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Artemisia �Powis Castle�

December 8, 2016 Back to Picks >

According to The Big Book of Herbs, the origin of the name of the genus Artemisia was probably Queen Artemisia of Caria, �a Turkish female botanist who lived about 400 B.C.E. and was the wife of Mausolus. She built a handsome memorial to her husband, and it became one of the �Seven Wonders� of the ancient world and the origin of the word �mausoleum�.� The genus Artemisia includes about 300 species, which have been used for aromatic and medicinal purposes throughout history. Only a few artemisias are suitable for the garden, though many grow wild. Most are perennials. The one culinary standout of the genus is Artemisia dracunculus, whose English name is tarragon.

�Powis Castle� Artemisia, with its dissected silver gray foliage, is the perfect companion plant for other flowering perennials and ornamental grasses to bring out interesting contrasts of leaf color and texture. It almost never flowers, thus maintaining its neat appearance with little extra effort, other than light pruning to keep it shapely.

Not at all fussy to soil type, ‘Powis Castle’ artemisia is also quite drought tolerant, and not at all appealing to browsing rabbits and deer. It does need full sun and great drainage (even rocky or gravelly soil will work), and it should be cut back to 6 to 12 inches above the ground each spring for a good-looking and very full small shrub.