Dead nettle

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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!

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