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:
I love the way the carpels are folded over the top. Then it colours up:
Look at the petals, like fat little fingers. They stretch and unfurl:
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:
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’.
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.