You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Brugmansia’s About You

BrugmansiaThere are certain things I do as a gardener that I am not quiet sure are good intentioned or merely self-promotional. It is a fine line between the two, really.

Now that I think on it, as the old saw goes, “The road to hell…” so maybe being self promotional is not a bad thing. Vanity never hurt anyone… except Narcissus but that’s a story for spring when the daffodils are in bloom.

Back to the point.

My beloved brugmansias are in bloom. They are my pride and my passion and hold a sacred place in my container collection that goes even above my fruit laden orange tree. When they are in bloom, I like to show them off. I put one out in the frontmost bed so that anyone walking by can see it in all of it spectacular glory.

And they are spectacular. While they are only about only four and a half feet tall, a dwarf compared to ones growing in their native climates, but here in Cleveland, where there is nothing else like them, my brugmansias are a breath-taking plant when they are in full bloom.
Brugmansia BlossomAnd the scent! By the dirt and all things that grow in it, the scent is remarkable. Like the remembered perfume of a prim but doting Auntie, it is heavy, heady and almost cloying in its strength.

And I like to share the beauty of them. But the reasoning behind why I like to share them gets a bit muddled.

Out loud, I tell people that I put that brugmansia out so that others can enjoy the foot long blossoms and the night-born scent. It is a community service of sorts. I am a minor garden saint, to hear me talk about it.

But inside… well… that’s a slightly different story.

I want people to be jealous of my brugmansias. I want them to envy these beauties that I have coddled and fussed over for the past five years. I want people to talk about my brugmansias and hate me because I have one. Hmm, may be not hate but you get the picture. I am that bitch who comes in with her 12 carat diamond engagement ring and has to tell everyone how much it weighs and how much, to the penny including tax, her fiancee paid for it.

I am a good Midwestern girl who was raised to believe that such feelings are, at best, inappropriate. Pride is not something to be flaunted. It is something you keep tucked deep down inside in a corner pocket of your soul. Pride when flaunted becomes vanity and vain people tend to be rather ugly on the inside. At least that is what I was raised to believe.

But that goes against everything it is to be a gardener. We grow things and we should be proud and it is a mortal gardening sin to hide the beauty we bring to the world.

And so I am caught in a gardening moral dilemma. If I squirrel my brugmansias away to the back yard, I am guilty of hoarding the treasures I have. But if I put them out for all to see, I cannot help feeling vain.

In the end, the brugmansia stays in the front bed and I suppose that is all that matters. Moral dilemmas are too much to think about when you have a flower bed that badly needs weeding and a half dozen vegetable beds that still need to be mulched.

One thought on “You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Brugmansia’s About You
  1. Pingback: Millipede goes here - Animals at the Cleveland Botanical Garden

  2. Your brugmansias article gave me such a good giggle because I have been showing off my pink brugmansias to any of the neighbors that happens to be walking by. My mother gave me the plant a year ago and it has been the talk of the neighborhood…or at least when it’s in bloom, I make it the talk of the neighborhood.


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