I just love coming across new plants in the local garden centers, especially ones that I haven’t seen before! But just because they are new, doesn’t give them an automatic place in my garden. I will admit, I do have my own tastes for what I feel looks good, and I won’t grow a plant simply because it’s new. But on the rare occasion that I am able to find something that is both new & beautiful…that sure does make the day a little bit brighter for me 😉
Such was the case a few weeks ago.
I decided to stop in at one of my favorite garden destinations and poke around for a while. Call me crazy, but even if I don’t buy anything, I find great pleasure just being surrounded with so many lovely things! But this day held a little secret for me. Not only was I going to enjoy beautiful things, but I was going to come home with something new & exciting for my cottage garden!
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and say…”Surprise me Lord” … something I picked up from a friend. And, as you get to know me, you will learn that it doesn’t take much to make me happy, as I enjoy even the smallest of pleasures.
I guess I should tell you…
Sometimes I catch myself smiling at the simplest of things, like a moss covered rock, a stand of ferns in the forest, or a colorful butterfly fluttering around my cottage garden. And smiling is what I was doing that day in the garden center, when in the corner, I spied this beautiful new plant. I might also add, whoever named it “Kent Beauty” obviously agreed with me!
In shades of chartreuse and purple, one of my favorite color combinations, Kent Beauty is very useful for laying the groundwork for other plantings. I love using plants that are chartreuse in color, because it helps to showcase the other colors in the garden. They also add brightness to the shade garden, due to their “glowing” quality.
I would describe the growing habit as a trailing, semi-mounding ground cover. This makes it great for hanging baskets, potted planters, and for spilling over rock walls. It could mound up to over 12 inches high, but 6-8 inches is more likely. The trailing length is approx. 12-18 inches.
It likes full sun, but will grow in shady spots as well.
The leaves of “Kent Beauty” add to its virtues as much as the flowers themselves. Even though they are small in size, they definitely draw your eye in. With their grayish green color, several silver veins going down each one, and their shape that nearly resembles a heart, you can’t help but love them!
The blooms are dainty pinkish-purple little things, which over the season appear in great number, and seem almost iridescent. They emerge out of dusty purple colored bracts, which help make the flowers look much larger than they are. Both the flowers & the bracts age from a lighter color to a darker color, which adds lots of interest to the plant.
The bracts (papery colored leaves shown below) remain on the plant even when there are no flowers, which makes it seem as though it is perpetually flowering. They are also great for long lasting floral arrangements.
In most places “Kent Beauty Ornamental Oregano” is considered to be a tender perennial, and therefore it is mostly treated as an annual. I am going to try to bring my plants in for the winter, to see if I can overwinter them for next year. I will have to remember, that most people say that you should cut the plant back and fertilize it in the spring, to encourage new growth.
From everything that I’ve read about it, the plant is said to be more ornamental than culinary, but it is also acceptable for cooking. I know the oregano fragrance is lovely!
I think you’ll find Kent Beauty to be an all around easy grower. With lots of sun, moderate watering, and very little fertilizer… not to mention being absolutely gorgeous… you should definitely add Kent Beauty Oregano to your cottage garden!