New England

June, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

'Elin' Meadow Rue
Last summer I was looking for a tall plant to serve as a dramatic focal point in a shady section of my garden. When I selected the new hybrid meadow rue Thalictrum 'Elin', a cross between yellow-flowered T. flavum glaucum and purple T. rochebrunianum, I got drama indeed! Purple shoots rise up out of mounds of finely-textured, scalloped, blue-green foliage -- and up, and up and up. Some sources say that plants can reach as high as 12 feet; mine reached an impressive 6 feet in its first growing season. In July and early August these shoots are crowned with airy sprays of pale yellow and lavender flowers. The flowers are sterile and don't set seed, so the bloom period is especially long. Plants do best in rich soil and partial shade and generally don't need staking, in spite of their towering height. Mine thrives in a spot that gets morning sun. I've combined 'Elin' with two other shade lovers, the hosta 'Krossa Regal', whose vase-shaped cluster of frosty blue-green leaves picks up the blue in 'Elin's' leaves, and purple snakeroot, Cimicifuga (or Actaea) ramosa 'Brunette', whose deep purple leaves echo the hues of the meadow rue's stems. Its wand-like white flowers emerge in mid to late summer to carry on the floral show into the fall.

Clever Gardening Technique

Give Your Neighbor a Japanese Beetle Trap
Just kidding! This tongue-in-cheek advice is meant to point out that while Japanese beetle traps do a good job of attracting adult beetles, they are less successful in actually trapping them. Plants near traps can suffer more damage from the increased number of beetles lured to the area than if traps were not present. If you do decide to use traps, place them away from the plants, such as roses, that you are trying to protect; set traps on the other side of your yard from the rose bed, for example.

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