Plant This Garden Flower To Ward Off The Neighbours (And Giraffes)

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It is not that wayward, wandering giraffes are a particular problem for residents in Portishead, Bristol, where the proud owner of Britain’s tallest flower lives. Still, she could use the 16-foot tall echium plant to measure or stand it up against such giraffes if she wanted to.

The proud grandmother recently laid claim to tending to the biggest flower in the UK, which blossomed sometime last March. This all came to light after she had been reading about gardening and in the news she noticed that someone else had claimed the title for himself (his echium, however, was a mere 14 feet tall).

Her claim is sound, and the whopping, 16-foot beauty will remain the tallest in the land–for now, that is. At least until another flower comes along to supplant it.

The echium plant, also known as Viper’s bugloss, is an ornamental and flowering garden plant that has managed to find its way and survive around the world. It has light blue to purple flower buds that sprout from its main stalk. And though the garden plant is originally from parts of North Africa, the Canary isles and areas of the European mainland, it has recently made a nice home for itself in the soil and garden beds of flower lovers in England and Ireland.

Actually, the subspecies of the echium that is grown in Crete can be cooked up as a tasty snack, too. People eat it either boiled or steamed, almost like steaming up fresh artichoke. Like other edible flowers and roots, it might not be a bad idea to pair up your echium with a dipping sauce made from butter and lemon.

The soft, tender shoots of the echium plant turn out to be quite the scrumptious delicacy, as a light and healthy appetiser. The oil expelled from the seeds of the echium plantagineum also contain high levels of fatty acids, which are important to maintaining a healthy metabolism. The essential oil from the seeds can also be used in skin replenishing cosmetics and dietary supplements.

But the echium in Portishead, Bristol won’t be boiled up anytime soon, nor pressed and squashed up for oil and face scrub. A local celebrity of sorts, the “Tower of Jewels” as it is known, will likely stand on display and remain a sight to behold for neighbours and passerby…and any giraffes that happen to wander by.

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