Gas Plant and the New Northern Gardener

The May/June issue of Northern Gardener is in the stores — I saw it prominently displayed at Barnes and Noble recently — and is full of spring and summer inspiration.

Terry Yockey describes how a Red Wing couple created a dream garden for their daughter’s wedding, featuring lots of pink roses, dahlias and even a few nods to the young couple’s love of pork. In another article, garden designer Betsy Danielson teaches readers the principles of English borders and offers plant and design suggestions for creating the same look in the North. Elsewhere in the issue, Rhonda Fleming Hayes writes about one of the biggest trends this year: succulents; and horticulturist Debbie Lonnee provides an insider’s guide to all the new coneflower varieties.

A word about the plant on the cover, which is one of a dozen beautiful shots from Donna Krischan in this issue. It is a gas plant (Dictamnus albus), a USDA Zone 3 hardy plant. It’s called gas plant because of a sticky substance that covers the plant in summer. If you hold a match to it, it will ignite instantly. I don’t see gas plant in gardens much, and wonder if this is why?

5 Replies to “Gas Plant and the New Northern Gardener”

  1. I don’t know about that — when I worked at the garden center (Aug 2007 – May 2009), we got a fair number of inquiries about whether or not we had gas plant, but generally the answer was no. From the comments about it at davesgarden.com, I wonder if the reason it’s not more widely grown might not be because it causes painful allergic reactions in a lot of people.

  2. I have a gas plant similar to the cover picture…I LOVE it! It’s in full bloom right now and I get to see it every morning as I am leaving for work.

  3. Mr. Subjunctive — Thanks for the information. I didn’t know about the reaction, but that would explain why people shy away from it. Too bad — it’s very pretty.

  4. We sold a gas plant at the Bridge of Flowers sale this spring. Do you think it is really really true about igniting the air around a gas plant with a match?

  5. Pat — I have never done it and don’t have gas plant in my garden, but one of our regular writers, who is also a master gardener, says she has done it. Let me know if you decide to try it, though it’s likely the plant will be dead afterward!

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