Wordless Wednesday: October 10, 2012

Disclaimer: Wordless can also mean “speechless,” and today’s post explains why I was briefly mute. 😉

At the end of August, one of my favorite horticultural bloggers wrote  a post about Chanticleer Garden, 35 acres of botanic beauty a half hour’s drive from Philly, PA.  While reading, I was stopped short by her photo of a stunning plant; tall and oddly branched, with flowers reminiscent of plum-colored broccoli ❗ Yes, I said broccoli and beyond that descriptor, I’m speechless (wordless!) to explain the unusual specimen known as Angelica Gigas:

I had NEVER seen (or heard of) this dramatic, architectural plant!  Not even when I lived in Massachusetts, which is strange given its zone 4 hardiness factor!

Angelica Gigas is native to woodlands and forests of Korea, Japan, and China where herbalists use the roots to treat everything from anemia, to low libido (ewwwwww) and liver disease! This is a biennial species, blooming in the second year of life.  If the flowers are dead-headed–not allowed to go to seed–it will often reach heights of 6ft, then rebloom in year 3!

A. gigas is not easily germinated, and falls into the category “directly sow to grow,” meaning in-ground planting is preferable ➡ seeds started in containers rarely survive the transplant process!  But here on the cusp of zone 10, direct-sow into sandy soil almost always fails!

I’m sure you see where I’m heading…I’d like to grow this plant, but need to overcome some obstacles…the biggest of which is deciding which sources to believe!  Most list A. gigas as a zone 4-8 short-life perennial; others as a 5-9; one has it surviving through zone 10!  (for the record, “short-life perennial” doesn’t even make sense!…one or the other, guys 🙄 or learn the word “biennial!”)

You already know I love a challenge in the garden, so….

I searched for the  largest cultivated plant I could find and ordered it from Romence Nursery, Grand Rapids MI.

Angelica Gigas October 10, 2012

FAST (2 day standard no extra charge!!!) SERVICE brought an incredibly healthy plant to my door on Saturday, and it’s already put on new growth!  See the small emergent leaf at the base of the stem?  Not there the day it arrived. 🙂 Wow!

For now, it stays in the shipping pot while I watch it react to sun vs. shade.  Although listed as a “full sun” variety, that’s seldom true of non-tropical plants in Florida.  Most likely, I’ll dig it into the partial shade section of the rear cutting garden and hope for the best!

If you’d like to see  time-lapse photography of Angelica Gigas buds as they open, click on the YouTube video below:


PS:. For someone who was wordless/speechless, I certainly recovered!  I hope you enjoyed my alternate interpretation of the weekly meme!

🙂 🙂 Until next time…..


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