I know this is a post about plants, but I see these rhubarb and cabbage giants grow every year on our walks in Surrey – and they are, well, kind of Jurassic! See them grow from March to June, even the dogs are impressed!
In march each year these American cabbages (also known as Lysichiton americanus) pop through the earth with their bright yellow spathes, or petals if you like.
Water lovin’ they are doing very well and by april they are growing abundantly.
Poppy our Boston Terrier and Rosie Pug are kindly modelling so you can see how big these growing American skunk plants are. They are actually called skunk plants and they actually do smell woohoo as soon as you come over the hill.
We are still in April, so they are ‘babies’ still. These plants are attached by rhizomes – I remember that word from school! Here’s something you might not have known – the roots are eaten by bears, and are laxative. Our ‘brown bear’ gives it a miss, thankfully.
Meanwhile, here is the Giant Rhubarb in April (also known as Gunnera Manicata). Native to Brazil but loving our damp environment. Nice something is! This is a young’un too – you can see it’s leaves are just beginning to open. There are spikes on the underside of the leaves.
I’ve got a soft spot for this plant, weird I know, but my Grandad used to grow one like it in his garden. The pet dog was buried underneath and I remember being fascinated by it and thinking what if he didn’t like rhubarb…
By late April they are starting to increase in size. The leaves of this cabbage taste peppery, but you shouldn’t eat them. Something about a gruesome prickly reaction and worse. My advice, stick with the Savoy…
the petals begin to die away and the inner ‘fruit’ becomes more exposed. It’s all a bit phallic and not the prettiest I grant you.
It’s now may and we have the help of a rather startled Standard poodle. The plants really are skunky smelling now, but oddly I rather like it (there’s no accounting for some people, I know).
The giant rhubarb has now opened it’s leaves. It grows on the Isle of Arran in Scotland where they pick the leaves to use as umbrellas at the Highland Games. There is a guy in Dorset who has grown one with a leaf span of 11ft!
By the middle of may the American cabbage is in its prime and smelling it’s mighty best and they have grown enormous…
The Rhubarb is also at it’s prime.
Here’s when I’m thinking a Segisaurus might pop through the leaves a la Jurassic era.
Another phallic fruit. It’s one way to get noticed I suppose.
One walk as we were passing the cabbages…
Ferris got a bit lost!
Luckily his buddy Sonny was there to guide him out.
Now June is here these rhubarb and cabbage giants are showing signs of dying back.
and being overtaken by other plants. So, we didn’t see any dinosaurs, not even a brown bear, so keeping it real perhaps one of our English frogs could make use of these natural umbrellas.