in a vase: wicked witchcraft

Acanthus spinosis

The spiky leaves of Acanthus spinosis have a wicked look about them, and the flower spikes sport hidden thorns that can get you if you don’t watch out.


So, while I don’t usually go in for props that much, I popped in the CD with Frank Sinatra and Anita Baker singing ‘Witchcraft’ and dug out a ceremonial rattle. Then I remembered that ‘Ruby’, by Cynthia Bond, had some serious witchcraft going on, and I was set.


This is one of my all-time favorite flower forms.


It grows in sun or shade, but is happiest here, in full sun. Its vigorous growth means that I have had plenty to give away to friends (could be a plus or minus, depending on your situation).


I happen to have the space to let it have its way,and since the flower spikes hold their shape even as petals drop, they are likely to find their way into some big, dramatic vases in the future. This is about as close as I come to dabbling in the dark arts. Vases of all kinds and scale can be found at Rambling in the Garden, where Cathy hosts every Monday…but watch out…she might cast a spell on you.

22 thoughts on “in a vase: wicked witchcraft

  1. Oh so brilliant! I lurve a bit of witchery – and I also really love this plant – I know it as Bear’s Britches and there are so many facets to it. I believe the leaves are often seen in Greek architecture – thank you for a wonderful post – I really enjoy your arrangement and am going to look up the book as well – I like to dabble a little myself – wooooooooo woooooooh! One for halloween maybe?

  2. And your theme is well thought out rickii – it works seamlessly… but then this meme seems to have a life of its own (and casts the spell, not me!) so perhaps it’s not surprising… 😉 I must go and inspect my acanthus though, as the leaves of yours look narrower than mine. Do tell us more about the ceremonial rattle, rickkii – it looks most intriguing…

    • The rattle was a gift, so I don’t really know that much about it. I do think it was an implement used by Native Americans somehow. There are several different acanthus. I have four, so far.

  3. You did go all out! That table-runner is also a nice touch – it picks up the colors of the Acanthus perfectly. I love Acanthus as well and have a variety I think is ‘Summer Beauty’, which some sources claim to be a hybrid of A. mollis and A. spinosis. I love it but it would like less sun than it’s currently getting here.

  4. I believe this goes by the common name Bear’s Breeches? I had one plant in my courtyard a couple years ago and it was one of my favorite shade-loving plants…until I got too busy and the summer was too hot, so I lost it. You’ve reminded me that I need to add this to the top of my plant wish list again – such a great plant for structure and elegance.

    • Gosh…I didn’t think anything could kill it. I thought it was a shade plant too, but the one that planted itself in sun is happier than those in shade.

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