Before reading a certain garden blogger's post I had never heard of a cotton plant with dark foliage (Gossypium herbaceum 'Nigra'). Then this spring Nancy Ondra of Hayefield emailed me and asked if I would like to try some seeds. Me being the seed collecting addict I am I said of course! She also sent along some seeds for an ornamental corn called 'Tiger Cub' and a rice called 'Red Dragon'. All of these plants were fantastic, interesting, and not yet in my garden. So far of the three types of seeds she sent the cotton has done the best. The rice requires more water than my garden can offer - in an ideal garden it really needs a naturally damp location. I do have a surviving rice plant but it isn't as happy as I'd like it to be. The corn has pretty well too and is growing cobs which hopefully will provide more seed. But as I said the cotton has done great.
Here's a look at the nearly black cotton foliage of 'Nigra':
The dark foliage of this gossypium would have look awesome planted enmass next to my 'Powis Castle' artemisia. Too bad I didn't think of that! I'll collect seed this year and give it a try for next year. I really like the combination of silver and dark foliage.
I planted it next to some of the ornamental corn which you can see in the bottom part of the picture above. The cotton is somewhere between 18-24 inches tall. The more sun it gets the better it grows. I planted a few seeds in shadier locations and they haven't reached the height of this one yet. If you look real close you can see them beginning to flower.
The bud should open up soon into a beautiful pink-red flower which will eventually turn into the fluffy white seed pods where our clothing come from! One of the major crops in West Tennessee is cotton and every fall or winter when we visit relatives the fluffy remains of the cotton harvest are seen floating through the fields. Pretty soon we'll be picking cotton! But for now we'll just have to "wait one cotton pickin' minute"...surely you didn't think I could pass up that pun!
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Thursday, August 18, 2011
It's Not Time To Pick Cotton Yet!
Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt and Lowe's and is available for edible garden consulting. Dave gardens organically and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.