Sunday, 29 January 2012

Of lupins not lycanthropy

I just ordered some lupin seeds.  I have been thinking about lupins quite a bit recently (as you do) and the combination of various thoughts coming together meant I decided to buy some seeds.

I do already have some lupins in my garden, the standard perennial type and a tree lupin.  The perennial I acquired by picking up fallen seed pods from a friends garden (with their permission, I am not that ill mannered).  I grew them on anyway to see what would happen.  Funnily enough, when you sow lupin seeds it appears that lupins grow from them.  I would never have bought lupins I think at that time; I associated them with the garden I first remember as a child and sort of locate them badly as a thing of the 1960s.  This is odd as I even liked them as a child, I liked the furry seed pods, though I got shouted at if I picked them I vaguely think I was told that it would stop them from growing the next year.  I just remembered this as I started to write and realised for the first time that it doesn’t make sense as I know now that to keep them flowering they should be deadheaded.

I was also reading about the concentration camp at Treblinka the other day.  It was a news story about how the Nazis had tried to hide its existence by bulldozing the buildings and creating a mock farm where it had been in the hope that no one would notice the horrific activities that had happened there and they planted fields of lupins.  This was not a memorial, or a WW1 poppy field of peace, this was a concerted effort to hide the death camps under fields of flowers. This made me pause and think as it is something that is more likely to make me never plant a lupin again.  Except of course the lupins are not to blame, it is the true horror of using something so beautiful to hide something so evil.  

Thirdly, because my mind is odd at the best of times, I have often mused upon the name lupin itself and wondered if it was something to do with wolves (lupinus) and of course it is.  Lupins grow as weeds in many areas and are believed to ‘ravage the land’ like wolves do. (do wolves ravage land?)   Also their seeds were believed to be only fit to be eaten by wolves, though apparently they can be found in some areas sold in salt solution to be eaten a bit like olives.  I don’t eat olives so I am definitely not going to eat salty, bitter lupin beans (seeds)  On saying that apparently they are now being grown commercially as an alternative to soy.  These are obviously the non-poisonous lupin seeds, not the poisonous ones that kill cattle.  So I will err on the side of caution and not eat them.

They are useless with werewolves by the way, only wolfsbane (aconitum) will help you there.

Now I await the delivery of my seeds, Lupin 'Sunrise' and Lupin 'Red Flame', I ordered them from here and now I wait with great excitement for their arrival.

5 comments :

  1. I have lupins which I grew some seed the other year. Also have seeds for tree lupins to grow. I really like them and find them easy to grow but for some reason my mum cant grow them at all!

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  2. Your Treblinka story really does tell against the poor lupins and as to lupin v lycanthropy - never thought about that before ....so food for thought here indeed.

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  3. As you say, it is not the fault of the Lupin, dreadful story though. I remember years ago being told that the seeds of your Lupin will always produce purple flowers. This may be rubbish and just one of the useless bits of information that sticks in my head.

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  4. Thanks for your comments. Re: lupin seeds - mine came out white - rather nice thankfully :)

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  5. I do like a good dash of lupin, big and bold and some super colours, very cottage garden. I have seen some sizeable tracts too, growing wild along roadsides and wow, what a statement. Thumbs up for lupins. Enjoy.

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