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29 Flower Spikes And Counting

AndrewR

By AndrewR

11 comments


Melianthus major is a shrub from South Africa, with wonderful glaucous foliage. In fact, I think it’s the best foliage plant we can grow in the UK. I planted this one in 2000, and it has made itself at home in Bracknell since then.

But it does not appreciate our winters. By the end of October, I am putting a dry mulch of fern fronds on the soil under the leaves to protect the roots from hard frosts. Until Christmas, it soldiers on, but as frosts continue to hit through January and into February, the foliage becomes increasingly battered and tatty, and by the beginning of March, I cut it to the ground and it starts again, like an herbaceous perennial. It never flowers; to get the blooms, it needs to carry the top growth through the winter.

But this year is different. In East Berkshire, we only had four ground frosts this winter, and less than ten air frosts. The top growth stayed intact. Then in early April, I noticed an interesting development.

Quickly, its first ever flower began to develop.

Soon it was followed by another and another

Now it’s got 29 flowers spikes

I wonder how many more before it’s finished.

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Comments

 

Amazing... It's been a wonderful winter, hasn't it :)

28 Apr, 2014

 

Cold weather front forecast for end of week.

So protect your plants everyone.

28 Apr, 2014

 

It looks like a rather exotic fireworks display - you must be thrilled to bits with it!

28 Apr, 2014

 

A wonderful sight,Andrew..I love it..It is certainly rewarding you this year :o)

29 Apr, 2014

 

Oh that is amazing, love it :O)

29 Apr, 2014

 

oh my heavens. a couple of years ago i planted three in my jungle and they are just beginning to get their act together, but not as rampant as yours.

will have to get the fleece back out as temperatures are supposed to dip come the week-end.

btw i am jealous, only got 2 and a bit flower spikes

29 Apr, 2014

 

Gosh what a treat Andrew its a spectacular plant anyway but to see it in all its glory is amazing.......

29 Apr, 2014

 

Just fabulous .....

29 Apr, 2014

 

I've never dared try Melianthus, but yours is definitely spectacular, especially with the bonus of all those flowers this year!

30 Apr, 2014

 

Wow, that's amazing Andrew. I found about this plant in a good Collins book on architectural plants but decided it's too cold here. Great to see your plant doing so well.

30 Apr, 2014

 

Andrew, I am really envious now, I cannot see any flowers at all on ours, it is very tall, but now very battered with all the terrible wind we had over the weekend...I am not sure we have it in the right place lol

12 May, 2014

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