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The beauty of rattlesnake master flowers

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

Two Clemson horticulture agents, Carmen Ketron and Mary Vargo, often bring wonderful flower bouquets when they visit. One trick to having interesting arrangements is using a variety of flower shapes – from linear liatris to trumpet-shaped lilies and if you’re lucky garden roses.

I’m now growing rattlesnake master not just because it attracts pollinators and then wasps who capture those insects, but its slender flower stalks topped with inch-wide inflorescences makes a great contrast to other flowers and can be left tall and still be graceful. Most of us know Eryngium yuccafolium, with white seed heads, but there is a relative, Eryngium aquaticum with blue flower heads. Although the common name might make you think you must have a bog, you can grow this species In any area where the soil tends to stay slightly moist.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.