Thursday 30 July 2020

Garden fireworks

Welcome to my gardening blog. Back in 2018 I went to Madeira for a short winter break. The purpose of my visit was largely to ogle plants - both in botanic gardens but also those growing wild on the levadas and hillsides, and I came away very satisfied. I also came away with slightly heavier luggage, as I brought back various things with me. Included were several Agapanthus rhizomes, some of which I bought in the covered market in Funchal, and some of which came from an enterprising villager along a levada in Ribeira Frio. When I got home I carefully planted them in pots, and it wasn't long before small amounts of green began to poke out. I chose two at random to plant outside later that summer, and when they sailed through the winter unscathed I planted five more out in 2019 and from then on left all the remaining pots outside. I'm hedging my bets. For those of you wondering what on earth Agapanthus are, you may know them as Lily of the Nile. Or even if you don't know either name you may recognise these.

They abound in Madeira, they are literally everywhere. As you can see they come in two flavours - white and a purpley blue. I had no idea what mine were. Fast forward to summer 2020. Of the ten plants that I have, three remain in pots and seven are in the ground. All of the plants in pots are now flowering, and by some bizarre coincidence they are all blue. Of the ones in the ground, six are flowering and they are all white bar one. This is not to do with soil acidity as with some species, it is just a stunning coincidence. Anyway I am very pleased - it has been a multi-year wait - Agapanthus without flowers are pretty pointless, but now that they are out they look superb.

They look like garden fireworks, bursting up through the foliage of other plants to explode in a huge ball of colour. My hope is that they will now flower every year - the bees here seem to like them and they lend a touch of the exotic to the flower beds. Now that I mostly know what I have I may move them around a bit so that I can have a mixed explosion of colour just like that Madeiran hillside in the first photo. 


  1. Madeira my a*se, that's Kittydown St Marys. I used to ride my bike across there every day and it's positively hotching with Agapanthus! I'd recognise that hillside and giant bee anywhere.

    1. Scilly is a magical place for plants actually. Tresco....

  2. I'm sitting in the garden right now, beer at my elbow, and just a few feet away are four blue agapanthus in flower, brought back from Scilly in 2016. As you say, the bees love 'em. So do I. 😊