Mouse Tail Plant

2017 continues to be an interesting and unpredictable year.  Our weather hasn't stopped things from flowering but the blooms are noticeably later and growth seems slow. This time last season, a mother duck nested in my potato crop near the shop. This year, however, I have already seen ducklings paddling in 18 pond and the potatoes are just now poking their heads above the soil! I find seasonal comparisons and weather changes both troubling and self-soothing. I can relax knowing it's not my fault that we had a small daffodil crop but I wonder what can be learned and how our practices can be adapted for coming winters. 

 

While it's natural to focus on what's different about our gardens, we almost forget that some workhorses have remained unaffected. Indeed this season provides us with the opportunity to appreciate things that might otherwise be overlooked. Mouse Tail Plant or Arisarum proboscideum is an inconspicuous plant that holds a surprise beneath its shiny leaf cover. The deep green, arrow-head leaves form low clumps not usually more than a foot high. In spring-time you can lift back the leaves to reveal small purple and white flowers at ground level. 

The plants nickname comes from the long tail that extends from the tube shaped flower, or spathe. They look like little mice hiding in their house! This lovely plant acts as a nice complement to the woodland area near the 18th pond and does well in moist areas of part to deep shade.  It will go dormant later in the season when the temperatures rise so make sure to check out our happy clump on the edge of the pond as you head towards the 10th tee.  See if you can find the mouse hiding under the ground cover on your way through! 

We can only learn from our changing weather and take time to appreciate our gardens and what has made it through our tough year. Hopefully next spring we will all stand in shirt sleeves in March, look out at the sea of yellow daffodils and reminisce about what a strange year 2017 was.

 

Emily Richardson

Horticulturalist