Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Artemisia
Let’s face it, there are times in the garden when it doesn’t look all that hot. Transitions from spring to summer and summer to fall can be, well, less than lovely. I’m seeing that in most gardens right now! Sorry, neighbors. There is a solution. The silver foliage plants.
They not only add continuous interest in those transition periods between seasons but also offer transitions between colors and textures of other plants. They’re stunning in a moonlight garden as they tend to glow. Artemisia, sometimes referred to as wormwood, tops my list. I had the cultivar ‘Silver Mound’ for years which my mom had to touch every time she came over. It’s thin silvery/green leaves are very fine textured and soft to the touch. It’s a great border plant that does need pruning or it will gape open late into the season. ‘Silver Mound’ is hardy to zone 3.
From fine-textured to thicker leafed is ‘Dusty Miller’. For the most part, ‘Dusty Miller’ is an annual here in Minnesota but it’s supposed to be tolerant to zone 5. This little foot tall plant will bloom but don’t grow it for that. In fact, after it’s bloomed give it a good hard pruning and ‘Dusty Miller’ will come back. The leaves feel like felt. It’s a great plant to break up color and offer something to look at in those in between times.
The genus artemisia includes over 200 different varieties, most of which have been used for medicinal purposes. Fine Gardening magazine article on Artemisia
While Lamb’s Ear is not an Artemisia it DOES have silver foliage and looks good with ‘Powis Castle’
There’s one that is not silver but is mighty tasty and used in a lot of French cooking. You would know it as Tarragon. I had this stuff and you can’t get rid of it, if you wanted to. It smells like anise or licorice and is fantastic with chicken. I know it has nothing to do with silver foliage but it’s such a great herb, I had to mention it as I talk artemisia!