Sunday, February 12, 2012

St. John's Wort

     While I was out doing advance scouting for this month's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day (featured on the 15th of each month at May Dreams Garden), I spotted a sprig of St. John's wort.
Hypericum calcinum, 'Brigadoon'

     If I remember correctly, this is the cultivar Brigadoon, and I have had more than one change of heart since I planted it.  When I saw it in a nursery and bought it, it was because I thought St. John's wort was a U.S. native plant. In fact, there are some native species of St. John's wort, but this is Hypericum calycinum and is native to southern Europe and southwestern Asia.  It's not that I object outright to non-native plants.  There are lots of non-natives I enjoy in my garden.  But in this case, I was experimenting with a bed that was to be all native.  It turns out that this was not the only mistake I made in my selection and some of the other expats are staying put for now, but the St. John's wort made me nervous because it started spreading at some distance away from the parent plant by underground runners.  
     I've also had a few changes of heart about the color.  I like this interesting coloring as a seasonal feature.  But after I bought it, I read up on it (um, yeah, not the wisest sequence of actions) and my interpretation of what I read was that it would be this color all year round.  Yuck!  This doesn't suit my idea of summertime, particularly in a bed that is supposed to be naturalistic.  Well, it turned out that for me the coloring is indeed seasonal.  It stays peachy orange a little too long in the spring for my taste, but is light green in the summer.  Good.
     Now I've moved it to another spot, where its spreading, supposedly weed-suppressing nature will be more appreciated.  The peachy colored sprig pictured above was discovered yesterday in the original spot, along with one other.  This is why I moved it, but I'm hopeful that pulling these two sprigs will be the end of it in that spot, hopeful I've mostly escaped the worst of the trouble.  In the new spot, I won't mind if it spreads a bit; there's nothing delicate there for it to clobber.  Hopefully it will stop short of being invasive, and not join the club of nightmares previous owners have deeded to me: wisteria, nandina, privet, English ivy, the list goes on.   But I'll keep an eye on it.  
Hypericum calycinum 'Brigadoon' in more shade
     One last surprise.  In the new spot, it's not peach colored right now, even the new growth.  How does anyone ever manage to actually design a garden!  For me, the plants are just not cooperative!  If this individual doesn't color up, it may end up in the compost pile after all the trouble it's giving me.  But the peachy colored sprigs do look pretty nice, especially against a pine-straw covered background.  Maybe I'll find another new spot for it in a little more sun.


  1. Maybe the best thing to do is to make a few prints of your gorgeous picture and hang them around the house. Then you can enjoy the color whenever you want without all of the misbehaving.

    1. You make me laugh. You know the color would clash with the mint green paint in our living room. I'm sure you won't mind helping me dig it up if I have to, right honey? Thanks for the compliment, though.