Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dusty Miller and Silver Mound

I love the silver-grey of the annual dusty miller (Senecio bicolor subsp. cineraria Senecio) and the perennial silver mound (Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound')

The Silver Mound dies back in winter but the soft feathery green is a fluffy little clumping plant. I give it a light hair cut with the scissor early in summer and in remains in control in dry/part shade.

The Dusty Miller contrasts the evergreen euonymous and hinoki cypress as well as the annual coleus. It seems to grow anywhere – dry, wet, sunny, shady.
It is an annual in zone 6 but I have some that have wintered-over for years. I cut off any dead stems in late spring or early summer after the new growth appears at the base. The birds seem to love the new growth for nest-making. I try to keep them away by placing a pinwheel nearby or sprinkling a little cayennne pepper on the new growth. One of its best attributes in my mind - it adds another hue to the brown winter landscape.

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