Plant of the Month - July 2018
Photograph © S Turner
According to Campbell-Culver in 'The Origin of Plants', when it was first brought to Britain in the 1550s,
this herbaceous evergreen plant was known as Spanish Bayonet, reflecting events at that time in its native America
(across what are now the southern states).
It was another 50 years before it created a sensation in an Essex garden when it first flowered here, the huge spikes producing spectacular long-lasting blooms which inspired the name 'gloriosa'.
The dense, spiny foliage makes a marvellous foil for the erect panicles of creamy, bell-shaped flowers.
It has long been valued for its architectural qualities by garden designers, including the renowned Gertrude Jekyll who often used it as a marker plant in herbaceous borders.
Y. 'gloriosa' is in the Agavaceae family. There are about 40 species, several of which are hardy in the UK. It holds the Award of Garden Merit of the RHS.
One of these grows in the mixed borders above the fountain, another beside the West Pavilion.
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