Monkshood - Latin name - Aconitum
The Monkshood's curious hooded flowers hide a sinister potency. All parts of this plant are toxic and in its mildest form it can cause an allergic skin reaction, but it can also cause a very serious allergic reaction ending in a prolonged hospital stay. The warning about Monkshood should be heeded, as a few years ago a bride to be decided to use Monkshood as the main theme for her wedding flowers. As the bride and groom entered the church, the poor florist, who had prepared the flowers for the wedding, found herself being raced to hospital with a serious allergic reaction to the Monkshood.
So if you have children Monkshood must be firmly crossed of your favourites list, however, if you are not restricted by children or family pets, Monkshood will provide you with the most interesting show of colour and form in mid summer.
As garden designers we often use them under spring flowering shrubs, they tolerate partial shade and provide colour during late summer and after the shrub has flowered earlier in the season.
Monkshood has a wide range of flower colours as long as it is purple/blue! Each cultivar has it own flower shade. The flowers are mainly robust, but might need staking in exposed positions.
The most attractive feature for me is how the flower spikes move in a light breeze with the individual flowers moving in a dipping motion.
If you can justify using a plant with such a sinister potency you will be rewarded with great summer displays.
If you wish to find out if this plant is suitable for that favourite spot in your garden then drop me a line at... firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy your gardening - Head gardener