A few weeks ago I posted a photo of plant called the Giant Fleece Flower (Polygonum polymorpha), which was blooming in the garden. The plant, with soft, creamy-colored plumes, looked like a sailing ship with all its sails billowing in the wind. At about five feet in height, it brings grace to a border, and its habit is relaxed without needing staking. Researching it on the web, I found picture after picture of this magnificent plant. And not only is it beautiful, but it blooms along with irises, and they are breathtaking together. Perfect plant? Uh, wait a second before rushing out to a nursery. It is magnificent, but only for about ten days. Then the panicles turn brown and crispy.
I can hack that, as nobody’s perfect. But then squadrons of Japanese beetles appear, and they love this plant. No, they adore it. It’s plant-alicious for them.Yum. So within the space of four or five days, the Giant Fleece Flower goes from looking like a magnificent sailing vessel, to something more like the wreck of the Mary Deare. A plant like this presents the gardener with a dilemma–is ten days of beauty worth the down-side of having a big, moth-eaten, green blob in the garden for twelve weeks? It depends on the garden. I swooped in and cut off the crispy panicles, picked off any remaining sullen and sulking beetles, and then noticed some Gloriosa daisies peeking through the foliage, and it was ok. Not magnificent anymore, but something I could live with.