One of the delights of our new place is its location across from the city arboretum. The park (and it's an old one, dating from the town's founding in 1788) lost two dozen or so mature trees during the derecho of 1998, at which point the city council created an arboretum and began encouraging the planting of a variety of trees and shrubs. Many memorial trees have been planted, making a meander through the arboretum feel like a visit with now-departed friends and neighbors.
But today, I want to effuse over bottlebrush buckeye. Our old place boasted three young bottlebrushes, and leaving them did indeed cause a pang; however, this gorgeous plant is visible from our front patio.
Yes, that is a bottlebrush buckeye, nearly as large as all three of our specimens put together, and loaded with its distinctive blooms.
Aesculus parviflora, though related to Ohio's state tree, is not technically native here, being found in the wild further south, but this indestructible shrub (and indestructibility does seem to be a feature of my favorite plants) seems to do well throughout most of the eastern US and into the Midwest. It greens up early, blooms for three weeks, turns bright yellow in the fall, and seems to have very few pests other than mildew. (This fact may be related to its poisonous nuts.) Best of all, its waving plumes attract butterflies and hummingbirds, as a glance at its tubular individual flowers would indicate.
With all its good qualities, one has to wonder why this lovely thing isn't as commonly planted as obnoxious invasives like privet and bush honeysuckle.