Using Lamb's Ears As In Fill

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Jack Sparrow, May 4, 2019.

  1. Jack Sparrow

    Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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    I have an area in my garden which falls behind my main showy plants. In this area Ì also have an earn shaped flower pot and my baby crab able tree. Currently the area behind the tree has a variety of spring bulbs.

    Apologise for the terrible diagram.

    20190504_120848.jpg
    Blue - clematis
    Pink - sedum
    White - Achilles
    Red - crab apple
    Grey - gravel path

    I would like an attractive low growing plant to fill in the gaps. If there is room I wouldn't object to different varieties of the same plant. These plants would be barely visible from the house or the patio. I dont mind intermitan flower. I dont really wan't anything more than 12 - 18" high. The photo was taken at midday. The sun is just about coming around then. Soon after that bed will be in full sun until early evening.

    Where I have marked yellow I thought I might plant the santolina I have been holding back. This would in theory create a neat edge to my gravel. I might not be able to though as my small plants have split into clumps. I have read that can happen.

    I have been reading about lamb's ear - stachys byzantina. It seems to suit all my requirements. Any experience or suggestions would be appreciated.

    As a fall back, I wondered about hosts.

    G.
     
  2. Sian in Belgium

    Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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    I use lambs ear quite a bit. It’s a good edging plant, as it is not too invasive, and is not inclined to go “a-wandering” over gravel, as some ground cover is inclined to do. Children love to stroke the leaves, and the flower spikes are quite attractive I think (though my dad didn’t like them). I use it on the edge of the church flower beds, so the contract gardeners know where to stop running the mower. Now the campanulas can grow safely!!

    It can take a while to establish, but if you already have a clump, now is a good time to lift it and divide it into fingers, planting each one nearly horizontal, so echoing the growing style. There should be enough sun there. It is normally thought of as a sun-lover, but I grow it in areas that don’t get the sun until 2pm, and it seems happy enough.
     
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    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      If you're coming to our Open Garden and just want individual plants then we have some potted up already for sale (back/middle of photo).

      P1420016.JPG

      If you're after more then I may be able to dig up a bunch for you. We have a couple of large areas of them. This is a photo I took earlier (already earmarked for something else) but I may be able to dig a chunk from another area.

      P1410981.JPG
       
    • Jack Sparrow

      Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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      Hi @Sian in Belgium. I don't have anything yet. It isn't a priority job but I like to know what plants I need to be looking out for. It would be a shame to miss out if the right plant came up at the right price. It isn't a very big plot. I wouldn't expect to need more than about 6 plants or so.

      Is it evergreen? How would it effect my daffodils etc?

      G.
       
    • Jack Sparrow

      Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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      @shiney . We are hoping to come. It's on our calendar. From what I have seen, it's easy to divide. If so then as long as I have one or two plants to start off, I should be able to spread them out over time. How wide should each clump spread?

      The other issue I have is the crab apple tree. In time it will through shadows that dont currently exist. Will that effect what I can plant there?

      G.
       
    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      You can see from the photo that they spread as far as you want to let them. Once well established they spread easily.

      A lot of plants aren't keen on shade but I'd wait until you have that problem. Grow what you want there and if the tree eventually affects the plants then take the plants out, put them somewhere else in the garden and plant shade loving plants instead.
       
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      • Sandy Ground

        Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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        Years ago, I saw some Lambs Ears for the first time, and liked them. When I asked about them at the local garden centre, I was told that they were not hardy enough for this country. If we now fast forward a couple of years I did see them for sale at the same place. So I bought some.

        Earlier this year, I took them up, as they were proving to be to invasive. The things were spreading everywhere! My advice would be, take care where they are planted.
         
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        • shiney

          shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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          They are fairly invasive but easy to dig up. :dbgrtmb:
           
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          • Sandy Ground

            Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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            @shiney which variety are they that you have?
             
          • Jack Sparrow

            Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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            @Sandy Ground Thanks for sharing your experience. That part of the garden is pretty isolated so hopefully it should be ok.

            G.
             
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            • noisette47

              noisette47 Total Gardener

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              I'd recommend the non-flowering variety, or woolly Thyme. Stachys lanata is lovely right up to the point where the flowering spikes start going over and you have to trample all over everything else to get to them to tidy them up. There is a non-flowering cultivar (the Beth Chatto Nursery stock it, other nurseries are available :biggrin:) which has all the benefits of the original without the drawbacks. (Sorry, shiney :sofa:). Thymus pseaudolanuginosus is a lovely, trouble-free ground coverer that doesn't need any maintenance.
               
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              • shiney

                shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                Haven't the faintest :dunno:. I think they're a bog standard Stachys lanata.

                P1290108.JPG

                They certainly need tidying up but the flowers look good and they're easy to remove. :)
                 
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