A plant I have to grow!

Why?

Because I think its the best !

Its a different version of the well known ‘Bear’s Breeches.’ Acanthus hungaricus has at various times been called Acanthus balcanicus and Acanthus longifolius so you may find it called any of these. Leave things be, botanists, please!

Snapped a few days ago, immediately before the hot spell broke, it looked like this, all apple fresh and green and flowering fit to burst:

And this despite the worst conditions I could throw at it!

How hard am I?

By this I mean that I know it will cope so I give it no more. It had no water in all the long hot spell when I was busy giving water to things that had to have it. And it grows in the hottest spot in the garden facing due south with a high wall to the north behind it.

Why do I like it so?

Apart from its obliging easy going nature!

It has a fresh and proportionate elegance and makes a dense ground covering mat.

It is not prone to mildew unlike its cousins Acanthus mollis / latifolius.

It is not spiny unlike its cousins Acanthus spinosus and spinosissimus.

And in foliage colour and flower colour it is less toweringly sombre than all of them.

So I read with surprise that my perennial gods or should |I say gods of perennials, Graham Stuart Thomas and Christopher Lloyd consider it less handsome and Lloyd considers it invasive. I disagree with their aesthetics and my cultural experience is different too.

When the gods let primative societies down they found new ones. I wonder what Piet Oudolf thinks about it!

But of course in gardening you are at your strongest when you go by your own tastes and your own experience.

So this winter I will make a fresh planting on yet another hard and difficult site. Facing north in heavy clay.

Poor Acanthus hungaricus!

R

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