Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ancient sage...

My introduction to Artemisia 'Powis Castle' was by way of a plant ID class in my landscape design curriculum way back when.  I like this tough, drought tolerant perennial.


When we where propagating in the greenhouses, I started a few cuttings just for the heck of it.  They did well, and I ended up packing those tough little mother plants around with me from ranch to ranch.
When they got big enough I would plant them out in the garden to use as a cover for tulips to grow up through.  Gophers don't like Artemisia.  Which is nice when you have previously watched expensive tulips suddenly disappear into the soil with a swoosh. The color/texture contrasts between tulips and the fine silvery leafed Artemisia 'Powis Castle' adds interest  to the landscape as well.
One of the ranches we lived on had lots of deer, and elk.  Overnight they could strip the garden. But, if I planted a scattering of Artemisia they would leave the garden alone.


Insects don't like it either, so I take clippings and throw them in boxes of clothes, books, and linens going into storage.  At one time we had a rental storage unit for six months while waiting for the house to be built. I put clippings of it in all the boxes, and had no problems with mice or bugs. 
I also put a clipping in each bag of sunflower seeds that I buy to feed the birds. No bugs in the bags or the feeders.
An ancient plant, with many attributes, often over looked today. 

26 comments:

  1. I had some of that stuff in Austin, and it did great! We called it some kind of sage, but it looked just like that. It grew very well-- very low maintenance. Glad to know about the repellent properties.

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    1. I see now that your title calls it sage, too. I just can't remember the name we had for it...

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    2. It's often called wormwood. Could that be it?

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  2. The smell had that fragrant characteristic that is associated with sage.

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    1. Larry, It does, and could be used for smudging...

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  3. I wonder if you planted this stuff around the feet of Democrats; would it keep them from wreaking havoc on their surroundings like this stuff does to gophers?

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    1. Fredd, sounds like a great plan to me...

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  4. I'll have to check my Sunset Plant Book to see if those things work up here. I lost about 300 tulips a few years ago to Ground Squirrels and Voles. When we had our cat that would never happen.

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    1. Odie, should work up there, let me know if your interested in giving it a try and I'll send some cuttings.

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  5. Now I wonder if it can discourage moles or voles.

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  6. Do you cut it back or let it sprawl onto the ground?

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    1. Cindee, prune it back to maintain a rounded shape and to keep it from getting too leggy. If you want to propagate more, just hold stems down (touching soil) with a rock or landscape pin.

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  7. OK you have found a cure for a lot of things around me. I shall be looking for this ancient sage.

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    1. Granny Annie, Should do well in your part of the country.

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  8. That's a great piece of information. Now I'm off to check the RHS site to see if it works in these climes.

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    1. Nelly, I would be interested to know if it does well over there.

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  9. Wonderful information, Brighid. Those of us who live in country that teems with insects, birds, and other leaf and root chewing critters much appreciate this post. The Battle of Artemisium is worth reading about. I read a terrific book called the Lords of the Sea, a story of the Ancient Greek democracy and how their navy contributed. Artemisium was between the Persians and their great leader Xerxes and the Greeks.

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    1. Cheri, funny you should mention The Battle of Artemisium...I just finished reading about it a while back. Will put Lords of the Sea on my to read list.

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  10. I buy it because I can't keep my hands off of it. It is sooooo soft. Had no idea of all the other aspects. Thanks, I'll keep planting it and thanks for the propagating hint.

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    1. Patti, it is a tactile experience. Glad to see you posting again.

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  11. Greening of America. Nice.

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    1. Padre, more like the bluing, but then shrubs and guns!

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  12. I guess I should try some of that at the ranch. We got an ugly purple-ish plant here that attracts little flies, and a bunch of other stuff that looks like crap. But I am about as far from a gardener as you can get, with a black thumb not a green one!

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