A common name for alyssum is basket of gold, and this lovely perennial was brought to our country from Crete in the early 1700s. The genus name, alyssum, comes from the Greek word “lyssum” meaning “madness” and the prefix “a,” which means “without.” The plant was named because it used to be used as a cure for mental illness, and a common name was “madwort.” Another more desirable name was "gold dust” because of its pretty gold blossoms.
In olden times, if one wore a sprig of alyssum, no one would be angry with you.
It is a desirable garden plant and makes an excellent cut flower. Place it in rock gardens and use it as an edging plant, as well as in containers and hanging baskets.
It prefers slightly acidic soil and good drainage, so does well on slopes and in raised beds and containers with holes.
After it blooms in the spring, cut it back to about half of its size and this will stimulate new growth. There are a number of cultivars and one double form ‘Flora Plenum’, which has bright yellow flowers that look like little miniature roses. Cut a sprig for a small vase to create a dainty bouquet.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on basket of gold.