The Other Stachys

Stachys and Friend in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Stachys and Friend (photo: Kathy Diemer)

We’re all familiar with the popular lamb’s ears or Stachys byzantina, but not as many know about its distant cousin, purple betony (or bishop’s wort) or Stachys officinalis.  Actually, other than the name, they look nothing alike.  Where byzantina has soft, frosty grey leaves (especially attractive with ‘Helen Von Stein’) officinalis has smaller, dark green oval shaped leaves with scalloped edges.  And it’s those interesting leaves, with rounded edges like an embroidered collar, that I find so attractive at the front of the border.  Of course, the rich pinkish purple spikes (in some ways similar to salvia) are an added bonus. [Read more…]

Recipe for a Low Maintenance Garden

Itea 'Henry's Garnet w/ stachys in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’ w/ stachys (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

You’ve all heard the term “Low Maintenance Garden”, but in actuality many so called low maintenance gardens are way more work than anyone anticipated. I consider most of my gardens to be low maintenance; thanks to the shrub to plant ratio, but this particular garden really exemplifies the term low maintenance.

The garden started simply enough.  We had a mass of dead elm trees removed from the corner of our property, which then provided this gaping hole in the landscape.  And you know me well enough that I can’t leave any areas unplanted.  However, I did try …  Initially, we had a friend deliver truckloads of mulch to keep the area from becoming weed infested.  We added a rustic split rail fence for division and then let it be while my creative juices simmered. [Read more…]

A Garden for All