Monday, July 28, 2008

Chocolate Fix

You weren't expecting a picture of a flower, were you?
Introducing, Berlandiera lyrata aka the Chocolate Flower.
It doesn't look like chocolate, it looks like many of a bazillion other yellow flowers. Why is it called the Chocolate flower?  It smells just exactly like cocoa!  I'm not pulling your leg.  

I was at my favorite local nursery, Natural Gardener, talking with one of their hyper competent staff members about yellow or orange flowers that the deer might not eat.  I was on a mission this spring to help my friend, DD, find a low growing, full sun, perennial, deer resistant flower for her yard.  It also needed to be yellow or orange. She, like me, has way too many pinks and purples, and was tired of falling back on Lantana to fulfill the color requirement.  

Often, if a plant has a very strong scent, the deer will leave it alone.  That rule doesn't always apply, or we in the Hill Country could plant our tomato plants without fences.  I know I hate the scent of tomato plants, I guess the deer don't mind.  I digress.  After a while, my new friend at the nursery led me to the plant you see above.  I laughed, "No way, it can't possibly smell like chocolate!"  He ran his hand across the plant and held it up to my nose.  I could not believe what I was smelling!  The scent lingered in the air.  I was hooked.  I bought two.

To test the deer resistant theory, so as not to disappoint DD, I let the plants go through several watering cycles before I moved on to the next stage.  My nursery buddy said deer will eat anything that is newly planted from a quality nursery---they are attracted to the nitrogen smell in the dirt.  Go figure?  Once my watering thing was complete, I planted it in my front bed near my rosemary and lantana.  It was gone the next morning.  Apparently, the deer like chocolate too.  

Sorry DD, since the deer would have eaten it at your house, I planted the second one in my fenced area in the backyard.  


  1. How interesting. I have chocolate mint in my garden. They would be great together!! Kind of chocolate overkill when you walk through the garden.

  2. Aww, you are so sweet! It's just like having my own personal gardener! I've learned to be patient trying to find that perfect (meaning deer won't eat) yellow flower:) DD

  3. Mmmmm! I wonder, if like the calming ability of lavender, this chocolate flower can give the same feeling chocolate gives us, without actually having to eat the chocolate?

    Imagine the weight loss possibilities! Sniff a flower when you get a chocolate craving!

    Oh, and I not only dislike the smell of tomato plants, I'm allergic, too!

    By the way, I think your blog is brilliant! Come visit my blog and pick up your award :)

  4. I *love* the smell of tomato plants...isn't that funny? It just smells like fresh food to me. What a good friend you are to fully test your new product before sending it off to your friend. Have you thought about a professional job in quality control (QA) somewhere? lol

  5. My sister grows these in her back yard and they make me want to take a big old bite out of them. Can see it? She would probably catch me and I might look a little guilty with yellow petals and dirt and roots hanging out of my mouth.

  6. Now that image of you with dirt and roots hanging out of your mouth totally cracked me up, Egghead!! :-) :-) :-)