Friday, April 24, 2009


 I have to admit I am in love again.  Its lamium love.  Lamium maculatum to be a bit more specific.  Its not a passionate love or an all consuming love but a love of necessity and admiration.

Last year John got rid of some unnamed lamiums from the greenhouse and I took home and planted a bunch of them.  To my delight they not only survived planted in late spring in my sand but thrived and spread a bit.  The variety that I planted was the plain green cultivar probably Orchid Frost since the ones I planted had that vivid pink flower.


After observing how well they grew that summer and the fact that they remained evergreen in the winter I decided I needed to check out the other lamiums we carry.

I particularly loved the golden cultivars.

Anne Greenway


and Lemon Frost


We also carry Beacon Silver, Pink Pewter, Elizabeth De Hass and White Nancy.

and Ghost which is a larger sized lamium.


Lamium maculatum is a great little spreading ground cover that flowers off and on all season.   In moist shade or dappled sun they will make a nice tight cover.  They will grow in dryer conditions though they tend to open up and sprawl and that is where my love of them began since I have lots and lots of dry shade.  I have been trying this and that but never had better luck with anything else.  I’ve planted some of the golden ones and am hoping to have as much success with them as I have had with the plain green cultivar.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I had another serendipitous introduction to a 'plant of the moment' today.   I was walking back into the garden shop after helping out a customer in the greenhouses and happened upon my cohort Becky writing up an order for a customer.  In her hand she was holding a very lovely, strong and healthy plant with yellow margins.  It really caught my eye.  I looked at the tag because I wasn't quite sure what it was and found that it was a 'new' gaura that John had brought into the greenhouses this spring.  

Gaura has a long, long list of things going for it.  Its roots form a taproot much like a carrot, and reaches down into the ground in search of water and so it is one of the best drought tolerant plants for the south.  Its also heat and humidity tolerant.  It comes in a wide range of heights, from 12" to 6-7' tall.  You will find gaura on lists of plants that deer don't usually like to graze.  Its for full sun  and it blooms all season.

Its not the most showy plant though.  Wispy in form with flowers held high above the foliage on long, thin stems that cascade downward.  The flowers are usually varying degrees of pink, white or a combination of both.  As well as the regular green foliage we also have some with a very deep maroon foliage.

The creamy yellow margins of Corrie's Gold' really caught my eye.  Corrie's flowers are pure white, and she is short, topping out at 18".   I think she is as lovely as she can be and for this reason she is my 'Plant of the Moment'.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Purple Dahlias-Pick a Size...Any Size

We have been carrying the Bishop Series of purple foliage dahlias for a couple of years now. Their foliage makes them striking in or out of bloom and they perform well in a mixed perennial border where their color brings versatility and in pots where they can make a stunning focal point.

They are tall though topping out at about four feet if grown in part sun where they will stretch a bit to get more sun and in full sun usually they grow to a height of 3 to 3 1/2' so they are strictly a back of the border perennial.

Bishop of Llandaff

This year John has added two more purple foliage collections to our repertoire.

The 'Mystic' series could be planted mid-border where it will grow 18-24" tall and wide.

Mystic Desire

Mystic Spirit

Mystic Illusion

Mystic Dreamer

Last but not least is the "Dark Angel' series. This one is compact and would be great in the front of a perennial border. Being only 12" high it would also be great front and center in a potted garden making a gorgeous focal point for a mixed planting. I have to admit I love the names which seem to be based upon 'dark' movie heroines. Go ladies go ladies.


Dragon Ball

Pretty Woman

Pulp Fiction

Taxi Driver

All these dahlias will do well in a mixed border or in a potted arrangement. They will be perennial here in our zone but will be slower to show up in a perennial border. Usually by mid-summer they will be up and blooming and will continue to bloom until fall.  They are invaluable as a foliage plant and simply irresistible when blooming.