Day 195: bear’s breeches

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


My acanthus is flowering. Not prolifically, but noticeably, two flower spikes held aloft, towers of purple and white flowers in that characteristic arrangement that gives the plant its common name, bear’s breeches. It’s been here for over a decade, and this is the best attempt at blooming it’s made – any flowering stems produced before have barely made it above the leaves. And it’s those leaves – glossy and dark, spiny, deeply divided – that have earned it its place when I should probably have abandoned hope years ago, though the great green dome of foliage also acts as the perfect snail hotel. I know the problem. I’ve seen these flower enthusiastically in Greece where they thrive upon baking sun and awful soil, so spoiling them them with rich food and partial shade causes them to concentrate their efforts on roots and leaves. I can take divisions and move these to a more appropriate place, but I’ll never shift the whole thing. One does not simply move an acanthus.

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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.