Mitch has been sending photos from his wanderings in Greece this week while I watch his cat.
I don’t mean to always be a supergeek botanical nuisance, but there’s been a tall umbellifer cropping up in the background in those haunting scenes of Peloponnesian ruins, in stupendous bloom — I wonder, could it be the Mediterranean’s own giant fennel? Ferula communis ‘Gigantea’ is not the edible fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), but a spectacular monocarpic showboat grown for its ferny leaves and luminous, statuesque presence in bloom.
The timing of his photos is positively freakish because, coincidentally, before seeing these photos, I had planted two in my garden earlier in the week, grown by Annie’s Annuals but picked up at a local nursery, my second attempt with this fennel. This time I gave them all the sun I could find in my very crowded garden.
So having giant fennel on the brain, I asked for more photos, please, perhaps a closeup to help with ID, and he cheerfully complied. I don’t know what else it could be but giant fennel. It’s that same commanding, aureate vision I had in mind when settling in my two 4-inch plants this week.
Of course my little urban garden can’t compete with a setting of Mycenaean stonework . (Don’t quote me on the age of the stonework, but it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?)
There definitely seems to be some synergy going on with the fennel and the stones — drainage, alkalinity maybe.
Mitch was very excited about this superbloom of Grecian poppies, and normally I’d be all over the poppies…
But it’s Greece’s giant fennel that has stolen my heart this spring.
all photos by MB Maher