Festival of Flower Fireworks
The firework display of giant Echiums is one of the best known and loved features of Ventnor Botanic Garden. Echiums are scattered throughout the garden, but our best specimens can be seen flowering in the Mediterranean Garden in May.
All of our Echiums come from the laurel forests of Madeira and the Canary Islands, but if you look closely, you will see that they are all subtly different from one another. The species most commonly seen in gardens is Echium piniana, originally from La Palma. It produces a single, tall flowering stem in its second or third year bearing mauve flowers, and then dies, seeding copiously. Other Echiums are perennial and produce woody, branched stems which sport a mound of foliage and tight spikes of bright blue flowers. Echium candicans from Madeira, where it is known as the ‘Pride of Madeira’, is one of those. Other species are also grown here and cross breed with one another, producing an eclectic and unusual range of hybrid plants. Our most visually striking species is the true blue Echium gentianoides from La Palma, which produces large sky-blue flowers and smooth, grey-green leaves.
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