In a Vase on Monday. Purple Blobs.

My offering for In a Vase on Monday is an eryngium. You are probably more familiar with the metallic blue prickly sea holly and its relatives which all bloom in summer. This one is the giant sea holly, Eryngium pandanifolium ‘Physic Purple’. I have grown Eryngium pandanifolium before in my dry gravel garden for its dramatic rosettes of spiky leaves and masses of tall stems with clusters of little egg -shaped, dove- coloured flowers. This one, Eryngium pandanifolium ‘Chelsea Purple’ was new to my garden last year and is blooming for the first time. What has surprised me is how late the flowers appear. It was looking fabulous until the snow on Friday broke its stem. I am always looking for new and unusual candidates for my winter garden so if this is going to make a habit of blooming so late it will certainly find a place there.

This is a dramatic plant and as you see the stem is large, but as the plant matures it will get much bigger and more imposing and the branching flower stems will reach 7 feet. It was found in Chelsea Physic Garden by Christopher Lloyd and that along with the purple colour of the flowers gave it its name. He felt that this is a plant with star quality.

So I have no carefully arranged vase today, I just plonked the stem in a large white jug. I really think this is a stand -alone plant. I shall be interested to see how long it lasts in water.

Eryngium pandaniifolium ‘ Physic Purple’
Eryngium pandanifolium ‘Physic Purple’

And here is the spiky foliage sitting in the snow on Friday. The leaves are narrow, serrated and ever-green.

Do visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, she never lacks inspiration to find something to interest us in her Monday vases.

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31 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. Purple Blobs.

  1. You’re right. She IS a stand alone plant, just right in a jug. But I especially like the fanned out spike leaves in the snow. That’s art.

  2. It is art and I love the color against your taupe (?) wall. I saw ‘Blue Glitter’ on your blog this summer and got some seed…one has come up, we will see what happens! Happy Holidays, Liz.

  3. Meriel in Wicklow says:

    And the edges of the leaves are razor sharp too! Mine must be the common variety as its a pale colour but I was thinking recently it would be attractive sprayed silver or gold for Christmas, but I don’t really want to cut it. You could try drying yours and spraying it. Mine is about 10 – 11 ft. now. I don’t often respond as you get so many, however I do want you to know I enjoy your blog enormously. Thank you.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Meriel, it’s always lovely to hear from you. Yes, the leaves are rather deadly but I love the plant and what a bonus having it blooming so late. I’m looking forward to my plant being mature enough to attain that size. The flowers would make interesting Christmas decorations but it is a pity to pick them.

    • Chloris says:

      I didn’t realise it would bloom so late either. Late bloomers are always welcome.

  4. Kris P says:

    A blogger friend in nearby Long Beach grew this plant at one time. I was very envious, although I don’t think it was a long-term survivor for her and, with a stronger marine layer in place, conditions in her garden are gentler than my own. You don’t see the plants for sale here but they sometimes appear in nurseries in the Pacific Northwest, which has a climate more like yours.

    • Chloris says:

      This plant comes from South America and as it loves a dry spot I would have thought that it would do well for you. It is worth the attempt if you get the chance.

  5. Seven feet! Wow! I do like the way you’ve presented it. I can see growing this plant in certain conditions. Very nice.

  6. Alicia says:

    I didn’t know there was an Eryngium that blooms so late. It’s so different and I like the subtle purple of the flowers.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Interesting form and evergreen too! The rescue deserved to be a standalone feature.

  8. Annette says:

    This Eryngium is stunning, Liz, I remember seeing it some time ago and thinking how much I’d like it. One is always sure to find something special here 🙂 I think I must make a new bed somewhere to accomodate the plants on my wish list!

    • Chloris says:

      This erynngium needs plenty of spaced but it is very dramatic and worth the effort. I keep on digging up more and more lawn to accommodate new plants..

  9. And what a wonderful plonk it is too!

  10. Well done, it was so nice to see this! I only seem to be able to germinate eryngium intermittently, sometimes hundreds, sometimes only one or two. My attempt with seeds of ‘Physic Purple’ from Special Plants a couple of years ago was a complete failure 😦 . Seeing your branch has made me want to try again.

    • Chloris says:

      I have never had any luck germinating eryngium seeds yet they seed themselves around happily. I hope this one will too. If it does I’ll send you a seedling.

  11. Cathy says:

    SNOW? You mentioned fog, not snow…! What a bizarre looking plant that eryngium is – and the blooms are indeed purple blobs when you see them closer up! A great contender for a vase – when a broken stem permits, that is 😁

    • Chloris says:

      Well now, we have had pouring rain, ice, snow, freezing frost- the lot.. And my goodness, it’s cold. I hope it’s not too cold for you to be out there enjoying your witch hazels..

  12. snowbird says:

    What a stunner. Love the shadow play too.xxx

  13. Cathy says:

    A shame the stem broke as such tall flowers and then seedheads look so pretty over winter, but you have been able to enjoy this newcomer close up instead. And the foliage looks very pretty in the snow too.

  14. tonytomeo says:

    It really does look like a Pandanus . . . or a Yucca.

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