Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ajuga black scallop, is my favorite plant in the garden this week…

I can’t remember what I said that had her volunteering starts, maybe as a response to one of my blog tirades about needing more dark evergreen foliage? However they came to be I have a handful of Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ plants thanks to Alison of the blog Bonny Lassie.

I’ve never planted ajuga and was unsure about these, there’s something vaguely “chard-like” about them. Not that chard is a bad thing, it’s just a vegetable garden thing. However these powered through being frozen solid (they stayed in a stock tank during our week long deep freeze, thus experiencing 12F - above ground) and largely being in the shade, yet they still look gorgeously glossy and dark…

Yes please, I’d call them winners! Plus they’re starting to push out new foliage. These will be planted out in the garden just as soon as I start my spring planting (March? If I can wait that long)...

I’m not so excited about the flowers, which I wish wouldn’t ever happen…but I can’t stop that…at least they’re not pink. Alison says this plant will quickly spread and fill in wherever I decide to plant it. How thrilling! Here’s a photo I borrowed from plantlust.com and Karl Gercens III (used with permission, all rights reserved) that shows how lovely they look when they’re allowed to spread.

The stats…
  • perennial, hardy in USDA zones 5a – 10b
  • eventual size 4-6” tall x 24-36” wide
  • likes well drained soil in sun to part sun – best color is said to be achieved in full sun
  • flowers are blue and appear in the late spring

Were you wondering about the beautiful spotted leaves cozied up to the ajuga? It’s Geranium phaeum 'Samobor', also from Alison. She posted about it being a favorite in July of last year and I commented saying perhaps I needed to beg for a start at our next garden bloggers plant swap. And I got one! Thank you Alison...

Do you have a favorite plant in your garden this week? One that's looking extra good? Please tell us about it in the comments, better yet leave a link to your blog...

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

26 comments:

  1. That's a perfect plant combo! I'm so thrilled that you're so happy with both of them. In about 3 years, one pkant has coverd a space about 2 1/2 X 3 1/2 feet. I can give you more if you want coverage faster. They will green up some over the course of the season, perhaps depending on how much sun they get where they're planted. Mine get morning sun in the summer. But they always reliably turn dark again in the winter, which seems appropriate given how dark our winters are. Oh, that Geranium start has pumped out lots of lovely new leaves. I'm so proud that the baby you adopted from me is your favorite this week, can you tell?

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    1. If they go where I think they're going to go they'll get a lot of sun, afternoon sun even. I hope they're up for it! Thanks again Alison, I'm glad to that I got them late in the season so they went into the stock tanks - that's given me a chance to really watch them over the last few months.

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  2. Pretty, dark, and evergreen to boot. That's one that I'll be looking for!

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    1. I know where you might pick some up...

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    2. I know I'm reviving an old blog but I'm after some Black Scallop and cannot find it anywhere. Does anyone have some they can post?

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  3. I'm fond of Ajuga myself. I use a lot of 'Catlin's Giant,' a particularly large-leaved variety but I have a lot of the darker-leaved varieties as well. Full sun in summer here is hard on them, though - they do better in part shade. I'm afraid my contribution this week is pink. I hope you're not too horrified: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-favorite-plant-this-week-camellia.html

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    1. Yes your full sun and my full sun are definitely different creatures. As for your pink fav I have a soft spot for camellias.

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  4. Ajuga (at least 3 different types) is growing in my lawn a bit, but most of it is in my neighbor's lawn. When in bloom it's a thing of beauty, and the bees love it.

    My post about it here:
    http://www.itsnotworkitsgardening.com/2011/04/bugleweed-essential-in-my-lawn.html

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    1. So when you mow your lawn are the plants growing close enough to the ground you can mow over without chopping them?

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  5. I love this plant too. Not only is it spreading as a ground cover where I put it, but it is taking over big patches of our so-called lawn. My weekly (or so) fave is here: http://bannersbyricki.com/archives/3581

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    1. Oh man...I should have mentioned the one I got from you at the swap too! It's been very interesting watching how the color differs, you said yours was also 'black scallop' right? They've been right next to each other since September and maintained their color differences. I do love the hint of green on yours too.

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  6. This is such a fabulous looking ground cover plant Loree, and I haven't picked on it before until you highlighted it but it does look like a miniature chard!

    Our Favourite Plant of the Week entry

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    1. Glad to know it's not just in my head!

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  7. I love that geranium. I like the ajuga, too, but only for places where it's ok for it to spread. Right plant, right place...right? I've just seen situations where it pops up everywhere from little pieces, sometimes creating serendipitous combinations, sometimes becoming a nuisance. I really like Ajuga pyramidalis 'Metallica Crispa'. Very purple and metallic and textural, and doesn't seem to spread as fast as other Ajuga reptans. Of course if you're looking for a good spreader then that would be a negative trait. Does that geranium reseed much? I guess I should pop over to Alison's blog and ask her!

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    1. Oh that Ajuga pyramidalis 'Metallica Crispa' is fun! Thanks for the name, and the words of caution as far as the spreading. Since the geranium was a seedling from her garden I suspect it may do a fair amount of that...

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  8. I haven't seen that amazing Ajuga before. They are useful plants, I like Catlin's Giant, it has lovely blue flowers as well as good foliage. I shall look out for this one.

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    1. Every garden needs a few "useful plants!"

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  9. I love the black scallop to, even recommended it for Regional Plant Picks as a tough ground cover for Fine Gardening Mag. I've paired it with our native Sedum 'Cape Blanco' and have it growing below Saxifraga 'Lodon's Pride that grows on a wall above it. Another silver and black pairing I did last year has the silver foliage potentilla, this ajuga and mondo grass. Waiting for it to fill in. I'm with you about the flowers, A good mowing helps take care of that if its wandering the garden by itself.

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    1. Wow you've me lots of ideas for what to plant with it, thanks Debbie!

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  10. I have grown this variety, and it did great the first year. I've also grown Chocolate Chip and Catlins giant, it seems they struggle with a crown rot fungus however.

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  11. Looking at the first few photos made me want to put it in a salad (in a good way). It loses the chard look when it's allowed to spread I think, and is really attractive - bonus that it's super tough!

    My favourite: http://crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/my-favourite-plant-in-garden-this-week_31.html

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    1. Good point, once there is a mass of them you don't tend to focus as much on the individual leaf shapes.

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  12. So love ajuga, both black and green, great weed supresser. Boy once it gets going it will spread. I love the shiny leaves best.

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    1. I really appreciate everyone's comments about it being a spreader...I will be careful!

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