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Columbia Road Market 41

June 27, 2010
by the gentle author

Even though my garden is mostly in the shade, I needed to water regularly this week as the temperatures soared, and when I visited Roy Emmin’s marvellous roof sculpture garden in Whitechapel it turned my mind towards plants that like dry conditions. So, at the market today I bought this Eryngium varifolium for £5 to plant in a dry corner exposed to the sun, and I also bought a bunch of Eryngium (in a slightly different variety) for £2.50 to illustrate the flowers for you.

I remember when my grandmother first showed me Eryngium in her garden or Sea Holly as she called it – because you do sometimes see it growing in the marshes or dunes at the shore. Until that moment, I had only thought that gardens were about pretty coloured flowers, but she taught me the sophistication of difference and the led me to see the beauty where others might see ugliness. “It takes all sorts,” was one of her favoured expressions, referring to the world as well as to her garden.

I especially like the dramatically veined leaves of Eryngium varifolium and there is something exquisitely surreal about these fine blue/green/grey flowers emerging from this supremely spiky plant. Just as the residents of Spitalfields are not all pretty flowers, we have our share of spiky personalities too, yet everyone contributes to bring variety and contrast to the beauty of the garden.

Another spiky wonder from my garden

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