Although there is plenty of green in my garden this winter -- mainly due to bamboo but also thanks to the mild weather -- I noticed the other day that there is another color that is quite prevalent as well.

No, it's not brown (although there is plenty of that around). It's gray, or silver!


I first noticed one of my lavenders glowing in the weekend sunlight, and thought I'd do a little survey of the silver.

There's the 'Hidcote Blue' lavender:

This is the most silver of them all, probably because it... well, I don't know why. It just seems to get really silvery once cold weather sets in.  I take that back -- the 'Munstead' lavender is equally silver.

The 'Grosso' lavender is less silver, and has a bit more green:

It's doing quite well , even though it started the year in sort of a donut shape, with the center of the plant pretty sparse. Or was that the year before? Whenever it was, it's in the past -- looking great now!

This third variety of lavender I just can't remember the name of. The plant tag was out there next to the plant, but I went out there with a flashlight just now and couldn't find it. (Okay, I just found the receipt for the purchase, and I bought two different lavenders at the same time in 2008, and I don't know which one this is. More importantly, I don't know what happened to the other one. This one is either Lavandula angustifolia ‘Royal Velvet’, or Lavandula x intermedia 'Provence'. Sheesh.)

The plant is getting huge though -- apparently it really likes the spot I gave it. Is that a flower stalk?

Sure looks like it. This really is a strange winter.

In addition to the lavenders there are some other silver plants out here too. The cardoon is hanging in there:

It's too early to say with certainty, but I like its chances of surviving this winter! The fact that the leaves are still silvery is a very good sign I'd say.

The Santolina 'nana' looks quite good too:

As does the 'Powis Castle' Artemesia:

It's never looked this good at this time of year before, as it's not predictably hardy for me. Some years it survives, some years it doesn't. This is a survival year so far.


The butterfly bushes with their silvery blue leaves really should be cut down to the ground sometime soon. I wonder if I should experiment with not pruning them back so severely to see what happens? Like the others, they shouldn't look this good at this time of year.

All of this silvery foliage is wonderful!

And I smell great from digging around that lavender plant in the dark.


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scottweberpdx  – (February 1, 2012 at 9:20 AM)  

Love the Cardoon...when they are happy, they are stunning! I've decided this year to yank out my 'Powis Castle' looks good for a few months in summer, but the rest of the year it's either flopping open just looking sad. Too bad, really, when it's great, it's GREAT...when it's bad...oh my :-(

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (February 1, 2012 at 10:31 AM)  

Great post! I love silver foliage, too. Here are some other suggestions (you may need to take cuttings to overwinter inside):

Salvia chamaedryoides (electric blue sage; ours has almost white foliage right now)

Salvia canariensis (Canary Island sage)

Teucrium fruticans 'Azureum' (azure bush germander)

Helichrysum petiolare (licorice plant)

Alistair  – (February 1, 2012 at 12:01 PM)  

Love your silver foliage plants. We had a hedge of Lavender Angustifolia the common old one that is sometimes referred to as English Lavender over here. In spite of careful pruning after flowering the plants still end up getting very woody and last no more than four years in Aberdeen, do they also get like this where you are.

Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (February 1, 2012 at 3:16 PM)  

Love all of these but still looking for an Artemesia Powiss Castle - we haven't been successful with cuttings of it.

Alan  – (February 1, 2012 at 5:59 PM)  

Christine: did you try any rooting compound? I think the trick is to cut where it's not too soft but not too woody. If mine gets big enough this year I'll take several cuttings and experiment, including trying to root it in water.

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