First I apologise that I’m late with the post for my meme; my only excuse is pressure of work and that I’ve had a virus that has left me without any energy.
I find this plant interesting because it behaves completely differently here in Italy than it did in my garden in the South of England (which was also free draining gravely soil in a south facing garden. So although obviously the summer temperatures in England are much lower and there is more rain the winter conditions really aren’t so different, possible temperatures get a little lower here in Italy but also there are more sunny days.
The RHS describes it thus: Acanthus are robust herbaceous perennials with handsome, lobed foliage and tall, erect racemes of two-lipped flowers with colourful bracts
A. mollis is a vigorous plant with large, glossy dark green leaves, pinnately lobed and, in late summer, tall racemes of white flowers with dusky purple bracts
Common names: bear’s breeches, brank ursine, common bear’s breech, soft-leaved bear’s breech
Foliage: Dark Green in Spring and Summer. Flower: Purple and White in Summer
Characteristics: Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
Habit: Columnar/Upright. Resilience: Hardiness: H4 (hardy)
But that isn’t how they grow here. With the first rains of early autumn the foliage appears, new and fresh and shiny. They remain evergreen all winter, their beautiful architectural leaves filling the space under the Mulberry tree. In late spring and early summer the flower spikes appear. By the end of July the plant is in summer dormancy, the leaves shrivelled and brown and the flower spikes spreading their seed.
I grow Acanthus for its glossy green leaves when little else is in flower. I need to combine them with something that is flowering or interesting in July and August; if you have any suggestions they will be gratefully received.
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