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Plant of the Season - Summer 2020

28th May 2020

Plant of the Season - Summer 2020

Plant of the season: Echium pininana

Summer 2020

Our summer Plant of the Season hails from the Canary Islands although our specimens were brought to Mount Stuart by Beki our Gardens Manager as young plants from her home in Cornwall four years ago.

Echium pininana is a stunning hardy biennial or triennial from the Boraginaceae or borage family and is also known as giant viper’s-bugloss or the more poetic tower of jewels.

In its first year echium forms a low rosette of silver, spear-shaped leaves but the following year it suddenly spurts into growth and produces a single 4m high flower spike festooned with blue, funnel-shaped flowers resembling a missile about to launch skywards. Its flowers are extremely attractive to bees as can be seen in the images taken on Wednesday this week. After flowering the plant dies, but not before scattering its seeds which in milder parts of the UK can germinate where they land to grow in clusters.

Echium pininana prefers a southerly or westerly facing situation and owing to its large leaves needs shelter as it can suffer wind damage. Ours will be in flower throughout the summer months giving a tropical touch to the Wee Garden.