E is for echinacea, elderberry and erysimum



The echinacea daisies, like marguerites, are great masses of cheerful colors and shapes that can be easily dug out when you want a new color palette (or discover that you should have planted them further from pathways or seating areas because of their smell, which can be off-putting). However, if you’ve not been exercising your pelvic floor muscles, grow these to disguise any accidents you may have when you cough hard. Yes. It’s that kind of smell. And Yes again, way TMI.

Himself is a big fan of echinacea as a herbal winter remedy but we’ve never grown it for that purpose. The erysimum Bowles mauve is a marvel though: it’s easy to propagate, flowers for most of the summer and looks spectacular mixed with equally tall Croscosmia Red Devils. It tends to keel over though under its own weight, so I often use off-cuts of sheared branches underneath the foliage to prop them up higher. The off-cuts melt into the background and brace the plant.

We’ve an elderberry tree too that had to get a severe cutting back last year as that whole border had turned into triffids that were sucking light and moisture from everything else on that, already shady, side of the garden.

Elderberry flower

Elderberry flower

When I’m reborn as an organized person I’ll make a homemade version of the refreshing cordial that’s currently made by an Irish company in Longford: Richmount Cordials. It’s the brand you’ll find in the very popular Avoca Handweavers stores throughout the country. You’ll find a list of other stockists here and check out their quick suggestions on other uses for the brew (pouring it undiluted over ice-cream for instance). Yum, I think is the word I’m looking for. Yes. Yumalicious.


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