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The Anchusa, the alkanet, is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Boraginaceae family, related to borage, found from Europe to Africa and as far as Western Asia. The name alkanet comes from the Greek Bouglosson, which translates to ox tongue, alluding to the lanceolate shape of its rough leaves. In the ornamental garden, the Italian alkanet reigns, with its majestic spikes of striking blue flowers, the size of a man, at 'Dropmore', particularly sturdy and abundant at 'Loddon Royalist', or very compact at 'Little John'. On the other hand, the official alkanet reigns over the cottage garden, although its flowering, also blue, is not shy either. We love Anchusa for its accommodating nature, vitality, rustic style, and small flowers of a superb gentian blue. If this perennial only lives for a few years in the garden, it often self-seeds spontaneously in light soils, rockeries, and slightly wild areas. It only fears heavy and overly wet soils in winter. It is recommended to plant young alkanet plants grown in pots as their strong roots do not respond well when transplanted later. This very hardy and low-water-demanding plant is in cottage gardens, herb gardens, dry gardens, or rockeries, where it accompanies viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare), tall thistles, and hybrid mulleins.

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