Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ornamental Oregano

Common Oregano - Origanum vulgare - is Greek for "joy of the mountains."
So, it's quite fitting that Oregano should be thriving in my garden:

Origanum Kent Beauty is going nuts in a rickety old whiskey barrel in the garden we've happily dubbed, 'Dante's Inferno.' In spite of her delicate features, she's a sun worshipping camel.

Look close at the photo above. The flower is that tiny purple jewel. You hardly notice it because it's the bracts that grab your attention. They start out mauve, aging to bright pink & purple. Once the bracts are entirely pink (or purple) they have dried into a color-fast, paper-type quality, ideal for floral arrangements.

Is this ringing a bell? Good for you! Cheaper, man-made versions of this lovely perennial are quite popular in the Pier 1 dried flower department. This, of course, makes me think they are oh-so exotic but they're not. They're just really, really hard to find. Or, so I thought.

Origanum rotundifolium 'Kent Beauty' - Royal Botanical Society, Award of Garden Merit. USDA zones 5-11, full sun, very drought tolerant.

Plant where Origanum can cascade down a wall, over the sides of a window box, or tall planter.

Another mystery plant:
This one reaches 4 feet in - get this - about 6 weeks, giving forth a short-lived burst of delicate lacy, white flowers with pink tips. She has grown from a large bulb I must have planted. Who is she? I haven't a clue. Do you?


Anonymous said...

You can find Ornamental Oregano (of many species) locally. One place that's a "Jewel" of a nursery and is a great place to find unusual plants is Willard Bay Nursery. Barney is the local president of the Perennial Plant Association, and is passionate about perennials. Please support our local growers. (Although David is also a great guy at High Country Gardens in Santa Fe)

Gail said...

What a wonderful beauty. I guess it won't make it here. Some say we are zone 4 some say 5, I shall buy for zone 3 or 4. Thank you for sharing this with us I hadn't seen it before.