This stunning new cultivar of the greater burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) has gorgeous chocolate-coloured flowers and is a wonderful addition to the range of Sanguisorba (burnets) now available to gardeners. These plants have grown in popularity over the last decade or so with their extensive use in naturalistic and matrix perennial plantings pioneered by designers such as Piet Oudolf. Many new cultivars have been released and Sanguisorba ‘Chocolate Tip’ is a great addition to the genus.
Sanguisorba ‘Chocolate Tip’ is shorter than many of the other species and cultivars and is therefore much easier to place in a border or small garden where some of the other varieties can reach 1.8m and need staking, this cultivar only reaches about 1m and can therefore be used near the front of the border.
It also has very fine and feathery foliage made up of lots of leaflets which are blue-green in colour with a red midrib and chocolate overtones - it's probably the is probably the finest foliage of any Sanguisorba currently available. The flowers have that classic ‘egg-shaped’ look of the Sanguisorba and always open from the top downwards. They are dark brunette in colour with a tinge of maroon adding to that chocolate colouring and overall affect. The flowers also have small yellow anthers which act as a great contrast to the rich, dark petals.
How and where to grow Sanguisorba
Burnets are relatively easy to grow and require little maintenance. They prefer deep, humus rich, moisture-retentive soil that doesn’t dry out in summer. They will grow happily in full sun if the soil remains moist and will also tolerate part shade. The taller cultivars may need staking but this shorter cultivar is self-supporting.
Sanguisorba ‘Chocolate Tip’ is a new cultivar and can be found at RHS Garden Hyde Hall in the Modern Country Garden near the Welcome Building. This rectangular garden is designed in a modern way with a formal layout using structural shrubs such as yew trimmed into cones and cubes and Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ with its silvery foliage, maintained in a neat shape.
The borders are laid out in a series of interlocking shapes with the planting in blocks and formal groups that are repeated through the scheme. Sanguisorba ‘Chocolate Tip’ associates well in this garden with plants such as Penstemon ‘Blackbird’ with its complementary dark burgundy flowers as well as Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ and grasses such as Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ with is blue-green foliage.