Look at the size of it! National Trust lays down the challenge: do you have a bigger Echium?

National Trust gardener Kate Wilkinson used a step ladder and bamboo pole to measure giant 4 metre Echiums at Beningbrough Hall. Photographs: Matt Clark
14 May 2017 @ 10.11 pm
| Entertainment

Are these the biggest Echiums in the north?

The plants have reached a towering 4.3m high (14.1 ft) – the same height as a female giraffe.

They are shooting up in the Italian border at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens near York.

“These are certainly the biggest of their kind that I’ve seen,” said Kate Wilkinson, a gardener at the National Trust-owned house.

“There might be gardens in warmer parts of the country that can beat ours, but I think we’re in contention for northern champions at least!”

Quite a stretch

Intrepid Kate gets the measure on the monster plants

Kate had to go that extra mile to check on the plants.

“It wasn’t as straightforward as simply getting a tape-measure out.

“I had to climb a stepladder, and even then it wasn’t enough. With the measuring tape attached to the end of a bamboo cane, I was just about able to reach the top of these amazing plants.”

Echiums typically grow to between 2.5 and 4 metres and can take up to two years to reach their full height.

Some of the flowers on the Echiums at Beningbrough are still to open, meaning they could still be growing, helped by this year’s mild and dry winter and spring.