Monday, June 23, 2008

My Garden is Cursed

Once upon a time I had a beautiful thyme that I loved so much. It was a golden edged lemon thyme. Each little green leaf was edged in bright gold. The leaves danced magically in the gentle breezes. When I touched it, its scent filled the air. But an evil witch cast a spell on it. One branch lost it magic gold edging. The thyme tried to fight it, but was no match. Slowly the golden edged branches died out and were replaced with plain green. It still smelled lovely, but gold no longer danced in the breezes. This was many years ago.

So earlier this year, I bought another variegated thyme, Doone Valley. It isn't quite as pretty as my old thyme, but the leaves are splotched gold. Or were. Once again I'm losing the color in the leaves as they turn green. The photo on the left was the day it was planted. The one on the right was this morning. Has my thyme been cursed?

Whatever it is, it is spreading. My variegated dogwood started sprouting green branches this spring with leaves bigger than the variegated ones. I solved the problem by pinching out all the green branches. It seems to be fine now, but has me worried.

I can sort of understand the dogwood not wanting to be variegated. White leaves have no chlorophyll and don't produce energy for the plant. Last fall was a hard time for the plants. We had very little rain. Half of the plant died back. Maybe in the stress it reverted. But if that explains the dogwood, what explains my hosta?

I have a beautiful large plain blue leafed hosta. I dug it up this spring and divided it into eight pieces. They are all doing well, but one of them has white stripes on some of the leaves and yellow on others, still others are plain. Maybe it has stolen the variegation from my other plants that lost it?

Has anyone else had such strangeness happening in their gardens? Or am I the only one cursed?


  1. I don't know why this is happening so much in your garden, but my theory is that the plant is mutating back to the original form -- from what I've read, most variegated forms were originally mutations that were then tissue cultured.

    As for the hosta, that is weird. Dimly I seem to recall there is some hosta virus around, maybe that is it?

    My variegated thyme just up and died, but the golden thymes are doing great.

  2. Well if it is a hosta virus, at least it still seems healthy.

  3. On your hosta, those are called sports. The mutate and throw off a diiferent type. If you separate it and it stays (and does not revert back) you may have discovered a new variety. Most likely it has done the same for someone else and is already marketed.