Thursday, May 6, 2010

dame's rocket

I've had this perennial in my Durham garden ever since I've had a Durham garden. The seeds were originally sown from souvenir tins that were given away at a wedding. Folks don't throw rice anymore because everyone has heard that birds eat the rice and then explode.....I think that has been proven to be an urban myth but, whatever.

I made away with several tins and threw the contents all over my freshly tilled perennial border in the spring of 2005. Dame's rocket is the only surviving flower from that mix. For a few years, I wondered if I had made a mistake as it vigorously self-sows. If you do a google search for dame's rocket you will find all kinds of nasty comments about it being invasive.  I have found that if you cut the flowers off after they fade but before they turn to seed, then you can keep it in check. If you like what most people call a Cottage Garden style garden....then you should grow some Dame's Rocket. My yard is an experiment in different styles so I can't commit to being a Cottage Garden style expert. Actually I am not a big fan of even using "styles" to describe gardens since most landscapes tend to evolve over time unless there is very diligent garden-editor/green thumb on hand to keep things in bounds. I think I need a blog editor since I am obviously veering off topic here.....

Hesperis matronalis  is also called "sweet rocket."  It is supposedly fragrant at night but I went out last night about 9:00 and sniffed around a few stalks. The scent was barely noticeable.  My best description is that is smells like wisteria but diluted by about 80%.

Dame's rocket makes a nice bright cut flower. I have a simple bouquet mixed with orangey-pink floribunda roses on my dining room table. It could use some white peonies but I do not have any. Perhaps I will buy some at the Farmer's Market this weekend.

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