Ajuga

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Bugleweed

From the Latin abigo, to drive away, Ajuga was thought to drive away disease. To some of us that disease is winter; the remedy is Bugleweed, herald of spring, with its clear blue, white or pink flowers. The crisp, crinkled foliage hugs the ground for a quick-spreading, evergreen carpet. Use Ajuga en masse under a high canopy, or to soften the hard edges of walls and paving. A moisture-retentive soil is recommended.

A new arrival from Italy, this unique Ajuga offers tiny, reddish chocolate-brown foliage. Spreading with vigor, the narrow lustrous leaves form a finely textured, close-knit ground cover trimmed by 6 in. tall spikes of bright blue flowers.

For a warmly colored tapestry effect, plant ‘Chocolate Chip’ en masse with Acaena ‘Purpurea’ alongside.

Blooms March–mid-May.

Size: 3" – 6" high x 12" & spreading wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Ajuga pyramidalis</i> ‘Metallica Crispa’

It’s not a cereal advertised on MTV, but a curious combination of metallically reflective, scrunchy purple leaves, and spikes of deep blue flowers. This one is a sound choice for tight situations, between stepping stones or in a woodland setting. A good ground cover with Viburnums.

Blooms March – early June.

Size: 6" high x 12" & spreading wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Ajuga reptans</i> ‘Catlin’s Giant’

‘Catlin’s Giant’ is twice the size (and has twice the impact) of most other Ajugas. Its deep blue flower spires rise 12 in. above large, shiny bronze leaves. Let this one loose in a rock garden, or plant it under Corylopsis for an overlapping, opulent display of blooms.

Blooms March–mid-May.

Size: 12" high x 12" & spreading wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Light up your garden path with these stunning 12 in. pinkish lavender flower spikes that actually do resemble torches. Emerging from bronze winter foliage, which is followed by the fresh green leaves of spring, such color will brighten the darkest days.

For a dramatic play of colors, place the plant under Sambucus nigra ‘Black Beauty’ or near Clematis ‘Freda’.

Blooms March–mid-May.

Size: 8" – 10" high x 12" & spreading wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Embellished with blue pagodas, this verdurous Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip’ sport produces a refined, low-to-the-ground emerald-green carpet of small slender leaves. Aptly named ‘Emerald Chip’ makes a gleaming well-trimmed understory for Physocarpus ‘Summer Wine’s lavish crimson-red foliage.

Blooms March–mid-May

Size: 3" – 6" high x 12" & spreading wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

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