June 23, 2011

Silver Foliage—A Perfect Foil (Part II)

Villain or hero? Is it possible for a simple silver plant to serve as a perfect foil—a contrast to highlight the finer points of primary plants in the garden?

We pick up the story, Silver Foliage—A Perfect Foil for Purple, where I left it in June 2010. The silver-haired character of this story is Dusty Miller.

Dusty Miller cools off his hot orange and yellow companions.
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild gardens, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France.
May 2008
Dusty Miller has more aliases than a secret agent. He registers under many names—Senecio cineraria, Senecio candicans, Ceneraria maritima, Centaurea maritima—so you must look carefully at his photo identification to make sure no other seedy characters are impersonating Dusty.

An annual visitor to many regions of the world, Dusty puts down permanent roots to establish himself at his many homes in zones 8a-10b.

Dusty's short stature of 6-12 inches allows him to travel incognito among the throngs until the time he chooses to shine his bright, white spotlight behind a primary plant character.

Dusty Miller is incognito in a crowd.
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France. May 2009

Look behind the most beautiful wallflower in the crowd to see
Dusty Miller shining bright.
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France. May 2009

Dusty Miller contrasts with Salvia greggii 'Ultraviolet'.
My garden. June 2011
Dusty Miller doesn't clash with
the ground huggers sedum and purple heart.
My garden. June 2011
Dusty Miller dons his bright yellow blooms to attract pollinators.
My garden. June 2011


But, don't be fooled by the handsome Dusty Miller. When he dons his bright yellow hat, his charisma escalates and he'll court every pollinator in town. Be careful how you touch him, hold him and coddle him. He's lethal. He's toxic. All parts are poisonous.




Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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Paris, France; September 2013

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