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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Actaea pachypoda 'Misty Blue': New for 2011

Posted by Graham Rice on 23 Feb 2011 at 12:51 PM

Actaea,pachypoda,Misty Blue,dolls eyes,Mt Cuba. Image: ©Walters Gardens, IncAs more people appreciate the value of shade as a habitat for so many delightful plants, so more and more special shade plants are being introduced. This latest example is a new form (left, click to enlarge) of an easy-to-grow North American native perennial, Actaea pachypoda, with three attractive features.

Its plumes of fluffy cream flowers open in April and May and, while not dazzling in colour, are charming and fit well into a woodland garden setting. They’re followed by spikes of white berries, each with a black spot at the tip giving the plant its common name – Doll’s Eyes. Each berry is held on a red stalk, which adds to the appeal. But the additional special feature of ‘Misty Blue’ is that the foliage, instead of being the usual plain green colouring, is a soft, bluish, slightly silvery green.

Reaching about 75cm/30in in height and making a slowly expanding clump of upright stems, Actaea pachypoda 'Misty Blue' is ideal in any partially shaded situation and in any reasonable soil that does not dry out.

It was discovered by Richard Lighty, Director of the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware, one of America’s leading native plant gardens. Many exceptional forms of American native plants have been discovered there.

You can order Actaea pachypoda 'Misty Blue' from Cotswold Garden Flowers and from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.

Images © Walters Gardens, Inc. Thank you.


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