I have longed for this plant for quite some time. I have never succeeded with germinating the seeds (ok, I tried once only and maybe the seeds were not that good :-) Recently I stumbled upon this stunning plant again on Gintoino's lovely Portuguese garden blog 'Jardim com gatos'. You can see why he calls them the Pride of his garden (rather than Pride of Madeira, one of the plant's common names). And just when I'd forgotten about it, it popped up in front of me in the nursery the other day (the first time I have ever seen it for sale as a container plant in these areas). I don't think I need to mention my excitement. I've always had a thing for perennials that bore such dramatic, towering, upright spikes ( Eremurus, Echium, Verbascum etc. ) and any variety of Euphorbia. It's funny how in certain areas they practically grow alongside the roads as wild plants, and I had waited for years till they've even arrived in my nursery, tagged as a rare and very expensive plant (for a short-lived perennial).
Being native to the Canary islands and Madeira, they are quite drought-resistant and thrive in hot, sunny conditions. This would be just perfect for the Mediterranean part of my country, but since I garden in a continental zone, the severe winters could do some damage to it. From what I have read, the danger is not so much in how severe the frost is, but more the length of time it lasts for. And this is quite a normal occurrence around here. Nevertheless, I think I have found the best place possible for it, protected by a southern wall, in the driest part of the garden, where most of the tender plants have survived, and where I also successfully grow Fig trees, the Chusan palm tree, Passion flowers etc.
The cultivar I have stumbled upon is Echium webbii, which is shrubby in the same way as Echium candicans (fastuosum), its famous relative, but its supposed to be somewhat more hardy, more richly colored and a more compact grower. It was named after Philip Barker Webb(1793-1854), famous English botanist and traveler.
Other names: Blue-Devil, Blueweed, Viper's Bugloss, Tower of Jewels
Habitat: La Palma, Canary islands (an endemic plant there)
Saturday, 10 May 2008
Scribbled by Viooltje @ 16:16