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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Astrantia major Roma, a Delightful Perennial

Last summer, I posted a blog about the perennial Astrantia major. It was the first season that I had grown that plant and it impressed me sufficiently to recommend it to other gardeners. Almost every aspect about it remains positive: it is elegant, regal, neat, and floriferous. Unfortunately, neither the white nor the red varieties project enough into the distance. However, the flower of the red one is very rich looking and texturous [I made up the word] when it is admired at close range.

As you may already know, plant breeders are very happy to solve gardeners’ dilemmas when it is within their power to do so. Astrantia is another one of their successes. The market was ready for a bright colored variety and the breeders delivered. This spring, a supplier sent me the new variety, Astrantia major Roma, that blooms in pink. In the sun, it is rather striking. This new cultivar, nurtured to bloom at point of sale, was the first perennial to add color to my flowerbeds early in the season. Now that its spent blooms have been deadheaded, I notice new growth around the base of the plant. If history repeats itself, there will be a second flush of flowers by July.

Astrantia belongs to a collection of various perennials that I call sleepers. They look boring in the nurseries before they bloom but surprise the gardener when they flower. The older Astrantia varieties in red or white were not very dramatic. Yet they had been featured countless times in English gardens across the Pond. Clearly, there was merit to them. I came to admire such plants late in my gardening life after I already had my fling with more flamboyant ones.

Now, I am eager to discover quiet plants: those that are overlooked even though they are very reliable. Place them in the garden and, boy oh boy, do they perform! There is nothing quite like a long blooming pink perennial that reaches 2 feet in height, with its many spikes of flowers creating a dense bouquet.

P.S. Don’t trust the photos! This plant looks significantly more lush in the real garden than it does in a photo.

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Reader Comments (4)

This looks like a beautiful cultivar, Allan. My astrantia (the white one with tinge of pink) was just starting to bloom, but alas the resident woodchuck bit off all the flowers last night. Sigh. It will bloom eventually, but not this week (or maybe not even this month). I may move the white one to my new part-shade woodland garden and replace it with Roma in the deck border. Thanks for the recommendation.

June 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Very pretty flower. I've never seen one quite like that. And the fact that it blooms more than once is a plus.

June 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWindow On The Prairie


I'm creating a large bed to grow cut flowers. Is this one I should include? Would it work well in arrangements?



June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

I bought it from Bakker (nederlands) and grow miserable.
I hope i will buy the "rome" somewhere. As You say, should be very nice.
Mani thanks.
Giorgio Gislon

November 5, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergiorgio Gislon

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