Saturday, September 09, 2006

Don't Hate Lamb's Ear

Last weekend, Maggie and I met at Greenfield Plant Farm to swap plants. She was surprisingly cute and bubbly. (I had a mental image of someone older and dour. Sorry, Maggie!) We had a great time talking and I am disappointed that she lives a good 45 minutes from my house. During the course of our conversation, she revealed that she hates lamb’s ear. I wanted to drag her back to my house immediately to show her how lovely mine is. I’ll have content myself with showing her, and you, this picture:


I absolutely adore this plant. It is a fabulous edger. Its neat appearance and silvery foliage make an orderly transition from sidewalk or lawn to garden. It multiplies rapidly, so I have plenty of clones to continue edging other beds, give away, trade, or sentence to the hell strip. Along my front walk, I have interspersed the lamb’s ear with East Friesland sage and I admire the contrast of deep purple against silver nearly all summer long. The leaves are evergreen, providing some structure when most of my perennials have retreated beneath the ground during winter.

The most common objection to lamb’s ear is its aggressively spreading habit. True, I must divide my clumps in the spring and fall, but I can always find a use for the excess. Some don’t care for the silver color. Others (garden fashionistas?) simply find it out-dated.

When Maggie comes to see my garden next spring, I will continue my efforts to warm her to stachys. Lamb’s ear is like a fuzzy, lovable puppy – sometimes a little out of control, but charming all the same. Maybe I can manage to send Maggie home with a division or two (because, after all, who can resist puppies)!

11 Comments:

Blogger Carol said...

I also like Lamb's Ear, but I try to cut off the flowers before they really bloom. I'm constantly weeding it out of the vegetable garden, so I try to keep it from flowering and setting seed.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

I'm with Maggie! I do not like lamb's ear, although I keep thinking that maybe I should try "Helen Von Stein" since that seems like the lamb's ear most up my alley. (I HATE the way lamb's ears look in bloom! HVS supposedly doesn't flower.)

3:47 PM  
Blogger LostRoses said...

Well that's the best use of lamb's ear I've ever seen! I have to confess that I let mine die out (umm, the hose needed to lie there) but it was endlessly fascinating to every child and adult who saw it next to my front walk. All that petting and touching might have helped do it in too!

I always cut the blooms off too, couldn't stand them.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Kasmira! Alright already. i'll try really hard to like it! Why do I think Lamb's Ear looks like a weed? Why can't I look at it without thinking- Oh my- that weed could take over the whole bed!

I can't wait to see your garden this next spring! I'm totally coming over! I'm glad we're still friends :)

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love lamb's ear too! I throw away at least a wheelbarrel load every spring. Hard to believe it all started from a tiny little plant bought at Sunnybrook Farms in Chesterland, Ohio some 20 years ago.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Lamb's Ear, too. I think it is beautiful in bloom and the bees love it. It is sweet and old-fashioned and at home in my cottage garden. "Outdated" (?) I don't think that plants and gardening should be a slave to pop culture, like everything else these days. I am getting ready to divide mine now and share. I have both Helene Von Stein and a flowering variety. Did you know that these plants were the original "baby wipes." I learned this in a Williamsburg Garden tour.

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Kelley said...

I adore Lamb's Ear. If you let it bloom and dry it, it makes some of the most beautiful wreaths. It keeps it color and is easy to work with. When you harvest, save the leaves and you can make them into compresses for cuts, scrapes, etc. It also has wonderful properties for insect stings and bites!

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Amy Jacksn said...

Ok I love the lambs ear and would like to know that the wheel barrels that you throw away can be given to me and would be put to good use. I have a great passion for these touchable plants and my children love the way they feel.just shoot me an email if you wanna unload some of them. looking for alot!! coldirona@yahoo.com

5:32 PM  
Blogger Deanna said...

I am new to blogging but I found your site and it is very entertaining and informative. I have bookmarked so I can follow. I love to garden and especially love sharing, if you ever want to swap plants let me know I have several hostas, daylilies, irises, etc. that can be divided and shared. I am always looking for something new.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Gordon said...

I just got some off of Craigs list.
Just an FYI, if you go to Craigs list and under free search for the word "dig" and it will pull up all the flowers/plants people are giving away for free if you want to come and "dig" them up.
Happy and cheap gardening!

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have "Helen Von Stein" Lamb's Ear, yes they are absolutely wonderful! Not sure which type of Lambs Ear I used to have but I hated them too! I could not give them away. I dug them up and planted the Helen Von Stein's now I am a happy camper.

8:27 AM  

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