I got an email from Lisa who asks about thinning out her Ajuga flower, also known as bugleweed, pruning raspberries that have been munched on and what to do with too much Lamb’s Ear.
Ajuga is also known as Bugleweed, Ground Pine, or Carpetbugle.
It includes 40-50 species of annual and perennial plants the mint family, Lamiaceae. Ajuga prefers sun or partial shade in well-drained soil. They bloom in May and sometimes into June. If you remove the flower stalks after they bloom you will prevent reseeding along with cleaning up the plant. It may also encourage a possible second flowering later in the season. One note I found mentioned that you can rejuvenate large planting by mowing them at your lawn mower’s highest blade setting or use a string trimmer to cut them down to 4 or 5 inches. You can thin out the plants when they become overcrowded with the best time in October, but anytime will do. You can plant divisions in spring or fall. There isn’t any particular method recommended for it, so prune or thin whatever way works for you. Click here for how to care for you Ajuga through the year.
As for the raspberries…
The rabbits ate a lot of plants this year, including the raspberry canes. While the plants’ roots and crown are perennial, the stems and canes are actually biennial. Each spring, red, black and purple raspberries produce new canes from buds located at the base of the previous year’s growth. Each cane lives two years and then dies.
For the shoots of purple, black and summer-bearing red raspberries, they are strictly vegetative, meaning they don’t produce fruit, the first year. They flower and produce fruit the second year, then die. If this is the type of rabbit mangled raspberry you have, they will survive, but may not produce much fruit this year.
If you have fall-bearing red raspberries, they naturally produce two crops. The first is produced in late summer or early fall at the tips of the current season’s growth. The following year, a summer crop is produced on the lower portions of the same canes. After that second crop, the canes die. This means that rabbit browsing will have little effect on the total crop yield of fall-bearing red raspberries. The damaged canes will produce little or no fruit in the summer, but the new canes should produce a good crop in the late summer or early fall.
On to Lamb’s Ear…
Lamb’s Ear, Stachys byzantina, originated in the Middle East, near Turkey and Iran. Some say it is a native to the Caucasus Mountains in Europe. If you have ever seen it, you know it got it’s common name from the shape and feel of the leaves. It is a member of the Lamiaceae family, so it is related to the above Ajuga. It tends to be invasive, so make sure you keep it in check or that it is in an area where you won’t mind it taking over. If you keep it in a border, it will help keep it from spreading too far.
It is easy to grow in well-drained soil. It can handle a variety of weather and soil conditions and can require thinning every few years. This is a plant that will do very well in children’s gardens due to the soft and fuzzy nature. They can also take a lot of abuse from small hands and still survive.
The flowers of the plant attract bees and other pollinators and smells a bit like pineapple. Just before it flowers, the stems start to stretch and the plant begins to look leggy. It can be cut back after flowering and it is a good idea to deadhead the plant. There is no recommendation about the best way to thin out the flower, but it can be propagated by dividing the rootball, so dig some up and give it to a friend.
Click here to read more on Lamb’s Ear. This article includes the fact that Lamb’s Ear makes a good companion for roses and is also a good protection barrier against deer and rabbits. I’ll have to try that one out. It also has the distinction of being one of the plants that will grow well near black walnut trees.
Posted under General, Spring