At the moment, my beloved ratstripper (Paxistima canbyi) is the only real green showing in my back gardens. I adore this evergreen groundcover since it can withstand most anything, including my big brown dog.
Every year it faithfully appears, requires little maintenance and increases steadily year upon year. I went on a quest this morning to find out why this pretty-leaved groundcover received such an intriguing name.
Although I came away empty-handed on the origins of its name, I did learn that the ratstripper is a native North American shrub. When I consulted my favourite Canadian gardening website and their paperback guide, Heritage Perennials, I discovered that ratstripper spreads slowly and is ‘excellent for underplanting trees and shrubs’. I guess that means it grows well in shade, although mine is subjected to fairly intense sunlight at certain times of the day. The flowers appear in spring and are rather cute – greenish, and quite subtle.
I am hoping that Heritage Perennials resident horticulturalist, John Valleau, will be able to shed some light on the origins of my plant’s name. I will keep you posted.
And now I am off to check out some blogs before returning to the adventures of Mr. Frank K. Ward and his quest for blue poppies … he is currently in Tibet, having just escaped a near attack by wild dogs.