If you knew Helen like I know Helen: oh, oh, oh what a gal. And if you’d been weeding like I’ve been weeding, you would be equally fond of this gal. Notice, in the above photo, how where Helen leaves off, weeds take over. These lambs’ ears form a deep, dense mat that is impervious to weed seeds.
That is why I am transplanting starts into the border along our drive. I have visions of silvery rivers running through this entire bed, which I currently weed 3 or 4 times a year.
While many report little or no flowering, mine do throw up fuzzy flowering stalks beloved by bees. Once the bees have had their way with them, I pull out all of the flowering stalks with a good, hard tug. Rooted pieces usually come along for the ride. I cut off the flowers and tuck the new plants into pots to grow on a bit, or, if they look substantial, settle them into the border. I have never had one of these new plants fail, no matter where I put it. It can take full sun but won’t mind some shade. Tolerant of our wet winters, it can sail through a hot, dry summer with little or no watering.
The flowers have a pleasant, light fragrance and make dramatic tall bouquets. I hate to rob the bees, though, so I usually satisfy myself with picking just the leaves. They make a lovely, long-lasting foil for darker leaves and all sorts of flowers.
There are all kind of reasons for a plant to become a favorite. In the case of Stachys byzantia ‘Helen Von Stein’ it’s as much utilitarian as it is aesthetic. Be sure to check the Danger Garden to see what Loree is especially liking this week.