There are many ways to add life to a dull garden. One is to add plants with different foliage textures; another is to add plants with unique colors or bold-shaped foliage.
Sometimes all it takes is a few well-placed plants that have completely different foliage from the rest of your garden to make a dramatic impact on the look of your garden.
Few of us can conceive of cooking (or eating) without the presence of tomatoes in our diet. In the US, the tomato is the summer vegetable (or fruit?) most often grown at home--and there are plenty of cultivars to grow. The U.S. Department of Agriculture claims there are 25,000 tomato varieties.
But this delicious food didn't always have it so easy. Up until the 1800's, most people viewed the tomato with caution--and many with outright fear.
Originally grown by the Aztecs and Incas as early as 700 A.D., it is thought that the first seeds made their way across the Atlantic sometime in the 1500's.
Early Europeans categorized it with a group of well-known poisonous plants of the era: henbane, mandrake and nightshade. Because of its association with nightshade (whose hallucinogenic effects include visions and the sense of flying), it quickly became associated with witchcraft.
In German folklore, witches would use plants such as mandrake and nightshade to summon werewolves (in fact, the common German name for "tomato" translates to "wolf peach"); because of this, the tomato was widely avoided (by everyone other than practitioners of the "dark arts," that is).