Randalls Island Park Alliance

Gardening Women

In What's in Bloom on February 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm

By Phyllis Odessey

I like a plant with a good story.  Of course, the plant itself is paramount, but it’s hard to underestimate how much an intriguing tale contributes to the” like” factor.  I often think we need facebook pages for plants, so we can “like” them.

Euphorbia  amygdaloides var. robbiae
                               Mrs. Robb’s Bonnet
Why Mrs. Robb’s Bonnet?  Mrs. Robb was a plant collector.  In 1891 on a plant collecting trip, she saw Euphorbia robbiae growing outside of Istanbul.  She immediately had to have it.  This is an impulse I completely understand.  Many friends on trips to Europe or South American or Africa have dared to collect seed and secret it away.  Mrs. Robb was no different.  She hide the seeds of Euphorbia robbiae in her bonnet.  Hence the name.

There are many Euphorbias.   We grow Euphorbia robbiae in the garden at Randall’s Island.  The bloom is a yellow-green color, some might call it chartreuse.  It’s bright.  It can light up the garden.  We have found that robbiae does best in partial shade.  It remains evergreen and is tolerant of poor soil.  What it doesn’t like?   Is a harsh wind.

Why I like it? The texture it adds to the garden is unbeatable.

If you are interested in reading about women and gardens, I recommend Gardening Women.  it’s a  fun read.


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