This year’s winner is Stachys – ‘Hummelo’ or betony, in the same family as lamb’s ears, but it looks very different and is a long bloomer. This is clump-forming and is fairly low at 12” (30 cm) with an 18” (45 cm) spread – so nice to plant it at the front of the border. The leaves are emerald green topped with upright spikes of bright purple flowers. These early summer blooms attract bees, and if you do the deadheads, you’ll enjoy more blossoms.
Alpine betony is not an overly needy plant, like most of the perennial plants of the year – full sun to part shade, well-drained soil and is fairly drought tolerant. This stalky plant looks very nice with ornamental grasses or later blooming perennials like shastas and cone flowers…or take the blooms inside to enjoy as cut flowers. Alternatively, leave some of the seed heads up over the winter for some added interest poking through the snow. Recommended as deer resistant and hardy to zone 4a. It is not invasive, but might benefit from division (in Spring) every few years.