Thursday, November 12, 2009

Achillea 'The Beacon'

Achillea millefolium x ' The Beacon' syn 'Fanal'

One of the easiest perennials to grow in temperate or sub tropical climates, Achillea or Yarrow, puts on a great display of flowers at this time of year. The flat plate like flowers are born on tall stems to 30 cm arising from soft ferny foliage There are many different cultivars available in a range of colours. This is one of the Galaxy Hybrids. The flowers are good for picking and can even be dried. I like to grow them amongst roses which provide some support for the flowering stems . Propagation is simply a matter of digging up a clump and dividing the plant with roots attached and replanting where desired . Autumn is a good time for this.
As a herb, Achillea has a long history of many uses. In France it was known as carpenter's grass, herbe aux charpentier, as leaves pressed to a cut stopped the flow of blood and acted as an antiseptic. As a remedy for a cold, a few leaves can be combined with some sprigs of thyme in a herb tea for some soothing relief.
The leaves of Achillea added to a compost heap are said to act as an activator, accelerating the breakdown of organic matter .
Above all else however, its fame is as the plant of which Chiron, the centaur, taught Achilles the virtues so that he might heal his wounds in the Siege of Troy. Below are some examples of his story in the history of art.

Achilles 1884 by German sculptor Ernst Herter (1846-1917)
in the garden of the Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece.
The Education of Achilles by Eugene Delacroix(1798-1863)
Bibliothek des Palais, Bourbon
The Wrath of Achilles 1847 Leon Benouville (1821-1859)
Musee Fabre, Montpellier

The Education of Achilles 1772, James Barry (1741-1806)
Yale Center for British Art


  1. It seems a very interesting and useful plant. I have not seen it here.Your post is very interesting . Thanks.

  2. Ian, I like the various shades of color as the Achillea flowers. Your selection of art depicting Achilles is wonderful, too. Both the flower & artwork are great examples of appreciated beauty. Thanks