Day 134: giant fennel

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year

Giant fennel ( Ferrula communis ) preparing itself for a stretch

Giant fennel (Ferrula communis) preparing itself for a stretch

May is a month where giant carrots like to make their presence known – the bigger members of the Apiaceae family. Of course, cow parsley, frothing every hedgerow and uncut verge by now, but even larger than that is the giant fennel, Ferrula communis. And if there’s one thing I find somehow even more impressive than seeing a giant umbellifer standing tall, it’s watching it unfurl and stretch itself as a prelude to drawing itself up to its full height. There’s such dynamism in that potential energy – almost terrifying. Giant fennel has wonderful, deeply cut foliage, still ferny, but more succulent than the finer leaves of common fennel Foeniculum vulgare, the latter just winning out for me as a garden plant by supplementing its ornamental value with that invigorating liquorice scent and aniseed taste.


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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.