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Posts Tagged ‘attractive seed heads’

As a child I spent many days in the woods near our house in town and at the lake, there my interest in plants was awakened. Many of the plants I encountered there I have not found in the area I live now.  Other plants I see may be related to the forms I grew up with. One plant I learned as a child but find different species of here is Thalictrum.  In the woods I saw Thalictrum occidentale and its leaves in particular being so delicate remained in my memory. Here we are blessed with several species of this plant with the best known probably being Thalictrum aquilegifolium (Common Meadow Rue). It has the beautifully dainty foliage but completely different and unusual flowers and the bonus is that it is very hardy.

A perfectly growing Thalictrum aqilegifolium 'album' is seen at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria.

A perfectly growing Thalictrum aqilegifolium 'album' is seen at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria.

Common Meadow Rue has a fairly wide area which it is found growing wild in. It ranges from west in France and Spain in through Switzerland into western Russia south into Romania into Bulgaria and rarely found in Turkey. With the area it is found in it is not surprising to note that several well known varieties have been collected.

Thalictrum aquilegifolium coolr ranges from deeper and lighter mave shades, pale pink , cream and pure white.

Thalictrum aquilegifolium color ranges from deeper and lighter mave shades, pale pink , cream and pure white.

In researching Common Meadow Rue there is surprising little written about it. The plant was named by Linnaeus and is thought to be the original Greek name. The genus of Thalictrum is quite large with between 100 and 2oo named species. It has proven to be difficult to define its taxonomy. Over time these problems will disappear which a closer look at genetic material now being used to determine and classify plants.

Thalictrum aquilegifolium grows well in the sun or shade with suitable soil conditions met.

Thalictrum aquilegifolium grows well in the sun or shade with suitable soil conditions met.

 Thalictrum aquilegifolium is a fairly large plant in that it grows quite tall and for this reason is best place in the middle or the back of the bed. Generally Common Meadow Rue grows 1-1.2 m. (3-4 ft.) tall and spreads 30 cm. (1ft.). It is densely grown and if grown in enough sun does not need staking as the floral stems will be rigid They like humus rich soil which retains moisture during the summer but is not wet. They like dappled to full sun, the more sun the more watering needed to look their best. They are easy care and have attractive seed heads.

The delicate foliage of Common Meadow Rue is perfectly matched by its downy,fluffy flower heads

The delicate foliage of Common Meadow Rue is perfectly matched by its downy,fluffy flower heads.

With its sturdy growth and yet dainty grace Thalictrum aquilegifolium is tough and withstands prairie cold temperatures of -35c. (-31 f.) and is rated as zone 3. I can attest to its hardiness as I gave one of these plants to my mother (zone 3) who promptly planted it in her garden. The following year I visited as was greeted with a glorious show of mauve flowers on a sturdy plant. In the following years my mother told me how much she enjoyed the plant and that it has produced several seedlings which she planned to move to other locations in the garden. Seed is the best way to propagate the plant, remember to stratify (chill it like it would go through winter). These plants can be divided in autumn when they are dormant.

Here Common Meadow Rue is planted mid-range in a sunny long border at Playfair Park in Saanich.

Here Common Meadow Rue is planted mid-range in a sunny long border at Playfair Park in Saanich.

Mauve or White..

A prairie gardens comments on the plant: http://em.ca/garden/per_thalictrum_aquilegifolium1.html

Comments from gardeners from around the world and their experiences: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/501/

An interesting tracking of the popularity of this plant over the years in graph form:

http://www.newcrops.uq.edu.au/listing/species_pages_T/Thalictrum_aquilegifolium.htm

………I hope you continue to make tracks to visit here weekly………..

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When my mother was alive I was always sending her plants to grow in her northern garden. I was working at wholesale nurseries at the time and was able to get some of the less common plants for her. I sent many types of plants for the steep border which was at the front of the house. Many plants prospered and were totally happy there and a few struggled. The one plant she loved the best was the Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris). She loved the big purple blooms and then latter the silky seed heads which lasted a long time.

The traditional purple form of Pulsatilla vulgaris is a happy camper here in Victoria.

The traditional purple form of Pulsatilla vulgaris is a happy camper here in Victoria.

Pusatilla vulgaris is just one of about 35 species of Pasque flower which all live in the northern hemisphere.  This plant grows in areas of Great Britain(East Anglia), Sweden to Finland and into the Ukraine. It generally grows in dry grassland areas as well as in chalky soils.  There are other species which are known but slightly different in form. One of the most common of these is Pulsatilla halleri which often hybridizes with other species.

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Rubra' is one of the glorious color forms which has a real knock-your-socks color.

One can easily imagine where the common name 'Danes Blood' came from when seeing this Pulsatilla.

Pulsatilla have several common names. Pasque Flower refers to when this plant generally flowers, at Passover(Easter), another name ‘Danes Blood’ is because these flowers are said to grow where Danes shed their blood. Pulsatillas belong to the Ranuculaceae family and they resemble other famous members of the family like Anemone. At one time they were called Anemones and are sometimes listed as a subgenus, in older books you will see this occurance.

I particularly like this color combination of the pale Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Alba' with a dwarf Pieris with it's fresh foliage.

I particularly like this color combination of the pale Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Alba' with a dwarf Pieris with it's fresh foliage.

Pusatilla vulgaris is a tough plant which can live in a variety of places and temperatures. My mother lived in an area which goes down to -40c(-40f)  regularly and the plant thrived just as well as it  does here where it rarely goes below -10c(14f).   Here I see it growing in the rocky slope of Terrace Garden at Government House as well as in the fantastic alpine/rock garden at Beacon Hill Park. Even in the Novitiate Garden at St Ann’s Academy there is one in the border under the veranda.

Pulsatillas will produce wispy, silky seed heads which last long after their flowers are spent.

Growing Pasque Flowers is quite easy, they like a spot with good drainage and average soil. They need plenty of water in their growing season during the spring and early summer and less when they become more dormant during later summer and autumn. In places where it does not freeze or snow it is important for them to be in areas where water can drain away easily. They need full sun except in very southern areas where they would prefer some shade during the scorching afternoons. I have seen them growing here in full sun as well as in very shady areas.

These three Pulsatilla vulgaris grow to be bigger more showy plants every years with dozens of flowers.

These four Pulsatilla vulgaris grow to be bigger more showy plants every years with dozens of flowers.

Each Pulsatilla vulgaris can grow to be 30cm(12in.) tall and as wide with the ability to produce many flowers every year. These plants produce a woody root and can not be divided. Pulsatilla are grown as container subjects, in rock and alpine gardens, perennial borders, early spring features, deer resistant gardens and used in native and woodland settings. To increase your crop you will can sow the seed as soon as it becomes ripe. It needs to go through several months of cold before it will germinate, therefore sow it outside in a well marked place. The seed is viable even in very cold climates as long as it has a good coat of snow to protect it.

As the flowers of Pulsatilla vulgaris age the petals often get larger and the color may fade.

As the flowers of Pulsatilla vulgaris age the petals often get larger and the color may fade.

More on Pusatilla vulgaris and it’s forms:

A page on the double form ‘Papageno’: http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.450.350

some great pictures and advise on this page: http://www.robsplants.com/plants/PulsaVulga.php

Until we meet again on this flowery path…

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