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Friday, July 8, 2016

My Sweet Annie

The genus Artemisia is a member of the Asteraceae (formerly Compositae) family. There are many varieties of Artemisia and though Sweet Annie is also called Sweet Wormwood, it is an annual whereas Wormwood, Mugwort and Silver King are perennials. If let go to seed you'll never have to plant it again, as it'll pop up anywhere. This sun, loving, drought and heat tolerant plant will grow in even the poorest soil.

Any of these plants are grown for medicinal purposes, to ward off insects, or as an ornamental plant used for wreaths and crafts. Growing to 4 - 5 feet tall, Sweet Annie isn't grown for their flowers and best used as a background plant. The foliage is attractive, various shades of light to silvery green and gathered for beautifully scented wreathes, swags, baskets...a crafter's love.

I've found that although Sweet Annie is a finer textured and softer plant to work with than most Wormwoods, it does wilt rather quickly once cut. To use it for wreaths it is best used as the foundation part of the wreath like you would use moss, and to use other everlast type plants layered over the top. 
Here is an informative post all about the various types of Artemisias and how to use them for crafts.

 The resilience of plant seeds and how they just lie dormant and wait for ideal growing conditions never ceases to amaze me. We used to have our chickens wandering around an area I had for my perennial plants and native shrubs. We fenced it in and the chickens helped keep the weeds down so I didn't have to mow in there. After a winter storm took down the fence we enclosed a much smaller area which didn't take long to become bare ground from the chickens scratching. This year we had only a handful of chickens so that area was able to fill in again. I was thrilled when I realized that a large patch of those little plants were my Sweet Annie!

 All is abuzz out there with so much insect activity. Artemisias are one of the group of plants that attract beneficial insects and pollinators to your gardens. By providing a variety of plant sources for all stages of insect life, you will find a healthy, balanced ecosystem that has no need for man's pesticides. Here is a good post on the subject to help identify beneficial insects and plants that attract them.