You all remember Mr. Happy. Mr. Happy was the little plant I bought four years ago with the salacious tag in it. He was the biennial that was supposed to grow for a season and then winter over and, when he reaches maturity, which in this case is what anyone else would call puberty, he was supposed to rear up into a gigantic pink flower spike of impressive girth and length. But you have to get him through the winter first, and since he’s a Southern boy, he’s not equipped for our winters. It would be touch and go all the way.
Nevertheless with the help of Dave, who wrapped him like a baloney sandwich during a cold winter night and, uh, fluffed the soil–let’s go ahead and call that his nocturnal mission–he persevered and did exactly what the teaser on the plant tag suggested he might do. I don’t know why Dave put himself out like that; he’s a compassionate fellow by nature, and maybe he related somehow. But when Mr. Happy burst into bloom in the spring, there was nothing subtle about it. He rocketed out of his short hairs in an explosive fashion, and he didn’t begin to peter out until nearly winter.
Echiums are self-fertilizing, so he was able to play with himself, and that’s all he did all summer. By the next spring, his kids were all over the place. There are pictures of Echiums thrusting out of the ground in profusion in their native California, full monty, and it’s pretty clear you could get a show like that in no time starting with just the one plant, if your soil is suitably lascivious. I thinned out all but about a dozen plants and hoped for the best. Last you all heard about it was in December 2016, when I still hoped they’d winter over, but they withered and died, every last one.
Which was disappointing, but ultimately fine. They’re not natives, and there’s no real point in having them here except as a novelty.
But then, last spring, darned if there weren’t another thousand Mr. Happies sprouting up everywhere. And I let them. These would be the original Mr. Happy’s slower children, I suppose, but we’re not here to judge, and if we were, we’d be judging their behavior. And we had another cold snap, and although I did not wrap them like a baloney sandwich, I did toss a prophylactic over the biggest group of them and gave them stage lighting, and they’re all still going, and spring is right around the corner. This could really be something.
Original Mr. Happy was our backdoor man, so you didn’t see him unless you went down the alley, as it were. Maybe they’re used to this sort of thing in California, but around here putting even one Mr. Happy in your bed would be like showing up at the dog park with a camel. People will notice. And now we have way more than one.
They’re all over the place. It’s going to be a detonation. I’d say they go off like the Fourth of July, but it’s really more like the last scene in Behind The Green Door.
Update: Only a few of them went off. They’re different sizes and shapes. Intimidation might play a role. Or maybe most of them just like to watch.
Your garden is beautiful, Murr! And Mister Happy is the icing on the cake. Loved the prodigious use of euphemisms!
These days euphemism is so quaint, is it not?
What a charming plant. I have never seen one. They definitely wouldn't live in these parts unless one had a heated greenhouse.
I don't want a greenhouse. I need some excuse to park my fanny in the winter.
What a well-weeded garden! No longer going to post photos of mine.
Or–like me–you could just take pictures from far away.
I need to remember that trick.
Now you've made the soap box girl blush.
Oh crumb! I don't know who you mean!
Before her starring role in Green Door, Ms. Chambers adorned the Ivory Snow box.
Wow! I did not know that.
Mr Happy obviously was v successful in playing with himself.
I've STILL got new ones popping up. They all have this little rash, too…
You absolutely slay me!
I loved this! Gurl, you sure can sling a euphemism!! What is the real name for Mr. Happy?
Here's what Annie's Annuals says about him: "Now this is what I call a “studly” focal point! Mr. Happy’s um, spire, reaches an impressive 15’ tall and 20” across, with a 3’ bulbous base above large, velvety, silver-green rosettes. He’s an incredibly rare hybrid of Echium wildprettiiand Echium pininana, good for more than just quickie thrills, he’s covered in an incredible mass of pink blooms with long, sparkly stamens from MAY to SEPTEMBER! Blooming in his 2nd and 3rd year (if cut back), he’s drought tolerant, fast growing AND deer and snail resistant. Easy! Attracts hummers, bees and admiration – I think every front yard needs one! Rich, well drained soil for best, hee-hee … performance!"
Thanks, Murr, for introducing me to Annie's Annuals & Perennials. The plant descriptions are fun to read and I live in Southern California.
Being an innocent, I had to Google "Behind the Green Door" and NOW, thank you no really NO thank you, I'll be getting porn suggestions in my pop up ads, I expect . . .
I am truly sorry. Even sorrier that I have actually seen the thing.
I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don't know how to cook or clean, don't want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?
American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.
This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.
BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!
"Boycott" is an excellent spin on "Not getting any."
I'm going to boycott the MacArthur Grant prizes, too. Won't take one no matter how hard they beg. That'll show 'em.
Oh boy, Murr, I can't wait to see what you have to say to *this* shit-flinger. (Do you suppose he reads your blog regularly, and if so…WHY?)
It's a mistake to feed the trolls. But! We can talk about them behind their back!
As an American woman, don't think that I'm not absolutely grateful that he is "boycotting" me. Those "foreign women" are on their own!
This exact same post was on my blog a year or so ago; my daughter thinks it's actually a bot of sorts.
Oh him? He's put the same thing on numerous posts throughout the years. Really, I think I first read this a good eight years ago. I used to delete them but I don't even bother now.
Oh wow… me too!
You have one?
The different sizes and shapes might have something to do with garden positioning, but congratulations on having so many 🙂
That particular Echium is called Pride of Madeira, I think. I could be wrong.
Definitely related, but this one is a hybrid. See clip from my answer to Ed above.
I see the Boycott spammer is back (*~*)
He never really goes away!
Mr. Happy and his progeny are delightful. How uplifting. How fulfilling. This has been a seminal experience for me.
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