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Hardiness Zone Map


Actaea

Black Snakeroot

A botanical “Renaissance Man,” Actaea is at home in an informal garden, a refined border or in an arrangement for opening night at the Met. Their ambrosial perfume floats through the air as they illuminate their surroundings. Actaea is happiest in moist, humus-enriched soil and bright shade; otherwise it’s carefree and low maintenance.

An 1805 discovery by German-born Frederick Pursh in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, this superb hard-to-find American native sprouts broad ample-sized foliage, distinctive for its handsome Maple-like appearance. Straight emerald-hued steadfast stems, bearing fragrant creamy white floral candles, tower above a leafy verdant clump. Appalachian Bugbane can be ensconced near Athyrium 'Ghost', where it vows luminous late season accents, deer resistance and easy care.

Blooms July–September

Size: 4' 0" – 4-1/2' high x 2' 0" – 2-1/2' wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

A superior South Korean selection recently introduced by Darrell Probst, this compact courtly Actaea furnishes lush verdant layers of jagged-edged, shiny green leaves clasping blackish purple stalks. The dark pearl-shaped buds plus tiny snow-white blossoms embellish tall close-set glittering candles that gracefully herald the season’s end.

Blooms August–September

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Promising three season appeal for the woodland garden, this marvelous soft-looking East coast native is a Dr. Richard Lighty selection from Delaware’s esteemed Mt. Cuba Center. Its handsome glaucous clump of finely cut silvery blue-green foliage hosts small starburst-like creamy white blooms on short stalks in spring and several months later, wondrous round white berries, each tattooed with a distinctive black spot at the tip and poised upon a striking bright red pedicel. Long-lived White Baneberry crafts an exceptional multistemmed ground cover that favors moist well-drained soil.

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

<i>Actaea racemosa</i> <i>Actaea racemosa</i>

Long wandlike, creamy white flower racemes seem to dangle and dance on invisible stems above clumps of Astilbe-like foliage. Try this Actaea (Cimicifuga) in a naturalized setting, under a tall canopy at the back of the border, next to leafy Ligularia.

Blooms July–August

Size: 5' 0" – 6' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Brimming with elegance, this compact dark-hued perennial pays homage to the British horticulturist, who extensively researched this genera’s DNA. Astilbe-style, nearly black and bronzed matte- green leaves attire sleek, lanky, midnight-purple stalks beneath spherical deep plum-hued buds and a perfumed showing of long, fluffy white cylinders, donning occasional pink tinges. Guaranteed to lend dashing lacy accents, this straight-backed perennial can linger behind Astilbe.

Blooms August–September

Size: 5' 0" – 6' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

<i>Actaea simplex</i> ‘Atropurpurea’

Grown from seedlings carefully selected for dark, coppery-purple foliage, the regal profile of ‘Atropurpurea’ shows its good breeding. A garden dweller with a stately bearing, its sturdy reddish purple stems soar above your head, displaying dense spires covered with round mahogany-hued buds and sweet pouffes of white. Echo this Actaea’s somber tones by bringing it together with Angelica gigas, and let the lime-green foliage of Choisya ‘Limo’ lighten the mood.

Blooms August–September

Size: 6' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

<i>Actaea simplex</i> ‘Brunette’

Noted around town for her purple-black leaves and stems, ‘Brunette’ is sure to turn some heads with her graceful fern-like foliage. At the back of the border, amidst the chaos of summertime greenery, this dark lady’s shadow lolls long before offering up arching racemes of fragrant, slightly blushed white flowers. One of the most sought-after cultivars, ‘Brunette’ is another lovely dark foliage selection of Actaea simplex seedlings.

Blooms August–September

Size: 5' 0" – 6' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

Lofty, lean raisin-colored stems culminate in long honey-scented pale pink spires stretching skyward above a refined, Ariel-like mass of sumptuous, serrated chocolaty-purple foliage. This coveted garden aristocrat casts a decidedly feminine aspect on Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’s coffee-hued leaves.

Blooms August–October

Size: 5' 0" high x 2' 0" – 2-1/2' wide.

Zone 3/4.

Surprisingly under used, ‘White Pearl’s bright white, bottlebrush-shaped blossoms and large pearly buds will light up a dark setting just like the animated glow of a 4th of July sparkler. Good-sized perfumed flowers unfurl later than most other Actaeas, while their densely set stalks are more arching than Actaea racemosa. Tolerating drier, less rich sites, the deceptively tough wiry stems and finely cut, toothed foliage compose a nimble-looking medium green stand that slowly spreads.

Blooms September–October

Size: 4' 0" high x 2-1/2' wide.

Zone 3/4.

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Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Our featured plant: Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Shasta’

Vivacious Viburnums, Revel in Late Season Repose, Go-Green 2021 Holiday Sale!

Vivacious Viburnums……

Endemic to both Asia and North America, this vast group of graceful cold-hardy shrubs includes more than 150 species and numerous cultivars that are moderate to fast-growing. Our reliable Viburnum offerings sprout dashing deciduous or evergreen foliage with an array of leaf shapes and textures. Their gorgeous flowers unfurl in either a lace-cap style or dome shape, with  species such as V. carlesii and V. x burkwoodii wafting a delectable scent. Many don lustrous bird-friendly fruit, ranging from red to dark purple to black, while others blaze with autumn color. Preferring sun or part shade, these undemanding shrubs can be ensconced in large containers and shrubby borders, or featured as a stellar specimen, clipped into an  informal dense hedge or planted in a drift.

Revel in Late Season Repose……

As November draws to a close, a quieter mood prevails in our gardens. Many perennials are either dormant or getting ready for their winter’s rest. Though, some of the more stalwart ones, especially those that are located in protected spots still present a foliar aspect plus a handful of blooms. The blades and dried buff or silver-laced inflorescences of quite a few ornamental grasses thankfully remain standing, providing movement and delightful rustling sounds. Many deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees continue to hold our interest either with fall color, artful bark and branching patterns or year-round foliage. The plants that we chose for this newsletter captured my attention, as I was strolling with my trusty canine cohort, Boobah this past week.

All of us plant wranglers at Digging Dog hope you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends, and perhaps find some time to enjoy your garden.

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