Angelica sylvetris ‘Ebony’ (Syn ‘Vicar’s Mead’)
Angelica sylvestris ‘Ebony’ is a dramatic feature plant with dark purple-maroon-burgundy leaves.
Then large domed heads of pink lacy flowers grace the garden over summer, on dark purple stems.
Heads in bud are very deep purple, then as the flowers open they burst to pink.
And finally mature white in large domed heads.
Superb in garden or vase
So both foliage and flower heads are a great garden feature and contrast beautifully with all the surrounding greens.
And they look absolutely stunning near anything silver.
The flower heads of Angelica sylvestris ‘Ebony are highly desired for floristry.
Even when dried for arrangements as well as used fresh.
Insect repelling companion plant
However Angelica sylvestris ‘Ebony’ is also a useful companion to plant near your Brassica crops such as Cabbage and Cauliflower, and helps to deter pesky insects.
And what a show it puts on while doing such excellent duty.
Self sowing garden regular
Angelica sylvestris ‘Ebony’ is classified as a short lived perennial, though usually thought of as a self-sowing biennial, because it sows itself so successfully each year.
The baby new ‘Ebony’s are easily spotted because of the gorgeous foliage colour.
And you can easily replant them where you want them or pot them up for school fetes.
They will be the top selling item on the fete plant table.
So after flowering each year, let seed drop to renew plants for the following year, and dont be too tidy weeding them all out.
Plant Angelica sylvestris ‘Ebony’ in Part Shade; Dappled light under trees and shrubs; Morning Sun. It absolutely loves woodland conditions with plenty of leaf litter.
Where it is frost hardy and copes in a wide variety of soils, including clay.
However it really relishes heavier soils, plenty of mulch and even boggy spots; while it may struggle in very dry sandy soil.
Hardy, easy, low maintenance, self renewing ancient herb.
SEED SOWING ADVICE:
Sow any time indoors in punnets, or scatter directly in garden in autumn and winter.
INDOORS: Sow on surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Then barely cover the seed with 1.5mm of sieved mix.
Because these seeds need light to germinate.
Now thoroughly moisten the punnet by standing in a shallow water bath. And allowing the moisture to percolate up to the surface of the mix from below.
Now drain and place the moist, sown punnet in a warm, well-lit position.
Temperatures of 15-20°C approx. are ideal for rapid and optimum germination.
Continue to keep the punnet moist by misting the punnet from a spray water bottle.
These seeds really respond to stable moisture levels.
Seeds germinate in approx. 21 days across 2-4 weeks.
However if the seeds are shy to germinate – it means they are dormant, and need a period of chilling to break dormancy.
So wrap the punnet in cling-wrap or a plastic bag, and keep in fridge (not freezer) for 2-4 weeks.
Then return the moist punnet to the warm, well-lit position at approx. 15-20C for germination. But do not discard the punnet too quickly, as seeds will continue to germinate over a period. Which is normal for Angelica.
SEED COUNT: 12 large seeds per pack approx.
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count, and give a generous serve).
COOKING, HISTORY, MYTHS & LEGENDS
Angelica sylvestris is a completely useful plant, on top of being so decorative.
Because leaves, roots, stems and seeds are all edible, and all have modern culinary and historic medicinal uses.
Young stems are harvested and chopped raw into salads, while thicker stems are delicious steamed and served with butter. For a taste sensation try roasted stems together with onions and pork.
Candied Angelica stems are a cake maker’s delight.
While the dried Angelica seeds give a real lift to soups, scrambled eggs, custards and white sauce.
And Angelica’s distinctive flavour is an essential ingredient in much loved liqueurs such as Bénédictine, Vermouth, Dubonnet and Chartreuse.
Angelica sylvestris has long been used to aid digestion, and angelica chews are still popular today to settle the tummy and stave off travel sickness.
History, myths and legends
The botanical name for Angelica comes from Latin, where the word “angelica” means angelic.
And it refers to the plant’s medicinal and healing properties being on the side of the angels.
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