Gas Plant

Gas Plant


When I walked the dogs this morning in Enfield there were so many different birds singing away in our back yard I was amazed.  There were cardinals, robins, nuthatches and even a yellow bellied sapsucker.  I love spring.  I was looking for a photograph of one of my gardens in Enfield and failed to find one but happened upon this photo of my gas plant which is popping out of the ground right now.

I have moved this plant three times despite all of the nay sayers and books saying how difficult they are to transplant.  The first time I acquired it the move was made under the cloak of darkness (well, maybe moonlight).  We lived on a dead end road at the time, there were only three houses on my side of the street – on the other side was an abandoned garden center.  We were friends with the owners niece and I spent many hours photographing my girls in that area.  It was beautiful, just a bit overgrown.  Each spring I would walk down and look at the gas plant as it came up and visit it while it blossomed.  The  Gas Plant’s (Dictamnus albus ‘Purpureus’)  flowers give off a flammable gas, which is the source of its common name. It has a wonderful heavy, sweet fragrance.  I have never tried lighting it on fire.

The owner of the property where the gas plant lived died and his widow sold it to someone that subdivided it into building lots.  They cut down the trees that were hundreds of years old to make way for as many crackerbox ranches that could fit in what little acreage there was.  One night, after the bulldozers were starting to do their work I put my spade in my wheelbarrow and walked down to the bed where that gas plant was living and dug it up.  Mind you this was no small plant, it was work and I really was trying to do this unnoticed.  After struggling to get it into the wheelbarrow I filled in around it with some of the soil that was around the plant, I figured with more soil it might not be too shocked.  I wheeled it back to my yard and the next morning I planted it in a special spot in the garden.

We were renting the house my garden was in at the time.  The loss of the wooded areas that surrounded that house made us look for a house to buy that was in a neighborhood that was old and established.  I never wanted to feel that kind of loss again.  We moved a couple of years later in the spring and I once again dug up my gas plant and put it into the garden where it is now.  It’s been there for 15 years and apparently the haphazardly way I transplanted it the second time didn’t really phase it.

For the past couple of years I’ve thought about transplanting it to Rowe.  I’ve been scouting out spots to put it.  Sheltered but sunny.  I may have finally found the spot for it to go in my newest garden.  The info says it’s slow to establish.  I may divide it and leave half in Enfield and bring the other to Rowe, sort of having a backup plan.  I’d hate to lose it, we’ve been through so much together.

One thought on “Gas Plant

  1. We have lots in common! There was an old abandoned farmhouse and barns that I admired on my drives to & fro. Oh those barns!!! But, there was also an old antique fragrant rose at the end of the drive. Eventually the house and barns[sigh] came down to widen the highway. With shovel and 5-gallon bucket, I saved a bit of that rose which still thrives in my garden today!!

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