When I was a teenager a lovely lady in our little town called Mrs Allan had these tall, glorious plants growing everywhere in her garden. I used to mow her lawn every week (part of my capitalist lawn mowing empire of the time!) and I'd never seen anything quite like them before. They self seeded and grew everywhere in her sheltered yard and at one stage Dad asked her for one of the plants. The rest, as they say, is history!
It turns out these majestic plants are echiums. For years now we too have had numerous towering echiums growing all over our property. They turn up everywhere. Most of ours get very tall, 10 or 11 feet high. The bees, bumblebees and butterflies love them and visit them often for their nectar.
The echiums are tough plants and quite drought resistant. Although they grow freely on our property which is quite sheltered we've noticed that very few have carried over to any of the neighbour's places which is somewhat surprising considering how abundant they are here. That seemed to be the case in Mrs Allan's garden as well, so it seems that they like to take up residence in a particularly sheltered spot. According to the horticulturalists echiums do like protection from the frost so that may be why they seem to do so well in the niche they have found here.
We've had blues and purples but now we've ventured into pink and we will soon have red as we await a "Tower of Jewels" red echium plant to arrive at our door from the North Island. They're such a fun - and beautiful - plant to have around.
Below : some of the echiums at our place.