Artemisia lactiflora ‘Elfenbein’

Louise Sims

I say the word ‘artemisia’, and immediately springs to my mind the many silver-leaved forms that I already have in our garden. These are abrotanum, ludoviciana, absinthium, and pontica to name but a few, and the family also includes A dracunculus (French tarragon). Often aromatic, and with finely divided, decorative foliage, they are a useful family to know.

A few years ago I came across A lactiflora Ghizou Group and it looked startlingly different with its purple flushed, dark green foliage and striking, tall, creamy white flowers in midsummer.

A lactiflora ‘Elfenbein’ growing with Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’, Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ and Kalimeris mongolica

More recently I added today’s special plant, A lactiflora ‘Elfenbein’ which is equally distinctive, and mixes very happily amongst grasses, asters, anemones, and other late summer flowering favourites.

‘Elfenbein’ translates as ‘ivory’ and the flowers sprays are indeed a beautiful creamy colour and arch over at the top of the strong upright stems. It is the perfect cottage garden plant, gregarious, airy, non invasive, and easy to grow.

In the photograph I am growing it with Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’, Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ and Kalimeris mongolica. It is interesting to note that M. ‘Morning Light is shy of flowering except after really long hot summers; however I will forgive it this shortcoming, it is such a beautiful grass.

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