What Was I Thinking?

by Cynthia on September 18, 2008

Last year two Common Mulleins (Verbascum thapsus) appeared in my herb garden out of nowhere. It really is not that surprising considering they do grow wild around here. I was nevertheless pleased to see them and allowed them to stay. Mullein, after all is a truly useful herb to have growing in one’s garden.  As the summer progressed I enjoyed looking out and seeing these two sentries of the garden towering over the rest of the plants.

Summer passed and I was equally delighted to watch a woodpecker go to town pecking away at the drying mullein flower stalks. To be able to watch him do that regularly from my deck is a fond memory I have from last year’s garden.

So, I allowed the mullein to reside in the garden all through fall and into winter where it became a perch for other visiting birds. Come early spring the tough mullein stalk still remained and I allowed my boys to use them as spears in their play.

That brings us to today. Today I find the herb garden completely and utterly full of mullein seedlings that will not stop germinating. I must have pulled a thousand by now, easily. Where I pull one it seems 10 more pop up overnight. I honestly had no idea those stately mulleins from last year would self-sow with such abandon.

Mullein Everywhere

Pulling them out is quite tiresome but I do not mind too much as I do find mullein to be extremely handy to have around. It’s leaves are also rather interesting as they are soft and thick in their rosettes. 


Mullein Closeup

Mullein also has wonderful medicinal properties that come in handy during the cold and flu season. For those more interested in the medicinal properties of mullein I suggest following this link. This site briefly explains the medicinal aspects of mullein such as it being an excellent herb for coughs plus it features a recipe for making mullein oil which is used in helping earaches.

I ask myself, “what was I thinking” when I go out to the herb garden and have to yet again weed out more mullein babies. Even though it has had to compete with the Cosmos for space it still manages to run amuck. I have since learned that one mullein plant can produce over 100,000 seeds! I am afraid I may be pulling these out forever now. Really, what was I thinking?

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