A Wolf in Lupine's Clothing | PITH + VIGOR

Rochelle Greayer

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6/11/2013

A Wolf in Lupine’s Clothing

Belgian Malinois

We have been taking our 18 month old Belgian shepherd, Leah, to obedience training for a little over a month now. This is the second time that we have taken her. We took her as a puppy when we lived in Pennsylvania. The problem is that we did not keep up with her training after the move to Maine (moving, starting new jobs, and running 4 kids around left little time to train a dog). It was our fault. She is a beautiful dog but I am afraid that she is too much for us to handle. Just yesterday, she ran away from me and I spent 45 minutes chasing her down around the neighborhood. She is wicked smart and this is all a game to her. Sometimes she is a sweet puppy and then other times she is like a wolf.

I’ll explain why I mention this (besides hoping that one of you might want a puppy). As we were pulling into the driveway tonight from obedience training, my wife, Carrie, and I were going through our list of things to do tonight.

If you’ll do the dishes, I’ll put the kids to bed…

Oh, wait, can you wait up for Alex? (he was coming back from a field trip to Boston and a lacrosse game in Bath)

Sure, I need to write up my blog for Studio G.

Which plant are you going to write about this week?

And before I could mention the wonderful new dahlia in the garden, our 9 year old, Zoe blurted out, “Lupines!”

lupines

See, if you’ve never been in coastal Maine in late May into early June, you’ve never witnessed the mystique of lupines in Maine. They are everywhere. And they are beautiful. I have tried and killed many lupines in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Here in Maine, they grow in the ditches. Our neighbor has an unmown bank where they are flowering en masse. The problem is that this beautiful plant: Lupinus polyphyllus, is somewhat invasive in New England. Native to the west coast of the United States, it likes it here a lot. It pops up everywhere and is hard to control. Like our Belgian shepherd when she acts like a wolf, which is Lupus in Latin. I bet you were wondering how I would make the connection between our dog and lupines.

Although I cannot advocate for planting more lupines (Miss Rhumphius has already done her fair share, thank you very much), I can tell you that they are beautiful to see in their shades of pinks, purples, and blues. There are new selections coming from the UK including the red lupine: Lupinus ‘Beefeater.’ These selections may be a little more well behaved in the garden.

Beefeater lupine

How about you? Are you able to grow lupines? If you live here in Maine, how do you feel about them?

Rodney

Photos: commons.wikimedia.org, fldoyle.com, binnyplants.com

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  1. Jenn says:

    You’ve got a working breed dog there. If you can, keep taking classes. Try a little bit of everything out there. Performance Obedience, Rally Obedience, Agility, Nosework, Dockdiving… all of these will focus that natural drive and give you ‘hooks’ to entice her into better ‘on the flat’ (ie, around the house) behaviors.

    If the kids are old enough, get them involved in trick training? Kids, dogs and agility are a magic combination.

    And, at 18 months, she’s still an adolescent. Keep working with her. She looks like a gem!

  2. Indeed, Lupines are native to the Western US. One of the real pleasures of living next to the mountains is that at sea level the Lupines begin blooming in late May and as you go up in elevation you can enjoy spring into early July when the last of the meadows melt out…Love your photos, I am going to have to get out into the woods to keep this going.

  3. wendy says:

    Love the Lupines! They are a delightful welcome of spring here on the west coast.

    And Leah is a beauty. Awesome spirit.

  4. Rebekah says:

    Am a new (as in the last two weeks) fan of these flowers. I saw them at a flower show in Dublin and couldn’t get enough of the Manhattan Lights variety.

  5. Laurie Brown says:

    I love lupins and grow the successfully despite my heavy soil, but I only love them in spring/early summer. Midsummer, they collapse into an ugly pile of powdery mildew. But dealing with that pile of PM is worth it. Mine are all purple; I need some of the new colors.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I’m trying to find a lupine field in Southern Maine- Are you aware of any?? 🙂

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