It was love at first sight. I saw it in Grace's blog several years ago and
bought Melianthus major (Antonow's Blue Honey Bush) at the NWFG show in 2011.
Melianthus major 'Antonow's Blue': Powder-blue, highly textural evergreen foliage grows along stems to 8 feet tall. In late spring, spikes of deep burgundy, nectar-rich flowers will attract numerous bird species to the garden. USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 7-12. Average minimum temperature of 0 to 10 degrees F. Needs regular watering -weekly, or more often in extreme heat. Partial to full sun. (Description by Monrovia)
I found the best place for it in my garden. It grows close to the house wall, is protected from wind and has several hours of morning sun. The spot has good drainage, and I improve the soil every year by adding compost.
In July of that first year, it looked good surrounded by other shrubs and perennials:
This is how much it grew by August 2011:
Since then, my Melianthus has performed very well except for one thing. It hasn't bloomed for me yet. This is not unusual for the Northwest, and I am totally happy with just its foliage. That is why I bought it in the first place.
Big bold leaves add a tropical touch and are beautiful in my garden year around.
These are some other pictures of Melianthus major in my garden.
October 2012, the tallest plant in front of the window:
Again with the beautiful pink-flowered fuchsia in September 2012. I wrote about their romance here Fuchsia in September :
In the next picture, in June 2012, it's visible behind the Acantus mollis. Melianthus is not as tall in June as later in the year and doesn't compete with Acanthus for attention.
Both of these plants have big textured leaves, and I probably would plant them further from each other if I had available space in this front flowerbed.
Back in May 2012 it's hardly visible. I marked it with an * in the lower left part of the next picture.
The wire support is put around it to keep it growing straight since it tends to bend forward toward the sun:
In March 2012 it didn't look pretty, but you can see that, together with wilty brown leaves, it still had nice green foliage after the winter. A single thin metal stake wasn't able to hold it straight. That is why I replaced it with a wire cage.
Yesterday, March 1st 2013, it looked like this:
Leggy stems, 5 feet tall, are topped with pretty leaves.
Nevertheless, an early spring is the time to cut it down, and I usually cut it all the way down.
The most pitiful my Melianthus looked was in January 2012.
it went to this:
But, it grew into a real beauty after that, as all the above pictures from 2012 show.
What do I love about this plant:
- this is a bold architectural plant making a statement in the garden
- it has a tropical look
- Its foliage is evergreen in my zone 7b garden and decorates my front flowerbed year around
- It has a beautiful texture, and the color of its leaves has a blue tint
I highly recommend this article about Melianthus major written
by the renowned plant explorer Dan Hinkley.
The folloing information is from that article and referred to Melianthus major :
(See more at: Melianthus major by Daniel J. Hinkley)
Have a great March, and I am off to cut down my Melianthus.
***Copyright 2013 TatyanaS