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According to William Cole’s Art of Simpling (1656), Loosestrife prevents oxen from fighting. Some say the name derives from a Greek word meaning “to dissolve strife.” What we could debate is whether form follows function, or vice versa, because this showy group is as hardy as it is attractive.
Some species are tall, others are low, but all are vigorous and easy to grow—so let them loose in cool, moist locations such as woodlands, bogs or waterside meadows. A varied group, each offers a unique foliage form.
Racemes arching like shooting stars, bursting into soft white flowers against a deep green galaxy of foliage, make graceful, upright Gooseneck the jewel of the woodland setting. It’s a toss-up between growing it for flowers or foliage, but either way, it’s a winner.
Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 0" & spreading wide.
Hardy to zone 4.
Lofty, narrow spikes of pearly white starlike flowers grace this hard-to-find European species. Non-invasive Lysimachia ephemerum grows in a clump, rather than spreading by runners like its more aggressive cousins. Joined at the base around sturdy, upright stems, the glaucous gray-green leaves are opposite and lanceolate in shape. An intriguing flower for arrangements, this Lysimachia’s soothing colors are a gentle match for Thalictrum flavum ssp. glaucum.
Size: 4' 0" – 5' 0" high x 18" wide.
Hardy to zone 6.
Native to Europe and Russia, Golden Creeping Jenny has naturalized in North America. Bearing tiny, bright yellow flowers, it creates a striking understory of round, golden foliage and, if planted at the edge of a pond, will reach into the water like rays of sunlight. For stunning contrast, place near plants with purple foliage.
Size: 2" high x 0" & spreading wide.
Hardy to zone 5.