Well, here we have it, the first in a new series of ‘What’s Growing‘ posts taking a look at some of the unusual, colourful or otherwise interesting plants we’ve somehow managed to cram into our already jam-packed Newcastle yarden. There’ll be nothing too heavy here, merely a moment of appreciation for a particular plant that has caught our attention this week!
Blue Comfrey (Symphytum caucasicum)
Also known as Caucasian Comfrey, this plant isn’t all that different to our native Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) and other species commonly encountered in the countryside except, of course, for the fact it is blue. Really blue. Sky blue!
A native of Eastern and North-Eastern Europe now naturalised in scattered locations across the UK, I suspect this plant would be horribly invasive if planted in an open setting. Not too dissimilar to most comfrey species, in fact.
With striking blooms appearing in mid-Spring, we love this plant not only for its vivid colour but for the fact that like most Symphytum, it is very popular with the local pollinators. Bumblebees, in particular, seem to favour it and last year, we even noticed evidence of nectar robbing on some of the flowers. Fork-tailed Flower Bees (Anthophora Furcata) also seem to like it, providing the last few blooms overlap with their rather later emergence.
While somewhat invasive, there is little risk of our plants making a break for it. Container grown, they share a pot merrily with Matt’s prized Clematis Montana and Brook Thistle (Cirsium rivulare). Both of which like rather damp conditions and seem not to mind being crowded together too much.