Sometimes the house quietly slips into a “Grey Gardens” mode, such as when a vase full of eryngiums turn spidery and dessicated, and I still can’t bear to throw them away. These were bought at Christmas, when I splurged on cut flowers. Hard to imagine they were once shiny metallic and intensely blue.
This is one of those infuriating plants that rightfully should grow in my garden but so far has refused. Maybe Ms. Willmott never discreetly scattered seeds of the eryngo bearing her name on heavy clay like mine. (The story, possibly apocryphal, is Ms. Willmott flung this seed out of her pockets while you weren’t looking, because she felt this plant would improve anyone’s garden. The ghostly progeny appeared next spring, causing you much consternation as to how it came to be in your garden. What a prankster!) But this winter there’s strong basal growth on one eryngo out of three I planted in fall, just your garden-variety Eryngium giganteum/Miss Willmott’s Ghost, which is, take your pick, biennial or perennial, depending on who’s doing the talking. In any case, this could be the year eryngos take off. (How many times have I said that, I wonder.) I’m sure once a single eryngo shakes its copious seed into my soil, a couple seeds will find some spot to their liking. Just as the poppies prefer seeding into the pavement around the back porch, not in the garden. I’m flexible and have my priorities straight. Plants first. But it’s like pushing a boulder uphill to get a known prolific self-seeder to get comfy in the garden.