I've waited about 20 years to have this favourite flowering in my garden again. E. A. Bowles says of it, 'One huge cloud every June is about five feet square (only like other clouds it is round) ...' Described in the same entry in Graham Stuart Thomas' Perennial Garden Plants as a 'noble plant'; I can't quarrel with that, since this quality earns it a place in my border. Its frothy mass of small, starry flowers are lightly scented and it enjoys sun or part shade - but, I read, it is likely to go belly-up if planted in a very windy position. It comes from the stoney steppes of the Caucasus but it doesn't seem to mind my alkaline, silty clay. In fact it appears to be tolerant of most garden soils. I'm not quite sure, given its provenance, why guru GST also says that it requires 'deeply fertile' soil. And surely the steppes enjoy their fair share of wind? Those stems seem strongly flexible to me. A test for another year.
Crambe (and Friendly giant 2 ... to come) is one reason that I can't abide mean little narrow borders. A decent border should be at least 2 metres wide. That's not possible in our Rose Walk, but fortunately there is another border on a slope just behind the Crambe and that helps to give it a sense of space. I love the dark foliage behind the white flowers which highlight it perfectly.
It is in the Cruciferae family (like the edible brassicas) and is hardy down to -20C; the downside of its relationship to a family from (in my opinion) the 'wrong side of the tracks' is that it can suffer from clubroot and flea beetle. However I've noticed that in spite of the flea beetle damage on my rocket this year, the Crambe remains relatively untouched.
Your experiences of my 'friendly giant cabbage' please?
And also ...
Rat-taupier (water vole) update: All quiet on the western front since sad 'poppy day' in May. Fortunately I've been distracted by the discovery of European chafer (vers blancs for French readers) in my soil, currently munching their way through the roots of my (prospective) Lonicera nitida hedge. I'm not particularly drawn to the 'final solution' that my husband brought home in a bottle a week or so ago; I have allies out there working away peacefully in our soil and I would miss them if any should be lost in the battle.
I notice (with horror) that I have not posted anything but pictures here since 19 May. The truth is I've been so busy weeding, cutting the grass, ironing and keeping up with Eastenders that I feel I am running so hard my tail will soon be caught. And then there were the 10 days in Scotland when I had to catch up on thirty years of Coronation Street. For those who are curious, my last 'Wordless Wednesday' was a photo of Meconopsis punicea taken in that Meconopsis heaven, Branklyn Gardens, Perth. I read recently in The Garden that someone somewhere (no memory) is trying to breed a truly perennial version of this gorgeous plant. Sadly, its operatic nature requires that it die just after reaching its peak of perfection.