Western Mountains and High Plains
Favorite or New Plant
Spotted Dead Nettle
The soothing effect of dappled shade created by spotted dead nettle's (Lamium maculatum) mat of variegated foliage is sure to enhance the shade garden. This ground cover has leaves that are marked with a stroke, splash, or almost complete coat of sliver. It lightens dim parts of the landscape and is sure to attract attention. Spotted nettle roots at its leaf joints so it quickly fills in those barren spots to form a tidy ground cover. In addition, the short spikes of hooded flowers, although not the main attraction, create a handsome display. Plant in well-draining soil enriched with compost. Flowering begins as early as April and continues through June.
Clever Gardening Technique
Combating Pear Slugs
If you grow ornamental plums, hawthorns, mountain ash, cotoneasters, cherries, plums, apricots, and peaches in your landscape, you will occasionally see damage from pests that skeletonize the leaves. These pests, called pear slugs, are not a true slug but a type of sawfly.
A forceful spray of water from your garden hose will dislodge these pests from the foliage and knock them to the ground where they will dry up and die. An old-fashioned but very effective remedy is to lightly dust the infested foliage with fireplace ashes. This will cause the pests to dry up.