"Wonderful garden and thank you for being so dog-friendly!" A. Taylor

Do they really kill sheep?

Added 6 yearss ago

An article was brought to my attention from the BBC news website stating that at the RHS Garden in Wisley a ‘sheep eating plant flowers in glasshouse for the first time since being planted 15 years ago’.  Personally I think this is a case of dramatic journalism sensationalising the Puya chilensis, which will doubtless bring in hordes of visitors!

Puyas are bromeliads (relative of the pineapple) that originate from the arid hillsides of Chile. They have extremely spiky leaves, and whilst it could be believed that the spines function to trap animals which then become fertilizer for the plant, a closer look reveals outward facing spines which are most likely to be a deterrent to herbivores rather than a trap.

Either way, it is an extraordinary plant.  At Trebah there are four different types of Puya growing in the garden.  Puya chilensis and Puya berteroniana flower every year in June and the colours of their flowers are like no other in the plant kingdom. Enormous flower spikes of chartreuse green and iridescent turquoise respectively on stems some 3m tall.  We also have Puya compacta, with a deep cobalt blue flower and down on the bank by the Water Garden Puya coerulea var. violacea is coming into bloom.  The tubular flowers are so exotic, they are so deep purple blue, they’re almost black.  (see pic of the week).

I don’t believe these plants need journalist spin to attract attention; they are extraordinary creations of nature in their own right.

Nicky Wharton

See picture of the week for image...