Thursday, February 14, 2008

Artemisia 'Powis Castle'

I have talked about 'Powis Castle' only briefly before, but I think it deserves a full posting all of its own. Plus, I am getting a little low on postings as I know not when the Blogger account will be deleted.

In one of my classes this term we are studying perennials. Nancy asked each of her students to provide her with a name of a perennial we want to see added to her list. It took me about a minute to think of 'Powis Castle', and that was the only perennial which came to mind.

I love this plant. Probably every single one of my gardens has a few Powis Castles in them because Powis Castle is such a great structural plant. Additionally, since I like a LOT of color in my gardens, my gardens can be riotous and will keep my eyes busy, the Powis Castle gives my eyes a resting spot and helps to calm down the color while unifying the garden. Gray is a good filler color in all gardens as it combines well with almost anything. At least I think it does.

Another great feature of Powis Castle is that it is deer resistant and vole proof. No plant is completely deer proof but I am betting that as fragrant as the foliage is, no deer will eat it. It is also a plant I can speak for personally regarding the voles. I have grown Powis Castle for more than five years and nary a leaf has been bothered by the voles. This is a feat in my garden as those hungry critters will eat everything else from hostas to iris rhizomes to sedum and everything in between.

When I try to offer my friends some of my Powis Castle you can almost see the hives beginning on their arms. "No thank you Tina, I think I will pass." is what I usually hear. Simply because the very word artemisia conjures up fear in knowledgeable gardeners. Artemisia is VERY invasive. I have learned this the hard way when I planted some very pretty 'Limelight' artemisia. It self seeded and ran all over my garden and spread to other gardens in the yard as well. I finally ripped that out last year and am hopeful it will not come back again.

There are two ways of spelling artemisia. Generally I would spell it with an e as in artemesia, but since my Southern Living Garden Book has it spelled with an i as in artemisia, I have chosen to also spell it this way.

Powis Castle will not spread and is not invasive. It will grow quite large though so be sure to leave lots of room for it to spread. Some don't like this feature (what is wrong with them), but I definitely like large perennials. I mean, we wait and hope for our perennials to grow large don't we? In full sun when it is mature I am betting it can easily grow to 4-5' wide and only about 2' tall. My speciman above got quite large this past year but I loved it and specifically planted it on the corner of this bed to anchor that side. It has worked well.

Powis Castle is a semi-shrub like lavender. It will not completely die back to the ground each year. You should cut it back in early spring to spur new growth and never cut it back in the fall. Cuttings are easily rooted with fall cuts if the gardener was so inclined.

Powis Castle is drought tolerant, as are most silver or gray foliaged plants. It's bloom is so insignificant I have never even noticed one. But oh do I love this plant. It works great as a groundcover and a mixer in the border.

in the garden....

Happy Valentines Day!


  1. Tina, Happy Valentines Day to you also. And Happy Anniversary to me! No diamonds here this year just a nice little wooden bridge to put over a ditch leading to the dog pen.

    I'm not sure if I have this plant or not, will have to look up the tag to one that I put out by the pond last year. This is where my diary would come in handy, if I was better at keeping it updated. Right?

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to you Nina! If you are like me, most of my diamonds sit in the jewelry box so I would much rather have that bridge!

    Interesting plant Tina...

  3. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY NINA! i'm with skeeter, build me something i can use and not look at.

    good morning skeeter!

  4. Hi Tina, Nina and Skeeter
    "Happy Valentines Day" to all of you!

    Happy Anniversary Nina --what a great day for an anniversary -diamonds are nice but I'm with the other gals that bridge sounds great! Hey, there is always a birthday for the diamonds:) Have a great day!

  5. Hi Jean --where are you? Thanks for the info --I actually used a few drawings of the girls --hahaha to scare the bird off --hey it worked and it was free. She thought I tacked it up there because it was pretty, lol. And, it's okay to have packrat in you--my hubby and I are opposites in that aspect --don't they say opposites attract:) hahaha But, you are absolutely correct when saying as soon as you get rid of it you need it. I'll figure this out some day --for now I try to clean out as much as I can so hubby can fill in those clean spots:) Tina --I look forward to the grass post --I have a hard time telling what kind I have --I think I have two types now --just going by the color schemes and times they seem to thrive.

  6. Hi Guys,
    Happy valentines to all and happy anniversary to you Nina! When my fire weed goes to seed(it gets tuffs like dandilions) I will send you them, sometime late summer. I believe its hard to grow from seed as its a long, in the ground root that sprouts where ever. It is called fireweed because it likes places where there has been a fire. Tons of it is growing in the yukon(sp) of canada, apparently it was burned badly a couple decades back, its startling to see charred trees poking out from a lavender/pinky field of spindly flowers. Tina,I will send you pic this summer.
    I like the plant, alot of bussiness have it for filler and it always looks so nice.
    Anonymous, thinking of my dismay when I bought those magnetic rods this week, they cling to the outside of the doors but not the inside. Inside is made of fiberglass or called composite! Well that doesn't help me.
    Both myself and hubby are packrats and I tease everyone by saying we bred to more packrats!
    We got chocolates, I eat mine when no one is looking.

  7. I will show my ignorance here,,but what is a vole? I like resistant plants that grow big. I'm putting this on my list of plants to check out. If only the weather would cooperate. I am sooo cold natured and just can't( or won't haha) get out into the yard unless its warmer. I have been driving by all the nurseries wanting to stop and look. I am too wimpy to brave the cold wind tho.

    I have been off the blog for a few days. How are the pups Tina? Happy Valentines Day everyone!

  8. hey all again,
    i am responding while my internet is up. no telling how long that will last today.

    hey anonymous, you are almost as funny as my sister dawn with peaches! we all love that you joined in!

    be nice to the girl! someday she will figure out your tricks and be mad-can't have that! i told mr. fix-it about her 'studio'. love it.

    dawn, what is the botanical name of fireweed? i guess i could look it up but if you have time, send it to me. in the meantime, i will look it up. okay, okay.

    where is mom today? we are missing you!!

    gotta go work in the garden while it is nice. supposed to be yucky tomorrow. sigh. i really need to go get some pictures!

  9. i just missed you o'malley, voles are field mice. skeeter did a great post on them some while back. but basically, just a mouse with voracious appetites for plants and they breed like crazy-especially in gardeners gardens where there is a lot of mulch and plants! the irony. powis castle is great and is another plant which combines well with ornamental grass and would do super by your pool. you keep reading and i will give you a whole list to landscape that area. i can see it now.

    the pups i have at home are fine. baby when back yesterday as she is not defecating or urinating that i can see. they have not found a blockage by xray, sonagram or touch. go figure. she is eating and drinking and being a normal pup though. so they are just observing her for now. it has to go somewhere doesn't it?!

    bruiser and cj are great. playing with everybody, we somewhat trust them in the house. they are eating and gaining weight quickly. cj used to be a runt, now she is the biggest but both bruiser and baby will be bigger so she better watch out! i'll bring them to town one day and maybe set up a play date or something.

    hope your boxers are doing great and what an awesome husband. sounds like mine. except now he is saying, "told you so-don't foster puppies!". sigh.

  10. Ahhh...field mice. My kitties are terminators when it comes to things like that. The only time I see them is when they leave one lying by the door to show me. yuk.

    yes, I am definitely keeping a list of good plants to use once I start doing something in the pool area. This looks like a good one.

    I am glad the babies are doing well. That is puzzling about Baby. Hopefully all will come out well eventually. yes my boxers are great. Did you see the pet blog? How sweet of Sandy to post my Gracies story. Husband is being nice. If it was another cat the story wouldn't have ended so sweetly haha. He loves boxers like I do tho.

    Have a great afternoon everyone,

  11. Hi Tina, glad you are out in the garden. I had to help at a class Valentines party --wowie some little ones will be shall we say "energetic" tonight. Hey, might as well enjoy that junk while your young.
    Dawn with peaches --sorry about the magnetic rods:( I can always send some really cool artwork from my little girl, hahahah --it did the trick here, heheheh (evil snicker).Hey, where are you Jean??? I hope your enjoying Valentines day --chocolate and flowers day today:) Such a nice thing on a cool February day. Gotta check on some kiddos. Ciao

  12. Tina, Looked up the tag to my plant and it is a silver mound artemisia (schmidtiana nana)

    I use to like to look but now I'm like you Nina. Build me something I can enjoy. Happy Anniversary, Nina

    Dawn, would fire weed grow in Fl. where they have controlled burned? I've seen some kind of flower where they have controlled burned. My late use to do that. I've been with him on fires at night. Boy what a trip. One never stops learning.

    HI Skeeter, how's things in Ga. See you all got a nip in the air after being so warm.

    Those little kitties were only bringing dinner home. lol lol

    jean, where are you. Did you get stuck in the snow or something?

    Thanks again, Tina, for the info. It's working fine now.

  14. Forgot one thing I was going to ask, "Does onyone have an idea of what to do with an old hand truck"? I had thought about figuring out a way to fasten a garbage can to the hand truck somehow & use the can either to move debris or maybe try to grow something in it. What about it, Guys, any suggestions. Otherwise Young'n is going to put it in trash. I hate to see good things thrown away.

  15. Hand trunk? What's that?

  16. hi o'malley, of course i saw the boxers on the blog. i check in there frequently. that is how i wound up with some puppies!:)

    anonymous, i didn't make it in the garden. busy getting pictures and stuff for the garden. maybe this weekend if it is nice.

    i bet the energetic kiddos did keep you busy at the valentines day party. you go supermom!

    nina, my daughter grows silver mound artemisia. she absolutely loves it. it is in full sun in a dry area and i like it alot too! i just haven't gotten any yet, but it is also on my list. powis castle is the same just much bigger and more coarse. do you like yours?

    lola, i just called my mother and got her answering machine. she must be out. i am sure she will fill us in. so nice of you to talk to everyone. i am glad everything is working fine now. you know this technological stuff, always changing and "improving".

    don't let the young'un throw your handtruck away. i would use it as a focal point somewhere in the garden with a vine on it. or, as an alternative, lay it down and plant some herbs in the divided areas. you are talking an upright thing with wheels on it right? it should have some areas to define a small bed for say some lavender, rosemary and basil.

    i meant to answer you on your other comment about the container gardening. the only plant you mentioned that i recognized was the gallardia. i haven't had the chance to look the other two up. but i am sure whatever you plant will grow great. you seem to do fantastic with containers which is so not my thing. you will have to send me some pictures and help me with a container garden post at some point. don't worry, i will get them all in---in time of course!:)

  17. Dawn, a hand truck is something you move heavy objects with. It has wheels, a platform & long handles upward so you can lean the truck backwards in order to hold the load you are carrying. It's shaped kinda like an L.

    Yes, Tina. Got the seeds. Thank you. I don't have any that you sent. Am anxious to try them

  18. Hope everyone had a great Valentines Days and anniversay for you Nina.

    Tina, sorry I did'nt answer. I had not checked my voice mail for a few days and was doing that. I had it on speaker phone and thought I heard a beep but then thought I hit a button.

    Dawn I am with you. I was gonna ask what a hand truck was. Sounds like a dollie.

    Tina when I saw the picture in todays post but before I read it I thought, "Oh that looks like Artemisia". But then I thought it was not the right size as I used to have the tall slender type and it is very invaasive but has the sliver leaves. So what if it is invasive cause you pull what you don't want. Nana like it also. I used to use it in flower arangements and it looks very good that way.

    Thanks guys for missing me!

  19. Oh, just looking again and realized Lola asked about fireweed. The info I get is, it will grow everywhere except to the south east. Defined as stopping at Georgia and over to mid Texas. That MUST of been intense, saving lives and putting fires out! Wow, have to always admire anyone who does that.

  20. Yes jean, some people call it a dollie.

    I might try some kind of vine on the hand truck. I think that may look pretty. Maybe the black morning glory.

    Dawn, have you ever heard a fire roar when it's going through the tops of trees? It's scary, especially when you are sitting right beside it in a truck that has gas in it, control burn tanks & a tractor transport that has diesel in it. Your hubby & tractor operator on tractor off in woods plowing a fire line. Now that will get your heart pumping.

  21. good morning all,
    lola not only asked about the fireweed, but she researched it and sent me all kinds of info on it, including pictures. it is really very pretty. never heard of it before. will have to check it out closely as i am thinking if it grows like 'wildfire' up there, it may take over down here. i am leery to plant it therefore. will check it further. maybe when i come visit. it is not listed in my southern living book, though i will have to check wildflower books.

    out of town today. so i will talk to you all later.

  22. Tine, just remembered that I have the book "Wildflowers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and Southern Appalachians". Fireweed is listed in it. (epilobium angustifolium)
    According to the information in the book it can be found in Tennessee in high-elevation, burned areas in Carter and Unicoi Counties, but is rare.

  23. so i guess it will not be invasive but might not grow-dawn-i am thinking i want to try some! but i don't have any burned area so i am thinking i can't create its ideal growing conditions.

    thanks nina. and it is ok. we know who you meant!:)

    gotta head to nashville for the turf workshop. ttyal

  24. Wow, I go to spend the evening with the Saint sitting on the couch with a roaring fire, wine and Elton John music and look at what all I missed! LOL...

    Yep, we did get a bit of Nip in the air Lola. Was not too bad if it were not for the wind! The wind would cut you in half! Nasty stuff but back to warm days but still cold nights. Argggg where is Spring???

    I have never heard of a dollie referred to as a hand truck before! Learn something new every day! I will have to test the Saint on this one. LOL… I can see a vine of pretty flowers trellising up the thing!

    Speaking of vines. The other day while in Lowes, I stopped by their bulbs and tubers to see if they had Tuber Roses. To my disappointment, they did not but I could not help but giggle at the things they did have. They were sprouting out the tops of the packaging! They are ready for Spring as much as I am!

  25. hey mom, i did not forget to talk to you about the artemisia. i know you said nana liked it before when i had a picture on here. she had the INVASIVE kind. i could not pull enough of the invasive limelight i had in my garden so i would not like it ever. it is not a good kind. i know it is pretty and some gardeners probably still use it, but not me. this powis castle or the silver mound is a great alternative as it is not invasive. this is a good replacement and the foliage does work well in flower arranging. i don't remember nana growing artemesia. maybe it was in her l shaped garden border?

    skeeter, sitting on the couch, roaring fire, elton john HAS to beat the blog anyday. so you enjoy. it will still be here.

    i have heard of a dollie as a hand truck. it is funny the regional differences of language.

    be patient on the tuberoses. they will come in. my friend geri told me they grow like crazy in hawaii and the Hawaiians use them in leis. she said when the tourist get on the plane to come back to the mainland the fragrance can be intoxicating. btw. where is lola?

  26. Lola, Never heard a fire roar but I've read alot of hero stories, trapped in a flashback, lost in ash and finding fire by the roar. It is always discribed as a last moment thing---that is, life ending right then. I can't even be brave thinking about it. Your husband had alot of courage to control burn, musta realllly knew what he was doing.

  27. I guess I need to say "Good Morning All"
    It is strange how different laungage is in different regions. Some of the time it the sound that is different. I think it's rather nice to hear the difference. Boy, did they make fun of me in N.Y. fresh from country of Tn.

    Skeeter that would be real nice. I miss my fire place & company.

    Yeh Dawn, he was one of the best. He worked with timber all the time. He sure knew his job. He could look at a stand of timber & tell you how many cords of wood it had. Shoot, even he made fun of the way I talked. He had never heard of a "rick" of wood.

  28. lola, hubby was a firefighter? you must be very proud.