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.I 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.) Also 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.And talking of Shannon’s, this is where I bought the Eremurus aka foxtail lilly or desert candle bulb fromand 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!
Earlier this week I received a great tweet from the good folks at Shannon‘s telling us that the Eremurus tubers (Foxtail Lilly/Desert Candle) had arrived. I had a shock when I picked out two of (the very strange looking) tubers today as these were huge (nearly a foot wide) compared to the one I had last year. I even had to put both of them in a bin bag just in case they’d scare the neighbours! The tubers are very out of this world looking and wouldn’t be out of place in “War of the Worlds” either.They were £7.99 each which may seem a bit steep but what you get for it, a giant of a plant with a huge coloured flower spike (some varieties grow up to 3 metres), it’s well worth it! Here’s what it was like earlier this year. Roll on next year!
What’s bonkers about it is, if you pop the flower buds in your mouth (washed first of course) it has a grassy taste followed by a strong tingling or numbing sensation and supposedly good if you have toothache. I’ve just looked online and someone likened the effect to when as a kid you used to put your tongue on a 9 volt battery, nice. Me, I’d rather pop a clove on the pain and see a dentist! Here’s the plant (below) in situ!
Also a big shout to the staff at Shannon‘s who thought of us the other day when they got a new delivery of plants in. It included a Eremurus Bungei (which is smaller of the species and only grows to 4ft) which I just had to have today alongside a few other treats too. Thanks for letting us know about the plant, and I’ll send you some pictures soon when it flowers.
If you remember last November I bought an Eremurus aka foxtail lilly or desert candle bulb from Shannon’s. I loved the look of the bulb as it looked well odd so I just had to have it!
And look at it now, nearly 7ft, it looks great and the bees love the flowers. Next year I’ll be buying three!
Thanks 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!
Thanks again to all at Shannon’s and I will be sending pictures when it’s in bloom, great stuff!