Cool Rhubarbs

Posted by rodney eason
October 30, 2012 | Plants

I have lived in Maine for about a month now. A lot of folks told me that it would be different. It is different. Growing up in North Carolina and spending the past 8 years in Pennsylvania were quite a bit different than life along the coast of Maine. As a part of adjusting to the change of life and gardening in Maine, I will be sharing plants that grow well here in Boothbay, Maine (USDA hardiness zone 6a or the tropics of Maine) or plants that I would like to add to the gardens at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden in 2013.

The giant rhubarb of plant collecting lore.

One plant that took me by surprise was the giant rhubarb (Rheum spp.). In Pennsylvania, we commonly saw rhubarb stems in the grocery store or growing along Amish vegetable plots but we never saw the giant rhubarbs that are the legends of plant explorations and English gardening magazines.

As I was walking into the new Children’s Garden at CMBG, I swooned at the Chinese rhubarb growing right in front of me. It was almost like meeting a celebrity in person. I had read about it but here it was, actually alive!

Chinese rhubarb

As I made my way around the Gardens, I encountered other rhubarbs of different sizes and colors. They looked great until our first frost and then they melted like, well, cooked boiled rhubarb.

Stem color of 'Ace of Hearts' after frost

One cultivar, Rheum ‘Ace of Hearts’ has held up better and longer than the others, even after the frost. This rhubarb has wonderful deep-red stems, red leaf undersides, and it holds its leaves upright, which looks like an upside down heart. – Rodney

Other Posts You Might Like...

California Poppy ‘Rosa Romantica’, Ageratum ‘Red Sea’, Cosmos ‘Rose Bonbon’, Poppy ‘Falling in Love’ all from Select Seeds
Posted by rochelle-greayer | February 13, 2017
Spring is near, why not plant some Valentines seeds?   I am increasingly becoming a seed growing convert.  No, I am not rigging up crazy light contraptions in my home...
Jardin vertical de Patrick Blanc à la Défense image by Romuald Le Peru
Posted by rochelle-greayer | December 21, 2016
I knew of Patrick Blanc‘s work long before I knew of him.  The first time I experienced one of his gardens was sometime in 2007 when I happened to walk around...
Elegant varieties of Baptisia. 'Pink Truffles', 'Vanilla Cream', and 'Dutch Chocolate'
Posted by rochelle-greayer | December 19, 2016
Years ago, when the Perennial Plant Association named Baptisia australis their plant of the year for 2010, I promptly bought five and planted them in my garden.  They were new-to-me at the time and they were lauded for...