Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sweet Patch

Among the many treasures Patrick gave me when I first started gardening was a large tuft of sweet woodruff. As I couldn’t recall the growing requirements for everything he gave me (there must have been starts of 20 different plants), I planted it in full sun. Ouch. After realizing my mistake, I transplanted the bedraggled remains to Cleo’s Garden, beneath the Norway Spruce.

Almost two years later, my sweet woodruff patch is full, lush, and so vigorous that I had to prune it back into it’s semicircular shape (echoing the shape of the bench). I happily spread the prunings to other shady areas in the front yard. I love it’s low, creeping habit, whorled stems, and fresh green color.

I’ve read that some gardeners dislike this plant. They find it aggressive. So far, I’ve found it to be very well mannered, but I have a lot of new, shady ground to cover. If one ends up with too much sweet woodruff, it makes a nice potpourri. When dried, the plants release a sweet scent reminiscent of vanilla and hay. Or, it can be steeped in white wine to make May Wine. I did this with the pieces that didn’t survive the pruning. I advise allowing the leaves to steep at least a day in a pitcher of white wine to fully release the flavor. Poured over ice, it makes a refreshing evening drink in the garden, like drinking liquid sunshine.

I’m hoping Patrick can make my open garden, so that I can show him how much I appreciate his gift of sweet woodruff.

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Blogger ellipsisknits said...

Our sweet woodruff is pretty aggressive, so I can understand why some people don't like it - particularly since it is not evergreen. However, it pulls out so easily from its little shallow roots that I don't find it a problem.

Ivy on the other hand...

I will have to try the wine idea. I hadn't heard of that.


8:24 AM  
Blogger Herbs and Me said...

Wow! It is beautiful I am going to have to look for some at my garden center. Do you think it would work well around trees?

Thanks for a great idea:)


6:44 AM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

I think it would work great around trees. I have some a bit closer to the norway spruce as well. You may have to add supplemental water if the tree canopy is dense and/or the tree's roots are close to the surface.

10:31 AM  
Blogger LostRoses said...

And sweet woodruff is so obliging! I have a patch of it in a shady corner which also happened to be the spot where I threw down one of those big plastic turtle sandboxes for the grandkids to play in. Poor sweet woodruff (I thought). But the next year it came creeping out from under the sandbox and is in full glory again. I love the smell of the flowers in the spring.

Wish I was attending your Open Garden!

10:15 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I love sweet woodruff, but haven't had much luck growing it here. I have grown it in the past and it is a great plant, so long as it isn't put too close to other perennials. Your sweet woodruff looks lush and beautiful - quite a lovely scene with the gardener too!!

2:09 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Missing your posts!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Adi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Has anyone had any luckwith Sweet Woodruff in a rain garden?

12:03 AM  

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