I’m sitting on the balcony staring at my purple cherry pie plant, which looks happy as a clam basking in the sunshine in the company of butter yellow petunias. I don’t know why I haven’t tried heliotrope before, it’s an old fashioned cottage garden favorite and mine is a cottage garden.

Some people describe its fragrance as a combination of cherry pie, hence the name, and vanilla, others say it smells more like grape soda; in my opinion it’s closer to licorice.

Heliotrope is a sun lover which doesn’t mind drought or poor soils, a perfect choice if you want no fuss, all summer bloom. You can plant it in a pot and bring it indoors when the warm season is over, it will be happy to bloom all year long in a sunny window, but be careful if you have pets. It appears it is poisonous to dogs and safe for cats, from what I read, but don’t take my word for it.

I’m slowly expanding my winter greenhouse; every November I’m bringing indoors a rhizomatous begonia, a lemon verbena, the rosemary, a pot of very enthusiastic tuberoses, a naturalized amaryllis which blooms in summer, and now heliotrope. It’s good to know it tolerates being grown indoors, some sun loving perennials are not pleased when forced to spend a whole winter inside, the rosemary is still trying to recover from the powdery mildew that afflicted it at the end of February.

I’ll just have to find a bright sunny spot for the heliotrope, and I’m afraid the kitchen window sill is already taken.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.