This weeks f̶l̶o̶w̶e̶r̶ flora in focus is Lamb's Ear (Stachys Byzantina). It really is as soft as it looks! Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow last week, but there are still several weeks of winter to make it through before our spring bulbs start pushing up. Most of the garden is brown, leafless, and skeletal. But some plants hold on for us to admire even in the dim, gray days of winter.
Lamb's Ear is usually grown for its interesting foliage. Several varieties will bloom, but most of us snip those tall stalks off and let the plant put its energy into filling out into a nice, soft carpet of suede leaves. Stick to varieties like "Helen von Stein" or "Silver Carpet" if you want fewer blooms. I put in a few "Silky Fleece" last year by the pond. I'm curious to see if these mini lambs ears will thrive in our humid climate.
I'm pretty sure this was the first plant I learned by name as a child. What an adorable little guy!