Plant of the moment

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Don't be tempted to do fancy things with this prickly fiend, keep it tucked out of harm's way in your borders

At Chelsea this year there was something called a patio garden (ie: a very weeny, little space) with a sea-side theme: stripy hammock, wavy grasses, seashells scattered artfully and so on. The whole installation was set on a nice bed of shingle and looked very inviting, apart from one small point - the gravel was studded with miniature eryngium. Eryngium, also known as eryngo or sea-holly, is a spiny beast and not pleasant to walk on: definitely best kept for borders, where it is both architecturally striking and comes in elegant shades of mauve, white or grey. According to a short story recently published in the Sunday Review, sea-holly roots, cooked and candied, are an aphrodisiac, but probably best not to try this at home.

hester Lacey