As planned a strip of sod along the north side of the garden has been removed and I'm busy planting it up. While laying out the plants I got to admiring this Astelia. You're probably wondering why, right? It sure doesn't look like much.
Well, because it's come back from the dead. It was one of several Astelia that bit the dust after our cold winter of 2013/14. In my hurry to make the garden look good for the garden bloggers group when they toured in July, I pulled out dead plants and filled the spots with something else. This one slipped by, mainly because it was hidden by other plants and the hole it left wasn't so visible. Turns out it wasn't dead after all. What's the saying? "Patience grasshopper?" Lesson learned and I will try to allow my plants more time to recover before pronouncing them goners.
Did you spot the serrated leaves behind the Astelia? They belong to a long time favorite, Eryngium agavifolium. One of the very first plants I bought for my garden, many more have followed.
While technically evergreen they're really just getting started for the season, big growth will appear over the coming weeks as they get tall and push out longer and longer leaves (and this photo shows just how much debris I still need to clean up in my planting beds, please excuse the toes!).
Here's a great description of this plant from The Desert Northwest: "This Agave impostor from South America has thick green leaves with spiny margins, forming a clump of rosettes to 18” or wider. However, unlike some Agaves, this plant won't keel over and die if it gets a little wet: in fact, about any range of soil moisture is tolerated. Thistle-like flowers on 5' spikes may appear in late spring. Very easily grown on any sunny or partially shaded site. Hardy to at least 5 °F." They're also a Great Plant Pick for Pacific Northwest gardens.
And I have to share this from Far Reaches Farm: "Bold toothed leaves like an Agave (agavifolium). Cool how that Latin makes sense sometimes even to us non-Latinos..." (haha)
Those spikes are just as painful as they look.
And the flowers (which typically show up around June) are incredibly attractive to bees, they love those things...
Want more spikes? Then Eryngium venustum is for you! I've featured this one as a fav in the past.
This little guy showed up this spring at the base of an Eryngium venustum. I was hopeful that it was a seedling from that plant, but it's looking more and more like an E. agavifolium.
It's pretty cute with those tiny spikes! Have a few favorites in your garden this month? Please tell us about them!
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