Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Superior Stachys: Stachys lavandulifolia

I first became aware of this stachys when Lauren Springer Ogden (before she appended the last of her three epithets actually) gave one of her dazzling talks, and showed a slide of this species she took at Beech Park, the great Shakleton garden in Ireland. I was amazed by a mint that looked like a little fog bank studded with outlandish flowers. Above you can see a dazzling mat of it at Kendrick Lake (back in the day)...

Here it is again, alongside a rock and Penstemon linarioides

And here with Penstemon pinifolius 'Mersea Yellow'
A felicitous combo this: in the backlight, the mound of Stachys reminds me a bit of an acantholimon--only this one isn't prickly! The flowers keep up for months in the summer...

And a closeup of the flowers
The typical wild forms of this are somewhat miffy in the garden, but the clone selected at High Country Gardens possesses ample vigor. I have it duking it out with other alpines in my home garden, and there's some nice clumps at Denver Botanic Gardens--not as many as there should be!

Now if I can only find and photograph this in the wild!

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