Miss Willmott’s Ghost/giant sea holly
From its leathery lobed leaves to the spiny decorative bracts that host the flower, the dynamic Sea Holly has a sense of movement that is up and out. Excellent in fresh or dried arrangements, the flowers are borne on tall branching stems, and the terminal blooms hold their color while lateral flowers develop, until the entire stem is covered with mature blossoms. Eryngiums love sharp-draining soil in the open sun, and are an arresting addition to the mixed border, especially when planted amidst Rudbeckia, Achillea and grasses.
Back in Victorian times, Miss Willmott was so enamored with this Eryngium that she secretly scattered its seed in other people’s gardens. And once you’ve seen the blooms, you’ll wish she’d visited yours! Like an ornate Elizabethan ruff, the bracts—ghostly white, rigid and long toothed—subtend exquisite, 4 in. silvery-green floral cones. Supported by sturdy, widely-branched stiff stems, the extraordinary blossoms fade to buff, remaining decorative until frost above glossy basal leaves that are deeply heart-shaped and spineless. Absolutely show-stopping in the border or a container, alluring to bees and unparalleled as a dried flower, the magnificent Giant Sea Holly may not be long-lived, but endures by self-seeding.
Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 2' 0" – 2-1/2' wide.
Hardy to zone 4.
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Other selections in this genus:
- Eryngium agavifolium
- Eryngium alpinum
- Eryngium amethystinum
- Eryngium ‘Big Blue’
- Eryngium bourgatii
- Eryngium planum ‘Blaukappe’
- Eryngium planum ‘Blue Glitter’
- Eryngium planum ‘Blue Hobbit’
- Eryngium planum ‘Silver Salentino’
- Eryngium planum ‘White Glitter’
- Eryngium proteiflorum
- Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’
- Eryngium variifolium
- Eryngium yuccifolium
- Eryngium x zabelii ‘Jos Eijking’