Monday, June 26
My Current Favorite Annual: Atriplex Hortensis
a.k.a. Ruby Orach Mountain Spinach
What's not to love? Puckery, thick leaves in various shades of reddish purple with a silvery sheen. Darker red veins. Looks as good in my front yard garden with miscanthus, little bluestem, sedum "Matrona," calendula and achillea "Paprika" as it does in my backyard with this unknown variety of hosta, hydrangea and "Jade" sunflowers.
Oh, and it's edible, too--smaller leaves can be used fresh in salads or cooked to green goodness in a saute. It throws up red flowerstalks as it bolts, and yes it has a reputation for being a prolific self-sower. (Hey, nobody's perfect.) I plan to harvest some seeds and cut the rest of the stalks down as they bloom to keep it in control.