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.

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