Plant of the day! Crambe cordifolia or Giant Seakale

Passing by the pond to the right and through the rose and wisteria drooped arch, you cannot fail to stop short at the sight of Crambe cordifolia in full splendour. Some seven foot tall (2.25m), the giant heart-shaped leaves are surmounted by a great cloud of tiny scented star-shaped flowers on tall stiff stems. As a great performer, it has an Award of garden Merit from the RHS who recommend it as ‘perfect for pollinators’. A seaside plant, variously known as giant sea kale or coalwort it is a brassica but, unlike its cabbage family cousin, Crambe Maritima, the leaves cannot be eaten.

Crambe cordifolia hails from the Caucasus and can cope with tough coastal conditions, including drought as it has a deep taproot. It needs little care once established but the flower stalks should be cut down in autumn in preparation for next year’s grand spectacle.

Caroline Foley