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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Another perfect plant

Perfect plants keep turning up. My current enthusiasm is for clethra alnifolia, sometimes called summersweet. I planted two of the straight species and one of the cultivar "Ruby Spice" a couple of years ago, and they have finally come into their own, especially "Ruby Spice."
 Those pink bottlebrushes are magnets for hummingbirds and butterflies, as are the white blossoms of the wild form. Right now, though, I'd mad about this outrageous cotton-candy pink, which makes a ridiculously girly bouquet paired with pink gladioli knocked down by the rains we've been having.
Sometimes too much of a good thing is just fine.

Summersweet gets its name from its scent, which I can't quite describe. It's sweet like lilac, but spicier. The plant deserves to be placed near a window or outdoor seating area, or brought into the house for frequent sniffing.

The shrub seems fairly indestructible, always a good thing. We planted the wild forms in a partly shaded area of the side yard, where they are not terribly happy with the competition from tree roots but are blooming nonetheless. "Ruby Spice," however, is in what seems to be an optimal spot: near the dining room:  in partial shade, with plenty of water from gutter overflows and the condensate from an air conditioning unit. She is rewarding us by covering herself top to bottom with her bottlebrush blooms and attracting hordes of hummingbirds. And of course, providing scent and long-lasting flowers for arrangements.
Summersweet is cold and heat-tolerant and has good fall color, a clear yellow.

Is it possible that another shrub is as perfect as physocarpus?

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