Silver to Green

artemisia, powis castle, garden bloggers foliage day, small sunny garden, desert garden, amy myers. photography

November's GBFD post is necessarily a bit brief (not to mention late!), but I didn't want to miss it altogether.  I am sharing a short post on a plant whose foliage is fascinating to me at the moment.


The plant is Artemisia "Powis Castle" (above).  Its leathery, silver-white leaves stood up beautifully through this year's particularly nasty summer.  In a dry garden with many silver-foliaged plants, they were the whitest leaves to be seen.   And it grew and grew.  I didn't measure it at its largest, but it must have been full four feet or more across.


By October it was looking understandably haggard but had new leaves pushing through at the base.  So I cut it back to the fresh basal growth late last month, since when it has exploded again.


Now I am fascinated by the new growth.  No longer the hard, white foliage of summer, this is soft green with a silvery cast, fluffy to the touch, and looking very lush.  A more recently planted "Powis Castle" elsewhere in the garden still has its summer-white leaves, forming a strong contrast. 


It will be interesting to watch the new growth transition to white over the weeks ahead.  The plant is once more growing rapidly!


Thanks to Christina at My Hesperides Garden for hosting Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day, which encourages a good look at the structural benefits of foliage plants in the garden!

Weather Diary: Fair; High: 70 F (21 C)/Low: 47 F (8C); Humidity: 37%-94%

Next Post: The Red Rose

Comments: 4 (Discussion closed)
  • #1

    Kris P (Wednesday, 23 November 2016 19:09)

    I need to follow your example and cut my 'Powis Castle' back as well - mine looks downright scruffy at the moment.

  • #2

    Christina (Thursday, 24 November 2016 01:46)

    My 'Powis Castle' is the most scruffy of my silvery leafed plants which I actually put doen to lack of water as Powis Castle is in Wales not known for its hot dry summers so I thought it was a cultivar that suited the place! All my silver plants are green when it rains a lot as the tiny hairs which make them look silver are laying down revealing the true green of their foliage. Very interesting that others in your garden are still silver, is the cut back plant in shade? or perhaps it has received rain because it is in the open and the others are in a more protected position. thanks for participating in GBFD, it's always good to hear from you.

  • #3

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Friday, 25 November 2016 10:27)

    Kris - Scruffy is definitely the word for it! I'm always nervous cutting into things hard here, unsure whether it's the right season for it, but in this case it seems to have been just the thing ;-)

  • #4

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Friday, 25 November 2016 10:46)

    Christina - I actually went on the opposite assumption, feeling that since "Powis Castle" is a hybrid of two Mediterranean species, I should be fairly safe treating it as such on its own account. On the whole I feel this has worked well, and it seems to have a reputation for flopping open anyway. Both my plants receive a great deal of sunlight, and rain is certainly not an issue as the garden has only just seen its first dirt-drenching rainfall in about eight months. The artemisia has been so drought-tolerant that I rarely water it directly; I did however put some extra water on a few nearby new plantings in Sept. and Oct. This might account for the sudden burst of new growth, at least.