I get a kick out of looking at my Japanese Maple when the sunlight is at a level where the light passes through the leaves. At that moment their red is fiery, but when the leaves move into shadow a blue tone cools the color. The Chocolate Chip Ajuga’s purple blooms are the perfect foil to the maple’s quieter tones. After two years of seasonal setbacks, I am hoping the Ajuga will recover and spread. The latest reversal is the result of several long weeks this winter in which the foliage was smothered in a frozen snow mixture for extended periods of time that burned back the evergreen leaves. And now there’s a new layer of compost and mulch covering the foliage that did survive. Hopefully the blooms are a hint that the green creepers will soon follow, and the plants will be at least the same size if not larger than last year. But I won’t be holding my breath.
The Chocolate Chip Ajuga is quite the show right now. It’s planted in both my front and back gardens in and around my stepping stones where there is shade. Eventually the clumps will spread by stolons and weave a tight mat of foliage. Depending on the amount of sunlight, the leaves are a mix of rich chocolate-purple and green, but the color will deepen in more sun. This ground cover was planted less than a year ago and may take at least another year to lose its clump-like look and spread into an uninterrupted blanket of foliage. To see a larger expanse of this plant, click on the link below.