Achillea tomentosa ‘Aurea’
MAYNARD’S GOLD GROUNDCOVER
Furry, silken soft, finely dissected grey leaves, make Achillea tomentosa ‘Aurea’ very pat-able.
You really can’t resist stroking the woolly foliage as it clings flat to the ground as a silken mat.
Furry, silken grey mat to pat as you pass
While butter yellow flower heads contrast wonderfully against this grey-silver carpet.
With blooms being steadily produced right from mid-spring through summer and autumn.
Shining silver & butter yellow
Achillea tomentosa ‘Aurea’ makes a splendid groundcover in the dry garden, or a pretty feature pot.
Because it is so long blooming over summer, while the silver-grey furry foliage mat is decorative all year round.
And when you combine beauty with iron toughness, it makes a very handy groundcover.
Aromatic, insect repelling foliage
Lovely silver, feathery foliage makes a feature all year round, as it grows as a tight, neat carpet, without any invasive runners.
Achillea foliage has a pleasant, spicy aroma to us, though insects dislike the scent.
Fortunately the aromatic oils persist strongly even when the leaves are dried.
So fragrant potpourri and insect repellent sachets have traditionally been made with dried Achillea leaves.
Hardy, tough & water-wise
This plant is certainly unflappable even in tough going.
So it tolerates hot and dry conditions well; copes with summer humidity; smiles at hard frosts; and shrugs off periods of dry. It even thrives in poor soils.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: QUICK & EASY
Suitable for beginners
INDOORS: Sow Achillea seed in a punnet onto surface of moist well-drained good quality seed raising mix.
Then cover the seed with just a light sprinkling of sieved mix or vermiculite.
Because light helps these seeds to germinate.
Now place the moist, sown punnet in a warm, well lit position (not in direct sunlight).
Temperatures of 15-20°C are ideal for rapid and optimum germination.
Keep moist but not wet.
Germination takes 5-10 days.
However if the seed is shy to germinate and has not sprouted within 10 days – it means the seed is dormant and needs a period of chilling to break dormancy.
So wrap the moist, sown punnet in cling wrap or a polythene bag.
And place in fridge (not freezer) for 4 weeks.
Then remove, unwrap and return to a warm, well-lit position for germination.
When the seedlings have true leaves prick out into pots and grow on to plant out in the garden during suitable weather.
SEED COUNT: 150 seeds per pack approx.
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count, and give a generous serve).
GROWING: Achillea tomentosa ‘Aurea
– Height with flowers: Flower stems are approx. 20cm. tall, and sit atop the silken grey foliage.
– Width: Neat tight carpet to a diameter of approx. 30cm. with no spreading runners. Not an invasive plant.
– Position: Full Sun. Tolerates summer heat well, as well as periods of dry and frost.
– Water-wise: A very water wise plant, with minimal water requirement.
– Soil: Very un-fussy about soil type, though good drainage is essential. Will tolerate poor soil conditions well. Achillea flower production is best if grown a little hungry. Overfeeding produces leaf growth at the expense of strong flower stems. Best kept lean and mean. Excellent in sandy, or rocky soils. Good choice for coastal gardens.
– Frost: Extremely frost hardy, and well able to cope with hard frosts to below -20C.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial groundcover carpet with pretty ferny silver foliage all year round.
– Birds & bees: Bees and also butterflies delight in visiting the flowers for both pollen and nectar.
Achillea also attracts beneficial ladybirds.
Birds seem to favour Achillea leaves for nest lining, as it is thought the essential oils in the foliage inhibits parasites in the nest.
An extract from the essential oils is a traditional control for mosquito larvae.
– Easy Care: Easy care and low maintenance.
The carpet is quickly tidied by shearing spent flower stems.
You can increase flower production further by dividing and sharing your clump every few years. But no other work is required.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Rabbits and deer find Achillea distasteful because the essential oils create a bitter taste in the foliage.
Achillea is native to many different areas in Europe and Asia, from the heat of Turkey to the cold of Siberia; from the humidity of India to the extremes of climate in North America.
Hence the exceptional hardiness of Achilleas, and their ability to adapt to a wide range of difficult conditions.
So it is often found thriving on poor and neglected land.
Traditional healing herb
Achillea has gathered a battalion of common names over the centuries.
Unsurprisingly, many names relate to its use as an antiseptic for treating wounds and staunching blood flow.
Thus common names include soldier’s woundwort, nosebleed plant, bloodwort, carpenter’s weed, knight’s milefoil, sanguinary, stanchweed, thousand seal, and scarily, death flower.
While other common names relate to its attractive foliage, scent, essential oils, and fern-like texture.
Old man’s pepper, bad man’s plaything, old man’s mustard, devil’s nettle, little feather, thousand-leaf, seven-year’s love, and yarrow, but that is just a few common names, there are even more.
The genus name Achillea celebrates an ancient Greek warrior, Achilles.
He also used this plant to heal war wounds.
Important for good beer
In medieval times Achillea was used as a flavouring in beer brewing, and as a preservative for beer.
Both very important roles considering water was a health hazard then.
Given their daily beer intake as a replacement for water, medieval man, and woman, must have spent a lot of time pickled,
And a pioneer plant in Australia
Early sailing ships brought Achillea with the pioneering European settlers to Australia. Pioneering farmers considered it an important ingredient in their family medicine chest, as well as fodder and tonic for their sheep.