening Primrose, I collected the seeds and scattered them this spring in the same place where it had thrived before. This summer the plant has doubled in height and is blooming earlier in the summer which makes me wonder what will happen if I gather this crop of seeds and sow them next spring? Is this the Jack in the Beanstalk of wildflowers? Will I be able to scale the heights of my garage roof by climbing up the Evening Primrose stalk?  Will I have so many Evening Primrose seeds that I can start my own herbal oil supply business? Or trade a handful of seeds for a cow? Could I be the Gregor Mendel of Evening Primroses? Loud barks interrupt my revery. Addie waits by the driveway side window and demands dinner upon my arrival home and she's pretty sure that my sitting in the car daydreaming is not getting her dinner fixed fast enough.

Further reading:
Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station NJ Weed Gallery
The monk in the garden : the lost and found genius of Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics  by Robin Marantz Henig.(BIO Mendel)
NCAM Fact Sheet on Evening Primrose oil from National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine,National Institutes of Health
Addie might be a Belgian Malinois, but she definitely did not go with Cairo the Dog and Seal Team Six into Pakistan as she is a diehard suburban doggy who fears fireworks and jumping out of helicopters.
Why is my house Tar Heel Blue? Just to annoy Ellen.

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