Eryngium - Miss Wilmott's Ghost
This is a highly ornate border plant with heart-shaped basal foliage from which rise stems of many decorative steel-blue cones surrounded by a collar of prickly, scalloped leaves. During the summer the foliage transforms from mid-green to silvery-grey. It is wonderful for dried arrangements, especially at Christmas. The plants can be short lived but often self-seed before dying. Height: 90-100cm.
Sow in trays or pots of good seed compost in a propagator or warm place to maintain an optimum temperature of 18-20C. Surface sow and just cover with vermiculite. Do not exclude light. Sow from February to July. Germination can be slow. After sowing, seal container in a polythene bag and leave at 15-18C for 2 weeks, then place in a refrigerator (not freezer) for 3-6 weeks. After this return to the recommended germination temperature. If germination does not occur in 6-10 weeks return to the fridge for a further 3-6 weeks. Examine regularly whilst in the fridge and remove immediately the seeds show signs of germinating. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5cm pots. Grow on in a cold frame and plant out the following spring 3cm apart in full sun. Prefers a rich, light, well-drained soil.