How many of us I wonder know the stories of the plants we grow? Despite the Oasis song, who knew for example that Morning Glory, the common name for over 1,000 species in the Convolvulaceae family, were first recognised in China for the laxative properties of their seeds?
That they were first cultivated as ornamental flowers in 9th century Japan, giving rise to hundreds of varieties with evocative names such as 'Brocade of dawn', 'Red morning glory' and 'Wisteria girl'; and came to symbolise Summer in Japanese art.
Or that the Mesoamericans, over 3,000 years before Mr Goodyear, used the sap from the Morning Glory Ipomoeae alba (Japanese name 'Moonflower') to help convert latex into bouncing rubber balls.
Or that Mexican priests used the plant for its hallucinogenic properties.
A lot of these facts are tucked away in old books or, thankfully now, Wikipedia entries (for which I am indebted for the above).
I'll be sharing more good stories. If you have one to share from the plants in your garden, please post and we'll immortalise it for all to see on our plant record pages.
Plant shown: Ipomoea 'Caprice'