Every spring I visit my favorite nursery, where my friend, Anne, works. As a knowledgeable gardener who enjoys indulging my garden experimentation, she points out a few unfamiliar plants that she promises will deliver. This year she steered me to a plain Jane in the herb section called lion’s tail, Leonotis leonurus. I tended to it all summer, and it has finally rewarded me with these incredible blooms. Its tubular flowers are attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds.
The blooms emerge from these spikey balls. Being a South African native, it is considered an annual here. It’s a member of the mint family and is supposed to have all sorts of medicinal qualities, hence its herbal/pharmacologic classification. Given my fondness for orange, lion’s tail a new favorite. Thanks, Anne!