Because much of my garden is in at least semi-shade  I grow lots of the shade-loving ground-cover ajuga. Its bronze foliage contrasts well with silver grey lambs ears or dusty miller.  It will thrive in the most challenging of locations.

It’s serendipity that ajuga flowers at the same time as azaleas.

After good spring  rain recently  the plants  have flowered like never before and there are spires of indigo all over the garden.

Ajuga flowering on a bank.
Ajuga is a great plant for a bank.

Here is ajuga used very creatively in a landscaping feature. Not by me, and I’m afraid I cannot find the origin of the photo.

juga between pavers.
Ajuga between pavers.

To my joy the plant attracts birds and bees. One morning I was walking along the flagstone path and almost tripped over a wattle bird sipping nectar from the beak-high plants. I’m not sure if the bird was naively immature or tipsy, but it was completely unafraid.   I also grow it in the cover of an old Weber bar-b-que, where it’s  another source of delight for the wattle birds.

Wattle bird sipping ajuga nectar
Sweet treat for a wattle bird.
Bee on ajuga
Ajuga nectar.
Bee on ajuga flower

Oh yes, and we must not forget the butterflies.

Ajuga with bee
A sight to lift the heaet

Or, in this strange year of 2020, cicadas.

Ajuga  contrasts really well with yellow flowering plants such as corydalis. It reminds of a favourite poem from my schooldays, especially as the common name is bugle flower;

           The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold

            And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold.

                                                       Lord Byron.

Ajuga and Corydalis
Purple and gold

Sadly, familiarity  breeds contempt as the saying goes. Because this plant is so common and super easy to grow it is very undervalued, though certainly  not by me!

By the way, there is a pink flowering variety as well as a white one.

Pink ajuga.
Pretty in pink.
White Ajuga
Ajuga alba.
  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I too have lots of shade and I planted some Ajuga several years ago and have transplanted to many trouble spots in my yard. Your pictures have given me new ideas for using this plant.My Ajuga for several years has bee the real pretty blue but this week I found a whie one growing among the ble..so exciting..I didn’t know it grew in other colors ..sorry for the Epistle but I just wanted to say thank you and I agree…it is definitely underrated 🙂

    • Pauline

      I’m so glad my article was of help Cindy. Thanks very much for taking the trouble to leave a message.

  2. It’s a great source of knowledge; I think it will be helpful for lot of people who are looking for learning more about the a juga hero of the garden. Thank you very much for sharing this article.

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