The shade garden at the park has a stellar cast of characters, from a bold oakleaf hydrangea, to autumn fern, toad lilies and a variety of hostas. But this spring season, it is the rodgersia that is stealing the spotlight.The third year is the charm for this plant. It is boldly coming into itself, becoming a solid anchor and focal point in the garden with its upright form, leaves and stems with substance and weight and a unique texture that catches the eye. The plant has an “old” look to it, not so much heirloom but more pre-historic. As bold, and dare I say fierce, as this plant is becoming, it is displaying a soft, light and airy display of white late spring/early summer flowers that are adding a lovely new dimension to the shade garden.
Growing rodgersia—The gardens are well watered at the park, thanks in part to the grounds crew. I do spot water this plant in the heat of the summer. My garden tags have long since walked off so I am not certain if my rodgersia are Rodgersia aesculifolia (Zones 5-9) or R. pinnata ‘Elegans’ (Zones 4-9). Rodgersia likes full sun to part shade, moist, rich soil (thus the spot watering) and has no notable pests or diseases.
Jenny Koester, AKA The Landless Gardener, is the Garden Blog Editor for Horticulture magazine and the author of The Garden Life.