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!