January 22, 2010

Garden Wish List: Eucomis

All gardeners have a wish list. There are many plants that I have admired, but haven't yet added to my garden.

Eucomis comosa 'Oakhurst' has been on my mind ever since I saw a great display of pineapple lilies growing at Juniper Level Botanic Garden in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Juniper Level Botanic Garden is the creation of Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights Nursery. During a summer open house, I had a chance to stroll his beautiful display gardens.

In a full sun garden like mine, dark foliage is difficult to find. I'm always looking for plants that will add dark color and won't fade out or scorch.

An attribute listed for Eucomis 'Oakhurst' is "Full hot sun for best color."

Full sun. Got it.
Hot. Got it.

Is Eucomis deer resistant? Is it rabbit resistant? Those are the other challenges that I face. In my online research, I have found multiple references that indicate that this plant isn't likely to appeal to deer, rabbits or squirrels.

Assuming that the growing conditions are suitable for my garden, how do I want to use this in my garden design?

The foliage height is 24 inches and the flowering height is 32 inches. That's the right form to add dark purple foliage as well as wide, pointed foliage where I have a lot of thin, lacy, silver to light green foliage.

The dark purple foliage will provide a nice companion color for the pink, blue and purple flowers in my garden. The bloom color and shape will add further interest among the tubular-shaped flowers of agastache and salvia that I grow.

Silver to blue foliage of plants such as nepeta, stachys and echinops will look especially good next to the dark purple. I can see rearranging my pink muhly grass to use as a companion, too.

I can think of so many ways to use Eucomis, either in the deer resistant outer gardens or inside the cottage garden fence. Enough information has surfaced in my research on critter resistance for me to take a chance. I'm definitely moving Eucomis from my "wish list" to a "shopping cart" somewhere!

What's on your garden plant wish list?

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Photos courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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