We met at my first Hardy Plant Society sale, 3 years ago. It was shopping paradise: a huge room full of plants from favorite nurseries and nurseries I had never heard of. I spotted him from across the aisle – his glossy leaves and sharp spines calling out to me. I had to fight my way through the shopping masses, praying the whole way that a hand would not reach out and take him from me. I was in luck.
He was even better close up. All those spikes, evergreen and zone 7! How much better could it get!? As I recall they had 4 plants, I bought 3. What was I thinking? How could I walk away and leave one behind?
This is another one of those Xera plants that I seem to gravitate towards. Their tags are even fun, here’s the tag info from the Eryngium agavafolium:
Eryngium agavafolium Zn7a (0º to 5ºF) Apiaceae
Multiple, glossy, sexy rosettes with dramatic spines....Yeowrrrrrr.. In midsummer robust spikes of dark green handsome, rounded clover-like flowers (to 30" tall.) Full sun and regular soil with occasional summer water. Impressive evergreen perennial for the front of a border, mixes well with airy flowers. Fantastic in a dry rockery planting with boulders, rocks. What do you call a gardener with multiple sexy rosettes? A HAPPY Gardener.
I planted all 3 in our front yard, I don’t know what happened but within the year they grew and multiplied and became a true tangled mass of “multiple sexy rosettes”. They were threatening to eat the mailman. I had to do something; they couldn’t be allowed to get any bigger and they were starting to look rather ragged. It hurt, but I dug them up and attempted to divide them, I managed to save 3 plants. (that's them below on the bottom left, a year after planting as they were starting to get really big)
They have rewarded me with much tamer growth and look fabulous year round. I highly recommend the purchase if you are lucky enough to find this plant; just leave some for me, okay?
Folks within driving distance of Portland – this weekend is the Hardy Plant Society Sale at the Expo center. Go! You won’t regret it.