Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Back to school - back to your Garden!

Plays Well With Others!

By late September local school children have returned to their classrooms and are adapting to new teachers, new challenges, new friends.  Parents share concerns for their children, hoping they perform well academically, as well as socially.  Socialization and cooperation are valuable attributes to develop, both inside and outside the classroom.  Each child must learn to be compatible with their peers and teachers and, hopefully, learn to play well with others

In a home garden environment, certain plants also exhibit desirable characteristics, like compatibility.  While some plants have aggressive tendencies and encroach on the space occupied by neighboring plants, other plants remain “close to their roots.”  A favorite of mine… a polite little plant… is ornamental oregano ‘Kent Beauty’ (Origanum rotundifolium).   ‘Kent Beauty’ has delicate, fragrant foliage and drooping pastel pink-lavender flowers, and it always plays well with others!

Although ‘Kent Beauty’ is considered an herb, it is not intended for culinary purposes; there are several other oreganos for use in cooking.  ‘KB’ can be grown in a pot and tucked in with sedum plants; it loves a sunny location and will also thrive if grown directly in the ground (prefers well drained soil).

At Chicago Botanic Garden, I noticed a large vertical garden display that included several ‘Kent Beauty’ plants, which were quite lovely with their trailing, drooping flower heads. The vertical display contained a variety of other annuals, which combined nicely for an attractive design.   ‘Kent Beauty’ might also be used in beds and borders… a versatile, compatible little plant that usually flowers June through September.    If you haven’t yet enjoyed ‘KB’ in your backyard, try it next season, and you will observe that it plays well with others!

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture