Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Echium amoenum

Echium amoenum blooming now in my garden
     Blooming now in my garden is a great little echium which seems to be more common in nurseries than in the past, probably because it is being promoted as a Plant Select 'winner' of 2010.  Plant Select is a cooperative program of Denver Botanical Gardens and Colorado State University to seek out and distribute the best plants for the intermountain region to the high plains. I have found that most plants promoted by this organization are very hardy and drought tolerant, and that is certainly true of this echium. Indeed, it is supposed to be hardy down to zone 4.
     Looking at this picture, you might wonder how this echium differs from Echium russicum which I wrote about here.  While they seem to be very similar, the main differences that I have observed are that Echium russicum seems to have slightly taller spikes, and it does not seem to have such a bushy base.  Other than those slight differences, to the hoi polloi they look pretty much the same.  They both seem to like similar conditions--sun and well drained soil.  Echium amoenum is said to be tolerant of clay soils, but in my garden both plants perform well in similar soil conditions. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if these are considered to be synonyms of the same plant, although I have not yet gotten any confirmation of that fact.
     I have grown Echium amoenum for many years in my front border, and like most echiums it is not bothered by the deer.  I have forgotten where I got the first plants of this echium, but they are still alive and doing well in the front garden.  I bought 5 more of these plants last year at Swanson's nursery and the plant in the picture is one of those.  I also recently acquired more from Bay Hay, a local Bainbridge Island nursery.  This means that this plant is available from mainstream nurseries.  If your local nursery does not carry it you can always ask them if they can get it for you.

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