March 25, 2007

Ask Carolyn : Reader Question

From Bill : I love Ajuga, the purple-leaf, supposedly perennial groundcover and planted a lot of it last year. This year, it doesn't appear to be returning. What's going on ?

Dear Bill : Ajuga is a "tender " perennial in our area. I love it too, and it was happily growing in my garden for six years when one especially cold winter did it in. We had a very harsh winter this year and the freeze/thaw cycle makes it difficult for shallow- rooted groundcover to survive.

I'm afraid that I'm an optimist . I usually replace it if it doesn't come back because the deep purple-blue flowers are attractive and the purple-green foilage is effective for a long time.

This year, however, I'm going to be a little wiser and look for Ajuga that is hardy to Zone 4. Two varieties - 'Catlin's Giant ' ( twice the size and impact ) and ' Purple Torch ' are two that I will be buying.

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