This is cimicifuga racemosa “Black Negligee.” The edges of the leaves are dipped in purple, a color echo of the dark purple stems. This is a very handsome plant. Sometimes called bugbane, Cimis fit nicely with the Yellow Wax Bells I talked about last week because they share the same need for constant water and a humusy soil. Although we have a sprinkler system, I also hand water these plants starting in July if rainfall is scant. Otherwise, bugbanes are another low maintenance plant that the deer leave alone.Blooms are white spires that appear late in the season—mine are just starting to bloom now, in September. Some gardeners say they need staking but I’ve never experienced that, perhaps because my” shady” garden gets at least three hours of morning sun. A quirk I’ve noted about bugbanes is that they’re particular about siting.This Bugbane, “Hillside Beauty” (on left) was moved three times before I found the right spot for it in front of a thread leaf cypress. Cimicifugas have thong-like taproots, so moving them isn’t recommended, but I could see the plant just wasn’t happy, so I kept trying!
Hillside Beauty has deeply mysterious purple/black foliage. I tried several times to capture it, but this is the best I could manage.
Their dark, almost embossed foliage makes them standouts in the shade garden. Give them a shot, if you an empty spot in your shade garden.