It's about 5 feet high and wide and puts out very beautiful and massive flower spikes ... just about to flower now. The hedgehogs live under it too
Acanthus mollis (Bear's breeches)
Acanthus , mollis probably
I was just going to say that!
If it's got spines it's A. spinosa - if it hasn't it's A mollis (Looks like mollis from here)
Thank you! As soon as I read the answer I remembered! duhhhh It was driving me round the bend trying to remember what the darned thing was called. I've had 4 people ask me this week!Bear's breeches .... how on earth could I have forgotten that!
Its a weed here in New Zealand! Very vigorous and difficult to kill
Jai, I'm with you on that. I think it's a bit of a weed here too. Once you've got it, you've got it for good. Every bit of root left in the ground will re-grow.
I never actually planted it. It first just appeared all by itself after we'd lived here about 6 or so years. I presumed having been passed by a bird because it was in a direct flight path to where I've got bird feeders. But in truth I don't know how it "arrived". It was in an area that I'd not done anything with and so I didn't even notice it was already fairly large and it threw out it's huge dramatic flower spikes one summer.
I have actually moved it from where it first landed because I moved on to develop that bit of garden. It makes a good ornamental feature plant to fill a large area. Large glossy leaves and then huge flower spikes for quite a long period. Mine's never regrown where it first started so we must have hit lucky when we moved it and it thrived where I put it. It's been divided since and I've used it because it is useful as an architectural back drop to fill a big space. So I've now got 6 big clumps of it. I've seen it for sale via the RHS web site and I've seen it planted in some large gardens that are open to the public.
It works well for me on a couple of levels. I've got a big garden and it suits my garden style. It sure fills a big space as an architectural feature plant but more so it seems that the hedgehogs really like it. It seems to be their place of choice for breeding. It isn't I've 2 separate hedgehog families under 2 different clumps of it this year and it was the same last year too.