I have no idea what eryngo means, beyond just a vernacular permutation of the botanical Eryngium. But I do know what they are–fantastic garden plants.
Who can’t help but love eryngos? They boast bristly, pokey texture like nothing else can. Despite the fact that in Zone 5 I’m on the short-end of the evolutionary stick (there are nearly 300 species in the genus with a diversity center in Central and South America), I keep trying, experimenting, and enjoying the survivors.
Today I wanted to share with you my feelings about a recent addition to the garden, Eryngium planum ‘Blue Hobbit’. Smart-looking and adorably dwarf, this eryngo sends up 10″ bloom stalks from a basal rosette of blue-tinted, lettuce-like leaves. Petaloid bracts subtend a conical cluster of many ranked, stemless flowers which last for several days to a week. The staying power of all the eryngos comes from those colored bracts, which last for many weeks thanks to their leaf-like cellular structure (kind of like hellebores). I’m in love with the plant’s overall steely blue cast and the exceptionally coarse texture it contributes to the vignette. I’ve got them paired with several sedums (including the blue-gray Sedum telephium ssp. ruprechtii ‘Hab Gray’) and underplanted with a mat of Thymus serpyllum ‘Magic Carpet’.