Thursday 24 June 2010 - Filed under Plants
Echium death star is one of many plants I wish I could grow in my Portland garden, but I’m a zone or two outside of it’s range, and lacking the sunny spot and poor soil it would thrive in. I might get the chance to grow it as an annual some years, but I’m destined to mostly admire it from afar. I saw this particular plant at a local nursery a couple years ago before I knew what I was looking at. How I wish I could go back and pluck the leaf debris out of the picture.
This is my first year with a few test Echiums in the garden, hoping for a show of lush foliage, which is all I want out of a plant. Growing Echiums in Portland, I’ll probably never see that display of dozens of flower spikes that our Californian friends rave about. I’m a grinch when it comes to flowers, so that’s fine with me, but I did get one flower on my E. Star of Madeira this year. I waited patiently until it seemed like it had been a polite amount of time to let it flower and attract bees, and cut it down as soon as it showed signs of browning, and now I can enjoy the foliage again. I know, as a gardener, I’m supposed to love flowers, but I just don’t.
While I don’t have the hot, sunny, dry, mild winter conditions for an Echium, I notice one of my hardy staples doing its best impersonation: Lysimachia Paridiformis F. Stenophylla, from Western China. It’s a low growing perennial, none of that crazy impressive 6 foot spread you see out of Echiums. Still, the foliage has the same gorgeous shape, although the leaves are leathery and glossy on the Lysimachia, rather than the matte sage-like texture of Echium.
In fall the green fades, leaving just red/gold leaves that stick around all winter. They’re evergreen, but I trim off the old leaves as the fresh growth begins to emerge. You don’t see this plant for sale very often around here, but if you come across it, I recommend you grab it.
2010-06-24 » megan