Flowering this week: Angelica gigas

Angelica gigas alive with bumble bees and honey bees, along with a few unwelcome wasps leaving little room for the butterflies who would also enjoy it

Angelica gigas alive with bumble bees and honey bees, along with a few unwelcome wasps leaving little room for the butterflies who would also enjoy it

Being on a train of thought about feeding the butterflies and the bees, I could not pass by the purple flower heads of Angelica gigas which are rarely seen without the nectar feeders this week. In fact the whole bush is fair humming. This is an ornamental angelica (the edible one is Angelica archangelica) which originates in the areas of Korea, Japan and northern China. It is biennial which means it flowers in its second year, sets seed and dies and observant readers will not be surprised to find that it belongs to the carrot family, or apiaceae. Apparently it can grow up to two metres but our plants sit with flower heads closer to 150 centimetres. At this size, it does not quite fit in with carpet bedding plants but it is splendid in the herbaceous or mixed border. If you don’t garden with glyphosate, angelica should seed down easily but to be sure, gather at least one seed head and germinate in controlled conditions. There is nothing particularly rare or choice about this plant, though we understand this form is a recent collection, but it is a charming addition to the late summer garden.

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