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Friday, July 22, 2011

Green God in the Garden

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A plant or shrub needs a certain style to be called a Green Goddess. This is a strongly evocative name - with its link to all things classical, and organic. I'm immediately seeing a beautiful, womanly plant with a deeply spiritual attitude.

I have two different Green Goddesses growing in my garden, so I thought I'd peep via Google to see what others I was missing. Well, well, well... It seems that the namers of assorted things in the world have over-reached themselves.

Non-horticultural green goddesses include a salad dressing, a floor cleaner, and a fire engine (specifically the Bedford RLHZ Self Propelled Pump)... None seem to me to embody the spirit of a goddess, green or not.

 I grow these in pots as well as in the garden.
Green Goddess Cordyline

A Squat Cordyline

And it's almost the same in my garden. One of my Green Goddesses is a fat-leafed Cordyline, described in my New Zealand Natives book as 'a squat cabbage tree which can look lush in tough conditions'. Hmm - this description hardly inspires worship.

The Green Goddess Cordylines are definitely green, though, with wonderfully fat, spiky leaves. I grow them in the garden and also in pots on the patio. if I were a goddess I'm not sure I'd want to look lush in tough conditions - might give the wrong messages...

Goddesses are female deities, and therefore can do with being voluptuous. So it is with the Arum Lily called Green Goddess - she has large curvy reclining flowers with white middles and green edges. I've had a clump for years, waterside by Rooster Bridge, and this year is the first time I've noticed flowers. Mind you, each flower does a really good impersonation of a leaf, until one gets up close and personal. She's stunning, and I'm much more inspired by the choice of name - it suits her!

Unwanted Organism

Unfortunately in New Zealand this Green Goddess is classified - her legal status is 'Unwanted Organism'. Oh dear! She's invasive in wet areas. But it gets worse. Thanks again to Google, I discover that parts of her are poisonous if ingested. Which parts? Eek - I think it's the actually whole plant. My goodness, that's a bit scary. So the word 'green', which everyone associates with gentle earth practices, doesn't quite fit this lady.

 What an interesting flower!
 
Green Goddess Arum Lily
Hmm... If I were ever reincarnated as a plant I'd make the perfect Green Goddess. I could even 'do' voluptuous, at a pinch. I love that name!