The Ugly Truth

I am re-building my gardening library,and I recently bought Richard Bisgrove’s “The Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll”.

Jekyll was a genius in her use of color and her plant placement, and she was fond of using Lamb’s Ear’s  along stone walks and draped over rock walls. This plant was one of her favorites.

Lamb’s Ear’s do well in English gardens.  How tempting it is to try to copy her ideas  and use them and what plants she used in our gardens here in the US!

The Green Hills garden, with its long flagstone entrance walk, once had Lamb’s Ear’s en masse behind its iris border. Every June they sent up their ghostly gray spikes by the dozens, and every year they self seeded and spread.

But the great mats they formed had sickly, blighted centers, not unlike the rot we see in urban areas, after all the prosperous life has fled to the suburbs.

Would-be Southern gardeners take heed, for here is what happens  when Summer comes on-


Here is another view of a blooming clump-



This morning I pulled out the plants in the first photo, dug out the roots, and as I was shoveling, encountered a nest of angry red, biting ants scrambling away with what eggs they could salvage-

With great care, I dug in a Color Guard yucca as a replacement. Had I had an artemesia “Powis Castle”, I might have replaced gray with gray, but I think the yucca is the better choice for this garden’s lean soil.

And as to the slovenly foliage of the gone by irises in the background, that is another story, for in two decades, they have never been divided. Perhaps this year the owner will let me  do it-

Soon I will be clipping them to fans and cleaning up the brown shards. At least one hundred feet of bearded iris to be clipped, and in July morning heat.

Which is another Ugly Truth.



About talesofanashvillegardener

Professional gardener, Experimental Cook. Constant Reader
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