Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

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.


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?

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.