The Beckoning Burnet

There is something that’s draws the eye to the graceful, arching stems of Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis). I find it baffling that they are not a common sight in gardens I’ve visited.

From late July into the fall, my two Burnet plants blossom profusely. They have narrow, serrated , deep-green leaves. To date, they have returned every year and have been free of any pests. Sometimes I cut off a few of the leaf stocks to prevent them crowding out my beloved Meadowrues. The flowers are a purplish maroon colour and are said to resemble bottlebrushes. (One friend from Australia thought this was immensely funny, considering the huge Bottlebrushes in that country.) The blooms on this plant, native to Eastern North America, measure a few scant centimetres in length.

In the mid-1990s, I came across Sanguisorba for the first time in Ottawa’s Byward Market. What a treat that was – to gaze at the incredible selection of plants offered by numerous vendors all summer long. I learned much in those gardening years in Ottawa just from visiting with the vendors.

When I began my garden in Regina, I tried to grow many of the same plants that I had come to love in my Ottawa garden. Burnet was one of them. I had several failures though, which made me realise the necessity of learning to grow plants that thrive in the area that one calls home. (I also have had several failures of plants that other gardeners grow effortlessly here!)

Burnet is one of the first plants, for me, that signals summer’s drawing to a close. My Sedum spectabile (at left) is another one. The variety name escapes me.

It looks lovely this year – all of the rain we’ve had combined with some decidedly hot weather have been ideal conditions for all my Sedums.

But despite the signs of autumn’s approach, there are many summer flowers happily blooming their little hearts out. The Bluebells have several new flowers and this Clematis ‘Blue Boy’ (at right) is looking lovely twining through the bamboo trellis, while the Heavenly Blue Morning Glory (below) has at least one new bloom every day.

Things are slowly returning to normal after a rather nasty infection. I have been making slow progress on my wall and will posts some pictures of it soon.

In the meantime, here’s a photograph of my favourite place in my garden – the new seating area with the bamboo trellis in the foreground. Most of my stenciling to date is at the far end of the garage.

The sun is making an effort to shine after a few days of magnificent thunderstorms. The wind was quite something, although the garden today looks fresh and beautiful.

Thank you to everyone for their well wishes. Next year, fiddle camp is on the agenda!

48 thoughts on “The Beckoning Burnet

  1. Pam/Digging says:

    I’ve never heard of burnet before (except as a town near Austin), but it is quite lovely. So is your new seating area. You must be enjoying that beautiful spot.

  2. Marie says:

    I love the color of that morning glory. What a blue!I never heard of burnet either. I learned of something new.

  3. Abby Creek Art says:

    Hi sweet Kate…I especially love that last photo of the garden path. It is so lovely and peaceful. xoxo!

  4. Alyssa says:

    What a cozy and welcoming garden you have. I feel like I could just walk in, sit down and relax for an hour. It will be wonderful to gaze at your artistic creations as you take in the scents and sounds.Can’t wait to see some pictures of it. The Burnet plant is very unique and I’ve never seen one in any garden. I’ll bet it is nice weaving in and out and peeking between other flowers.

  5. Layanee says:

    Happy to hear you are feeling a bit better! I haven’t seen burnet in the garden centers but it is pretty and the leaves are quite nice. I love your seating area with that cool umbrella!

  6. Layanee says:

    Kate: I just checked in on Blithwolds’ blog by Kris and she has a picture of the burnet also! Great minds!

  7. Annie in Austin says:

    Some species of Burnet grew in a demonstration prairie garden in Illinois- I considered buying some for my garden when I lived there. Calling Burnet ‘bottle brush’ probably wouldn’t work in Austin, either – people grow the large, red, Australian kind here. But the Sanguisorba bottle brushes look as if they would blend with other plants in a border – the Callistemon bottle brushes are more assertive. I’m glad to see you blogging and gardening, Kate, and enjoying your courtyard while it’s still summer. Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  8. Magic Cochin says:

    Your Great Burnet plant looks really pretty – I love plants that have small bright flowers on tall wiry stems – little pointillist dabs of colour.I haven’t seem the Great Burnet over here, but we do have Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor) which is a native British plant and the leaves are edible – slightly cucumbery and traditionally put in summer drinks.Glad you’re feeling betterCelia

  9. Kris at Blithewold says:

    Thank you for visiting Blithewold, Kate! Now it’s my turn to enjoy your garden! Beautiful pictures and I love love love that clematis! I’m not sure why burnet isn’t more common – it really is pretty and is a great cut flower. I answered your questions about our plants back on my blog so I hope to lure you back for another visit! (You were right – ours is different)

  10. gracia says:

    I quite agree, the Great Burnet (though I didn’t know the name) is so very fetching. It’s so lovely to see the tail end of summer as we see little signs of spring over here.Happy green ways to you, g

  11. kate says:

    Hi Pam – I don’t understand why Burnet is not grown more often… it is a striking plant. I am very much loving my new seating area … it’s like my haven. Plus I can sit and stare at the flowers appearing on the garage wall and decide where I need to add a few more blooms!Marie – I had four of these morning glory blooms this morning. They are an incredible colour. Linda – I am pleased with the way the garden path turned out. There is such a variety of rock and colours that it’s fun to look at while walking on it. L. isn’t too pleased though because it is not as comfortable as the pea gravel further down by the garage wall. Mostly, he now sleeps plopped down beside me while I’m working on the wall or he’s fast asleep on the porch while I’m gardening.Alyssa – It would be wonderful if you could just amble over and spend some time sitting with me. I need to take some pictures of the various stages of the wall stenciling. It takes ages – I’m hoping it is done by winter. The Burnet looks wonderful with the flowers around it … there is a clematis behind one of the plants and it provides a nice solid wall of green to showcase the Burnet.Layanee – Thank you so much for pointing out Kris’ Burnet at Blithewold. I toured over to her blog and saw a Burnet that was twice the size of mine!!Ah you noticed the umbrella. I love it – with the big sunflower.Annie – That is cool about the Burnet growing in the Illinois demonstration gardens. It is an easy plant to grow. I love the way the little blooms open up … they also blend well with other flowers. They aren’t particularly showy but they catch one’s eye because of their simple beauty. Your climate is likely much the same in some Australian places where the Bottlebrushes are enormous. Magic Cochin – I should try tasting one of my Burnet leaves and see what it tastes like… I didn’t even make the connection between Great Burnet and Salad Burnet…duh. You came up with a marvellous description for Burnet… little pointillist dabs of colour!Kris – I’m glad you came for a visit. So you are as baffled as I am by the rarity of Burnet in gardens. Now I have to visit your blog again for your answers.Gracia – At this point, I am very much envying you in Australia knowing that your spring is starting to emerge while our summer draws to a close. I am hoping you post some garden pics on your blog, although I have been having a good time reading your film reviews!

  12. Jean says:

    I’ve never seen a burnet. I love the color! I’ll have to do some checking and see if they will grow in NY and then try to find one. Thanks!

  13. kris says:

    Hi Kate – I’m glad you’re starting to feel better. Take it easy!I just Googled great burnet – because I don’t recall seeing it here. It’s zone 5 (we’re 4) so that may explain it. However, I think I may push the envelope a little and try to find some next year. It’s very cool.My sedum is just starting to show a little color. And I have several things reblooming here too. It seems early to me for things like sedum and Japanese anemone!I adore your seating area – it’s charming. And the flower umbrella is wonderful! I would love to sit out there and have a lovely visit with you!

  14. Clare says:

    Hi Kate! Happy Tuesday. I so enjoyed your photos today — the variety of colors in your garden is an absolute joy! The morning glory is neon blue — and the burnet’s maroon is like a delicious wine. And your seating area is so cozy with the sunlight on the bamboo trellis — plus the yellow cat made me smile a big smile.:)

  15. Marie says:

    Hello again!Beautiful flowers, beautiful photos! I understand you have been ill. I hope you are feeling better.I wish you a speedy re’covery! Big hug from Marie

  16. No Rain says:

    You have so many flowers blooming toward the end of summer. I love the blue morning glory–my favorite flower of all time. I think I’ve seen it before–did you have it on another post?Aiyana

  17. Laura says:

    i have never seen the burnet plant before, it is great looking and reminds me of something we have here but i can’t put my finger on it. sometimes you go through a long time without seeing anything new, it seems, so thanks for sharing that.

  18. Mary says:

    Hi Kate – I’m glad you are feeling better. There’s nothing worse than feeling ill in the middle of summer.You have a nice haven to enjoy – you must spend HOURS outdoors.You have me hooked on morning glories now. Next year. Everything you have is loving life.Take care of yourself!

  19. Molly says:

    I have sanguisorba tenuifolia (white bottle-brush flowers) in my garden and I love it. I don’t know what they aren’t more popular either.

  20. Pam says:

    I have been behind with my blogging of late and did not realize that you had not been well. Very glad to hear you are on the mend.These pictures are just beautiful and the morning glory knocked me out. What a magical shade of blue!Take good care of yourself and I am looking forward to pictures of your wall.

  21. Entangled says:

    I’d heard of salad burnet before, but didn’t realize it had ornamental cousins. I’ve never grown any of them, but they look interesting.Hope you’re feeling better!

  22. kate says:

    Hi Jean – I’m sure you can grow Burnet in NY. I hope you are successful in finding a plant. Kris – The funny thing about Burnet is that it obviously doesn’t mind a zone 3 climate. My two plants have survived repeated winters without any damage. In a zone 4, I imagine you should have no problem. It seems early to me too for sedum and Japanese Anemone … sigh! Maybe some day you can make a trip up to Canada and sit in my garden with me. I love the umbrella too … I have another one, but it is stained with the droppings of tent caterpillars. There’s no getting rid of the nasty black stuff they leave in their wake. Clare – That is a good comparison. The burnet is like a fine wine in colour. I love my yellow cat because it reminds me of my cat, Hazel, and how vibrant she was when she was alive. Catherine – Both the blue Clematis and the Morning Glory are pretty spectacular, although the Morning Glory is definitely more striking because of its unusual – for plants – colour!Marie – Thank you for your wishes and hugs. I am recovering, though I wish my energy was back. I am happy, though, to have this time to just look and not do much of anything in the garden.Aiyana – This year, I made more of an effort to grow plants that bloomed later in the summer. I did have a picture of this Morning Glory vine, but of one of the very first blooms that opened. I can’t get enough of these blooms since I know they will soon be knocked out by frost! Laura – Burnet is a really lovely plant. I like the way it bobs about in the wind … very graceful. You may have seen the salad Burnet to which Celia referred above.Mary – I agree – being sick in summer is not fun, especially when I am wanting to finish the wall stenciling. I do spend most of my summer outdoors, except when it rains. I take out the computer since my wireless connection works out in my back haven. I’m glad you will think of planting Morning Glories. I recommend the Heavenly Blue because it doesn’t seem to take over and reseed with the fervour of other Morning Glory varieties.Molly – I’d love to see a picture of the white bottle brushes… do you have any? I don’t understand why this plant isn’t grown more often. Pam – It is good to see you again. The Morning Glory does have that ability to knock one out upon seeing it … when the sun is shining, the flowers are brilliant. Will post pictures of the work done on the wall in the next while. Hi Entangled – I hadn’t really made the connection between Salad Burnet and Great Burnet. I am going to try growing some Salad Burnet next summer … my list of plants I want to try is growing, mostly because of my blog reading!! Things are on the mend.

  23. MrBrownThumb says:

    Kate,Your flowers are fantastic. Thanks for commenting today because I followed you back to your blog to return the favor and see that you have the NO ID clematis I have growing in my garden. I also have it growing on a bamboo trellis I made. This is my second year growing them and I don’t know much about them. But I’ve been dead heading it and it has been blooming since spring for me and now seems to be putting out a second flush of growth.

  24. Andrea's Garden says:

    Hello Kate. I am back to the blogging world. Sorry to hear about your infection, but glad to read you are feeling better. Like you I have learned to grow plants that thrive in this Bavarian alpine climate. Take good care, Andrea

  25. Iowa Gardening Woman says:

    Glad you are making progress fighting your infection. I noticed my Sedum are starting to bloom also, fall will soon follow.

  26. Ida says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Kate.I am glad that you liked the picture of my Fuhcsia. :)I have several Fuchsias in my garden. They are at their best right now. With lots of flowers.Maybe i should remember to write my post in english more often.I used to do it.I just forget….Sedums are signs of late summer. I agree.I have been emptying some of my container already.But still there are many flowers left. We have to rejoice at the ones that are left.I like fall.With all its colours on the trees and in the wood.Red, yellow, orange etc.Right now the heather is colouring the landscape here in lilac.I love colours.Most of all blue, blue blue…..! :)Your Heavenly Blue Morning Glory is beautiful! :)Your Baloon Flower farther down is lovely also. :)I have the same plant in white.Wishing you some nice days i august and good health. :)Hugs Ida.

  27. nikkipolani says:

    Your Burnet shot makes me feel like I’m right in the middle of it all – kind of breezy and relaxing. And your bamboo seating area looks perfect for admiring your plants πŸ™‚

  28. chatrine says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog:) I must say you have a beautiful garden! I love flowers, but don`t have any garden myself at the moment. Hopefully I will have one next year. Untill then I am enjoying your flowers:) I will start writing in English in my blog so that you will be able to read, the one with the boxes was all about how the house get so messy all the time, and how is it that at my day off I have to clean the house..I wish you a nice day!Hugs-Chatrine

  29. Naturegirl says:

    Kate what a delight to stop by!!I have never heard of Burnet..little bottlebrushes..do they attract the hummers or butterflys??I adore your little sitting area and all the embellishments!! I enlarged to snoop around and LoVe the yellow CAT!!!! I have to have one!! Oh that umberella is so whimsical…a flower!! How nice everything looks!!You had rain and we in southern Ont. had none to speak of 😦 Have a happy day hugs NG

  30. Kylee says:

    Kate, I LOVE your sitting area! The blue pots, the yellow cat, the trellis, it’s wonderful! I want to see what’s beyond the doorway, though. ;-)I’m finally trying to get caught up with reading my favorite blogs. This flooding thing has taken up a lot of my time the last three days and while it will be awhile before I get back to a somewhat normal daily routine, I’m trying!It’s great to escape by visiting garden blogger friends. πŸ™‚

  31. LostRoses says:

    Kate, the reason I’m not growing it is because I never heard of it! But now that I have, I may have to remedy that. What a pretty plant. I love your courtyard, what a cozy place to be!

  32. MariaJ says:

    Hello Kate! It was really nice to read your comment on my blog and to find your beautiful garden! I noticed we share some same blogging friends like Nature trail and Garden Girl. Oh and your plants! I was pleased to find out that we like the same plants:1) I bought two Burnets just couple weeks ago! 2)I have…let me count 8 Amaranthuses (with long tassels) this year. I have to grow it next year too. 3)I already have white coneflowers and bought pink ones this week…4)Sea Holly I have also 5)Heucherellas are my favourites too. Expecially I like the one which I have; the leaves are so dark.I think the name is liqoirice or something 5)I have Scabiosas too, absolutely my favourites!This Salvia with dark leaves and blue flowers. Do you know the excact name for it. I like all which have colorful leaves…

  33. Ruth Welter says:

    Hi kate…what a very lovely garden you have in your photos. I’ve enjoyed my visit.

  34. Marie says:

    What a lovely sitting area. I always like to peek across here and see what ‘s growing in your garden. Thanks for stopping by my blog too!

  35. Rowan says:

    I’m glad to hear that you are feeling a bit better now and are back to working in your garden.The burnets are pretty aren’t they? I grown salad burnet which flowers even though I shouldn’t let it and I also have one called sanguisorba obtusa which is a bit of a runner! There is a wild form growing in the fields near here too, it really looks good in quantity and with the purple knapweed that grows with it.

  36. A wildlife gardener says:

    I, too, love the little burnet flowers, Kate. They are sweet and quiet, but faithful πŸ™‚

  37. Clare says:

    Hi Kate! Thank you so much for the link to Aiyana’s blog — I just popped over there to look and she has the most gorgeous photos of cacti and great info!! I will definitely be going over there frequently — I need to identify what I’ve got. I hope you have a great weekend Kate!!

  38. Ragged Roses says:

    Hi Kate, glad you’re on the mend! I’ve seen salad burnet and wild burnet but don’t think I’ve ever grown it. Lovely to see more of your morning glory and what a beautiful clematis. Love your peaceful cornerKim x

  39. Ottawa Gardener says:

    Wow my comment feels dwarfed at the bottom of this long list but I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better and am very curious about this burnet.

  40. Jardineira aprendiz says:

    Your garden looks lovely! Morning Glory is specially beautiful. In Portugal very few people cultivate it, as it grows in the wild and sometimes gets rather invasive. We often see it striving in abandoned gardens, giving them a beautiful purple colour.The sedum plant looks like my Sedum Matrona, but I’m not sure, as there are so many varieties.Have a nice week!

  41. bindi says:

    Hi Kate, I’m glad you’re health has improved. Down here the blossoms are out! Winter is drawing to an end for us. Thankd goodness we have had a bit of rain this year too. I got back home from our trip to find my lawn lovely and green – not seen like this for many years! The chooks love it!

  42. Blackswamp_Girl says:

    Kate, how lovely it all looks! And looking at your sanguisorba makes me wonder why I haven’t grown that one myself. I love the deep wine color. I’m guessing that this is more of a filler/mingler plant than a specimen type?I hear you on learning how to garden in a new place, by the way. My first garden was in moist clay soil, and here the only place where water might stand during a heavy downpour is the several low spots in my concrete driveway. It’s like a whole new world!

  43. chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous says:

    Kate,I’m sorry to hear that you were sick. Your garden looks like the perfect spot to recover. It is so serene and inviting. Enjoy it.I have never heard of Burnet.I love the look of it and the color.Wonderful post.

  44. Green thumb says:

    Hi dear Kate!It feels nice and comforting to imagine oneself in your new sitting area…I wish I could feel the feeling in person.I am eager to see the pictures of your wall.Happy sunshine and gardening.

  45. Ki says:

    I can’t say that I’ve seen burnets in gardens either. The heavenly blue morning glory is indeed heavenly. Just a gorgeous shade of blue. I guess the subtle color shifts give depth to the coloration.

  46. kate says:

    MrBrownThumb – I’m glad that I could be of help with your clematis. I would love to see a photograph of your bamboo trellis. It’s great that it has been blooming so well for you. Andrea – Welcome back! It takes awhile to figure out what grows well in a particular climate. Iowa Gardening Woman – Sedums always seem like the start of fall, along with Asters.Ida – I would love to see the heather blooming everywhere. Your fuchsias were beautiful. Nikki – I love my new bamboo trellis and seating area. It will be hard when summer’s come to an end and the first frost arrives. Chatrine – I’m happy that you are enjoying my flowers. I had to laugh when you talked about your post being about your messy house. You should see mine!!Naturegirl – The Burnet attracts bees and birds, though later, as the flowerheads turn to seeds. I leave them all winter long and love seeing them poking through the snow. I love my yellow cat too! I always think of Hazel when I look at it. This is my memory corner for her.Kylee – I will take a picture of what is beyond the doorway. Two wicker chairs, pots of flowers, a turquise place to put up my feet and a Nishiki willow. I hope your flooding is becoming just a memory now.LostRoses – Burnet is a plant definitely worth scouting out. It is one of those easy-going plants to grow. MariaJ – We do have blogging friends in common. I am glad to hear that you found some Burnets and that you have Amaranthus too. I love their long tassels. My Sea Holly are near the end of their beautiful silvery blue/purple stage. I love Heucherellas too. And then there are the Scabiosa – mine did not bloom for as long as they usually do this summer, even though I religiously deadheaded t hem. Ruth – Thanks for visiting my blog! Marie – I am so glad that I got rid of the driveway and now have a sitting area that is so private. Rowan – Next summer, I am going to grow some Salad Burnet along with Sorrel. I am not familiar with Sanguisorba obtusa. I would love to see some pictures of the wild form, especially with the purple Knapweed growing alongside it. A wildlife gardener – This is a good way to describe Burnet flowers … sweet, quiet and faithful. Clare – I figured you would enjoy reading Aiyana’s blog. Ragged Roses – This clematis is so pretty – it didn’t flower as much as I had hoped. Next year, I’m going to fertilise it early and hope for more blooms. Ottawa Gardener – I first discovered Burnet in the Byward Market. There was once an incredible place to buy unusual perennials, many of them native plants. Unfortunately, the stall closed after a few years. It was my best source for plants. Jardineira aprendiz – I can just imagine how invasive Morning Glories could be in a hot and sunny climate. Bindi – You are so lucky to be experiencing spring as our summer moves into autumn. And, you had a wonderful European trip just before spring’s arrival.Kim – The deep wine colour of the Sanguisorba is great. It is more of a filler than a specimen, although I imagine it could be that in a warmer climate and in a space where it has more room to grow. Mine gets cramped by other plants because my garden isn’t very large. Learning how to garden in a new place is fun, but challenging too. Chigiy – My garden kept me going when I was sick. I wonder if you can grow Burnet in CA. Probably – since it is a higher zone plant. Green Thumb – Work is proceeding on the wall and there are few places where I don’t have some stenciling done. You are always welcome to come and visit whenever you’d like!! Ki – I love the shade of the Heavenly Blue Morning Glories. The flowers are so large too. As I sit this morning outside, there are four blooms facing the sun.

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