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September 17 2020

We Got Big Gomphocarpus Physocarpus

Tags: Flower Profile

Hairy balls are, by far, our most talked about flower at the shop. Of course they are. Just look at them! They're hairy balls!

Gomphocarpus physocarpus is their botanical name (that's a mouthful). Their alternative names aren't any better: monkey balls (pass), bishop's balls (way worse), nailhead (why), balloon plant (not bad, but there's already a balloon flower).

Hairy Balls. Accept them. Celebrate them. Love them. They are a type of milkweed. The balls are full of seeds (of course). They burst open at the end of the plant's life and the seeds fly away on silky strings in the wind.

Monarch caterpillars munch on the leaves. We find them all the time in the shop and keep them in our terrarium for the metamorphoses. We name each caterpillar Gregor. (Second Kafka reference in the blog if you're keeping score at home. Or was it Breaking Bad?)

When John Waters was promoting his hitchhiking book, Car Sick, he gave a reading at a neighborhood bookstore (he also lives just a few miles from the shop). We thought, who loves hairy balls more than John Waters. So we walked over to the bookstore with a hairy balls bouquet arranged in an old motor oil can.

The pope of trash thanked us with a post card:

Your flowers were beautiful + rude and great!

That sounds about right.


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