Above: Lamium maculatum ‘Orchid Frost’. Photograph by Andrey Zharkikh via Flickr.

And then there’s the other types such as L. maculatum ‘Orchid Frost’, which at first boast stunning silver leaves and sweet two-lipped flowers. But then brutish slugs and snails can infiltrate and turn your plant into a mass of riddled holes or worse, a pile of mush. Prepare for the inevitable invasion by applying a pet- and wildlife-safe bait such as Sluggo ($12.16 for 2 1/2 pounds of pellets from Amazon).

Another thing to know is that although most fair best in moist conditions, dead nettles also will grow in dry shade. They do not, however, thrive in poorly drained or compacted soil and many types suffer from wintry wet soils with crown or stem rot. On the other end of the weather spectrum, in hot climates the leaves may get brown and crispy; this is when you can happily cut back the plant to stimulate new fresh growth.

Above: Lamium creates a tapestry, mingling with coral bells, cyclamen, and other ground covers. Photograph by Meet the People, Witness via Flickr.

Cheat Sheet

  • Dead nettles create a unique tapestry beneath small trees or among plants that can stand up to the competition. Can be invasive in fertile, moist soils.
  • Lamium’s attractive foliage provides interest even when flowers are not in bloom.
  • Relatively fine-textured foliage combines well with plants that have large leaves such as hostas for textural contrast, and with dark-leaved plants such as burgundy-colored coral bells. Other good companions are hydrangeas, hellebores, and ferns.
  • Deer resistant.

Above: Photograph by Free Use Photos via Flickr.

Keep It Alive

  • Grow the quick-growing ground cover in moist but well-drained soil in partial or full shade. Tip: Varieties with silver leaves often need more light to maintain their color. Don’t plant near smaller plants or they may be overtaken. Dig out rhizomes to keep in bounds.
  • Dead nettles are hardy perennials in USDA growing zones 4 to 10.
  • Prune or shear lamium back after the first bloom to promote compact growth.
  • Slugs, snails, mildew, and leaf spot are common.

If you’re looking for ground cover—to fill a shady spot, to grow under a tree, or to burst into flower in August when everything else is drooping—see our new curated design guide to Ground Covers 101, which covers Dead Nettles 101 as well as our other favorites, including Bugleweed, Coral Bells, Lungwort, and Lilyturf. For more inspiration and tips, see:

  • Hardscaping 101: Ground Covers to Plant Between Pavers
  • 10 Best Garden Design Trends for 2018
  • Fields of Green: 5 Favorite Lawn Substitutes
  • 10 Easy Pieces: The Most Magical Mosses
  • Unconventional Wisdom: 8 Revolutionary Ideas for Your Garden from Thomas Rainer

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for nettles with our Nettles: A Field Guide.

Additionally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various perennial plants with our Perennials: A Field Guide.

Interested in other edible plants for your garden? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various edible plants (including flowers, herbs and vegetables) with our Edible Plants: A Field Guide.

Purple deadnettle and henbit: Two common garden spring weeds

Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) and henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) are common weeds in the mint family that appear in early spring. They tend to grow in areas where the soil has been disturbed, such as fields, gardens and areas along buildings. Among other features, members of the mint family have a characteristic square stem.

Purple deadnettle and henbit are winter annuals. Winter annuals begin to develop in fall, form a small rosette of leaves that overwinter, and complete their development in spring, forming flowers and seeds. They die in late spring and early summer after setting seed. Both have two-lipped tubular flowers, opposite leaves and square stems. Henbit flowers are pink to purple with darker purple spots than those of purple deadnettle. The flowers of henbit are longer and more slender than those of purple deadnettle.

The leaves of purple deadnettle at the apex of the stems are tinted purple and fade to green as they mature. The leaves have a short petiole (stem) and are heart- or triangular-shaped with rounded teeth on the leaf margin. The leaves of henbit are more rounded and scalloped and clasp the stem directly – they do not have a leaf petiole.

Flowers and foliage of henbit. Leaves clasp the stem directly. Photo by Diane Brown, MSU Extension.

The apical leaves on purple deadnettle have a purplish cast. Photo by Diane Brown, MSU Extension.

Henbit and purple deadnettle reproduce by seeds. If you are trying to eliminate them with a herbicide, they are best controlled in fall or when they are actively growing. If there aren’t that many, they can be pulled or hoed out, or mowed down before they set seed.

Pollinators like these flowering weeds

Although they are considered weeds, you may be interested to learn that henbit and purple deadnettle are utilized as a food source by pollinators in early spring. The flowers of henbit provide a pollen and nectar source for long tongued bees such as honey bees and bumble bees in March and April. The nectar of purple deadnettle is attractive to bumble bees, honey bees and digger bees, a group of large bees that nest in the ground. They are also attractive to a bee mimic called the giant bee fly (Bombylius major). The adults of bee flies are pollinators. Bee flies are known to produce parasitic larvae in the nests of a number of ground dwelling insects including solitary bees, tiger wasps and cutworms. Some are very host-specific and others will parasitize a variety of hosts. The larvae of B. major are parasitic on solitary bees, including digger bees.

For more information on pollinators and plants that attract them, check out these Michigan State University Extension resources:

Popular Facebook page ‘Spotted in Harlow’ was mysteriously ‘deleted by Facebook’

A buzzing Facebook page which had more than 26,000 members disappeared yesterday, and they have finally spoken out about why.

The popular Spotted in Harlow page was formed to keep residents up to date with local news.

But today they have claimed that Facebook deleted the group without any warning.

The team behind the page think that it might have been due to a post which Facebook deemed as ‘racist’, but they are appealing the decision.

The page shared news articles, posts about police activity and events taking place from around and in Harlow.

A new page has been set up last night (February 6), by the anonymous admins, also called Spotted In Harlow.

The new Spotted in Harlow Facebook page confirmed the disappearance of the old popular page

A member commented on their first post and said: “Is Spotted in Harlow down?”

The page then posted an update stating: “Thanks to Facebook for removing our old page without giving us a reason. We are working to see if we can get it back. But until then we have a brand new page.

“New rules are being made to stop this ever happening again.”

Some members from the old page wrote on the new Spotted in Harlow explaining why they believed it could have been deleted.

They spoke about bad language and some of the “unnecessary” posts that were published, but many spoke of how they were happy the new page was back.

The group had over 26,000 members

They also commented: “Spotted in Harlow have helped thousands of people with lost pets and valuables. Bringing local news to its members.

“Also helped raise thousands for charity. People forget about the good stuff Spotted have done. Yes the haters have won this time but now we are working to stop trolls and haters to protect the page from this ever happening again.”

The new page is hoping to become popular again and asking new members to share it with friends and family online.

Masked and naked creep spotted for a ninth time in Sawbridgeworth

There has been yet another sighting of the naked, masked pervert who has been indecently exposing himself to women and girls in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth for almost nine months.

The creep was seen in Newton Drive in Sawbridgeworth, which backs onto Pishiobury Park, last Friday (July 12) at about 5.45pm.

Since late last October, Herts and Essex police have received reports of nine incidents in which a man who wears only a white mask frightens girls and women.

In many of the previous cases – four of which have been in Stortford – he has emerged from bushes and masturbated in front of his victims.

On June 6, police arrested a 53-year-old Bishop’s Stortford man in connection with the crimes. A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “The man remains under investigation and enquiries are still continuing.”

Since his arrest however, there have been three sightings of the creep, including the Newton Drive incident.

  • On Monday, July 8, a group of three young mums, who were taking their babies for a stroll along the River Stort at Harlow Mill, saw him pleasuring himself while he was on the opposite side of the river.
  • Just over two weeks earlier, there was another sighting of a naked, masked man on the outskirts of Bishop’s Stortford on Sunday, June 23. A Thorley Park mum saw the weirdo while she was running along Moor Hall Lane, on the southern side of the A1184 St James Way, towards Southern Country Park and St Michael’s Mead. He too was masturbating.

There have been other incidents reported to police, which pre-date the June arrest.

  • On May 19, the naked man, this time wearing a blue mask, was seen hiding in bushes at Three Mile Pond in Sawbridgeworth by a passing motorist.
  • On May 10, an 18-year-old girl in Southern Country Park heard a man call out and when she turned round she saw a naked pervert in a white mask.
  • On April 17, three women were confronted by a masked naked man near St James the Great Church at Thorley while they were walking a dog.
  • On February 6, a woman saw a naked man appear, touch himself inappropriately, then run away. He targeted her while she was getting into her vehicle in High Wych Lane.
  • On January 2, another woman was targeted in the same location. She had been sitting in her vehicle when she saw the naked man, with a bandage across his face, touch himself and flee into a wooded area.
  • On October 24, two 13-year-old girls in Southern Country Park were terrified when a naked man in a white leather mask emerged from bushes and started to masturbate.

Police looking into the series of indecent exposures have codenamed their investigation Operation Raft.

Chief Inspector Stuart Orton, head of East Herts police, reassured the public that everything possible was being done to catch the offender(s) and said that his officers were “following every possible lead”.

He said: “We’ve been reviewing any available CCTV footage and searching areas for any evidence where incidents have taken place as part of our enquiries.

“Alongside this, we’ve been carrying out additional patrols in affected areas, but my officers cannot be in these areas at all times and the offender is moving locations to evade capture.”

Chf Insp Orton advised anyone who sees the masked man to call 999 immediately, while anyone with information about his identity should call 101.

“Have you noticed a neighbour, friend or family member acting suspiciously? Someone out there must know something,” he said.

Anyone with information should call 101 and quote ‘Operation Raft’.

Bishops StortfordCrimeSawbridgeworth

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Cat Barkley

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