With the full moon set to make an appearance this weekend what better plant to focus on than Achillea “Moonshine.” Most yarrows are garden-worthy; their delicately-cut foliage, long-lasting blooms and easy nature put them close to the “indispensable” category among perennials. “Moonshine” blooms happily in the hottest and driest location in my garden, where afternoon temperatures in August routinely reach 40 deg. C. A sharp shear down to the base after the blooms have faded results in quick regrowth and another flush of flowers to put the cap on a long season of performance.

“Moonshine” has lemon-yellow flat blooms beginning in late June. The plant grows to about 60 cm. tall and nearly as wide. The attractive silvery-grey foliage is finely cut, with a very distinct fragrance that makes it unpopular with deer. The plant will flop in rich, moist soils so grow it “lean and mean” for sturdy stems and compact habit and plant in full sun. Once the flowers are fully open the stems can be cut and hung upside down to dry for arrangements. Most members of the achillea family will grow in very cold winter climates, surviving down to -40 deg. C.

The classic garden combination is “Moonshine” with one of the blue perennial salvias such as “May Night” or “Caradonna.” The silver and yellow combines nicely with any other blues or purples or pinks. It also looks great planted with the clean white blooms of the Shasta daisy. Use “Moonshine” in front of the variegated ornamental grasses Miscanthus “Morning Light” or Calamagrostis “Avalanche” or “Eldorado.” Such a combination will shine in your garden regardless of the time of day.

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