Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2001
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Seafoam Statice
Seafoam statice (Limonium perezii) is a hardy perennial in our region that thrives and blooms through the spring and summer with large clusters of long lasting purple blossoms. It's one of my very favorite plants and commands a large area in my small community garden plot. Seafoam statice is perfect for either fresh or dry flower arrangements. The beautiful flower performs well in windy conditions and grows in sand or clay soil. The handsome, round, dark green leaves are low to the ground, while the flower stalks stand above the foliage on 12 to 18 inch tall stalks. It will occasionally die to the ground during cold weather in our coastal location, but usually comes back from the roots.

Books

The Botany of Desire
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan (Random House, 2001; $25) portrays an interesting point of view of four particular plants; apple, tulip, marijuana, and potato. Author Michael Pollan delves into the history and mystery of each plant and invites the reader to understand how man has made a symbiotic relationship with each.



In man's search for sweetness, the myth of Johnny Appleseed is revealed. The quest for beauty brought about tulipmania that swept Holland in the 1700's. Man's desire for intoxication and rigid drug laws led to the development of a new super marijuana plant nicknamed "Maui Wowie", evolved from the common hemp plant. The consumerism that drives the economy has caused the common potato to evolve into a MacDonald's french fry.



If you're curious about the history of man and his relationship to nature, I heartily recommend The Botany of Desire.

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