Bunny Blue Sedge Brightens a Blue Day

Winter in Maine

Since moving to Maine, I have been watching the weather closely to see how cold it is going to be. I also like to compare the temperature here in Boothbay versus that of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where we used to live. Until recently, the temperatures were relatively similar. Then, last week, something drastic happened. The jet stream dipped and all of sudden, Maine was shut off from the weather trend of the mid-Atlantic. It was like the small boat we were riding was cut loose from the mother ship. We are now on our own for the rest of the winter unless the jet stream decides to benevolently move back up and pull us away from the arctic, Canadian winter. The temperatures here were 20 degrees lower than Pennsylvania. It was cold outside. Even life-long Mainers said it was cold. The Maine state motto is “Dirigo.” I am starting to think that this means, “wear lots of layers.”

In spite of the cold, we have yet to receive the winter blanket of snow that locals are promising will come. In the garden, we have been busy moving through the plant beds, cutting back perennials before they become covered with the snow. We are also cutting back grasses to eliminate a place for moles to nest for the winter. Last week, the gardens looked neat and tidy. It felt good to have most of the garden in order but along with the fact that it now gets dark around 4:30 in the afternoon, I am longing for some color and sunshine.

carix-laxiculmis-2183a

Then, on Friday, as I was making my way through the garden, I came across an area where the sun was shining and the plants were still lush. Growing there was Carex laxiculmis ‘Hobb’ or Bunny Blue sedge. I had been by this mass many times but never really noticed it until this instance when almost everything else had been cut back or gone dormant. Any plant that can go down to 18 degrees the night before and still look great is worthy of more use in the garden. Add to this that it is native, has blue-grey foliage, and can survive in shady conditions.

Bunny Blue is the trademark name for this Carex. The plant was introduced by the Head brothers of Seneca, South Carolina. Carex laxiculmis is native from Canada down to Florida so you know that this plant is extremely adaptable. Bunny Blue Carex will make a 12″x12″ clump and slowly spread. We have our plants planted en masse along side of Heucheras. Here is Maine, we have it planted in full-sun, but in the South, you may want to plant it in some dappled shade. It will also stay evergreen in warmer climates.

Carex laxiculmis 'Hobb' Bunny Blue

The color of Bunny Blue is spectacular. I love blue-silver foliaged plants and this one is excellent. One of my dream plants is a hardy Astelia chathamica. The chances of that happening are pretty slim so Bunny Blue will have to fill that void for now.

Have you grown Carex laxiculmus ‘Hobb’ Bunny Blue? If so, are you as impressed with it as much as I am? – Rodney 

Images: Lodge at Moosehead Lake, Pleasant Run Nursery, Ellen HoneyCutt

 

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rodney eason

Rodney Eason - Director of Horticulture and Plant Curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, father of 4, husband to a Renaissance woman. I spent the first part of my life in North Carolina, the middle in Pennsylvania, and now I am determined to become a Mainer  while keeping my southern drawl. I consider the rhetorical question, "you're not from around here, are you?" a compliment. I love great gardens, beautiful plants, and inspiring architecture. Because of this, I am on a lifelong quest to find a garden that artistically combines beautiful plants while being centered around an evocative building. For me, this would be Beatrix Farrand's Dumbarton Oaks, with the plants of Lotusland and Chanticleer, around Fay Jones' Thorncrown Chapel. My wife and I are now making our new home and garden in a 130 year old New England house with a farmer's porch near the Damariscotta River in coastal Maine. When our kids get into college, we want to hike the Appalachian Trail as a family over a summer break. My likes (in random order): the smell of fresh basil and rosemary, bold foliage, India Pale Ale, good running shoes, Top Gear, the smell of New England in the fall (it reminds me a bit of English Leather, which my grandfather wore), and the sound of our family laughing together around the dinner table. I dream of one day owning an old Toyota 4X4 pick-up and seeing the Avett Brothers in concert.
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8 Comments

  1. Lorraine Roberts on December 4, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I’ve grown many Carex, but I haven’t grown Carex Bunny Blue. This looks like a winner. BTW-Not all of Canada experiences the cold (Arctic) weather you are experiencing. Here in Southern Ontario (Caledon) near Toronto, we are experiencing temperatures in the low 50’s for the past three days. Feels like September still.

    • rodneyeason on December 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Lorraine! Let me know how Bunny Blue works for you. It should do fine in your area. Enjoy the 50’s. It may be some time before we see those temperatures again.

  2. Regina on December 4, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Yes! And like you, I love it paired with Heuchera, Caramel and similar varieties look gorgeous with it. I’m in Zone 7b, Brooklyn NY, and it’s a winner here.

    • rodneyeason on December 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Thanks, Regina! I love Brooklyn and am glad to hear that it does well in your awesome area.

      • rochelle on December 9, 2012 at 7:14 am

        I’m adding bunny blue to ‘plant in 2013’ list….thanks rodney!

        • rodneyeason on December 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm

          Great! You’ll love it. If for some reason, you happen to be at Swarthmore College in the coming year, they have a good sized mass of it planted on their campus as a lawn alternative in a shady spot.

  3. mjane on January 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Bought one of these at a local gardeners’ plant sale and didn’t get it in the ground last fall. Will plant this spring. However, I’m having trouble determining if I should cut the plant back this winter. I’m in zone 8 and today is a 70 degree sunny day in SC. Last week was in the 20’s.

    • rodneyeason on January 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      MJane, if it is still looking good, you do not have to cut it back. And you do not have to remind me of how warm it is in South Carolina. (just joking)
      I went out to shovel the drive this morning and thought that 27 degrees felt warm after our arctic blast the past couple of weeks.

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