Friday, June 27, 2014

My Favorite Plant in the Garden This Week...

Isn't actually in my garden. It's in everyone else's garden! I saw it over and over in many of the gardens that were on tour during the Hardy Plant Study Weekend, and in fact, before that had even started, I had just seen it for the first time during the Gig Harbor NPA tour the previous weekend.

It's called Stachys 'Bello Grigio,' and I think it's stunning.

Here it is making a statement in Froggwell on Whidbey Island during Plant Study Weekend.

In a pot on its own in Denise Lane's garden in Medina
In a bed at Justin Galicic's garden

Looking perhaps a bit bedraggled with a Hebe and Bergenia in Susie Marglin's front garden in Bellevue

Again, looking a bit the worse for wear in the Lynn and Mike Garvey garden in Bellevue

And finally, my very first glimpse of it, in this perfectly put-together container in the Peggy and Bill Fox garden in Gig Harbor.

Perfection!

When I saw this container, I just had to touch it, to stroke it. The platinum white leaves are very like regular lamb's ear, soft and fuzzy, but 'Bello Grigio's' are long, upright, and sword-shaped. Coincidentally, local garden guru Ciscoe Morris had just written about 'Bello Grigio' in his column that appeared in the Seattle Times the same weekend as Study Weekend. You can read about it here. According to Ciscoe, unlike regular lamb's ear, this one only flowers when it's about to die. It's thought to be hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit, but of course it's so new that no one really knows how it will cope with our soggy winters. Like lamb's ear, it likes sun and good drainage.

I just finished pulling a bunch of other lamb's ears out of my gravel garden, because I didn't like their flowers, and I didn't like how very bedraggled they look in the wet, as well as how aggressively they spread and overtake their companions. I'm hoping this one will be a nicer neighbor to the other plants in the bed (or container) with it.

I've seen photos of it on a couple of California blogs, but photos don't compare to seeing it in person. I love it with all the purple foliage and flowers in the container from the Fox garden. It would look wonderful in a moon garden, I bet it practically glows at night. If I put it in the ground, I might underplant it with something like black mondo grass, or Ajuga 'Black Scallop.' Of course, I have to find it first.

Have you seen it at any nurseries? What companions would you give it?

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Loree at the blog Danger Garden hosts the Favorite Plant in the Garden meme. I've taken a bit of a liberty with it this time, since I'm not actually growing this plant. You can read Loree's current post here, and be sure and check out the comments, where others leave links to posts about their favorites.


19 comments:

  1. I'm on a big silver and brown kick, so if vote for pairing it with Carex buchanii or something like that. Delicious!

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  2. Gorgeous! I like it with the deep purples, pinks, and the lime greens pictured in the purple container. Really lovely.

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  3. Wow, I'm just drooling over that container. So far I haven't seen this plant for sale in southern NE but we are not usually the hotbed of new plant introductions.

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  4. I spotted it at Jungle Fever when I was there, and have seen it at Portland Nursery although not recently. So was Justin's garden on the study weekend tour? How wonderful!

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  5. I saw the plant in a couple of our local nurseries briefly in early spring. It's very striking - almost surreal. Somewhat to my own amazement, I didn't bring it home, mainly because I didn't have a good idea where to put it (not that that always stops me). I bet it would look great with burgundy foliage or deep pink flowers.

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  6. It was sold wherever I checked! I share your frustration regarding regular lamb's ear. I can cut its blooms, I can pull it out when it spreads, but I can't control powdery mildew.

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  7. It's a newbie to me and I love it. Just when I think I've sated my seasonal desire for new plants, I get hit with another must-have. But I'm not complaining. I imagine it will be a few years yet before it makes its way south. And I think knowing how it performs during the winter will be the real test. I pulled out my Lamb's Ears years ago. Not a fan.

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  8. Nice to see a new plant in so many different settings. I like it best in the first photo.

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  9. The container planting in the Fox garden is just gorgeous. It also looks fantastic in the first photo set along the path. Would love to see it around here so I could try it in another Fox garden!

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  10. I've had it from mid spring, and it has not grown or changed in any way. It's almost like it's fake, somehow. I keep poking around looking for new shoots, but never find any, and it's been in the ground almost three months. Plus, it just looks too stiff for me. I'm not impressed so far. Sue

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  11. I need one. Good thing I'm driving to Fling.

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  12. Love this plant too!!. Bought the first one at Sunnyside in Marysville and the next two I bought at Dig on Vashon. I did see them at Molbaks too. These purchases were over a month ago. If Susie and Denise had them, Wells Medina probably had them at one time too. Thanks for the blog on these. Its going to be interesting how these work out!

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  13. We have a border of dwarf lambs ear "Silver carpet" that never blooms and stays small and not floppy. We do dig and reset it each year to keep it from wandering.
    We saw this Belo Grigio in the gardens too, but didn't know what it was. I like the look of it in the first photo at Froggwell. I haven't really looked for it in nurseries.

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  14. Most recently saw it at Vassey, where I got a couple. It's a lovely thing and I keep going back and forth about what to pair it with.

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  15. I have it and love it. It's blindingly silver-white here. I was thinking with a blue Agave. Right now it is with a pink Dahlia--where I can look at it several times a day. Pink Dahlia--not quite the right companion.

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  16. Stunning, reminds me of the celmisias we have but the silvery whiteness of this one seems more intense.

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  17. Now that is am impressive plant...love that purple container...it is perfection!!

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  18. Did it last thru the winter??? I really want to get some to plant with my black mondo grass

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