Fifty Shades of Gray and Texas Sage

I have a renewed crush on the color gray.  I've always liked it...but I wouldn't say I loved it. That was before I started planting Texas Sage Silverado and some of its heat-loving, drought resistant compadres.

I took these pictures just this week, and despite another hellish summer, they look as fresh and perky (if not better) as they did the day I planted them.

Frequent clipping not only keeps them full and bushy, but also keeps their size in check for smaller spaces like mine. I adore the way all this snipping creates the look of clipped box...only in gray (or rather a yellowy-greenish-gray when pruned so often.)

I plan on using even more of them towards the back of another flowering border where I'll let its natural arching habit have its way

and where it will look  mahvelous planted with this gray Giant Coneflower L. Rudbeckia maxima.  Its tough as nails sword shaped leaves will make a wonderful textural counter point to the smaller-leaved sage. 

To complete this silvery trio, let me also sing the praises of the ferny-leaved yarrow, Achillea 'Moonshine'.  Like its other gray companions, this perennial wants excellent drainage - give it a generous scoop or two of gravel (if your soil is as heavy as mine) when planting, and then enjoy its delicate foliage and brash yellow flowers.  (Though, honestly...I can take or leave the flowers.  I am ALL about the foliage on this baby.)

If this trio is not enough to satiate your appetite for silver, then 

snag some seed somewhere from an unknown, unsuspecting mullein 

and let it come up where it may to join the party

and lend a little (rather BIG-leaved) fuzzy drama.  Just make sure to give it the same excellent, gritty drainage.

Did I fail to mention that Texas Sage also puts out delicate pinky-lilac flowers in the summer when all of the other bloomers have given it up?

It's a lovely gesture, really it is,

but like that yarrow,

I'm all about the foliage with this one too.

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