My husband is not a gardener – but over the years I’ve learned that there are few things I can do entice a little interest. Mostly, they involve enormity. Huge fruits. Big flowers. Massive harvests. But, as the tiniest bit of appreciation for the beauty of our garden has crept over him recently, I thought I might seize the opportunity to go a little deeper – to see if maybe, some other more nuanced plants might also be interesting. My goal was not only to expand his interest in my favorite pastime… but maybe to come up with some insight and new suggestions for you (and me and my kids) if you want to buy plant-gifts for the male-non-gardener in your life (because you know, Fathers Day). It was a tiny bit painful, but forcing him to sit with me in front of the Proven Winners website and pick out five things that caught his eye (and then tell me why) was enlightening and I appreciate his patience in the name of inspiring new gardeners everywhere.
Here is what he picked:
Cyperuspapyrus — It seems history and stories of the Egyptians held some intrigue. Also the picture of it planted in the water tank struck a cord. We bought one of those tanks to hold kegs for a big garden party, but now, a water garden sounds like and interesting in their purpose. My dad is a dedicated water gardener…. and koi keeper… I’m wondering if this is a ‘guy’ thing?
Cephalanthusoccidentalis — Seeing the buttonbush flowers opened the door to learning about another plant that he likes. Allium. I have just about every size (from chives to gigantea) in our garden and apparently he thinks they are all nice. So is it something about round shaped flowers that he likes? Do men generally like plants with balls? Seems plausible
Nassella (formerly Stipa) tenuissima — His comment: “Hey that is a cool looking grass that doesn’t look like it needs to be mowed” . Enough said.
• Firetail Chenille Plant – Acalypha pendula
— Its weird, and weird is almost as good as gigantic. This plant is hard not to touch, and you just want to come in for a closer look. It looks like it has giant red caterpillars climbing all over it. No matter what age, all guys kinda like that.
• Sunjoy Tangelo Barberry – Berberis thunbergii
— Ok, Ill admit – this one is a stretch. We’ve been obsessed with cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks and we struggle to find barberries (that are in lots of those recipes). He noticed the whole selection of barberries and wanted to know if they will fruit (for better or worse, the thunbergii don’t). But once we took a closer look, the Tangelo caught our eye for a new reason. “Hey, look at the those cool two toned leaves – they seem nice!”.
Which perhaps goes to show that you can probably get them interesting in anything if you just have a hook and can get them to look a little closer.
Good luck father’s day shopping!