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Really tall plants are show stoppers in the garden, providing a single grace note against a contrasting background or softening a hardscape element behind it. The last time I visited the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield in Hyde Park, I took pictures of some impressive tall perennials, such as plume poppy, that grow in front of the walls inside the garden. English walled gardens are famous for using tall plants as a backdrop in this way.
In my garden I watched my Thalictrum rochebruneanum, or meadow rue, grow like Jack and the Beanstack. The two plants eventually reached about 9 feet before they flowered, and they require no staking. Horticulturist Ruth Clausen tells me this is taller than is typical of this plant, and it’s taller than I want in that location. I’m going to move them in the fall to a location where the delicate spires and spray of pink flowers will be set against the dark woods behind them.
To view and download a list of Ruth’s favorite tall perennials click here. Anything shorter than 4-5′ didn’t make the cut!