Strictly speaking the Tree Echium (Giant Viper’s Bugloss- real name Echium Pininana) shouldn’t be included in the “Surprising Survivors” series as all of mine were wiped out last winter. The photo above was taken two years ago. But the seeds of these magnificent flowers survived in the ground and, without any help from me, have sprung into life. The result is that we have hundreds of survivors, growing in the unlikeliest of places. Of these we have potted up about 100, which I will keep indoors in the hope that I can get them through next winter. In this country, unlike its native Canary Isles, the Tree Echium needs to survive two winters before coming into flower. The flower spire can reach 14 ft, so it is worth waiting for. The spire contains thousands of tiny blue flowers which bees love. On a sunny day, as you approach the Echiums you can hear the hum of hundreds of bees feasting on the flowers.