Like an eccentric but glamorous great aunt, my plant this week is a wonderful example of how to age gracefully! Going grey yes, but losing any other attributes, no!
A bit like going to a big family party, I walk into the garden and there she is, you can’t miss her – tall, willowy and colourful; I am thrilled with this new(ish) addition to my autumn border.
When I first started gardening I distinctly remember growing salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) in my herb garden. Little did I realise what a large, varied and interesting genus it was, but back then they were seldom used in the border, as they are today.
Sanguisorba come in many different heights and colours (from white through all hues of pink to deepest burgundy), and the shapes of their flowers, usually held on wiry stems well above the handsome foliage, are variously described as catkins, tassels, bobbles and burrs. ‘Pink Brushes’ has large fluffy flowers that look a little like huge pink caterpillars!
Just writing about them makes me realise how many I don’t yet grow, and one interesting way to see them in action would be to go to the RHS Sanguisorba trials at Wisley. If you don’t live in the south, then try visiting Avondale Nursery near Coventry where they hold a national collection, also at Macplants in Scotland.