Sanguisorba officinalis



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Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Shiro-fukurin’

A cloud of rich raspberry-red-burgundy drumsticks float high in the air above silver frosted foliage, on airy Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Shiro-fukurin’. 

A summer cloud of raspberry drumsticks

Although each drumstick flower head is quite small, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of them floating in a haze. So the whole effect is fine, willowy and airy.
Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Shiro-fukurin’ makes a splendid backdrop plant, and the foliage contributes all  spring, summer and autumn.
(Please see “Growing” section below for plant details, how & where to grow)   

Silver frosted foliage

The dainty foliage of ‘Shiro-fukurin’ is lovely. ‘Shiro-fukurin’ means “ring of white” in Japanese, and it perfectly describes each small leaf, with a ring of frosty white around a sage-green centre. 

Superb cut flowers

You can cut armloads of the frothy, airy stems, and they last for ages in a vase.

Hardy & easy to grow

Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Shiro-fukurin’ grows from a thick rhizome type root base, giving it the toughness to withstand set-backs and overcome difficulties. 

Growing: Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Shiro-fukurin’

Height with flowers: Upright strong stems to a minimum of approx. 90cm. But if ‘Shiro-fukurin’ finds itself in a favoured spot – it can reach for the sky and produce flower stems to approx. 1.4 or even 1.5m. A plant to really look up to. 
Width: A graceful clump in an arching fountain shape from a narrower base. So the clump can be approx 75cm at the base but arching out to approx. 90cm. at the top.
Position: Full Sun to Part Shade / Dappled Sun is all agreeable to unfussy Sanguisorba officinalis. Some afternoon shade would be appreciated in very hot areas.
Suitable for seaside gardens.

Hardy & easy to grow

Soil: Sanguisorba officinalis is not at all fussy, and so will cope in all different soils, from sandy to clay and all between. Happily for gardeners with heavy and clay soils which can become quite wet in winter, it even thrives here.
Sanguisorba is not a hungry plant, so average garden soil is perfectly adequate, and heavy fertilizing should not be given.
It is unphased by soils on either the acid or alkaline (lime) side of neutral, and is particularly forgiving of soils with a high lime content. 
Frost: Extremely frost hardy, so it is capable of withstanding frosts to well below -15C. 
Water: Sanguisorba officinalis is not a thirsty plant, so normal, average garden watering is all that is required. The tough, rhizome-like root clump allows it to withstand variations in watering. 

Low maintenance

Care: Easy growing, low maintenance plant. Therefore the only real annual work is to cut the spent foliage clump back at the end of autumn to tidy up (or you can leave it to early spring if you wish).

Other benefits

Growth: Hardy perennial clump which has a lovely golden autumn colour change, is dormant over winter, before shooting again in the spring with that lovely, fine, variegated foliage, then flowering in summer-autumn with spectacular clouds of flowers.
Edible: Young fresh leaves can be picked and used in salads, sandwiches and soups. As the flavour is reminiscent of cucumber. So Sanguisorba has a long history of herbal and culinary use.
Beneficial for wildlife: The clouds of hundreds of flowers are very attractive to bees, butterflies and moths. They are buzzing busy gathering nectar.
Fragrance: Sadly none – but it has no other sins.
Deer & Rabbit resistant: While the flavour of Sanguisorba officinalis is tasty to humans, fortunately it is not particularly appealing to rabbits or deer.

A modern day plant hunting hero

Origin: Sanguisorba officinalis in its various forms occurs right across the northern hemisphere. This includes Asia, Europe, and also North America. So indicating just what a hardy and adaptable plant Sanguisorba officinalis is.
A treasure from Japan: Lovely variegated ‘Shiro-fukurin’ was recently found by Daniel Hinkley in Japan.The name ‘Shiro-fukurin’ means “white ring” in Japanese, which perfectly describes the lovely foliage.
Modern plant hunting hero: Dan is a modern day plant hunting hero.
He has found many wonderful new garden plants on his botanical adventures to remote wild places, and introduced them to the nursery trade all over the world.
Indeed I feel very privileged to have taken a group of our garden tour travellers to his wonderful private gardens on a quiet island in Washington State USA. Where Dan himself took us around, and introduced us to this very plant.  



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