Sunday, June 23, 2013

Echium Wildpretii

Echium wildpretii with Salvia sclarea 'Piemont', Salvia argentea, and Papaver 'Lauren's Grape'
     Another plant I got from Annie's Annuals last year for the newly planted bed near our front door was Echium wildpretii.  I have grown this echium many times over the years, and I have rarely gotten it to bloom.  Usually it dies over the winter.  This plant, for those new to it, is a biennial which is only supposed to be hardy to zone 9, but it is so striking, both in and out of flower, that I often plant it in hopes of it making it through the winter.  This last winter was very mild here--essentially a zone 9 winter-- so these echiums pictured above made it through.  However, they were not unscathed.  The main central growing point on each plant rotted, leaving side shoots to take over this spring.  That meant that the striking tower that makes these plants so great did not occur.  Instead, these flowers ensued, more like those of Echium russicum.  They are not bad looking, just not as spectacular as they would have been had the center not rotted.  Anyway, hopefully they will produce lots of seedlings.
     Other plants in the picture above are Papaver somniferum 'Lauren's Grape' which is a self sown seedling (I have mass quantities of self sown poppies all over my garden); Salvia Sclarea 'Piemont' which I wrote about yesterday; and the white flower is Salvia argentea which I will have a post about in the future.  Although I don't usually go in for white flowers, I think the white actually looks good in this situation.

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