On a lovely sunny day in early October, I headed over to the Washington Park Arboretum’s Pacific Connections exhibit. I was particularly struck by this vivid purple groundcover, helpfully identified by a knowledgeable employee as Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’.
This rhizomatous spreading groundcover has serrated, tri-folate, glossy purple leaves. It paired beautifully with a Carex and the deep green Phormium behind it. I was delighted to find the UW Botanic Gardens’ Living Plant Collection online which allows you to identify plants by grid section (this is 6-3E). Unfortunately, the map indicates that this is Carex ‘Frosty Curls’ and my ‘Frosty Curls’ at home is silvery and more fluffy, like a tribble. This one here is probably just an ordinary orange Carex testacea. More to come, on this thought-provoking garden soon.
— UPDATE Jan 18, 2014 —
This is what it looks like in winter. Not so ‘purpurea’ any more, eh?