Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Weekly Wagon Fall

You know how I keep saying I'm going to stop planting things until fall? And how I'm going to severely restrict my purchases? Yeah, about that...

Well, last week I picked up four deciduous azaleas, three blueberries, and eight Carex testacea from Means. The 'Top Hat' blueberries and Carex testacea qualified in my mind as snatching up deals before they were gone, since I had specific uses for all of them, but the azaleas were pure impulse. This week, I fell off the wagon again. A minor fall. Only two plants, this time. But you can start to see a pattern. I should just be more like Peter, the Outlaw Gardener, and accept the reality that I will continue to acquire plants all summer. I will probably keep most things potted in a shady spot, though, unless they're very drought tolerant or they're going to be planted in a moist, shady area. Otherwise, it just takes so long to haul water all over the yard to take care of all the new plantings. I suppose since I already have a dozen or so new plants in front of the house, it would be easy enough to finish planting and water that area with soaker hoses.

This week at Cistus, I found Ballota pseudodictamnus and Artemisia abrotanum 'Silver'. Both plants have silver foliage with a gold cast, making them perfect candidates for the driveway island and along the front of the house. The melding of gold and silver creates a bridge between the cool silvers, greys, and blues and the warm oranges, golds, and olives that make up the majority of the color scheme I'm planning for both areas.
Ballota in the back and Artemisia in the foreground placed with Carex testacea and Euphorbia 'Nothowlee' (Blackbird). I also tested (but didn't photograph) the artemisia with glaucous blue foliage like Parahebe perfoliata to make sure it worked as well with the cool tones as it does with the warm. I think I'm on to something here.


In addition to some of the softest, woolliest leaves in the plant world, Ballota pseudodictamnus also has one of the best common names: Grecian horehound. The flowers are tiny and a lavender-pink color. Sort of a cute little curiosity on this beautiful foliage plant. Actually, the round little balls of fuzzy, star-shaped calyxes along the stems are more interesting than the flowers themselves.

I couldn't find much information or even images of Artemisia abrotanum 'Silver'. The label gave only the name, a requirement for full sun, the fact that it produces pale yellow flowers, and the height: 18-20 inches. One online source I found claims that it rarely flowers, which is fine by me. If it ever does flower, I'm likely to cut them off. It's a beautiful plant that reminds me of Artemisia versicolor 'Seafoam', only more upright, less curly, and with a distinct golden cast to the grey foliage. Because of that unique color, I may even prefer it to 'Seafoam'. The foliage also has a wonderful scent like lemon peel.
The golden cast over the whole plant makes it appear to be glowing or lit by a ray of soft evening sunlight.
 I took cuttings of the artemisia, so hopefully I'll have plenty to plant by fall. I didn't take cuttings from the horehound because nearly every stem was covered in blooms. It also hasn't captured my attention quite as much as the artemisia, so I don't know if I want a whole slew of them just yet.

This Saturday, I'm planning to attend the Garden Blogger's Bazaar. Who knows what I'll bring home from that. Full details can be found here.

14 comments:

  1. There is no staying on the wagon if a plant addict goes to a nursery! Because I have more time in the summer and less in the spring and fall, I boldly plant through the summer and am able to wander around with the hose and spot water the newbies. Some things do stay in pots through the summer but they really don't like it all that much so they get potted up at some point. You got some great new plants. Can't wait to see your post about the bizarre, I mean Bazaar! Wish I were going!

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    1. I'll still plant things in the few moist, shady spots I have or where I have a lot of plants going in one place, but most of my yard is dry sun or shade. It's a huge job dragging 200 feet of hose all over the yard. It's a little easier for me to keep things in pots in a relatively shady spot where I can water everything in one place.

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  2. Great new plants, so unique! I love Carex testacea too, it's a wonderful plant. It will self-sow too (not aggressively), so in the next few years you'll have more to move around. I keep making the same resolution too, and failing. Looking forward to seeing you at the Bizarre Bazaar.

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    1. As long as it doesn't seed as much as Carex comans, though I've learned to appreciate and take advantage of the abundance. Looking forward to meeting you face to face!

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  3. Give it up, Evan. If you go to nurseries, Bazaars, or plant exchanges you WILL come home with plants. Although, if you must haul water all over the yard maybe you'll run out of time to go shopping? Nah. That wouldn't work either. Embrace it, is what I say.
    Love the airy feel of Artimisa. Speaking of soft and wooly: giant lamb ears come to mind.

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    1. What can I say? I have a contrary nature. Lol. Better to just accept that I will bring plants home, I know. I like lambs ears and used to have them. I even like the flower stalks. I think they're architecturally interesting and the bees loved them. But I got sick of cleaning up mushy leaves after winter.

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  4. Sometimes you just have to snap up plants when they become available, or when you find a really good sale, or when you're visiting a nursery you might not get back to in fall, or...

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    1. Or when inspiration strikes, or a craving, or... ;)

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  5. I don't believe anyone when they say they will stop buying plants...it just ain't gonna happen. That is a stunning Euphorbia, even darker than Blackbird. Let us know if it retains that color over time. Blackbird goes green on me.

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    1. Haha! You caught me! I should stop lying to myself, let alone everyone else. Actually, 'Nothowlee' is the real cultivar name of Blackbird, which is a trade name. The lower leaves are greener than the tops, but I don't mind. It's a dark, purplish olive-green that pairs wonderfully with the carex and the Erica arborea 'Estrella Gold' in all its stages. I do hope it doesn't go completely green on me, though.

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  6. No point restraining, happily embrace it :)

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    1. I don't want to live a lie anymore! ;)

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  7. It was a silly notion anyway, why would you stop? I see no reason. You do remind me though that I've got a stash of plants over at Patricia's that I need to pick up, unplanted treasures that she's been watering while I was gone. Glad you're coming on Saturday!

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    1. I can come up with some pretty silly notions. Glad I'm over that one, though. Looking forward to Saturday!

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