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Growing on the High Plains: Once in a Silver Moon


They say good things come to those who wait. On today's Growing on the High Plains, I'd like to discuss a biennial for which many a gardener has been very patient. I'm talking about Lunaria annua, also known as honesty or money plant. While biennials typically take a couple years to crop up, this one is well worth the wait. 

Named for its moon-shaped seed pods, these plants are a pollenator's paradise when blooms are lush. Once it's gone to seed, it pays out with crispy disks of luminous silver, almost resembling pocket change. (You might recall these distinctive, translucent wafers from fancy floral arrangements that capitalize on their otherwordly shape and shine.) But gardener, beware! Those moony pods are easy to reseed, so without care, you just might win the unlucky lottery as it takes over your garden bed.
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The Moon by Henry David Thoreau

The full-orbed moon with unchanged ray 
Mounts up the eastern sky, 
Not doomed to these short nights for aye, 
But shining steadily.
She does not wane, but my fortune, 
Which her rays do not bless, 
My wayward path declineth soon, 
But she shines not the less.
And if she faintly glimmers here, 
And paled is her light, 
Yet alway in her proper sphere 
She’s mistress of the night. 

Years ago Skip Mancini left the rocky coast of Northern California to return to her roots in the heartland. Her San Francisco friends, concerned over her decision to live in a desolate flatland best known for a Hollywood tornado, were afraid she would wither and die on the vine. With pioneer spirit, Skip planted a garden. She began to learn about growing not only flowers and vegetables, but hearts and minds. If you agree that the prairie is a special place, we think you'll enjoy her weekly sojourns into Growing on the High Plains.