Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's only Oleander

Oleander is everywhere in Tucson. It is as common as the cactus here and used extensively in landscaping. I tend to look past the Oleander in my yard, but the other day when working in a couple small raised beds I have in the area near the citrus trees, I happened to notice it was in full bloom, and just how lovely it was. I have three colors of Oleander but have never known what variety they were. The pink ones are along the fence on the Southern side of my property.



The red is my favorite- It grows in the SW corner of my property, leaning out over the sidewalk.


The White Oleander that surround my back yard, providing a privacy barrier are huge! These get watered with the run off from my washing machine, so they tower over the other Oleander which don't get additional watering.



I did a little Oleander research for this post and discovered there is an International Oleander Society. Their website has great information, and a nice variety listing. I was amazed at all the pretty colors available. If you check out the website don't miss the poetry section. There is some beautiful Oleander themed Haiku and poetry there. I really enjoyed it. And the folklore section- Did you know that one Greek legend has it that Leander was a man who swam the Hellespont every night to see his beloved and one night he was drowned. His beloved wandered the beach calling "Oh Leander" and when she found his body a small white flower was in his hands. She kept it as a symbol of their love. I also confirmed what I had heard, that Oleander is extremely poisonous. Pretty to look at, with a very interesting history, but don't serve it up for dinner!

8 comments:

Diane C. said...

I love the delicate scent of oleanders. How great that you can water yours with laundry water. I have many pink and white ones in my backyard, and they do make a good privacy screen. I don't even water them and they're massive and heavy with blossoms. I'll check out the poetry at the oleander site.

Deb said...

the are so pretty!

Claude said...

I don't have any of these, but there are quite a few of them in the neighborhood...

They're pretty cheerful when they're blooming, I tend to like the red ones the best.

Julie said...

I had bought a little oleander once, but took it out when a neighbor acted all nervous...like it would poison her pets!!! I ended up removing it. I love your huge screen of them in your backyard...awesome!!!

Claude said...

just thought I'd drop by... the pink flowering cactus that you said you wished you could get an ID on a few posts back...

As far as I can tell it's an Echinocereus pentalophus. If you do a search, you should be able to find out if it matches your plant...

Deborah Godin said...

It's amazing that something so lovley can be so deadly. I've heard of some bizarre and tragic stories about it, like people picking green branches of it to roast campfire hotdogs, and being poisoned!

Aiyana said...

I've been around Oleanders all my life, and have never appreciated them at all. They do have invasive roots, so I was always leery of the bigger varieties. Have you seen any colors here in Arizona besides white, red or pink? I never have. It was quite a shock to see how many colors and varieties of Oleander there are. Thanks for the link.
Aiyana

Dee said...

Thanks Claude for the ID on the cactus- I appreciate that!
Aiyaya- I was surprised too at all the colors, and nope- I've only seen red pink and white. I wonder where those pretty yellow and peach ones are?