(260) 687-9560 rocky@smokeysgardens.com

We have had a wild introduction to the Memorial day weekend.  Since the last post thunder, lightening, wind and rain all conspired to take out our electricity, not just a second or two, but for days.  At the time of this writing our office still has no internet connection so we are using our phones as hot spots.  Luckily our power has returned.  Trees are down all over the place.  Quite a few roads were blocked until the power company could remove them and be able to begin the restoration of power to the many homes that were effected.

One thing I have noticed is an increase in the wildflowers lining the road.  The one that caught my eye, and seems so prolific looks like a cross between a Phlox, Phlox paniculata , or a Lilac of some kind.  It turns out to be Hesperis Matronalis, commonly known as dame’s rocket, damask violet, dame’s violet, or gilly flower.  Be aware that these names are also often used generically to describe other fragrant flowers.  It is a member of the Brassicaceae family of plants, that includes arugula, broccoli, and mustard and is considered an invasive plant in most parts of the country.

One of the interesting characteristics of this wildflower is that it can carry blooms and seed pods at the same time.  The Latin word hesperis refers to the evening, when the flowers emit a fragrance that is a cross between cloves and violets. The matronalis comes from the  Roman word Matronalia, celebrating Juno, the goddess of motherhood and childbirth. The plant is also  a biennial, meaning it blooms in the second year. It is a self-sower so if you allow it to drop the seeds, you will enjoy a continuous yearly bloom, as with a perennial plant. If you are concerned about the invasive nature of this flower you may choose to plant it in a container and cut off seed pods to keep it in check.  The leaves and seeds of this flower are edible and can be used for medicinal purposes.

Let’s take a quick tour of the greenhouse here.

And here is the current state of the show garden with a focus on the central planting banana tree.  These can be grown just about everywhere if you are willing to take them up before the first freeze and keep them over the winter somewhere they are protected from freezing.  The next spring it is only a matter of planting them and watch as they continue the growth that was interrupted when they were removed from the ground last autumn.

Other areas are also being prepared at the same time.

This is the time of year where it appears summer has officially begun.  It is our hope that you enjoyed being outdoors this past weekend, cooking out and enjoying time with friends and family.  Don’t forget to thank out vets and active duty military for their service.  The sacrifice they make for our benefit should not be limited to one day or a weekend.  Do something nice for them whenever you have the opportunity, I can assure you they will appreciate it.

Time to enjoy the long days and don’t forget to put a visit to Smokey’s Gardens on your calendar.  We are hosting our open house on July 13th this year and hope to see you then!

Be like our friend here and take every chance you get to lounge.


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