a plant i’d order: chaerophyllum hirsutum ‘roseum’

chaerophyllum hirsutum roseumIALL BUT FORGET THE SO-CALLED HAIRY CHERVIL, or at least I do until Garden Open Days in May or early June, when everyone asks what the pink thing is “over there,” pointing out front. Despite a dozen years of total neglect, Chaerophyllum hirsutum ‘Roseum’ always shows off for company; to pay it back for such loyalty I promised the sweet thing a portrait as a plant I’d order (if I didn’t already have it). Here we go:

Truth be told, I cannot even usually recall its name at those moments, an embarrassing thing when you are hosting garden tours. Nor did I know that it had a “common” name, let along two (the other being pink cow parsnip, apparently).

I’d never gotten up close and personal enough with this lovely plant all these years to notice if it’s really apple-scented the way the references all say it is. (I just went out and took a whiff, and I say no. Smells to this nose like parsley, or something else green; no apples here.)

What this little umbellifer of about 2 feet tall in bloom does have is good ferny foliage (not unlike its namesake chervil, or Anthriscus cerefolium, but much bigger), and the fact that even in a semi-shaded spot it will make a great show of off-pink flowerheads that have the slightest touch of lavender. They coincide here with many perennial geraniums, like Geranium phaeum and G. macrorrhizum, and the doublefile viburnums, if that gives you a better idea of timing.

A sunny border would be a good home, too, and newly conscious of my forgotten treasure, I am now going to divide and relocate some.

C.h. ‘Roseum’ has been called a Great Plant Pick by the Elisabeth Carey Miller Botanical Garden (if you don’t know their archive of Great Plant Picks, it’s a helpful list whether you live out that way or not). Chaerophyllum is a darling across the ocean, too, I learned while clicking about and landing at this blog, where I was then directed to another site to meet some of the other “cow parsleys”–all its cousins.

It is said to be hardy to only Zone 6, but I’m in 5B and it has lived here with me unfaltering maybe 15 years. In all my reading I learned that Chaerophyllum naturalizes freely for other gardeners, though my neglected specimen, perhaps sulking in protest, has never moved an inch nor sown itself. Can all be forgiven, dear plant? Can we start over?

source for chaerophyllum hirsutum ‘roseum’

  1. Robert Webber says:

    Yes! Interesting that we don’t get naturalization!
    Does that say something about us? I suspect not. I don’t think its neglect-its not a plant that would require fuss and feeding.
    And I have also grown it in a couple of different places so I think not aspect or soil. Just our experience.
    I also wonder quite how accurate comments are in books. They are obviously helpful sometimes, but lots of inaccuacies get passed from book to book.
    At the end of the day it is personal experience which tells!
    Thanks for the mention!
    Best Wishes

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Robert. It always fascinates me how my experience compares to what’s in books (or fails to compare, more likely than not). :) You are so right: You have to grow it to know it. See you soon again, I hope.

  2. DeborahB says:

    I have Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’, which I found last year at the Landis Arboretum plant sale. I had no clue that it was a cow parsley. It’s gorgeous with lacy foliage that’s the darkest purple, almost black, and tall stalks of white bloom. I’d heard that it was short-lived, perhaps an annual, but it came back with vigor for me this year. Can’t wait to see if I get seedlings. So far, no, but it’s still settling in (I hope).

    1. Margaret says:

      @DeborahB: This plant always reminds me of the Anthriscus that you have (other than the foliage color — which yours wins, hands-down). ;)

  3. Bennie says:

    Margaret, after seeing your first post about this plant, I added it to my wish list. Love the color. Thanks for this additional information – it will help my search! Love getting your e-mails and can’t wait for your book to come out!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Bennie. It is a pretty thing, and so cooperative. When I put it in the post about May tours the other day, I remembered I’d never really written it up. (It and about 1,000 other things here I keep saying I’ll get to any day now…). :) See you soon again, and thank you for the kindness and encouragement.

  4. Patty says:

    Very pretty. Just wondering, Margaret, what does it do after flowering? Does it die back, or stay upright with seedheads? Wondering if nearby plants, like liatris or coneflower coming later will be able to take over next. Thanks!

  5. Matt says:

    I just stumbled across this post after seeing some pictures of this plant on another site and searching for more information. I too am interested to know what the plant does once its finished flowering. I have a tiny garden so I try to choose plants that have as long a season of interest as possible, with regards to both flower and foliage. There are a lot of late spring/early summer plants that I love but I don’t grow because they draw attention to themselves by looking unsightly or dying back and leaving gaps in the borders later in the summer.

    Does the foliage remain lush and green and healthy after it has finished flowering, or is it one of those plants that’s better cut back or hidden by other things once the flowers go over?

  6. Sheila says:

    For a companion, Margaret, what about Phlox ‘Franz Schubert’?
    Is that the same colour?
    Or Obedient plant?


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