greentapestry : 'Beauty And The Beast'

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

'Beauty And The Beast'

subtitled 'A Tale Of Two Lamiums.'

The beauty of this tale the subtle but oh most pleasing lamium orvala which is a source of much pleasure at the moment. This is a plant that I have never seen in a nursery or garden centre. I bought it a couple of years ago at our local Country Market which over the years has been an excellent source of plants at most reasonable prices. I bought it with some trepidation after my experiences with its relative aka 'The Beast'. However I was reassured by its seller that it does not spread but self seeds in a most considerate manner. Now two years on this plant has filled out and is giving me much pleasure this spring. It seems easy to grow and its hooded dusky pink flowers have fascinating markings ~

In her book 'Plant Personalities' Carol Klein describes it so ~ "Lamium orvala is devastatingly gorgeous, a must have plant. Those seeing this dead nettle for the first time are invariably enraptured. Again, it does not thrust itself forward, but relies on its inherent grace and its dark good looks to attract admirers. Each flower consists of a deep bowl into which pollinating insects are invited via a broad landing pad, spotted and marked like the lights on a runway to guide them in". Apparently it grows easily from seed but I still have to find any self - sown seedlings which I would welcome with open arms. It is also possible to take stem cuttings so I will test this out later this year. Lamium orvala's native habitat is woodland margins so it prefers some partial shade. I grow it in an east facing border.

Its not so desirable relative is one of those plants that should come complete with a government health warning. Bewitched by the writing of Margery Fish I was delighted when I originally came across lamium galeobodon variegatum. Its most innocent sounding common name of yellow archangel could not be more misleading. I wrote about it here and now some two years on I am still trying to eradicate it from the garden. This plant creeps and spreads itself about with guile. I have come to the conclusion that digging it out by hand may never work. It's an absolute thug and one that despite its enchanting appearance that you should stay well clear of!

I have noticed this spring to my horror, that this plant is making an attempt at world domination, as it is now creeping up the lane from our house to the main road - time for drastic action methinks. 


  1. Anna - what a great plant feature. I too was taken in by the yellow archangel who is devilish to get out of the borders. Best assigned to the woodland wilds. The balm-leaved red deadnettle is now on the wishlist and your image is devastatingly gorgeous.
    p.s. research suggests that Lamium derives from greek and means “female man-eater.”

  2. Yes, that is truly a beauty. The markings are wonderful. I can see how you was taken in by The Beast though, another very lovely plant, it's such a shame when they don't behave themselves. Thank you for the email, your prize will be on it's way to you this week.

  3. Almost orchid like. Very beautiful.

    I have a lot of Lamium growing around, it seems almost blue flowered.

  4. I love Lamiums. I have a white one 'White Nancy'I think it's called but slugs seem to love it so it's having a really hard time establishing. The flowers are so beautiful on Lamiums they really are orchid like. I think Yellow archangel is very pretty. It's growing in the woodlands around us. I didn't realise it was so invasive though.

  5. Love your Lamium - I too have the, well I call it, Yellow Rattle - it invades every part of the garden but I rather like it and it is easy to get rid of if necessary.

  6. I have the gold lamium too, but it is allowed to run riot in the part of our garden which hasn't been tamed yet! I love that pink one. I will have to keep my eyes open for that. It's a beautiful photo!

  7. I only have the thuggish invasive version! Yours is SO pretty, I'm going to have to keep an eye out for it :-)

  8. Anna:
    I have grown this for four years and find that it is most well behaved in the garden! Its nasty cousins are not worth the headache. There is also a bewitching white version of L.orvala as well, but it doesn't have the wonderful marked flowers that this one does.

  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog, which just happened to show the invasive lamium! Given to me by a friend when we first needed plants for the woodland, yes she is still a friend even though I pull most of it out each year. Bought Lamium orvala a few years ago, so well behaved though I have never seen any seedlings, must try sowing them myself !

  10. L. orvala is indeed a thing of beauty, and has been on my wish list for a couple of years now.
    You will be amused to know that I spotted lamium galeobodon variegatum being sold at my local Country Market yesterday, along side Vinca (major) and mind your own business (Soleirolia soleirolii) All these things are treated as weeds by me in this garden!


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.