Sometimes you need some Eremurus in your life

We were particularly excited last week when we acquired another White Foxtail Lily from Shannon’s. We were so enamoured by the plant that we even named one of Madtone’s new tracks after it (see last post).

It’s the bizarre starfish-shaped root crowns that do it for us, family members have gasped “Urghhhhh, keep THAT away from me” and have also remarked “they’re disgusting” when we’ve showed them the crowns. We here really appreciate the root crown’s oddness as you know we love something a bit “out there” here at Weeds! The tweet (at the top) from Shannon’s from a few years ago still makes us laugh.

We’ve lost a couple of plants over the years as we don’t think they like our heavy clay soil here in London. As the plant originates from the dry grasslands of western and central Asia it prefers a free draining soil and when awakening in the spring the early leaves don’t particularly tolerate the frost. We give the bed a good bit of preparation before putting it in, mixing in some organic matter to help with the drainage.

It’s a very bizarre sight when the plants starts to kick into life in the spring. Over a few weeks you can see the thing drilling up through the soil and reminds us of the film War Of The Worlds when the monsters from outer space start to wake up. Sadly, the plants don’t look like those monsters that have the hoover-like tentacles though. Now that would be interesting!

It’s brilliant when leaves explode out of the soil and then the fantastic flower head a couple of months later. No-one talks about how odd they are then do they? Leave the Eremurus alone! We love it here and will bring you updates when it pops up in the spring. #FoxtailLily #Itcamefromouterspace

The awakening

It’s just gone the month of February, maybe it’s because I’m a little bit impatient and I have a touch of the twirlies but there’s already some spuds chitting and seeds sprouting indoors. Also if I get a minute this week, I’m going to stick a double layer of fleece over a couple of patches of the garden to warm the soil up for the big kick off in the next couple of months.chitting 2016 styleeI bought two types of spuds from Shannon’s, who have loads of varieties in stock from the different cropping types (first earlies, second earlies, main crop and second/late main crop) the terms of which used to confuse the hell out of me. A simple explanation about all of that is here. The ones “chitting” in the back room (above) are Sharpe’s Express (first early) and the good old Maris Piper (main crop.) seed starting 2016 styleeAlso in the back room near the window, is a covered propagator with tomatoes (Moneymaker) and sweet peppers off to an early start, which will be no doubt be leggy as hell before they’re ready to go out.foxtail returnsAnd talking of Shannon’s, this is where I bought the Eremurus aka foxtail lilly or desert candle bulb from and it looks like the monster is ready to resurface again for it’s year long reign of terror (above.) It might be not even be an inch at the moment but before you know it, it’ll be 6 foot tall and will be sending up a lovely flower spike like last year (below.)

But be warned, don’t get on it’s wrong side as it might come into your home and take over your life! On afoxtail 2 tip

It came from Shannon’s

EremurusThanks very much to the good folks at Shannon’s for getting back to us about  the unknown bulb in the last post and for sending us a picture. It turns out it’s Eremurus aka foxtail lilly or desert candle. Matthew Wilson mentioned in a piece in The Telegraph from 2003 (here) that “The plant grows away quickly, forming a rosette of blueish-green leaves up to 4ft high, from which the flower spike begins to rise during late April. By late May the spike will have risen as high as 9ft high, more typically 7ft or so, topped with densely packed buds that gradually relax into flower.”  It’s definitely one mad plant and one that’s well worth £7.99!

DayofthetriffidsThanks again to all at Shannon’s and I will be sending pictures when it’s in bloom, great stuff!