Euphorbia mellifera from Madeira is the largest of the euphorbias hardy in the UK. Making a substantial shrub, clothed in rich emerald evergreen leaves, it is an exotic presence in a border, and in spring the flowers give off a potent honey scent - ants seem to find them irresistible. It grows in sun or light shade, and wants a soil that is decently drained but not too dry.

My plant was getting slightly out of control, so I chopped it to ground level a couple of springs ago. It has come back strongly. Like all garden euphorbias, it has a toxic milky sap when cut, which you should avoid getting into your eyes - even after washing my hands, my eyes once turned into fireballs after I rubbed them - so wear gloves and glasses. But unlike rue, which is a real menace, causing blisters on the skin at the slightest touch, euphorbias are fine in the garden if treated with due respect. Z8.

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