Burlap, hessian - or what?
Lush Pennsylvania beds and borders

Beware beautiful bugleweed

A neighbor came round to take a look at the garden yesterday, and one of the things she was most impressed by was – bugleweed (or simply bugle, as Brits say).

We have quite a few different forms, none of them in flower of course, not in July, and while she admired the prettily coloured variegated sorts like ‘Burgundy Glow’, she was especially struck by the efficient ground covering prowess of the plant in the picture (above, click to enlarge). And it’s certainly impressive.

From a single root dug up from under the satellite dish at the radio station where I do my music show every week, in five years it’s spread to this dense covering about 5ft x 6ft. The only plants to penetrate are self sown helleborine orchids.

But this is not just any old bugle. The reason I dug up a little piece in the first place was because it looked so dramatic with tall white spikes of flowers, instead of the usual blue. In the shade under our maples and oaks, the tall spikes look wonderful in full flower. And they’re good cut for spring posies, too. AjugaWhiteFlowers

It looks as if the name for this plant is Ajuga reptans f. albiflora ‘Alba’ (right, click to enlarge) but I remember seeing a white-flowered bugle at the Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago under the name of ’John Pierpoint’ which seemed to be more compact, with much shorter flower spikes. White frorms turn up in the wild in its native Britain, occasionally, but I've only seen ever seen one spike - on a farm track near where Cream drummer Ginger Baker used to live years ago...

So, anyway, our neighbor will be receiving a batch of little parcels, small pieces of the various bugles we have around to get her started. And she’s already received a warning about how rapidly they can spread. You should see our “lawn” in the spring… More blue bugle flowers, than green grass.