Tuesday, June 30, 2020

IT'S ALL ABOUT NEXT YEAR

Have you noticed how when each season comes to a close, and we have more than 4 in Texas, we are already thinking about that season next year. I have already made a decision about which seeds I will be sowing indoors next winter for spring and summer flowering. They are the seeds of successful sowings this year. It remains to be seen how successful they will be next year. This is number one on my list.


Out grocery store, Central Market, has a small rack of Botanical Interest seeds just inside the store and, as I always do, I checked out what they had on offer. When I saw this packet of Ammi, Dara, I snapped it up. We had just, that summer, returned from a wonderful trip to Europe and part of the trip was spent on the island of Guernsey. There, when we hiked along the cliff tops, were large stands of Queen Anne's lace. A reminder of the hedgerows of my childhood. There were plentiful stops along the trails to snap some photos and a little research when we returned to our airb&b.

Queen Anne's lace Guernsey
Queens Anne's lace Daucus carota, and Poison hemlock, Conium maculatum,  are very similar and it was interesting to learn how to tell the two apart, because the latter is deadly poison if ingested by people or pets. I am not likely to want to eat the roots of this plant any more than I would eat a wild mushroom unless it was from the grocery store. But I now know how to spot Queen Anne's lace. It has a hairy stem, which hemlock doesn't, its stem is green and that of hemlock is splotched with purple and Queen Anne's lace is the only one to have a single red flower right in the center of the umbel. You can see the red flower in the photo below.
There is a lovely story about Queen Anne working on a piece of lace when she pricked her finger and the drop of blood landed on her lacework. I think it might well be true.


And so to my packet of Ammi, Dara seeds. Of the 30 seeds I sowed only 3 made it into the garden, mainly through my lack of care, but I am thrilled by the performance of the ones I have.


They languished for a while and then suddenly they shot up and flowers began to form.


On the underside of the umbel you can clearly see the 3 pronged bracts which are another feature which distinguishes it from poison hemlock.



I did come across a little controversy about the naming of these plants. Queen Anne's Lace is Daucus carota and is always white and is native to Europe. Ammi majus, originates in the Nile valley and does not have the red flower in the center. It appears that many seed companies call the colored variety Daucus carota which it is not. These seeds I have should rightly be called Ammi majus Dara, false Queen Anne's Lace.


 I have great hopes for growing them in more places in the English garden next year. That is if the weather pattern we have next year matches this year's. Like many of the plants in my garden these have enjoyed a bounty of rain in the last month.

14 comments:

  1. I fell in love with this plant last year when I purchased 3 by mail order from Annie's. This year, I was lucky to find a 6-pack of plugs and planted 3 in the front garden along the walkway and 3 in the back garden (where all but one was eaten by a rabbit). Next year I also plan to try growing them from seed. (Last year's plants did NOT self-seed for me.)

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    1. I was wondering whether I would be able to save the seed. It does seem that this plant is not aggressive like the Queen Anne's lace. That's fine as long as I can find the seed.

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  2. Like Kris I bought Daucus from Annies last year. I peer into the center daily to see if I can detect a bloom on the way. The bold foliage does ad some drama as well.

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    1. I am amazed at how quickly they came on and now have lots of flower heads. We have had some unusual weather so maybe this is another of those one-off years.

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  3. These are beautiful and of course look just gorgeous in your English garden :)

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    1. I thrilled adn they jstu look so English hedgerow, which I love.

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  4. I too am trying Ammi majus this year. Sowed the species and a cultivar early in the Spring and mixed the two types up when I planted them out amongst dahlias and oriental lilies. Can hardly wait to see the show as we too have had a ton of rain.

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    1. I hope I get to see your photos. Unfortunately we cannot grow either of those other plants but I bet they will make a spectacular combination.

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  5. These are very easy from seed sown thinly in six packs,and they will self sow if the soil is not covered by mulch. Mine got so tall I had to stake them, but I'm generous with the water.

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    1. I sowed mine in small cells in the late winter and then kept them protected until I thought the coldest weather was over. I'm not sure how well they would do in the cold.

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  6. So Beautiful in your garden! I love Daucus carota so perfect in a cottage garden. I have some that had reseeded. And yes I have already got my seeds for autumn. Will start them inside in August. Summer is pretty fallow in our veg garden. My herbs are in pots under a shade cloth.

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    1. I wonder why I never thought to plant them because I do love them. Maybe I would be foolish letting another rampant seeder into my garden.

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  7. an elegant plant. Thank you! And what else is on your list?

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    1. I am going to grow statice again. This time I will get a pure purple strain as well as the mixed.

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