I was weeding this morning, the refuse pile being 95% grass weeds and 5% euphorbias. There’s two species of the latter I’m particularly concerned about, and that I’d eradicate entirely from the garden if I could. One is a species with very fine foliage – the foliage of a delicate annual, rather than a robust perennial – and domes of even finer frothy lime flowers, which I deliberately introduced from a friends garden and then immediately regretted. The other has been round the traps for decades, and mostly known in Australia (and probably incorrectly so) as E. hyberna.
I was frequently weeding around the brilliant and irreplaceable Euphorbia rigida, necessitating sleeves of odd socks (with which our washing machine is extraordinarily generous) with the toes cut out, protecting me from the welts that develop when my forearms are lightly punctured – actually barely even tickled – by the pointed tips of the leaves (read more about E. rigida here).
But as I was doing so, I was contemplating which euphorbia I rate the highest as an individual plant. It occurred to me that this wasn’t the same as the euphorbia I could least live without, or the one that makes the greatest contribution to the garden. The plant most fitting this latter category is Euphorbia characias subs. wulfenii. Yes, it’s a little more enthusiastic in progeny-production than I’d like, but it’s so foundational to the spring buoyancy here that I’d never want to be without it (read more about it here).
But as for the highest rated, my vote would currently go to Euphorbia ‘Craigieburn’. Oh that there were more plants that shine, in multiple ways, as this plant does! Good – predictably and consistently good – purple-red leaves that glow ruby when backlit, are spangled over with ruby-hearted flowers of gold for a very long season over spring. There’s absolutely no downtime. It just wants dead-heading when its done flowering, by which time new foliage just swallows up any blunt, cut stems (read more about it here).
I’d love to know which euphorbias you rate the highest as an individual, and if different, those you would least want to be without in your planting.
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