Back in May, I visited the Giant Echium growers at Hidcote so yesterday, I popped along to see how they were doing as Winter approached. I couldn't find the growers themselves but I did find the plants.
Here's the planting just south of the Hydrangea corner: They're under a metre high which isn't as big as I sometimes manage. The site is semi-woodland and what with that and the rainy summer we've just had it's understandable. (I have one plant in a very shaded site and it's only grown a foot this summer.)
I found another one nearer a large west-facing wall in the "Fuchsia Garden". This is a sunnier spot and the plants were more bushy. The location by the wall is a lot better although I'd have planted even closer to the wall - that way you have an even better anti-frost-pocket and you can show off some smaller plants in front of it. However, it's even less tall so I'm not sure if it will flower next
summer. I have a "pure" Echium Pininana in my garden that's taken two summers to reach 1.5m without flowering - maybe we're looking at third year flowering here?
Finally, I found another Echium just along the flower bed. It's about 1.5m high and rather wiry. Oddly, it has small flower buds in the leaf axis and just a tiny bit of pink flower is visible suggesting they are about to burst. As this plant wasn't there back in May, I'm wondering if it's a first-year plant that has bolted?