Wishlist: Symphytum x ‘Axminster Gold’

by Andrew Keys on May 6, 2010

So! Sorry for the blip recently… I’ve been, shall we say, busy? Outdoors? Doing actual gardening for other people, and myself? Did you know it takes a lot of time?

How about a brief entry on a plant? A plant! I know! It starts with an exchange from last summer at Wave Hill in New York, which I visited for the first time ever with our pal Michelle G. To wit:

AK: Wow, what is THAT? [Photo below, click to enlarge.]

MG: It’s gold variegated comfrey.

AK: Cool!

MG: Yeah, I don’t know how I feel about it. It kind of just sits there. Like a mop. Or a wig. I don’t know. *Scrunches up face*

AK: I think I like it. Maybe? I can’t stop looking at it.

Symphytum x 'Axminster Gold' I will admit comfrey scares me, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this comfrey. A coaching client from last year who lives in town has an apothecary garden that’s gone to seed a bit, and she’s been working to turn into a cottage garden. Species comfrey grows wild there. WILD, I tell you. Do not mess with that comfrey. That comfrey will cut you. But ‘Axminster Gold’… If comfrey this cool is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

An 'Axminster' of my very own. I’ve noticed a trend here, where I draft a wishlist entry, but by the time I publish it, I’ve crossed the plant off the list. Well, I picked up ‘Axminster’ two weeks ago at Variegated Foliage Nursery, who were gracious enough to dig a division for me, even though Michelle G. (who by this time had come over to the dark side) and I showed up not knowing they didn’t open ’til May 3. Oops! So, VFN rocks; please buy stuff from them.

Comfreys, I bet you know, are herbs, and they’re in the family Boraginaceae. Not surprisingly, this family includes another herb you probably know called borage (Borago officinalis). It also includes ornamental plants like forget-me-not (Myosotis), Brunnera, Cerinthe, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia), heliotrope (Heliotropium), Pulmonaria, and those giant, crazy looking plants that grow all over California called Echiums. Gesundheit.

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