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Plant collectors' corner: it's a fluffy pink puff-maker.

Next July, when fluffy pink puffs appear high in your flower bed, you'll thank yourself for searching out Filipendula rubra this month and getting the fleshy rooted crowns in the ground now or in early spring. Often sold as F. venusta, this majestic American native is commonly called meadowsweet or queen-of-the-prairie. Living up to both common names, its delicate but big (the flowe stalk can stretch to 6 feet tall).

This hardy perennial does well in all but hottest, driest climates. Given full sun, regular water, and loose, rich soil, it will flourish and multiply. Scatter a handful of dry 10-10-10 fertilizer at its base in early spring and summer.

When flower stalks turn brown and dry, you can leave them in the garden or cut them off for dried arrangements. You're left with thick, rich green, deeply lobed leaves on reddish stems.

This plant's an aggressive grower but easy to control. Dig and separate colonies every second or third year.

To find plants, try small perennial specialists or ask your nursery to order for you. One mail-order source: Wayside Gardens, Hodges, S.C. 29695; catalog $1.
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Title Annotation:meadowsweet or queen-of-the-prairie
Date:Mar 1, 1986
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