Stachys byzantia ‘Helen Von Stein’ this week’s fave

S. ‘Helen Von Stein’ weed barrier

If you knew Helen like I know Helen: oh, oh, oh what a gal. And if you’d been weeding like I’ve been weeding, you would be equally fond of this gal. Notice, in the above photo, how where Helen leaves off, weeds take over. These lambs’ ears form a deep, dense mat that is impervious to weed seeds.

new transplants of Helen Von Stein

That is why I am transplanting starts into the border along our drive. I have visions of silvery rivers running through this entire bed, which I currently weed 3 or 4 times a year.

flowering stalks of Helen Von Stein

While many report little or no flowering, mine do throw up fuzzy flowering stalks beloved by bees. Once the bees have had their way with them, I pull out all of the flowering stalks with a good, hard tug. Rooted pieces usually come along for the ride. I cut off the flowers and tuck the new plants into pots to grow on a bit, or, if they look substantial, settle them into the border. I have never had one of these new plants fail, no matter where I put it. It can take full sun but won’t mind some shade. Tolerant of our wet winters, it can sail through a hot, dry summer with little or no watering.

 

bouquet, front

The flowers have a pleasant, light fragrance and make dramatic tall bouquets. I hate to rob the bees, though, so I usually satisfy myself with picking just the leaves. They make a lovely, long-lasting foil for darker leaves and all sorts of flowers.

bouquet, back

There are all kind of reasons for a plant to become a favorite. In the case of Stachys byzantia ‘Helen Von Stein’ it’s as much utilitarian as it is aesthetic. Be sure to check the Danger Garden to see what Loree is especially liking this week.

20 thoughts on “Stachys byzantia ‘Helen Von Stein’ this week’s fave

  1. Oh those fuzzy lamb’s ears, love them! I should have made starts from mine as they’ve all died out over the years. I used to snap the tops off too, but never thought about rooting them. Good for you!

  2. I used to weed this out of my side yard and have since realized what a silly mistake that was. Now I let them do their thing. I love your arrangements so much!

  3. Oh man…I do love Stachys byzantina but have actually had the few plants I planted die on me. I think it was too much shade. Your arrangement is stunning ricki, a fav is all the better when it can be shown off in a vase too!

  4. Scott~Borrowed landscape? I like that about a real neighborhood like yours.

    Peter~Makes one feel like a kid again.

    Janet~Helen is all around better behaved.

    Lost~Glad to have found you via your comment on Sprig to Twig. Nice writing with some gentle humor mixed in is always a treat. Sorry I didn’t find an option for leaving a comment that worked for me. I love visiting gardens where price is no object. They often have features that can be scaled down and used by “real people like me”.

    Mark & Gaz~It’s pretty petable, all right.

    Heather~Flowers are often almost an afterthought with leaves like these.

    Loree~Lots of the things in my garden are planted with bouquets in mind.

  5. Your bouquet is really beautiful. It makes me look at Lamb’s Ears in a different way. I grow a bit of the regular kind. It has self-seeded itself by the side of a path and looks very good on its own, tucked up in a corner.

  6. Beautiful arrangement, Ricki! Ab-fab indeed! I love how soft and fuzzy the leaves are – my youngest thought they were called ‘Camel ears’. Hey, why not?

  7. Anna K~Kids should definitely be put in charge of the naming game.

    Sarah~If I was gardening in a small space I might feel differently, but as it is I can ignore an unkempt patch for a while and leave it to the bees…except for the occasional visit to see them buzzing and dozing in the flowers.

    Anna B~Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. Glad you like Helen.

  8. I can remember discovering this plant in my aunt’s garden when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I thought it was the best plant ever. I still love it. Your point about rooted pieces coming along for the ride made me smile; so very true. Now I’ve just got to get that song out of my head…. I will be singing it all day!

  9. Shoe~I’m glad I could make you smile…hope it makes up for sticking a song in your head. Weeding is the worst for that. The strangest tunes pop into my head and refuse to go away.

  10. Hi Ricki. I’ve been away too long. Yes, Helen is looking fab in your borders. I used to grow Lamb’s Ears years ago and just recently my daughter dug up what must be a seedling volunteer. She wanted to save it for herself. It is one of the softest plants there is.

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