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Garden Photo of the Day

Garden Photo of the Day

Nicotine & castor oil

comments (5) July 30th, 2010 in blogs
MichelleGervais Michelle Gervais, Senior Editor
21 users recommend

Click here to enlarge this photo. Click the image to enlarge.

Click here to enlarge this photo.

Photo: Michelle Gervais

Call me crazy, but that's what comes to mind when I see this beautiful combo from the display gardens at Blithewold Mansion & Gardens in Bristol, Rhode Island. The pink flowering tobacco (Nicotiana mutabilis, annual) is closely related to the cigarette-type, Nicotiana tabacum, while the castor bean (Ricinus communis 'Pretty Purple', annual), is, indeed, the source for castor oil, and for the poison ricin, for that matter. In fact, you should think twice about growing castor beans, no matter how lovely the burgundy varieties are, if you have small children or pets that like to snack in the garden, since this plant is strongly poisonous. But oh, how nice these two look together! While Kris Green and Gail Read, the gardeners in charge of the display gardens at Blithewold, would like to take credit for this design, they say that the wind is what placed the tobacco seeds next to the castor bean, and the rest is history.

Welcome to the Fine Gardening GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY blog! Every weekday we post a new photo of a great garden, a spectacular plant, a stunning plant combination, or any number of other subjects. Think of it as your morning jolt of green.

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If you think you have a photo that we should share on the Garden Photo of the day, email us. Send hi-res images to mgervais@taunton.com with GPOD in the subject line. We'll only respond if we plan to use your photo.



posted in: Blithewold

Comments (5)

Kris_at_Blithewold writes: This castor bean - 'Pretty Purple' (from Select Seeds) was supposed to only be 4' tall! Two out of three of ours are a good 7' by now but we have managed to keep one of the plants shorter by pinching it back - and it has branched beautifully. And we always take off the flowers so that it won't produce seeds - most of the plant's poison is found in the seeds (and they, unlike the plant, almost look tasty.) Posted: 6:55 am on August 3rd
sheilaschultz writes: I planted my first castor bean in a large container this year... the leaves remind me of a Japanese Maple on steriods & the seed pods have a crazy color & texture. I'll keep the babes away! The Nicotiana w/this combo adds a softness. Serendipity at work! Posted: 5:28 pm on July 31st
arboretum writes: hmmmm, bold w/ delicate. and i alw like white or light pink w/ burgundy.
best,
mindy
www.cottonarboretum.com/ Posted: 4:37 pm on July 30th
grizmom3 writes: I have always grown Nicotiana because the hummingbirds love the trumpet-shaped blooms. I have grown Castor Beans in the past, but have never seen one with purple leaves. How large do they grow? The ones I grew reached up to 10' or more and were huge. I no longer have room to grow them and sure do miss 'em. Great photo and thanks for sharing.

grizmom3 Posted: 1:37 pm on July 30th
GEide writes: Yikes, ricin poison! Thanks for interesting fact-oids! Posted: 9:47 am on July 30th
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