Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Strange Things

Happy Spring! Although it's been feeling like spring since about mid-January here in My Florida Backyard, we're definitely enjoying the longer days and the recent time change allowing us more time outside in the evenings. A few extra minutes to take an evening stroll keeps us from missing the little things that are happening, like the strange and fascinating rue flowers that are blooming now.

As we've noted before, rue as an herb doesn't play much of a role in most cooking these days due to its sharp, fairly unpleasant scent and flavor (Ruta graveolens literally means "Bitter herb with a strong, unpleasant smell"), but we love having it in the butterfly garden, where both Black Swallowtails and Giant Swallowtails use it as a host plant. Interestingly, this herb is apparently quite admired in its native Southeastern Europe, where it's the national flower of Lithuania and is frequently carried in bridal bouquets. To each their own, I guess.

Strange flowers and a stranger smell... rue certainly doesn't work in everyone's garden. But My Florida Backyard is a wildlife garden, and rue is a wildlife plant, so we like it. What's the strangest thing growing in your garden, and why do you grow it?


  1. Wow, great photos. I need to see about having rue in my own gardens.

    Happy spring gardening ~ FlowerLady

  2. I love rue! The blue green color, and almost lacy look of the leaves. Mine has never flowered, and now I'm bummed to see what I've been missing. Great pictures!

  3. We have a bog with venus fly traps and at first i thought this was a bloom... I thought to myself "WOW, i've never seen a bloom like that! do the blooms open up into little traps??" we always cut the bloom off before they opened and i thought i have really been missing something... had a nice laugh!!

  4. Strangest thing I've got might be my Hercules club which is also a Giant swallowtail host. The spiky leaf stalks it drops in the winter are worse than sand spurs if I'm barefoot in my backyard.

    I want to start growing the Purple Thistle "Cirsium horridulum" and that could probably give the Hercules club a run for it's money in the both the strange and spiky departments. I've seen a beautiful snail around the base leaves of these when they grow in beach dunes near me and I think they host a few caterpillars as well.