Posts Tagged ‘crambe cordifolia’


The miracle of spring never grows old or loses its wonder. Just a few short months ago, our yard was bleak and empty. By the end of June, the garden is unrecognizable as that same blank canvas.


The queen of the June garden is surely the giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha) A hardy perennial, it dies back to the ground each year, but by the end of June, its sturdy, plume-topped stalks stand over seven feet tall. What a marvel.


Another wonder of the early summer garden is the Giant Sea Kale (Crambe cordifolia), which produces huge airy sprays of dainty, sweetly scented flowers that are adored by pollinators. This plant is sometimes compared to baby’s-breath on steroids.


The development of a path through the east border has been one of this year’s projects. A spiral juniper marks the entrance to the path.


The path is lined with young perennials that will make a colourful display as they fill in. The bright red spots are the flowers of a little rose, Oso Easy Cherry Pie. I don’t have many roses as I am unprepared to fuss with temperamental plants that need special attention. The Oso Easy series are reputed to be carefree, and I have been pleased with Cherry Pie so far.


Here’s another new addition, Campanula ‘Sarastro’, a handsome hybrid bellflower.


The silvery stems and white flowers of Lychnis coronaria ‘Rose Blush’ are very graceful. Some of the flowers do have a light pink blush, as suggested by the name, but many appear pure white. Still pretty.


These little daisy-like flowers belong to feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium).


The hostas are slow to get underway in the spring but are reaching their full stature.


Another shady walk is watched over by St. Francis of the bird feeder.


Geranium ‘Karmina’ joined the garden late last summer and has performed well this spring.


Clematis ‘Piilu’ (Little Duckling) tumbles over an old stump.


This Serbian Bellflower (Campanula poscharskyana ‘Blue Waterfall’) sits in a puddle of its own blue blooms that spray over the ground.


Another new project this year is this shady path through the east border. Its construction was preceded by a whole lot of weed and grass removal, admirably completed by RailGuy.


The purple flowers of the reliable catmint Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’ contrast nicely with the yellow of Lysimachia punctata ‘Golden Alexander’.


The rosy blooms of Knautia macedonica are waiting for the thistle-like flowers of Echinops bannaticus ‘Star Frost’ to catch up.


That’s a little sampling of the late June garden. I leave you with this picture of Joe Crow watching over the west border.


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Colewort (Crambe cordifolia) is one of the delights of the early summer garden. Its charm never diminishes. Every year, it is just as amazing to see its cloud of blooms as it was the previous summer. When the first shoots of its big, dark green leaves appear in the spring, they give no hint of what is to come. Indeed, the low-growing mass of rather rugged leaves, resembling a rhubarb plant, borders on ugly. But then something surprising happens. From this unprepossessing beginning, tall, graceful branches spring upward and produce an airy mass of tiny white flowers. The effect has been compared to a giant gypsophilia, Baby’s Breath on steroids!


The flowers are heavily scented and draw a host of pollinators. Each tiny flower has four petals and 6 stamens, identifying the plant as a member of the mustard or cabbage family, Brassicaceae. Its family connection to cabbage is suggested by its common name, cole…think coleslaw…and wort, an Old English word for flower: Cabbage Flower. Colewort is also known as Giant Sea Kale.

The basal leaves don’t require a lot of space, but its tall flower stalks, five feet tall and four feet wide, form an impressive crown. If you have a roomy spot available in your perennial bed, Crambe cordifolia is a worthwhile addition. It is a long-lived plant that you will enjoy year after year.


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