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Also known as Willow Amsonia,
Laura Ruane, a Master Gardener from Dutchess County in the Hudson Valley, thinks the herbaceous perennial Blue Star has a lot going for it. "The willowy foliage gives it a shrub-like presence in the garden," says Laura, who is studying horticulture at Cornell University. "It's dense, it spreads and it has the prettiest blue flowers in June. In fall, the yellow foliage is attractive as well.
"Amsonia is one of the best companion plants because it looks good itself and brings out the best in other plants," she adds. Laura likes to plant Johnny jump-ups (Viola tricolor) nearby because they flower at the same time as Blue Star. Bright yellow-flowered Heliopsis and daylilies are other good companions, she notes.
Laura started her Blue Star a few years ago from a root division from a plant in a garden where she was working. She likes that it's relatively undemanding when it comes to site and care. "It likes some shade, but will do well in full sun, too," she observes. "It also likes moist soil, but mine has hung in during drought. I've never had to water it.
"It doesn't need staking, either," she continues. The rain may knock it down, but it pops right back up."
Any drawbacks? "It is hard to dig out," Laura admits. "So give it plenty of room."
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