Cottage Gardening forum: Help growing Lamb's Ears.

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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Jul 16, 2011 11:48 AM CST

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Prior to seeing photos in the Show Us Your Cottage Garden (July 2011) The thread "Show Us Your Cottage Garden & Chat (July 2011)" in Cottage Gardening forum thread, I had no idea what Stachys should look. I purchased 3 in '09 and they flourished, or so I thought, and I divided the clumps last fall and this spring. One plant had bloom stalks this spring and they soon flopped over. It was wet here. Along with having located them in the wrong locations, based on the garden photos, I'm hoping for advice on best growing conditions. Mine were labeled S. byzantina with no cultivar noted.
Thanks,
Evan
Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
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threegardeners
Jul 16, 2011 11:53 AM CST
Mine are in full sun...Canadian sun that is...and they only get watered when it rains. My soil is on the sandy side.
Thumb of 2011-07-16/threegardeners/e44feb
[Last edited by threegardeners - Jul 16, 2011 11:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
Jul 16, 2011 2:39 PM CST
Some (I don't know which type) are growing in our church garden which is mainly in sun. they are doing well, but are not in a wet spot.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Jul 16, 2011 4:34 PM CST

Plants Admin

Thanks guys. Based upon this I think they may simply be getting too much water. When I wrote "...wrong location..." I was referring to a design point of view as mine stay under 12" high. They're all in good sunny locations. Seeing your pics Lee Anne, I see that they have tall bloom stalks and are quite robust. I think I saw elsewhere where even when when not in bloom they get to maybe 18" tall with nice big leaves. My leaves tend to go to mush fairly quickly.
Evan
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
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Henryr10
Jul 16, 2011 6:16 PM CST
Very well drained soil, lots of Sun and mulch under the leaves to keep them from soil contact.
This has been a bad year for it here too. 40" of rain this Spring has really taken it's toll on the Lamb's.
Lot's of mildew and lower leaf rot even w/ the mulch.
They are starting to recover though. We keep the flowers on.

We've pretty much moved to Rose Campion in most of our beds.
Far easier to grow, same basic foliage (though taller) and you don't get that center die out so no dividing.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Jul 16, 2011 7:43 PM CST

Plants Admin

Thanks Ric, Using mulch is a great tip. I wonder if gravel mulch like with thyme and lavender would fit the bill.
Who's your masked friend?

Evan
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
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Henryr10
Jul 16, 2011 10:13 PM CST
Gravel mulch would be great.
In fact since it would bleed of the water fast probably a better choice than the wood.

LOL! The Avatar is part of a project we have yet to get to....
I'm going to get it painted on wood and stuff it in a big knothole we have in a Maple.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
Jul 17, 2011 10:58 AM CST
The church garden lamb's ears are at least 18" tall. Has finsihed flowering, blooms are red- maroon, It may also be a different type than yours.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Jul 17, 2011 11:06 AM CST

Plants Admin

I'd been thinking of these all wrong. Guess I need to get out and look at these plants in the gardens. I really regret not being able to walk thru Boojums garden during her tour.
Evan
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Jul 18, 2011 7:33 AM CST

Plants Admin

This was my impression of how lambs ears look.
Thumb of 2011-07-18/eclayne/c86e47
In there second year.

This bed replaces the 8' ginger jar shaped boxwood that I moved last year. And it's changed yet again. The lessons learned were water loving plants like Japanese Iris and dry condition plants like LE, sedum and shrubby euphorbia do not coexist well.
Evan
[Last edited by eclayne - Jul 18, 2011 7:35 AM (+)]
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Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
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gemini_sage
Jul 18, 2011 6:05 PM CST
Evan, those look good to me, is it that they haven't bloomed well that's making you think they aren't happy? After they bloom here the weather often gets hot and humid, and the bloom stalks will start browning and looking nasty, so I typically cut them off. In one bed the blooms are too tall, and I snap them off before they form. I've been finding seedlings all over the place, even in the lawn, so I'm trying to stay on top of the dead heading anyway. I've grown them for years, but have never had them self seed as freely as they do here.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Art Cat Lover Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Henryr10
Jul 18, 2011 6:16 PM CST
Evan that's how, in a perfect world, Lamb's Ears SHOULD look!
Excellent!
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Jul 19, 2011 5:45 AM CST

Plants Admin

These were at there best. They didn't bloom last year but not long after this picture was taken most of the leaves started to die, mostly on the bottom, but on top as well. They had a few flower stalks this spring in their new location but they soon flopped over, with lots of foliage dying. I think the advice on low water and mulch should help a lot.

The impression I've gotten from some of the pics is of larger, more robust foliage. But if I can get them to appear as they do in the photo I'll be very happy. Thanks for all the help!
Evan

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