07 October 2009

Furry and unfashionable

I'm not the person you'd consult on any sort of fashion, be it haute couture or horticulture, but I recently read a remark about sumac (sorry, can't remember where!) that suggested this is a deeply unfashionable plant among UK gardeners. I do recall my parents putting a sumac tree into our 1970s garden. Mind you, they painted the walls of the bathroom orange at around the same time, so maybe the current unpopularity of sumac is a response to 1970s bad taste in general (sorry, Dad).

Staghorn sumacs (Rhus typhina) grow wild here (often in large groups along the side of the roads) and I'm going to thumb my nose at those who dislike them because I think they are beautiful plants, particularly at this time of year, when their colours are so vivid. I took a series of photos of a big clump of them on my way home tonight to prove my point. Then found I'd left my camera cable at work, so couldn't download them. Bah. This picture is from an obliging Flickr user called tboard who has allowed others to make use of it. It's even better than mine would have been, as the sun is shining through the leaves, which it wasn't here today.


Barbarapc said...

Just when the plant developers here are providing new Sumachs to the trade like Rhus typhina Tigers Eye - which seems to be a well behaved smaller variety - it turns out they are unfashionable? Maybe if you live in a climate where you can grow everything, you can be afford to turn your nose up at a group of plants. Our fall trecks to the country wouldn't be the same without them colouring the side of the road - they're part of the Canadian landscape. (And, I've heard that orange as an interior colour is back - don't tell your father.)

Amanda said...

Hi Barbara

I think it must have been the invasiveness that made them unfashionable - the Tiger Eyes variety sounds promising in that respect. Maybe that'll rehabilitate the species!

Linda said...

The fashion will come back round again. There's a 1970's re-discovery in the UK at the moment, which I find disturbing. Having lived through the 70's as a teenager I was very glad to see the back of them. (Our bathroom walls were avocado - in fact the whole bathroom was.) However, I'd happily look at a sumac.