Yunan Meadow Rue
Planted in the dappled shade of a young rohani beach is this Yunan Meadow Rue (Thalictrum delavayi). It's an extremely "floppy" plant that will not stand up on its own. The usual recommendation is to give it tall neighboring perennials to brace itself amidst, but seeing as how it gets to be five feet tall, a tree with low limbs is in some gardens more practical. Ours easily braces itself among the lower branches of the Rohani.
Because meadow rue has small leaves with an overall airy appearance to the foliage, it is not apt to smother anything despite its tallness & the potential two-foot spread of the clump. The rate of clump spread is very slow & it should not require division for a few years. It is easily crowded between other plants as a gorgeous fill-in.
Ours shares its space at the foot of the Rohani with a few other things, mainly with a largish creeping crane's-bill, Geranium "Patricia" which can smother small things, most happily weeds, but cannot smother the meadow rue which erupts from the ground earlier in spring & by the time both plants are at their maximum lushness in summer, the low-creeping crane's-bill & the high-reaching meadow rue are simpy happy companions.
Yunan Meadow Rue is a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit, given to plants that meet the strongest criteria of beauty, hardiness, & enduring garden interest. Its rosy-pink & white flowers with yellow stamins are very small but appear in great numbers in large loosely branching panicles both within & well above the small-leafed foliage.
It blooms continuously July & August. We've another meadow rue, Thalictrum rochebrunianum, which does not bloom half as gorgeously nor for so long. The flowers of Yunan Meadow Rue also last several days even as cut flowers. It's late August & October seeds are themselves rather decorative, slowly turning from pale green to brown.
Meadow rues need the protection of half shade & persistent moisture with good drainage. With too much sun the leaves quickly yellow & brown, or in dryness wilt away & those branches will not recover, though if bad happens, it'll bounce back quickly with plenty of new growth as soon as conditions are corrected & favorable. It is one of the truly ideal plants for our style of woodland- or cottage-gardening, its delicately beautiful foliage charming with or without the addition of the blooms.
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