Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lenten Roses

During the season of Lent, an herbaceous perennial sends up its hearty bells of florets on sturdy stems – bridging the gap between winter and spring.

As with the season of Lent itself – a wintry season of contemplation, spiritual focus, and petition - these symbols of new life out of the deathlike state of winter are emblems of the newness of spring, rebirth, and rejuvenation.

Helleborus is the genus name for Lenten Roses to which these perennials are often referred as Hellebores. Hellebores range from garnet to ruby, lilac to lavender, and to the purest white. Once the flowers begin to fade, the petals become chartreuse and lime green, lasting for months on their stems and for days in arrangements. Some of the flowers are the simplest, five petal blossoms you’ll ever see, while others are compound arrays of florets with freckles or dark nectaries complemented by bright sepals.

Leathery leaves, pretty and green, make for a delightful texture in the garden. The dark green of the Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger, is quite stunning around Christmas time and into January. The pure white flowers dangling above the glossy greenery are beautiful sentiments for the Christmas Holidays. From there, cultivars and cross species of Helleborus orientalis will begin to emerge and bloom through the winter and especially during Lent…quite an appropriate name, eh? From bloom time to color to texture, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a Hellebore to suit your garden’s fancy.

Some varieties within this genus take a few years or growing seasons to bloom – totally worth it. From their evergreen foliage, long lasting flowers, and bloom time, Hellebores should be a garden staple for gardens throughout the South as well as the country. One of the attributes I have come to admire concerning Hellebores is their season proper - they actually bloom during Lent, during the winter, starting to flower before the spireas, forsythia, and flowering trees have begun to blossom.

A plant that will naturalize, or gradually take over a garden plot, Lenten Roses are ideal under deciduous trees and shrubs and tucked into corners that may not receive the most attention on the garden stage. Along a fence line, under a tree, or popping out from the base of unsuspecting shrubs, Hellebores grow well in full winter sun and partial shade. Once their covers have leafed out and the season turns warm, these plants will benefit from the newly developed shade. Typically sold in the fall, though, Hellebores can be planted year round. I like to plant them with perennial ferns, so when the heat of summer is stressing their leaves, the new fronds are the perfect camouflage. Southern Wood ferns a good companion plant for Lenten Roses.

Of course, legends of the Lenten Rose’s history abound, whereas some scholars believed Alexander the Great was poisoned with an overdose of Hellebore ingestion – often used to treat a range of illnesses in ancient times. Russian medicinal practices even view the Hellebores as depression fighters. As with any good thing, too much can be detrimental, thus too Hellebore poisoning is possible…I doubt any of us will have issue with this…moving on.

Lenten Roses are stellar additions to any garden. Whether you have a patch of them under a tree or a clump that is slowly spreading throughout the garden, I hope you’ll enjoy your Hellebores inside as cut flowers and outside as some of the first flowers of winter and spring. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter – its meaning and symbolism. What better reminders than a beautiful flowering plant during a time of reflection and concentration to recall the beauty that this season represents. “For the beauty of the earth…hill and vale and tree and flower.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Salmon Croquettes

“We would have salmon croquettes and biscuits for lunch or finely-chopped roast, drizzled in au jus gravy and bourbon colored syrup and eat the meals with delight. As domestic deity, Mary was unrivaled.”

From my memoirs…

Mrs. Mary made salmon croquettes for lunch for us many times during my childhood. Often during the summer when we were out of school and in her hair, she’d send us to the garden to pick vegetables and then we’d “help” her make lunch.

Her croquettes were more so of a crispy salmon patty, not greasy, and wonderfully delicious. Many times we would have sliced cucumbers and Vidalia’s in vinegar with them or some other fresh veggie medley…okra and tomatoes, skillet corn, or browned squash.

I’ve often tried to recreate hers, and, as with her biscuits, I just don’t hit the mark. I have discovered, though, a modern twist on this classic that is quite divine. My Mimi, a fantastic cook herself, had a hankering for salmon croquettes and I was glad to oblige – wanting to try a twist on croquettes, we began thinking…a dangerous kitchen pastime!

Panko makes everything better. Mimi used to cook with these breadcrumbs in Japan when she and Granddaddy were stationed there in the 50’s. Now, they’re readily available in most grocery stores…even flavored. I had some Italian flavor Panko on hand, so into the mix it went and what a result!

From the French word croquer (which means “crunch” in French whereas the dish croque-monsieur comes from as well.) Croquettes are defined as a small cake comprised of a minced meat, bread crumbs, herbs and seasoning. And so they are!

The fine texture and a super crunch factor make these fine breadcrumbs a welcome addition to a dish and the palette alike. Yet, what the Panko did for this batch of croquettes to make them exceptional was that they helped make the patties lighter and not greasy at all. I mixed the breadcrumbs in with the salmon and other ingredients and then “breaded” or coated the patties in the Panko for added crunch.

Of course, when you fry or sauté anything in oil, you’re going to have the “greasy” factor to contend with, but I think the Panko solved that contention and gave us the perfect texture and taste for our croquettes. Since salmon croquettes are a Southern staple, we often eat them with grits and Mimi’s remoulade, appropriately enough. A simple salad rounded off the meal and gave us our green element for the meal.

Whether you’re an old faithful when it comes to salmon croquettes or a new to the dish, try these, and I bet you’ll be just thrilled. I added a bit of green onion from the garden for garnish, but I guarantee it would be great in the patties too. Wedges of lemon add a punch of citrus flavor when squeezed over the dish and dress up the dish to. From this Farmer’s pantry, garden, and kitchen, enjoy!

Salmon Croquettes

· 2 Cans of Salmon, no bones, just meat.

· Half a cup of mayonnaise…good mayonnaise (Hellman’s)

· ¾ teaspoon of onion powder…you can use green onion in place if you wish or in addition.

· Salt and pepper to taste…fresh cracked.

· 1 cup of Panko…I used the Italian but the plain work quite well…and another cup for the breading

· 1 large egg

· About ¾ cup of canola oil for frying

Mix all your ingredients together, reserving a cup of the Panko for the coating. You just might have to get your hands in it to thoroughly combine it all and form the patties.

Shape the patties into your desired size…I make a larger croquette whereas four fit in the iron skilletabout an inch thick and 3-4 inches in diameter. Shape them and pack them well so they don’t fall apart in the pan. Roll, coat, and bread the croquettes in the remaining Panko - be sure to coat all sides.

Fry your salmon croquettes in a cast iron or heavy skillet. Heat half the oil on medium high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Use half of the oil for the first batch and the remaining oil for the second batch if need be. If the breading starts to “cloud” or clump together in the oil, just remove the excess crumbs. Fry on each side for about 4 minutes, 8 minutes total for each batch or until crisp and golden brown. Allow them to drain on a paper towel covered plate. Serve with grits, on a bed of greens, or both!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The epitome of grace and elegance in the garden, a camellia bloom is one of the quintessential, nostalgic flowers of the Southern garden. Though ranging across the country as to where they can bloom, the Deep South does boast the national headquarters of the American Camellia Society at Massee Lane Gardens in Fort Valley, Georgia. Every section of the country that can grow camellias has their own society, and I encourage you to find them and marvel in the knowledge these groups have gathered.

Whites, pinks, reds, corals, blushes, and every shade in between can describe the colors of Camellia blossoms. Some flowers boast bi and tri-colors with interesting variegation and petal arrangements. Single, double, semi-double, anemone and peony shaped blooms abound on glossy green plants from fall into spring proper. Here in the Deep South, late February through March is a parade of parades in the flora world, since the camellias are at their bloom time height.

Camellia japonica is the most commonly associated Latin name for the typical camellias we find in our gardens and landscape. Native all over eastern Asia and the islands of Japan, this species was first introduced to the Southern landscape via plantations near port cities such as Savannah, Mobile, NOLA, and Charleston, where Middleton Plantation, still houses some of the first camellias brought to the “New World” from Europe, where they were the en vogue oriental import.

New England greenhouses grew camellias in America’s Revolutionary and Antebellum days, since the species couldn’t take the extreme cold of the North. Finding suitable soil in Dixie, camellias began to thrive in our acidic soil and mild winters. The subject of gorgeous art pieces and painted porcelain, camellias continued to grace the gardens of Southern gardens and homes as they had in England, Belgium, France and Italy. Pierre-Joseph Redoute, court painter to Marie Antoinette and Empress Josephine, painted a study of camellias for his royal patrons, remaining a most desirable image for botanical collectors and admirers.

Botanical print by Redoute: Red Camellia

Probably first brought to the States mistakenly as tea plants or seeds, the Camellia’s first cousin is Camellia sinensis or Tea. Yes sir! This is the family from which tea leaves are harvested, brewed, and consumed, and we all know how much this Farmer loves his tea!

Moving on, I am often asked what is my favorite flower. Technically a hard question to answer, though, a white camellia resounds in my mind as the correct response. When a white camellia blooms, and no cold or blight has tampered it, it may be the purest white I can imagine on this earth and simply breathtaking to “mine eyes.” A double variety with golden stamens or the C. sassanqua Kanjiro’ and old faithfuls such as ‘Victory White’ and ‘Alba Superba’ move me to reverent awe over the beauty one flower can possess.

White camellias are also a major part of Southern literature, with their prominence in To Kill a Mockingbird, probably my favorite book, and thus, further resonating the white camellia as my favorite.

“He (Jem) did not begin to calm down until he had cut the tops off every camellia bush Mrs. Dubose owned, until the ground was littered with green buds and leaves…”

“Atticus reached down and picked up the candy box. He handed it to Jem. Jem opened to box. Inside, surrounded by wads of damp cotton, was a white, waxy, perfect camellia. It was a Snow-on-the-Mountain. Jem’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “Old hell-devil, old hell-devil!” he screamed, flinging it down. “Why can’t she leave me alone?””…

Please do read this section of Miss Lee’s novel, which is heavy laden with imagery, symbolism, and Southern allegory.

Of course, camellias are super for their decorative prowess as well as outdoor aesthetics. A bowl filled with floating camellias is just stunning. Dishes or short vases brimming with camellia blooms are quite beautiful and seasonally apropos for this time of year. I’ve seen hurricanes surrounded by camellia blossom wreaths and huge platters mounded with gorgeous blooms that were absolutely gorgeous. A mixed composition camellia, lily of the valley, winter honeysuckle, Japanese magnolia, cherry buds, and forsythia as a Lenten Season arrangement remains one of my favorite compositions in flora décor.

However you choose to use camellias in your home’s landscape and garden, remember to give them a high shade home (under pecans and pines preferably) and adequate water. Full winter sun or an eastern exposure can be quite accommodating for camellias as well. a good mix of clay, organic material, and sand is an ideal soil combo for these plants. Moderately fast in growth habit, you’ll be able to enjoy camellias within a few years of planting if not sooner. Explore your favorite blossom types and the different bloom times and your garden will be graced with these fabulous flowers from September to March with these symbols of devotion, protection, and everlasting union.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pasta Creation

While I was at Auburn, I “invented” a pasta creation that has since become a family favorite and requested menu item a la Casa de Farmer. Easy to prepare and prepared in a flash, this pasta creation is a stove to oven to table dish sure to please the whole family.

Simple, basic, and fresh ingredients make this dish elegant. A dash of herbs add some garden goodness and a splash of green. Served with good bread and a salad, this dish can be expanded and contracted upon to serve two or twenty – and trust me, I have! It is basically a buerre blanc or white wine and butter sauce…what could be better my friends? Seasonal veggies make this meal seasonally apropos from a prima vera version in spring to a more savory version with mushrooms in the fall.

My sisters (and their friends) stipulate my Pasta Creation fairly often for supper and I’m always glad to oblige. You can make it with or without meat, add to or take away ingredients, or simply follow the instructions for yummo dish. The sweetness from the Vidalia’s and the browned garlic flow with the sweet Marsala wine and thus complemented by the salty parm. From this Farmer’s table to yours, enjoy!

The Farmer’s Pasta Creation

  • 1 box of bowtie pasta
  • 1 stick of butter or Smart Balance equivalent…it’s for the WHOLE dish, mind you
  • 2 tablespoon of good olive oil
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 cups of Marsala wine
  • Seasonal vegetables of your choice…asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, or any tender crop you like.
  • ¾ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • A heaping cup of freshly shredded mozzarella
  • Seasonal herbs for garnish or as a bouquet garni…I use rosemary and parsley mainly…thyme and basil as the season permits.
  • Meat of your choice…chicken, crab, fish, or shrimp all work quite well. About a pound of your choice.

Cook your pasta to a just before al dente state…it will cook a bit more in the sauce and oven. I throw in some herbs in the water to infuse the pasta.

Finely chop your onion and brown it in the butter and oil until translucent and starting to brown. Keep an eye on the onions so they don’t burn. Add the garlic once the onions begin to brown. Toss in your bouquet garni and then throw in your meat at this point if you’re using any. I typically use thin chicken breasts sliced and chopped into bite size pieces. Shrimp and crab work quite well as does a tuna steak or salmon fillet resting on a bed of this pasta.

Once your meat has cooked, add your tender veggies and stir them in the buttered brown onions and garlic to soften. I like them a bit crispy, but cook them to your liking.

Add the wine, scraping the bits of flavor off the bottom of the pan. Let the alcohol cook off and the liquid reduce by half. Add half of the parmesan cheese and stir it into the mixture.

Add the cooked pasta and mix the whole group together. Cover with shredded mozzarella and sprigs of rosemary and bake until the cheese is melted…serve hot and serve often!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010



by William Wordsworth

I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Jocund company indeed I love this poem by William Wordsworth, for I truly believe it captures the reaction a gardener or flower lover experiences upon site of daffodils.

The genus Narcissus can be identified by their central corona (trumpet like center) and six surrounding petals or perianth. In the Deep South, Daffodils are often referred to as jonquils and are the birth flower for March. “Jolly and as jonquil” my Mama and other Southern prim and proper grand dames would say.

Yet, this spectacular genus is full of so many amazing characters, and named for Greek character to boot. Narcissus, so full of admiration for his own beauty, drowned next to a pool of water while constantly gazing at his reflection. Narcissi thus sprung up from the spot where he fell in. Yellows, salmons, creams, oranges, and arrays of citrus hues are donned by daffodils each and every spring around the world. Naturalizing readily and perennial a source of delightful fragrance and cheer, daffodils grace woodlands, vales, gardens, and valleys alike as heralds of spring.

Though epitomized as spring flowers, Narcissi papyraceus or Paperwhites begin to bud and bloom in late fall and at Christmastime here Dixie, thus starting a cadence of narcissus flowing into spring. Does that species name sound like any other word? Papyrus maybe? Thus the paper part of the Paperwhites’ name. Strongly fragrant, Paperwhites remind me of childhood, where dozens upon dozens of tiny tubular white flowers scented the hills, woods, and landscape of our farm – having done so perennially for better part of the twentieth century.

Paperwhites lead the way and then a host of other fun flowered Narcissus will follow, gracing the garden and carrying on through the Lenten season and deep into the vernal equinox. For fascinating facts and more info on these dynamos of the plant world, visit the American Daffodil Society’s website…

Plant your daffodil bulbs in the fall. Depending on the variety, you can plan a orchestral event of Narcissi with crescendos and decrescendos of color, aroma, and flower size from late winter well into spring. Towards the end of February and into March, the daffodils in the Deep South begin a chorus of floral glee, striking a severe complement of the wintry landscape and the bold, crisp daffodil display.

Excellent as cut flowers, daffodils make for lovely bouquets. Keep them arranged with themselves, since daffodils contain the alkaloid poison of lycorine and the calcium oxalate in the sap, which is harmful to other cut flowers. Just don’t confuse your daffodil bulbs with onions or eat them and you’ll be fine. You can mix daffodils with other daffodils and enjoy them for days.

After you’ve cut your daffodil blossoms or they have become spent on the plant, DON’T CUT BACK THE FOLIAGE! Common mistake among gardeners, cutting daffodil foliage back robs the plant of the following year’s nutrients. You’ll get lots of leaves but no blooms. Rather, tie your daffodils’ strappy leaves into a bundle or single not, and let them disintegrate naturally, thus returning nutrients back to the bulb below.

Since daffodils erupt with color in late winter and then play out towards spring, plant them in areas where daylilies, ferns, hostas, or liriope will cover their fading foliage with their new growth. Daffodils and daylilies make for perfect complementary plantings, especially since they both boast similar colored leaves and flower colors. These two are quite a classy combo found in many gardens throughout history and modernity.

On a crisp, cool, late winter day, nothing is more charming than a row, clump, or naturalized area brimming with jolly jonquils. Whether as “lone reeds” in a pecan grove, the dainty little yellow minnows in a ditch, the sparks of fiery warmth against a bleak winter sky, or the first messengers of spring, may your heart be filled with the pleasure of daffodils.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Points on Perennials

· Remember to fill in some of the interludes of the perennial border with some annual color. Whenever a break in bloom cycle occurs in the garden, a few ever-blooming or bold foliage choices stopgap any lull between perennial bloom sessions.

· Look to your native bloomers as stellar choices for your garden palette. The indigenous species blooming and thriving in your native landscapes can fair quite well in your garden.

Light and water – keep companion plants together in the garden for water and energy conservation. Companion planting can be one of the most rewarding gardening themes for your own plot of earth.

· The old adage of blooming where you are planted bodes well for living with a garden. Here in the Deep South zones 7—9, try not to grow those plants that fair will in zones 5 or 10. Cultivating within your zone appoints the garden and gardener with successful plants.

Record your garden adventures and compare notes with friends. I learn so much from my fellow troopers with dirt on their hands. Gleaning knowledge, tips, and advice from those digging, planting, and cultivating alongside you makes for a treasure trove of garden information.

· Year to year blooms thus perennial maintenance. Keep you perennial borders weeded, deadheaded, and free of debris so your plants have room to grow and bloom. Thriving perennials will even need to be divided and can be shared with gardening friends and scattered around the garden.

· As with garden living in general, growing perennials is a labor of love. Enjoy your garden and plantings. A happy gardener can be a happy cook, host, and decorator with their garden’s produce. Garden living should be an enjoyable lifestyle, enriching your life and of those around you.

Mr. Turtle may have seen better days, but he's still around!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Perennial Lists for a Splendid Spring & Fabulous Fall

Plant in Fall for a Splendid Spring
For a profusion of springtime blooms, plant these combos of annuals and perennials in the fall:
· Violas and pansies
· Huechera or Coral Bells
· Parsley (always throw in some herbs)…Chervil, Tricolor Sage, and Chives
· Mustards, Ornamental Cabbages, and Kale
· Snapdragons-plant in fall, cut back in winter, and watch them explode in Spring!
· Digitalis (foxgloves)
· Delphinium and larkspur
· Hellebores or Lenten Roses
· Poppies - I like to sow them by seed in late fall and plant small plants as well during the fall and into the winter months for a profusion of blooms.
· Dianthus, Sweet William and Alyssum - Bloom in fall and spring
· Monarda or Bee’s Balm
· Daylilies
· Rudbeckias such as Black eyed Susan (spring and fall are great times for these)
· Of course, tulips, daffodils, and other spring blooming bulbs.
Pick a grouping of your favorites and start there; expand upon your success each season and remember to keep a record of your success. Snip some of your choice blossoms and enjoy the fruits of your labor to bring inside as well.
For a Fabulous Fall, plant these in Spring or Early Summer:
· Mexican Salvia or Mexican Bush Sage
· Russian Sage
· Ryan’s daisies and asters
· Mexican marigold
· Other salvias or sages such as pineapple, Black and Blue, May Night, and Forsythia Sage…the list goes on and on!
· Lamb’s ear
· Artemisia
· Veronica
· Agastache
· Black eyed Susan and other Rudbeckias
· Ornamental grasses and sedges
· Eupatorium or Joe Pye Weed
· Autumn Joy Sedum: Sedums in general are knockouts in the garden!
· Caryopteris or Blue Mist Shrub,
· Perennial Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolia)
· Sweet Autumn Clematis
· Japanese Anemone
· Toad lilies, lily bulbs, and daylilies
Choose a few from this list and document your success. Allow your coleuses, tender tropical plants like ginger and angel trumpet, caladiums and elephant ears, sweet potato vine and other summer troopers to mix in with your fall perennials and a cornucopia of your own garden flowers will bloom in abundance throughout the season.
Stay tuned for perennial points and tips.

Monday, March 1, 2010


If thou of fortune be bereft,

And in thy store there be but left,

Two loaves, sell, and with the dole,

Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul.

-Muslih-uddin Sadi

If that poem doesn’t speak to your spirit, then I don’t know what will! A poet after my own heart…feeding their soul with flowers! Once you have grown, seen and smelled hyacinths, you too will know the power of their intoxicating fragrance, the paradoxical complement of earthy bulb and delicate bloom, and the sheer delight such a little dose of this spring time flower can bring.

Hyacinthus orientalis or the common Dutch Hyacinth is the prototypical image our minds conjure up when thinking about hyacinths. Though there are many different species to admire and grow, including the Grape Hyacinths (Muscari spp.)

From the grocery store to the garden center, hyacinth bulbs and flowers have become easily obtainable to our market. If all you do is smell them, you too will become intrigued and bemused by their jaunty, spring floral bouquet that is the perfect perfume for the vernal equinox.

With colors that range from soft, buttery yellows to jewel tones of deep amethyst and aubergine, to the purest of white, I’m sure there is a hyacinth for your home and garden. The color blue, pure blue, can be a rarity in the plant kingdom, and hyacinths boast a gorgeous palette of blues, from lapis to indigo to sky.

And what better of a story can a flower have than its own place in mythology! The mythological story of hyacinths is a classic Greek tragedy, full of love, blood, dueling gods. Commonly associated with rebirth, we often see hyacinths used appropriately enough at their bloom time in early spring.

In Victorian times, the language of flowers became a dialogue of its own, with the hyacinth representing fun sport. Not so odd when you realize that the name came from the ancient game of throwing a Zephyr and Apollo throwing a discus to young Hyakinthos. Well, maybe still odd. Anyways, the blue hyacinths represent sincerity, which is a fantastic and lovely for one of the sincerest of all blue flowers.

So, now with sincerity of my own, plant, arrange, force, and smell hyacinths in your home and garden. I’m quite sure after offering their first fragrance and beautiful blooms, you too will have fed your soul.

A few fun ideas and tips for hyacinth employment and enjoyment

· Force the bulbs in water and rocks in a sunny spot and watch the miracle or horticultural life spring up out of a papery skinned bulb…simply amazing process.

· When forcing hyacinths, use a clear, thick glass container so you can gage the water content…keep the bottom of the bulbs touching the water…don’t drown them. You can use pretty rocks and shells as anchors for the bulbs too.

· Buy hyacinths in tight buds from the florist and make a simple arrangement of them for a week or more of enjoyment inside. They make super cut flowers, elegant nosegays, and will perfume the whole house.

· Plant a composition of hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips for a springtime celebration in your own garden. Since they bloom within close proximity, you can have a great period of delight from these fantastic combos of bulbs and flowers.

· Plant spring blooming hyacinths in the fall (October- November in the Deep South) in good garden soil with plenty of organic material. Once the flowers have bloomed, don’t cut back the leaves – that’s the food for next year’s flower. The adage is true for daffodils.

· Plant summer blooming hyacinths in the spring…these fun little plants are nice surprise come summertime!

· Check out different color varieties, such as ‘Gypsy Queen,’ one of this Farmer’s favorite colors and flowers. It is a soft apricot and deliciously fragrant!

· Though non-native but becoming invasive, the Water Hyacinth is an aquatic plant seen in many ponds and swamps. Native to South America, this plant has pretty hyacinth-ish flowers and color but is actually considered a plant pest.

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