Some plants take a long time to actually arrive in your garden.  Maybe you read about them, see a picture or admire one in a garden you are visiting.  You put it on your mental or not so mental list and then somehow you fail to find it and it hangs around as a vague aspiration, something you like the sound of but are not so driven to have that you track it down like a rare animal.   It must be years since I first read about smyrnium perfoliatum.  


I liked the idea of something other than euphorbia doing that vivid limey, yellowy green which seems so much the colour of spring, but spring intensified, spring squared.  I liked the name too and the way it rolled around your tongue.  But I never saw it anywhere as a plant or as seeds and was a bit put off by the sense that it was slow and tricky.  Still I kept an eye out for it, just in case.

I bought one tiny plant at a visit to Great Dixter, my first and only visit so far, which my blogging history tells me was in April of 2009.  Gosh another world, another life back then.  These plants are triennial and the plant I bought must have been in its first year, a tiny seedling from a tiny tuber, smaller than a crocus corm.  I planted it into the side garden, it did its vanishing trick in the summer, disappearing back under the ground, and I thought I had lost it.

But the following year up it came again, a bit bigger, with more leaves, looking a bit like ground elder but fortunately located in a part of the garden where I don't have ground elder.  If it had looked like bindweed or dandelion it would have been hoicked out, as it was I hoped it was the smyrnium and left it alone.



And in 2011 there is was again, taller, with larger foliage and a certain presence,  and that year flowering away fit to burst.  If you dug down at that stage you would have found a tuber the size of a new potato.  I loved my one and only plant but to be honest I did not have high hopes for it.  It all seemed rather delicate and difficult and not the sort of thing likely to survive in this garden where so many of the carefully researched and chosen plants which should have coped with my conditions have failed to thrive.


So this year was, I suppose, year six of the cycle, assuming my purchase in Great Dixter is to count as year one, and this year I have three plants singing away in lime and yellow green.  I like it very much and really hope it will become one of those plants which actually likes it here.   Plants that are happy reproduce like mad.  Plants that are not happy slowly or quickly disappear. I love it against the orange tulips and the soon to be purple alliums.  I love its foliage against hardy geraniums and aquilegia.  Fingers crossed.

Comments

  1. http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Smyrnium+perfoliatum

    New to me. From the Mediterranean and Greek legend. And if they get large enough ... you can eat them.

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    1. They are a form of Alexander I think so assume you can eat the root! Not tried it though. Far too precious as a flower at the moment!

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  2. Thank you Elizabeth, I had wondered what this plant was. It is growing in my garden, and I inherited it from my Mother when she passed on. Although we have made numerous changes to the garden since taking over this house and garden, we have left her formal flower bed at the side of the house alone. In six years some plants have been lost to snow and frost, some just "disappeared" and a few have turned up from nowhere. At one end of the bed the euphorbia holds sway, and this grows on the other side of the bed, quietly in its own corner beside the acquilegia. It's lovely to get an answer; only for fb I would never have known! Your pic there alerted me. O.

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    1. Hi and good to hear from you! I know just what you mean about things appearing from nowhere. Happens to me all the time.

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  3. It's lovely, I really like that - and I'm not sure I've come across it before. Like you, I value that particular shade of green (as long as it isn't too dominant), and I'm writing this down in my garden book right now. Well, when I stop typing...

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    1. Because the flower is quite delicate seems to light things up without taking over. Love it.

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  4. What a beautiful, refreshing colour! Would love to see it paired with the purple alliums when they are out.

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    1. I keep dashing out to see if the alliums are out but they are just on the point, still...

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  5. It's that wonderful green - just as you describe it. It jumps out at me from other gardens and just shouts 'spring!' Good luck with it. I hope Euphorbia likes your hillside.

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    1. Euphorbia does grow pretty well up here, as long as it has some sun!

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  6. I love its gorgeous limy yellow.
    Tellima was like that with me. I bought a plant about six years ago and although it came up every year it showed no sign of spreading, although I read how easily it seeds. At last, this year there are about eight plants - I presume it has decided it likes me.

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    1. Oh yes, Tellima is another one. Now I have it everywhere and even pull it up from time to time!

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  7. Ar ha this looks like my mystery plant which has appeared in the border. I did try to grow it from seed a few years back but gave up, as you say they hard hard to grow. I suspect I did what I normally do and chucked the seed compost on the border and the plant has grown anyway.

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    1. I like the way a plant sometimes just makes up its own mind!

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  8. It looks as if it has been dropped in a pot of sunshine Elizabeth. I've read about this plant but have never come across it in the flesh at nurseries or plant sales. Will keep fingers crossed that it likes your neck of the woods.

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    1. It does seem a bit of a rarity. If it gets really established here you are welcome to a plant Anna.

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  9. Elizabeth, what a delight to see the bright light of this beautiful green. Looks to me as if you've got a good friend there who's appreciative of your giving it a fine home in your garden.

    xo

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    1. It is a very special colour isn't it?

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  10. Fabulous colour! And probably not toxic as Euphorbia is (I ended up with some horrific blistering one year after pruning back Euphorbia -- yikes!) Well worth the patience and nurturing. . . I, too, will cross my fingers it decides to stay and settle in happily.

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    1. I agree about euphorbia and always wear gloves when I cut back. I think this one is quite benign.

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  11. I hope it makes itself very at home in your garden, what a beauty. It has been on my wish list for ages now, I love the leaves, maybe when I get rid of the bindweed...

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    1. I have bindweed by the bucketload. When you know how to get rid of it, do let me know!

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    2. Hah! I could get rich if I solved that one!

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  12. Yay! Good ending to the smyrnium saga. You're so right about plants that are meant to be -or not. All you can do is try. I'm glad this lime beauty worked out for you!

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    1. Just discovered today that there are four plants not three! Getting quite excited about that.

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  13. I love those rich greens. I agree that it's best to plant stuff that will thrive and come back. Good luck with the gardening!

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