24: Autumn 2009

Author: Anne Godfrey

Beautiful Burnets

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Beautiful BurnetsAnne Godfrey

Sanguisorbas are much in fashion at the moment and for very good reason. They make good stout border plants in sun, on any soil that doesn’t dry out excessively and give a soft, natural feel to a planting.
Their nice pinnate leaves are attractive in their own right and come in shades from dark green to grey green and the bottle brush flowers are produced in a variety of shapes, colours and heights, usually in the second half of the summer.

The following are highly recommended:
Sanguisorba canadensis is for the back of the border at 1.8m tall and has erect white flower spikes.
S. tenuifolia ‘Alba’ is also tall but has flowers that resemble drooping white catkins.
S. tenuifolia ‘Pink Elephant’ reaches 1.5m and has twisted pink bottle brushes that resemble furry ‘trunks’.
S. officinalis ‘Red Thunder’ is about 1m tall with clouds of plummy coloured thimbles from July onwards.
S. ‘Chocolate Tip’ is 90cm and has masses of darkest maroon button-like flowers.

There seems to be a certain amount of confusion with the naming of several cultivars, and indeed we have one on the nursery that no amount of internet trawling has identified as yet. It is 45cm tall and has ‘to die for’ very fluffy, confection-pink flowers – all suggestions welcome!

Sanguisorbas associate well with grasses and most other late flowering perennials, attract swarms of hoverflies to the garden and are even used as an ingredient in anti-wrinkle creams. What more could anyone ask!

First published in the Hertfordshire Group Newsletter, Autumn/Winter 2008
and subsequently in Cornucopia Issue 24
© Copyright for this article: Anne Godfrey

This article was taken from a copy of Cornucopia that was published in 2009. You could be reading these articles as they are published to a national audience, by subscribing to Cornucopia.

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