November 24, 2017

Got Soap?

Saponaria officinalis 'Flore Pleno' - soapwort or bouncing bet

Janine Pineo Photo | Saponaria officinalis ‘Flore Pleno’ – soapwort or bouncing bet

Never be without a spot of soap in the garden if you grow soapwort. The crushed leaves of this member of the pink family will lather up due to the natural soap in them. Also called bouncing bet, this particular Saponaria officinalis is ‘Flore Pleno,’ or double-flowering. It is hardy to Zone 3, which means all of Maine, and can grow up to 2 feet in height. It is not, however, a native to the United States; instead, it is from Europe and came to naturalize itself from the plantings that began in colonial times. In addition to the cool soap factor, double soapwort also has fragrant flowers that are vespertine. Huh? That simply means that they open in the evening. So it looks like you can have a nice bouquet of flowers whilst scrubbing off the dirt of the day by using the leaves of the same plant. And then a good night to all.

Photographed during Open Farm Day at The Heirloom Garden of Maine on July 22, 2012.

Saponaria officinalis 'Flore Pleno' - soapwort or bouncing bet

Janine Pineo Photo | Saponaria officinalis ‘Flore Pleno’ – soapwort or bouncing bet