The Aliens Are Landing

The idea was to get a few perennials to fill in a few spaces in my garden.  Gardeners know what a tremendous high it is to spend part of a beautiful afternoon at a garden center.  It is almost impossible not to become a plant junkie.  My cart was filling up with rosemary, basil, some thyme, a couple of hostas, a flat of  Sweet Alyssum, some Impatiens for the shade. I lingered longingly over a dark purple Hellebore that I did not buy but am tempted to go back for. I stood inhaling the perfume wafting from a massive Gardenia in full flower….. actually circled back a few times to smell it again and again.  Almost made it out of there with a reasonable haul, when I passed what appeared to be an alien plant from outer space bearing wild looking florets.  Which of course I just had to have.

Up until now it seemed the Passion Flower was in a league of its own, holding the Alien Plant title, but I think this new plant is right up there and deserves a place on that space ship.

The plant was just labeled “hanging plant” with no other explanation, so I had to hunt down a garden center person to identify it. She said it was called an Osteospermum, which instantly conjured up images of disintegrating bones and flailing sperms to me.  To remember the name, I have filed it in my brain as “The Osteoporosis Plant”.  Actually, Osteo does mean bone and spermum means seed in Greek…. which still does not explain much.  Is this cool, or what?

Once I got it home, my research revealed that the common name is “African Daisy”, a native of (guess!) southern Africa, with some species found in southwest Arabia too.  They like a lot of sun and will act like annuals unless you live in one of the warmer zones.  There are different types of florets –  the Disc kind and the Ray kind. The Disc kind can come in a variety of bright, parrot-like colors and have both male and female flowers (pseudo-bisexual).  Some have blue centers (blue centers!).  This particular one that I have happens to be the ray variety, with spoon-shaped petals that give it that freaky look I so admire.  The colors on the rays are a bit more subtle. The ray variety are females.

Here is another photo of my lady alien plant in silhouette.  The Aliens Are Landing!!!

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14 Responses to The Aliens Are Landing

  1. MonaKarel says:

    New Mexico gardening is a challenge, and I find I’m far less ambitious filling the cart these days than I was in Southern California. This looks like a fun flower, wonder if it will take over your garden

  2. Simply gorgeous, thanks for sharing.

  3. Diane says:

    I love that plant, quite frequently it finds it way into my pots. I love the colors and the color combinations you can conjure up for the pots, like purple and orange, and fun things like that. The wilder, the better. You should see how they grow in Portland. I put some in my daughters pots when we were redoing them, and they were awesome.

  4. Karen says:

    Oh man, yes! That is a very cool plant. I know the African Daisy, but this variety I haven’t seen ever! Full sun?

  5. WOW! These are gorgeous!

  6. Judy says:

    Really gorgeous flowers!. I am still getting accustomed to gardening here; I opt for low maintenance so I shy away from annuals. Since I have not been here a full year it is difficult to choose plantings, as I am not sure where the sun is or is not and when, seasonally. But I share your passion for nurseries. It is addictive and I have to remember to only buy what I need, rather than get home and try to find places for unplanned purchases.

  7. daeja's view says:

    Depending where you are, this actually could be a perennial. I can almost always find a space for an unplanned purchase! 🙂

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