20 April 2012

Bronze Beauty

From the title, I would expect to get a lot of hits on searches for this post, just like I did on my post titled, "Maximum Maggie," the star magnolia [posted 23.03.2009]. I could not figure out why my blog analytics showed that the number of searches for "Maximum Maggie" was off the charts. With a test search of my own, I found the top result on Google for Maximum Maggie was to a busty porn star's web site. I was disappointed to think people were looking for her site instead of my magnolia.

Bronze Beauty is what I think my Aguja (Ajuga reptans) cultivar is after comparing online photos of different cultivars to my plant. This ajuga is two years old, and was picked up at our annual neighborhood plant swap. I think someone was trying to rid themselves of the devil plant because of its spreading characteristics. I wanted something that would grow in the death valley dry brickyard clay otherwise known as soil under my ligustrum shrubs. I also planted some in the rear yard bed where it receives two hours of sun daily.

The plant that gets more sun, more water, and better soil is phenomenal. The other plant is sparse but growing. The 'good' plant does not behave itself in the summer and fall, spreading runners into the lawn area. (I like the emerging hostas in the left of the photo, as if they are saying, "Stay away!")

Ajuga, commonly called Bugleweed, is a member of the mint family, native to Europe and Asia. (We know about mint spreading.) It is an herb, although several sources have differing uses mentioned. It smothers the ground with a thick mat of leaves and is used in Europe as a ground cover for erosion control, although I don't see how with the shallow root system. I am guessing one could walk on this without much damage, (except to your feet.)

Leaves start out green in spring, and turn chocolate purple bronze in the summer. It is grown for its leaves and ground cover abilities, but the iridescent blue spring flowers on 6-inch high (15 cm) stalks scream, especially in large tight clusters.

For The Record:
  • Heavy clay soil with organic amendments
  • Light shade with 2 hours of sun
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • Easily propagated and spreads
  • No major pests or diseases, although some overwatering rot

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: bearded iris, california poppy, salvia, dutch iris, ajuga, geranium