Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Dead nettle

The name always makes me laugh - dead nettle. Sounds horrible. This is another name for lamium, a ground cover that is popping up in nurseries a lot because it's such a great plant. We're warned that it can become invasive, another way of saying each spring I'm amazed to see how much it's spread. This photo is of a spot under a large tree in the back garden. Several pretty hostas grow there and a year or so ago I picked up a couple of plugs of lamium and put them in and around the hostas. You see the result here. It's beautiful, I think, but in another year it'll be time to yank out some lamium and put it elsewhere. There are many varieties on the market. This one I think is 'Purple dragon.' Again, good in shade or sun or semi-anything, and the blooms stick around for a long time. You can shear them off when they're done and sometimes they rebloom. Very attractive, I think, especially in shade, which contrasts nicely with the silver tone and purple/pink blossoms. No dog's gonna turn this spot yellow!

Dead nettle

Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)
Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

The name always makes me laugh - dead nettle. Sounds horrible. This is another name for lamium, a ground cover that is popping up in nurseries a lot because it's such a great plant. We're warned that it can become invasive, another way of saying each spring I'm amazed to see how much it's spread. This photo is of a spot under a large tree in the back garden. Several pretty hostas grow there and a year or so ago I picked up a couple of plugs of lamium and put them in and around the hostas. You see the result here. It's beautiful, I think, but in another year it'll be time to yank out some lamium and put it elsewhere. There are many varieties on the market. This one I think is 'Purple dragon.' Again, good in shade or sun or semi-anything, and the blooms stick around for a long time. You can shear them off when they're done and sometimes they rebloom. Very attractive, I think, especially in shade, which contrasts nicely with the silver tone and purple/pink blossoms. No dog's gonna turn this spot yellow!

About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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