Sunday, February 21, 2010

What would the neighbors say?

My wife and I live in a quiet little suburban neighborhood. Shortly after we moved in, we removed our lawn and all the conventional garden plants. We replaced them with interesting plants of our choosing.

Of course, we needed permission from our city to do this—but we managed to convince them it was for the best. Lawns gobble up water, and we were replacing ours with more water-conservative plants.

We've been gardening the front for a year, and while the plants are still very young, we're happy with how everything is growing so far...

But I wonder if our neighbors suspect anything strange about the garden we put in? And I wonder what the city would say...would any of them complain if they learned that many of the plants we grow…are MONSTER plants?

Yep, hidden among the cute little garden plants, we have carnivorous botanical monsters like tiny Roridula and Stylidium plants. Roridula captures flying insects. Stylidium --are commonly known as trigger plants--capture bugs too, and scientists are still trying to figure out if they are carnivores.

We also have some stinky plants like a few nice Arum species, very nasty-smelling Dracunculus (the Voodoo lily), and my favorite of all—a beast called Amorphophallus rivieri. This is a close relative to the giant titan arum. I named my Amorphophallus "Rebecca," after a person I’d rather not talk about here! But every spring, Rebecca produces a big flower about 1 meter tall (three feet), with a horrible smell. I keep her near the garbage cans, so no one suspects she is responsible for the horrible stench.

Why is it that neighbors wouldn't complain about a stinky garbage can, but they would complain about a stinky plant?

Just having a couple of monster plants in the front yard isn't entirely satisfying to me. In a year or so, I'm thinking about putting a small bog in the back yard...wouldn't that be nice?

Here is a photo of Rebecca, before I moved her from a greenhouse to my front yard!

Would you mind living next to a garden of monsters?


  1. But your garden looks so innocent!

    I have been working to interest my tiny niece and nephew in carnivorous plants. The niece in particular loves H.A. Rey's book "Elizabite." I will be distributing your "Monster Plants" book at birthday time! What a great idea.

  2. I can tell someone doesn't like to mow their lawn! haha

  3. hey:) Boas noites, como uma interessada na vida estranha dessas plantas, estou interessada em plantar uma. informei me e encontrei este site,categoria,Grow_It:_Plantas_Carnivoras,nome,068_195:01318,fid

    gostava de saber se é provavel eu ver alguma coisa crescer e qual as especies que poderiam vir a crescer, Vivo no Norte de portugal, acima do Porto, e aqui faz bastante frio:S
    muito obrigada desde já:)

    Mara Areias

  4. I would LOVE to be your neighbor. I would be coming over to check your babies out and ask for seedlings or seeds and how you got the city to let you do your lawn so that I could go through the same channels. I bet I could find other CP nuts and we could have a whole neighborhood filled with CPs and scare the paperboys.