We’re on a break.

You meet.  Your eyes lock, you catch your breath a little as your heart skips a beat.  You look away, flustered.  You look back.

Falling in love with a flower can be a heady experience.  And this is what happened with me and Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’.  I loved everything about it.  The frilly flamenco skirts which hang down to show off the rich velvet globes at the centre of the flower.  The warm tones of vermillion, gold and warmest brown.  The fresh little mounds of foliage in spring, which accompany the tulips and then the lupins and geraniums.  The little buttons of buds in July, just when the garden needs a new wave of freshness.  Just look at them:

Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' in bud (2)

I love the way the carpels are folded over the top.  Then it colours up:

Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' in bud

Look at the petals, like fat little fingers.  They stretch and unfurl:

Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' (2)

The globe gets more and more pronounced, until it is a perfect globe.  The bees love them.  The mass of stems sway and buzz with insect life.

There is some variation in the colour of the petals, with speckles and streaks of scarlet, vermillion and gold.  I was sold this one as ‘Moerheim Beauty’ but I have my doubts:

Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'

So long as you keep dead-heading, helenium will keep producing flowers until the first frosts.

It is also easy to make more plants: just divide them in spring or autumn.  I started off with three, and now have twelve, just three years’ later.

Helenium shines like a beacon in the late summer garden.  It is the most vibrant of all the show-offs in my bright border.

So why am I digging it up?

We just need a break.  It’s not you, it’s me.  You make me sneeze a bit when I’m dead-heading.  But I know this doesn’t justify my rejection.  I’m not ready to commit.  I want to play the field.

So I dug up my heleniums to give to my mum.  I may well be asking for a few back in a year or so.  Gardeners can be fickle.

In its place, I am planting more Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’.  I already have this euphorbia in the bright border, but I want more.  I love it.  ‘Fireglow’ adds exactly the same bonfire tones, but from April through to November.  Its tones are softer and warmer after the initial burst of spring, becoming almost peachy by late summer.  It has an amazing structure, elegant and fascinating in all stages.  It is beautiful with burgundy and plum tulips, such as ‘Ronaldo’, ‘Recreado’ and ‘Black Hero’.  Then with Geum ‘Hilltop Beacon’ and Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’.  Then with Rosa ‘Thomas a Beckett’, and finally with Buddleia ‘Royal Red’ and Salvia ‘Amistad’.

Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow' 3

Have you ever needed a break from a favourite plant?  Did it forgive you?  Did you forgive yourself?

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors. 

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder. 

24 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve taken permanent breaks from many of my plants. Unfortunately the flings were casual and I’ve forgotten their names 🙂

  2. Ali says:

    Just botched on your gatepost? 😂

  3. Ali says:

    Notches! Autocorrect!

  4. bcparkison says:

    Wow! the fireglow is beautiful

  5. Ali says:

    She is stunning. I’ll be taking a lot of photos in a few weeks!

  6. Tish Farrell says:

    Gosh, now you’ve made me wonder. I thought I was in love with my red heleniums (aka sneeze weed). The bees certainly love them. And also I learned from a deceased aunt’s gardening notes that they were my grandfather’s favourites when he was head gardener at ‘the big house’. But suddenly they seem too red and frilly and upstanding and late. Maybe they need to go on their hols to the allotment for a bit. Which would give me more space…which is very tempting…

    1. Ali says:

      Oh no! Now I’m feeling really guilty. Like we’re ganging up on her!

  7. Claudette says:

    She’s lovely, copper rust skirts – she can come live with me if she likes the cold winters. My plants all get told “thrive or die” when planted. Some disregard this and suffer the ultimate demise, otherwise the rest just stay and do their own thing, which makes me happy.

    1. Ali says:

      I knew she would fall into the arms of someone else. Yes, she’s hardy, at least up to -5, which we tend to get.

  8. Annette says:

    Not in the sense that I dug it up and gave it away but yes, I think gardeners can be quite fickle 😉 . Helenium won’t grow for me here as it’s so dry and hot in summer but I adore E. griffithii which does well in half shade and looks splendid almost all year, shiny red stalks in autumn, nice for the vase. Less photogenic than Helenium though! Have a good week 🙂

  9. Chloris says:

    Oh you are fickle. And she’s such a beauty. I didn’t dump my helenium, she dumped me.

    1. Ali says:

      Then it wasn’t meant to be. Some are for keeps. Some are for a fleeting but beautiful moment.

  10. Brian Skeys says:

    It obviously lived up to its common name, sneeze wort, as far as you were concerned. Sadly it gave up on me, I like you fell in love, unfortunately it didn’t like my conditions and failed to thrive. Love can be fickle!

  11. Ali says:

    I never knew she could be so picky!

  12. Heyjude says:

    I adore these flowers, as do the bees, and they are some of my favourites to photograph. https://smallbluegreenflowers.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/flower-portrait-macro-3/

    1. Ali says:

      That is an INCREDIBLE photo!

      1. Heyjude says:

        My favourite ever I think. Should really get that one printed.

  13. Heyjude says:

    Forgot to add that I have never grown these and although I want to now I have a garden, I believe they are quite a favourite of the S&S brigade. So I am dithering…

    1. Ali says:

      I do love them, even though we’re on a break!

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