A celebrating of one of the most stunning plants to be grown in the sub-tropical undercliff of Ventnor Botanic Garden will begin this weekend. Part of the 2015 Garden Isle celebrations focuses on the Botanic garden’s amazing Echium plants. With their huge flower spikes growing over 3m tall. The Garden’s Mediterranean walk contains hundreds of plants, each with a flower spike containing thousands of flowers with every shade of colour from sapphire blue to dusky pink. The result is a stunning floral explosion likened to a natural firework display that all botanic fanatics visiting the Island will simply adore.
Echiums have been grown at Ventnor Botanic Garden for over 30 years, with plants originally imported from the Canary Island of La Palma. Here the plants grow to gigantic sizes in the wild, especially in the dry mountainous upper reaches of the Island, enjoying the warm climate arid terrain. At Ventnor, the original Echium plants have self seeded in the sheltered sub-tropical micro-climate giving rise to a large collection hybridised plants that flower from the end of May to late June.
Chris Kidd, Curator at Ventnor Botanic garden said, “Our display of Echiums in our Mediterranean Garden is simply stunning. Visitors are unlikely to see anything quite like it anywhere else in the UK. We don’t practice traditional formal gardening methods here at VBG, choosing to let Mother Nature take charge and create the plant communities that thrive together in our sheltered warm climate.We call it the Ventnor Method and it puts the garden at the leading edge of modern botanical science. The Echiums choose where they want to grow, we just let them get on with it and see what happens each year. The results speak for themselves and visitors usually clamour to take seeds and plants home with them at the end of their visit to try and grow them elsewhere in the UK, often with great success as they aren’t that difficult to propagate. Give them a well drained sunny spot in the garden and they pretty much look after themselves. It’s in their second year of growth that the fireworks really do begin, with a stunning flower display in early summer.”
The Echium displays are exploding into the spotlight from Whitsun onwards, with the Garden open 7 days a week from 10am for visitors to enjoy the magic of these flower fireworks. Please send your echium pictures to the gardens Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ventnorbotanicCIC