BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Addicted to Love…of Plants

Actaea racemosa or Ciimicifuga
A shade garden perennial to love - Actaea racemosa or Cimicifuga racemosa 
@GardenDesignMag asked its twitter followers last week - Do you have a plant addiction? Of course, if you love plants, there should be more than one. But if you follow our FB page, the image posted was the plant choice that won out. Actaea racemosa or Cimicifuga racemosa is its genus with common names that may sound familiar - bugbane, snakeroot or fairy candle to some.

For the drum roll of attributes, read further for what makes this perennial an easy decision to be addicted to – or love. First, it has an amazing late season flower. Its wispy blossoms might make one think of all the snow covering the plant beds right now but come blossom time, you’ll only be thinking late summer thoughts. It’s a sensational backdrop to even the most bedraggled of beds. There is a long list of varieties that range from dark green to black/purple foliage. For a special variety, one we often choose for part of our landscape planting plans, try ‘Hillside Black Beauty.’  You can find some varieties that offer soft pink flowers but the white is our favorite. 

This tall, late-blooming perennial provides a wide hardiness zone (3-9) so it can blend with the best of the rugged companion plant materials. This must-have plant is great for adding contrast with texture plus it can break up too much of that ‘good thing’ garden green. This woodland plant mixes well with ferns, hosta, and groundcovers, i.e., another favorite – Epimediums. Because of its height, Actaea racemosa is best located in the background so it can take its bow. This plant can reach 4 to 6 feet in height so place it accordingly but that’s what makes Actaea racemosa a number one plant to love. You can also position it in front of an evergreen backdrop that makes its flowers pop.

For some you could call it plant addiction, that is if being addicted to growing beautiful borders and shade gardens can be horribly bad.  As Robert Palmer sang, “It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough. You know you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to love.” It is the month of February, the month of love and heart, so pick your favorite tree, shrub, or plant that you know you're addicted to and make sure there’s more of it in your landscape plans when the snow finally melts and the ground starts to thaw.

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)