Look what the mailman brought

As a gardener and plant lover, my hear starts to beat just a bit faster when a box full of plants arrives in the mail—especially when I don’t quite know what treasures are waiting within.


Alan of It’s Not Work, It’s Gardening! had picked up a couple of plants for me at a recent plant sale at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve, and he said he was going to include some other goodies as well.

The first thing I saw when I opened the box was strappy foliage—looking very promising.


In no time I had all my unpacked treasures sitting on the table.


The strappy foliage turned out to be one two plants from the plant sale, a wonderful prairie-native called rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium). In pioneer days, its root was used as a treatment for rattlesnake bites, hence the mysterious-sounding common name.

The Latin epithet yuccifolium means “yucca-like leaves,” and while some people say the plant looks like a yucca, I don’t see much resemblance. However, I do think the bristles along the edge are cool.

In the summer, rattlesnake master produces round flower heads with tiny white flowers; here the close relationship to sea holly (Eryngium planum) becomes apparent.


The other plant I had Alan pick up for me was a yellow coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa). This is the only echinacea species that has yellow flowers. If it does as well in our garden as Echinacea purpurea, the common purple-flowered variety of echinacea, I’ll be happy.


The goodies Alan threw in for me included feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) about which he blogged recently


…purple devil (Solanum atropurpureum), a Brazilian member of the nightshade family featuring deliciously wicked-looking (but quite soft) thorns along the stems and on the leaves…


…and a beautiful Canna indica ‘Madeira’ he blogged about last year (photo below courtesy of Alan Lorence):


I proceeded the put the plants in the ground this morning while it was still cool (the canna went in a 5-gallon pot for now). We’re supposed to get rain on Monday, a truly rare event in our Mediterranean climate, which would be perfect for my new plants.


Eryngium yuccifolium (left), Echinacea paradoxa (right)


Verbena bonariensis (left), Solanum atropurpureum (right, but almost impossible to see)

I also planted five Verbena bonariensis my friend and fellow gardener Sue dropped off earlier in the week. She’d read my recent post about Verbena bonariensis and asked me if I wanted some extras she had (started from seed). Two went in the planting strip inside the front yard fence, and three went outside the fence in the spots indicated by the purple arrows below:



The last thing I planted was a reblooming lilac (Syringa x ‘Bloomerang Purple’). It went in the spot indicated by the right-hand arrow in the next photo. (The left-hand arrow is another Verbena bonariensis.)


I’d been looking for a reblooming lilac for a long time and I finally found one. It’s a true dwarf (even the leaves are a fraction of the size of a regular lilac leaf) and it’s supposed to bloom not just in the spring but also from summer into fall. Time will tell if the hype is true (some people say it isn’t) but it’s a risk I’m willing to take: together with daphne and lavender, the smell of lilacs of my favorite flower fragrance.



  1. How fun and what a wonderful blogger friend!

    1. Candy, we need to get together and do our own plant exchange!

  2. There is nothing quite as fabulous as a box of plants arriving in the mail!

    Funny you and Alan both mentioned lilac today. One for, one against.

    1. Lilac could be my favorite plant if it a) bloomed over a longer period, and b) had more attractive leaves. I actually think the tiny leaves on that reblooming lilac are much more attractive than the full-size lilacs.

  3. Hope they do well for you Gerahrd! I'm pretty sure the canna is Canna indica 'Madeira'.

    1. Thank you for all the goodies! I'm sure they'll do great. I'll post an update later in the summer.

  4. I know the feeling. That's how I felt when I received the Agave from you. Great selections. What an awesome friend.

    1. Laura, you and I live close enough so we can exchanges in person :-).

  5. Way cool! Opening a box of plants is so exciting! What a nice and generous blog buddy!

    1. There's nothing quite like opening a box of plants. Opening a box of chocolates may come close, LOL.


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