Tuesday, August 22, 2006


See all these baby seedlings? (Ignore the dead bush.) I didn't plant them, but I'm responsible for them. Every year I rhapsodize over a Nicotiana Sylvestris I planted several years ago. Its heady fragrance in the evening, its startling size, its huge sprays of white trumpet-like flowers. People would stop and ask me what it was. And every fall I would sprinkle the dried seed heads from it over the rest of the beds hoping for new plants. Nada. Zilch.

Except for this spring. Suddenly they were everywhere. About a hundred of them. Bemused by this sudden explosion of nicotiana, I let them grow. And grow. Now I am overrun by tobacco plants and I can't even smoke them. Some of them are still babies, others grew into teenagers and young adulthood, grew tall and flowered like their parent. I haven't seen the small junipers I planted for about 6 weeks now. The miniature roses are hidden under giant nicotiana leaves. The Canada Goose decoys look like humpback whales cresting a sea of green, and the Japanese anemones are vying for air space to unfurl their blossoms.

I transplanted some to the back yard, the side yard, and next to the pond. I sent some back home with my brother-in-law when he came to visit. I'm getting ready to pot them up and leave them on the neighbors' doorsteps like babies in a basket. When fall comes, there's going to be a lot of digging-up going on around here. Hope I'm up to the task or Nicotiana Sylvestris will become my new nemesis of the garden. And I won't be doing any overseeding this fall. In fact I think I'll collect the seedheads carefully and seal them in plastic bags on their way to the garbage bin lest any stray seed fall on this suddenly fertile ground!


Carol said...

LOL that really was successful seeding!

Melissa said...

Hillarious! I love Nicotiana as well and I love how it re-seads it's self but I agree you have to keep on top of it or it will take over! I've had the 'Heaven Scent' variety and I currently have the 'Deep Purple' variety from Park's Seed. I've been trying to get 'Peace Pipe' to grow but keep having trouble with it which is odd, I believe that is the same as the variety you've mentioned. We give away a lot of Nicotiana babies too, as well as hollyhocks!

Salix Tree said...

It's funny how you and others have so many of these nicotiana seedlings, and I can never get one seed to sprout out of a pack. Maybe I should try a different seed company!

LostRoses said...

Salix, I tried for years with no luck, don't know what was magic about this year. Before, I would have said no way would they spread!