I love sculptural plants and they don't get a lot more structural than this one. Of course right now its form is obscured by that immense cloud of richly fragrant flowers. The scent is strongly sweetish, I am not certain whether I like it or not. Not unpleasant, it is an aroma that suggests the presence of lots of bees, but there are no bees to be seen.. The leaves there under the flowers are thick, dissected, glaucous, kale-like. It is a beautiful plant and seems to love this hot, sunny, sandy site.
Like anyone who has spent 40 years involved with plants vocationally and avocationally, I possess varying levels of knowledge about many many plants. Some are intimates that have been daily in my life for decades. Others I fell in and out of love with, growing them for a while, then giving them up and maybe being lured back by a new incarnation. Some have come into and out of my life for short periods and, about many of these I retain a solid base of knowledge. Some I am fanatical about. Others I know more as acquaintances; we acknowledge each other in passing but have developed no relationship. Others I have really only encountered in books, magazines, and the odd curious garden.
Crambe is a plant that until a few years ago I had only read about. I encountered it as a weed in a gravel path that I regularly traversed and became intrigued. It seemed unkillable; they tried. Graham Stuart Thomas liked it. He quotes E.A. Bowles, whose opinions I respect and usually concur with to a positive effect. I obtained a small start and put it in my front streetside bed. It has prospered. Though not visible in this picture, a plant of Eryngium bourgatii, a similar sort of plant but in miniature, sits visually juxtaposed. It also serves, while in flower, to soften the incredibly vivid color of the Knockout rose. When the flowers are gone, Agastache x Tutti Frutti will fill in around it