Allotment marvels

Just a quickie today, as I’m about to leave home to do something very interesting, ie interview my local allotment officer, but I’ve been pondering the wonderful – and sometimes weird – things that people grow on allotments. Up and down the country I’ve seen fields of dahlias, fiery horseradish, tobacco, orchids, living stones. I know one allotment holder who is hybridising a green tulip on his plot and another who has an informal tortoise sanctuary. But I had to share this. It’s Andrew’s echium, and it’s the most astonishing flower I’ve ever seen. It’s Echium pininana, which is usually found in sheltered south-facing borders and it’s a two year process to grow one, because in the first year echium simply grows into a rosette of silvery leaves – only about a foot tall - but in year two it rockets off and becomes a flower spike festooned with blue, funnel-shaped flowers, which may be as much as fifteen feet tall. After this impressive flowering it dies, but not before scattering its seeds like somebody throwing balloons off the top of a tall tower.

I think it’s gorgeous. But I'm sure there are even more impressive allotment marvels out there ... let us know if you have one!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Sunday, July 29, 2007


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