What’s up in Salem

I had a dream the night before last about William Huntingdon Sanders, shivering with his Malaria-induced fever on a hospital piazza in Cuba, unattended and very much alone. When I woke up, I walked up to Harmony Grove Cemetery to see his grave, and on the way home, looked for signs of spring in Salem. We’re not quite there yet: you can tell that next week will see the big burst that always seems so sudden to me. But there was some color, highlighted by the emergence of the sun in the course of the day. Nothing much in my yard–which is very much dominated by later-blooming herbs and perennials–except for these amazing variegated plants whose name I have forgotten (last photograph below): I saw them in a small courtyard garden at Hampton Court Palace last year and had to have them, and a colleague’s husband graciously supplied me with three. I lost one, but look at the two remaining:  they’ve been blooming for a month and now I’m wondering how big they are going to get. I want more!

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Name this plant, please!

14 responses to “What’s up in Salem

  • Peg

    I believe that plant is Arum Italicum aka Italian Lords and Ladies.

  • Penelope Crane

    Name that Plant This is the same plant I see in Italy! If it grows in Salem it will grow in Waldoboro Maine! I want the name too! Penelope

  • marybryne

    Donna- Just a note to say how much we love your blogs. Living in Cambridge and having little “play time” in Salem, your blogs make us feel like we are bi-located enjoying Salem as much as you do! Just did a drive-through in Salem the other beautiful spring day with a friend from Santa Fe- who enjoyed it just as much.

    Was going to suggest you send the picture to Mahoney’s Garden but looks like the resident botanists have nailed it!

  • Gardenkeeping

    That plant is Italian arum. A couple of other fun names: lords and ladies and orange candle flower. It’s spread easily by seed so be careful if you don’t want it to take over!

    • daseger

      Thanks! It is in a fairly-contained place.

      • Gardenkeeping

        I commented before looking at the other comments. I guess you had your question answered already! I like the plant but, in a lot of the gardens I work in, it can be a battle when it pops up everywhere and people decide they don’t like it anymore. Too bad. The leaves are such a nice shiny green.

      • daseger

        Well I am grateful that everyone jumped in! As I wrote in my post, I first saw this plant at Hampton Court, and it was really beautiful in a courtyard garden, contained like mine.

  • Peg

    Been reading more about Italian Arum and it spreads by traveling roots, seeds and corms. Birds eat, take flight, and disperse the seeds many miles away. Unless you have it corralled in a submerged pot, the roots can spread. It is also poisonous to pets, any part of the plant can cause severe skin irritation, illness, or death to people, livestock, and wildlife. Here’s a pdf about it from Washington state, where it has become a real problem, which has me worried because it’s much further north than MA. so it could really thrive and become a pest. Unfortunately alluring plants like this get dispersed and nurtured because of their beauty by humans, unaware of their despicable side. I’ve done it myself, many times, only to find out, sometimes too late that I’ve introduced an invasive into my neighborhood.

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