Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I discovered heliotrope when we lived in Ecuador. A small plant purchased for my garden turned into a massive shrub that grew over 5 feet tall. I clipped it back regularly and was rewarded by continual deep purple blooms and the delicious fragrance of vanilla and baby powder wafting in our bedroom window.
Heliotrope is an old plant, common to gardens of years gone by. It went out of vogue for some time, and is now back. It's easy to grow in a container and here in the northern hemisphere is an annual. Its tender leaves can't take the cold. Heliotrope was also known as turnsole, for its habit of turning towards the sun, like a sunflower. (This is how it got its name - helio (sun) trope (turning)
This pot sits on my front steps where the morning sun shines and the afternoon is shaded. I love catching a whiff of it as I walk in and out of the house. Wayne Winterrowd, a garden author wrote that heliotrope gives "the impression...of a perfume bottle unstopped."