Thursday, November 8, 2007

Plant of the Moment... A Tale of Two Tagetes

The plants of the moment have to be the two tagetes blooming in our herb gardens now. They will both bloom into December and for that quality alone they both deserve to be plant of the moment.

Tagetes lemmonii is a wonderful, sprawling shrub-like plant with airy, delicate foliage. Late in the season and especially while blooming it can be a thug, falling over whatever is growing near it. Its such a delicate plant though that it doesn't seem to smother things like the late asters and chrysanthemums can sometimes do. People refer to it as "fragrant". Most people I know think it stinks. It is on the stinky side. Brush against it anytime of the year and you will certainly smell it.

Tagetes lucida on the other hand is more of an upright, orderly and sweetly fragrant plant. This one requires more of a "brushing against" to enjoy the fragrance, but crush a leaf or a stem and you will certainly be rewarded.

I love them both. They bloom this time every year oblivious to freezing temperatures when most other perennials have said goodbye to summer. I have planted them in most of my gardens... one because of its scent and one in spite of it.

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