As the 4th of July rolls around, the early June show of Baptisia, Peonies, Iris and Cranesbill is fading, and its time to focus on high summer performers. I could not be without the dreamy clouds of the summer blooming Meadow Rues, or botanically speaking Thalictrum, with their sprays of dainty small blossoms on tall stems, creating a seductive haze above the knee high plants in the garden.
First there is ‘Splendide’, the first of the French breeder Thierry Delabroye’s introductions with its slightly larger soft lavender flowers. ‘Splendide’ is statuesque…it can reach 7′ in a rich soil, and may need staking when the branched stems are heavy with buds.
Thalictrum ‘Splendide White‘ is perhaps my favorite. Another selection from Thierry Delabroye, this white selection takes the place of Baby’s Breath in the border with its 3′ to 4 .5′ stems above delicate Columbine like foliage. Sprays of pearly buds burst into 1/2″ 5 petaled blossoms with greenish white stamens. Blossoms continue for weeks, and make exquisite cut flowers.
And then there is this older form of the species, T. delavayi, ‘Hewitt’s Double’, which bears its inflorescence on 3-4′ stems above dainty Maidenhair fern like foliage. It has shown a preference for excellent soil drainage in winter, but enjoys an evenly moist soil during the summer months.
Last but not least, is the most familiar form Thalictrum rochebrunanum ‘Lavender Mist’ which can easily grow 4-6′ tall in a rich somewhat moist soil. Sprays of lavender buds open to show 4-5 petaled blossoms with prominent yellow stamens in July and August. T. rochebrunianum can self sow where it is content.
Thalictrum are members of the Ranunculus family which includes, Anemones and Buttercups. They enjoy average to rich soil with ample moisture during the growing season and full or half day sun. T. delavayi is hardy in zones 5-8, and the rest are more cold tolerant and are hardy in zones 4-8. And oh, yes, they are not favored by deer or bunnies.