Typically I’m all for experimenting and figuring it out as I go. But every once and awhile I want to turn to a knowledgeable friend and ask “what should I do?”….and today that friend is you.
Last May I purchased a pair of Symphytum x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold', they were small.
How small? Well there’s my hand for scale.
My lust for this plant began with a visit to an open garden back in 2013. Look at those gorgeous mounds of creamy yellow and green foliage!
Here’s one of my plants now. Soon after I planted them they grew up, up, up and then bloomed. The flowers were fine, nothing to get excited about. Those two big leaves? They’re fairly new,
I’d kind of thought this experiment was going nowhere until the big leaves showed up. I want more like them…
At this point I started doing a little internet research, and that’s when I really got confused. The Missouri Botanical Garden website got things off to a frightening start when I read this: “Many of the comfreys, including this hybrid, spread aggressively by creeping rhizomes and can be somewhat invasive in the garden. Moreover, once planted, comfrey can be very difficult to dig out because any small section of root left behind can sprout a new plant.”…what? That sounds like my Bishop’s Weed battle. I don’t want to go through that again.
They also said this: “Trim foliage as needed to shape plant. Cutting back stems promptly after flowering may encourage a rebloom. If growing as a foliage plant, however, consider removing flowering stems as they appear.” Okay, too late. The flower stems appeared and I did nothing.
More research took me to Nan Ondra’s blog, Hayefield, where she introduced this plant as a “current fav” (in a post from 2008) and says: “Unlike other comfreys, this one stays where you put it. I truly wish it would spread a bit! The large grayish green leaves are broadly bordered with a nice lemony yellow that softens toward more of a butter yellow toward bloom time. Mine’s been in bloom for about a week now. In another week, I’ll cut the whole thing to the ground, then let it resprout for a good mound of fresh foliage that looks good through the summer.”
So this is where I ask “but what do you think?” Have you grown the variegated comfrey? Did it spread? Have you cut it back? Is it too late for me to cut it back now? Tell me what you think!
Oh and while you’re at weigh in on what I should do with this volunteer Castor Bean seedling. Not in an ideal spot, right at the edge of the planting bed, in front of the variegated Echium.
Can't see it? Sorry, bad photo. Here it's circled. I'd kind of like to see how it does, since it's a volunteer. But once it starts to get big it will be too late to move it. Theoretically the Echium should get big too, so maybe it's okay. But...what do you think?
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