What do you do with a bunch of seven footers?
You form a basketball team. Coached by the rotting red maple carcass Ferngully, who takes no lip from these giants, may we introduce the starting lineup for the Fairegarden Freethrowers? Posing for their glossy program closeup in the first image is Rudbeckia lanciniata. Beck is the go to player on this team. His prowess with the ball is legendary, the Michael Jordan of the plant world. He has it all, strength, skill and smarts. Beck and his best bud since grade school, Joe like to discuss game tactics with Coach.
Joe’s full name is Eupatorium purpureum maculatum ‘Gateway’, though calling him by his nickname will get his attention quicker, Joe Pye Weed. Don’t ask about the last part of the nickname, Ferngully runs a tight ship but doesn’t hold past transgressions against any of his players. Don’t ask, don’t tell.
A walk on, Phytolacca americana, nickname Pokeberry, or Poke has been hanging around the court for years. For some perspective on the height we are talking about here, the arbor is ten feet tall.
Poke has a softer side too. Some suspect he is really a she, but no one really cares about gender on the hardwood, as long as he/she can make the three pointer when needed.
Starting at center is the tall man, Tony, birth name Vernonia altissima or Tall Ironweed. The team refers to him as The Ironman. Nobody can get the rebounds like Tony, his stats show he leads the league with triple doubles.
The ball handler,
forward guard, thanks Financier, Phlox paniculata, or Nick, is the hardest working member of this line up. The shortest in stature at six feet, he makes up for the lack of height by working harder than all of the others put together. Speed, agility and knowing who is where on the court at all times allows for those crucial passes that can win a ballgame.
Coming off the bench when needed is Foeniculum vulgare, Bronze Fennel. Nicknamed Vin, he can play any position with ease having grown up with a very large and very tall family of umbrellifers. He is very popular with the fans, and has groupies that follow him mercilessly. He takes it all in stride, being an easy going gent.
Coach Ferngully has been trying to recruit a young player he noticed playing in a pickup game down at the rec center. This kid just keeps on growing, even though we know little about him other than his name, Leo, short for Leonotis leonurus Added: this is actually L. nepetifolia.
Lest you think we are joking, here is the rec center, the potted plants along the wall behind the main house. The wall is four feet tall. An attempt was made to show you, dear readers, Leo’s height by drawing a box around him. The box shape suggested a candle so a flame was added. Leo is on fire when dribbling a basketball. We are still waiting to see what his blooms will look like. We will need a ladder to see them it is feared, for he is even taller than we are when standing on the wall already.
Still under observation is this tall drink of water along the garage deck bed. Identity unknown, but growing taller every day. We don’t know where this came from. Did we buy it, no record of that. Did someone give it to us, Gail? Chickenpoet? Right now the smart money says it is an aster of some sort. Stay tuned for blooms. But definitely with the right stuff, even if it is planted in the wrong place. Please excuse the lightpost drawn to help point him out to you, dear readers. He is easily six feet and still growing.
It takes more than long legs to make this team. Plants need to be able to stand up tall without assistance. The Helianthus maximiliani from good friend Tina of In The Garden didn’t make the cut. If Max wants to hang with the big dogs, he is going to have to spend some quality time with a personal strength trainer to beef up. Maybe you could have a talk with him, Tina, about the joys of discipline, military style.
Let’s not forget the cheerleaders, the Rah Rah Dahlia sisters, daughters of The Bishop. Ready everyone? Wheeeeeeeeee! Spirit Sprinkles!!!! Go Team!
Sponsored by the sports fanatic herself, Carol of May Dreams. Not to worry Carol, this team is no threat to the Pacers.