a must-have sedum: ‘matrona’

sedum2AT LAST COUNT THE SEDUM VARIETIES HERE NUMBERED 12ish. Who’s the fairest of them all? Might just be the lady ‘Matrona,’ a blur of whose gorgeous blue-green leaves you see above behind its pinkening flowers.

Her names derives from the German for “lady of well-rounded form,” but I grow her a little on the lean and wiry side, which if you’ve ever seen me will come as no surprise.  I grow several plants weaving up and out through the perimeter of an old winterhazel, or Corylopsis spicata, whose foliage (like that of ‘Matrona’) has a pinkish-purple cast in places (in the winterhazel, it’s on new growth). You can see a Corylopsis leaf with this characteristic in the upper right of the photo above.

matrona2These two same-but-different plants have become good friends, and the Corylopsis shades the Sedum just enough to make it stretch to 30 inches or thereabouts (24 would be more the norm in full sun). It also seems to stay bluer in this spot (like that wonderful blue of the best blue hostas) than out in the open.

The flowers are just now beginning to color up from ivory with the slightest blush to a proper pale-to-medium pink, and oh those stems: a vivid purple-pink all along. Again, it would be bushy and upright in other circumstances (adopting the well-rounded form its name promises), but ‘Matrona’ and I are happy just the way we are here, thanks.

Your local nursery should have this beauty, a hybrid of familiar ‘Autumn Joy’ and the gorgeous dark-colored ‘Atropurpureum.’

20 comments
August 12, 2008

comments

  1. says

    Welcome, Root & Sprout. Yes, they are divine…sophisticated and sculptural-looking but dead easy to grow. And the foliage colors, shapes, textures. Yum. See you soon again, I hope.

  2. Matriarchy says

    I thought they were ugly and frumpy when I was younger, because all I saw were soldierly clumps of Autumn Joy in the yards of elderly neighbors. Now I have been slowly collecting them, seduced both by the plant and its resistance to my neglect. Especially liking the “Vera Jamison” that I got this year. It’s a step-sister of Matrona, the cross of Atropurpureum and Ruby Glow.

  3. Donna Oglesby says

    Thanks for the “Matrona” recommendation. It is lovely and I had not seen it. With drought the last few summers, I have planted increasing numbers and varieties of of sedum. They work really well for me for several reasons: I am here on the Cape seasonally and have a summer and fall garden; their colors mimic the colors of the lichen draped ice age boulders that provide the sculptural bones of my gardens; and they are easy. I love “painting” with them in compositions in front of the glacial boulders. The blue-grey and grey-green leaves and and rose shaded flowers that I use are wonderfully subtle and cause you to stop on your stroll and take a close look. Matrona will fit in perfectly. Thanks again.

  4. says

    I love the subtle, matching shade of the plants. I do similar things with mine suited to my hot climate. (Not at the moment, it is still pretty cool!)

  5. says

    Isn’t it funny how we have our favorite plants? And interesting the reasons why? While we love them all for their grace or quirks, there are always those particulars we’re most fond of. Like aunts or uncles, pairs of shoes and Patty Griffin songs.

    My favorite sedum is ‘Vera Jameson’. It is at once bold and serene, iridescent and unaffected, structured and effortless – like a Diane von Furstenberg dress or as Donna so poetically suggests, like “lichen draped ice age boulders”. I also just love the name. (Matrona is a good name, too!) Apparently, an Englishwoman named Vera Jameson found a chance seedling of the plant in her garden and brought it to the attention of one of her local plantsman. I picture them discussing it over chamomile tea and some lavender biscuits. …I can’t help but wonder what Vera grew alongside it!

    I will look for ‘Matrona’ in my local nurseries. As always, thank you, Margaret.

  6. says

    Welcome, Alexa Johnson. ‘Vera’ is a lovely girl, yes. As for Patti Griffin songs, ‘Let Him Fly’ from ‘Living With Ghosts’ is pretty damn good, but I always am a sucker for a “he did me wrong” song. :)

  7. balsamfir says

    I put this in this spring and am hoping it lives. Vera Jameson isn’t hardy for me(cold side of zone 4), but this looked a little more substantial and it is lovely.

  8. says

    @Balsamfir: I have read that ‘Matrona’ is hardy to 3, but also have read that about ‘Vera.’ Be sure it is in a well-drained spot where (especially in winter) its feet don’t get wet or stand in ice or anything. That will greatly reduce hardiness. Keep it high and dry…

    @Bluearrow: Now as for you, yes, you are correct (I think I hear the plants striking up a chorus of it this morning, in fact). And that tomato you left here…delish. Thanks.

  9. SandDuneDigger says

    Thanks for the great rec …. I am heading to the nursery today to seek advice on my ailing new Daphne ‘carol mackie’ (just too wet, I hope) and will look for this sedum.

    Oh and for the record … my all-around fave is baptisia. Foliage, form, cool blue cast …. imo it has it all!

  10. balsamfir says

    Garden, thanks, I did that. And Vera is still alive, but shrinking. About 1 inch now. Maybe I just got a bad one. When I bought it, it was labeled zone 5, and sometimes in certain places I get away with that. I find that surprising things will live in colder zones, while things you’d think should don’t… So Penstemon Red Rocks from Mexico is thriving, but not Vera.

  11. Rose Marie Morse says

    I like this talk of well-rounded and matrone, reminds me of a professor at Smith College who in teaching us about Rubens said, “I don’t know about you ladies but I like shapely women.”

  12. Dahlia Delight says

    Hello! Riding south again on Taconic from our “Adirondack camp” and wondering what to do with all the huckelberries?

  13. gail says

    It is my favorite sedum. Especially since I haven’t watered it at all in this hot dry summer and it still looks great…

  14. says

    She is beautiful, Margaret, and I had never met her before so it is always delightful to find a new friend. I will have to keep my eye out when I get to town. However, the real purpose of my comment is to let you know that I am enjoying your blog immensely. I don’t normally read in gardening season but your information packed pages keep bringing me back when the heat drives me inside. You do an excellent job of plant descriptions too. This post is a great example of that. Thanks for keeping it going and happy gardening!

  15. ann says

    On annual late summer bargain shopping found “buy one get one free sale” and only one Matrona left and it was leggy and growing horizontally. I got it anyway. It is not blue at all but leaves are purple. Planted immediately and did have small shower just before bedtime so hope for best..

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