Hummulus lupulus

Hops
Hummulus lupulus
CANNABACEAE, The Hemp family

Today I picked a few hops vines from a garden plot near mine that looks like it might have been abandoned. It’s very possible, considering that the 150 garden plots are being TORN DOWN to make room for more Reed College dorms. Though the growing season is in full swing, moral at the garden is low. Some people stopped weeding. These are organic gardeners who for 30 years have been improving the soil on this site. They have built raised beds and paths, nurtured berries and rose bushes, grown food for themselves, their families, and, through the Produce for People program, for those in need. The garden has been part of their master plan for the campus for a long time, but they decided to change it and write the garden out. As a gardener, I only heard about one opportunity to give input in the decision making process. That was a meeting on a Wednesday morning, when I, like most people, was at work. And it was well after the matter had been decided, it seems. Supposedly the college has made plans, due to negative response from the community, to relocate the garden and its soil. It seems as though every month a cry goes out on the AGCA listserv about some community garden or another that’s in distress. Besides the obvious, that they are don’t own land and have few financial resources, what is it that makes these places so vulnerable and undervalued?

The hops I picked were scrambling over rosemary bushes far from their roots. I wound a few of the vines, strung with their light green cones, around a bouquet of large white roses with gold-tinged centers and fennel blossoms to make an arrangment for my entryway.

In the wild hops climbs over small trees and shrubs, willow in particular apparently, which earned them the name of willow-wolf. Lupulus means “little wolf”. The genus name is from an old German name for the plant, “Humela”.

Hops is a vigorous perennial. It vines by twining, and can grow to 20 feet long. ‘Nugget’ is a popular cultivar; ‘Gold Nugget’ is an ornamental with chartreuse leaves. Some of the varieties grown for beer making in the Pacific Northwest are ‘Chinook’ and ‘Cascade’. The young shoots of the plant can be eaten steamed or sautéed.

“This has long been my
fondest desire: to own a
piece of earth of modest
but ample size and
there by my house to set
a garden and in it to be
blessed with fresh
flowing water and an
overhanging patch of
the noble forest.”
– Horace, 65-8 BCE

I saw this quote in a garden design book today, in a photo of a garden gate. When searching for it on the internet I found the website of Alyse Lansing Garden Design. There is a nice quote of the month page.

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One Response to Hummulus lupulus

  1. mom says:

    Hi Sweetie,

    You probably already know this but this entry shows several times in a row. I love the new ones and the list of new ones is helpful. It’s terrific. Love, Mom

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