I thought that I was so darn clever.
Every spring I find myself wishing I had a bit more money for annuals to use in my container plantings.
It is especially nice to have trailing plants like ivy or potato vine spilling over the rims of my hanging baskets and urns. But viny annuals tend to be expensive, and I can never afford enough to do a proper job.
Then last spring, I saw a number of baskets and containers like the one above that made use of :
False Lamium 'Variegatum' or Lamium galeobdolon ' Florentinum'
"Lord knows I have plenty of that darned stuff! I am forever ripping it out of the garden." I grumbled to myself.
The False Lamium 'Variegatum' in my garden isn't my own. It's my neighbour's. Each spring it creeps under our shared fence and then spreads like wildfire through the back of my flowerbeds.
I tear it out, but it always comes back the moment my back is turned. Despite its attractive variegated leaves, I've grown to hate it on sight !
False Lamium 'Variegatum' spreads in two ways. It has diminutive yellow flowers that end up dropping little seeds that look like a grains of black pepper.
Even more importantly, the plant sends out runners that settle to the ground and root a few inches or feet away from the mother plant. (Think strawberry plants and you pretty much have it pictured.)
Despite my negative feelings about False Lamium, I found myself admiring the pleasing way it spilled over the top of plant pots.
At least in a pot it was contained and therefore prevented from spreading everywhere, right?
I got started in this folly by ripping out some plants from my flowerbed and planting them in the window box under my kitchen window. I was so happy with the effect that I pulled out a few more plants and added them into the boxes that hang along the fence just inside the back gate.
Then I stood back and admired my handwork. Who could argue with free container plants, I thought smugly.
A week or so later I noticed with horror, that the False Lamium by the kitchen window had begun to set seed before the plants had even finished flowering. The little black seeds were in danger of dropping into the garden under the window.
I got out my scissors and brutally snipped off all the flowers. Disaster averted.
But then a couple of months later, I noticed that the runners which made such a pleasing cascade over the edges of the boxes had reached down almost 4 ft to the ground and were in danger of taking root. I was both dismayed and impressed with the plants determination to create offspring.
It seems where there is a botanical will, there is a way.
As I am sure it is in many of your own garden's, Lamium maculatum is a staple groundcover in my backyard. I have it everywhere- in the shade, and even in the sun (although it prefers a little shade). I find that the most common mauve colored plant is the best proformer and self-seeds everywhere.
Did you know that there are a few other varieties apart from this good old dependable one?
Lamium maculatum 'Shell Pink' for instance, has pretty, soft pink flowers.
I also have this one, Lamium maculatum 'Aureum' which has heart-shaped chartreuse leaves.
This Lamium seems to be a bit less robust than the more common variety and prefers half-shade in my experience.
This is probably my favourite Lamium. I like those light silver-green leaves as a goundcover in front of hosta.
Similar in appearance, Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy' has white flowers.
'Pink Pewter' had soft pink flowers.
I also really like this other variety of False Lamium, Lamium galeobdolon 'Herman's Pride'.
It makes a well-behaved, attractive upright plant with somewhat unimportant yellow flowers in early summer.
What is great about this plant is the silver-green foliage and the fact it likes shade.
Lamium galeobdolon 'Herman's Pride' even tolerates drought.
This is a variety of Lamium that I added to the garden last summer: Lamium maculatum 'Anne Greenway'.
Here it is in a container planting.
For now, I have left the False Lamium, Lamium galeobdolon ' Florentinum' in my container plantings.
Am I arrogant to think that I can keep it in check? Ask me again how clever an idea this was in the spring, and I may be regretting it immensely.
As for the rest of the Lamiums I have showcased in this post, I couldn't imagine a shade garden without them!
Have a great weekend everyone!
My garden alphabet so far: 'A' is for Astilbe, 'B' is for Butterfly, Three 'C's, 'D' is for Delphinium, The Letters 'E' and 'F' , 'G' is for Geranium , 'H' is for Hollyhocks, 'I' is for Iris, I have skipped 'J' and 'K' for now, as I want to do a bit more photography, and today we have 'L' is for Lamium.