In their dominant, acid-green moment the miraculous triennial Smyrnium perfoliatum! I love this airy-flowered Mediterranean native. In its first spring, months after germination, it produces a tiny seedling, with perhaps only three pairs of leaves. At this stage, it has a small tuber, about the size of the top of my little finger.
By year two the plants are bigger, with perhaps seven or eight leaves, but are still not large. It’s often at this stage that they’re weeded out, confused with ground elder, but the tubers are now the size of a small new potato. The foliage again dies back, but in the third year they come up to flower and will look magnificent in sun or shade for eight to 10 weeks before fading. Even then, the delicacy and longevity of its skeleton make this one of the classiest dried stems to bring inside for the winter. It will have self-sown, so you’ll have a gap of one year, but then you’re on a smyrnium roll. Now, in June, is the moment to find a friend to let you dig up a small clump, which should contain one and two-year-old seedlings. They can then begin their life cycle in your garden.
Now you can see why it's taken me so long to establish my 3 plants!!
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