Sunday, March 19, 2017

Calling All Gardeners. . . Do You Know This Pretty?

On Instagram the other day, I posted this close-up and another photo of the entire shrub it grows on. As I said in that post, I came home and researched this gloriously fragrant shrub whose cream-and-banana flowers grow so beautifully on its bare branches.

I thought that some of the gardeners out there might want to know a bit more about this shrub, which my cursory research identified as Edgeworthia crysantha (apparently the E. papyrifera is a bit smaller, and is less hardy -- a commenter on the horticultural blogpost I'm linking to says that E. papyrifera is more elegant, more daphne-like, but like some daphnes, more susceptible to weather -- and also much slower-growing).

I'm very tempted to investigate whether I could grow one of these in a container on my terrace garden, but I'm checked by the reality that the six inches of water in our fountain basin was frozen solid for the better part of two weeks this winter. Apparently, the shrub can manage some frost, particularly if it's in a sheltered location, but its hardiness is limited -- we do have one such sheltered spot, but the wisteria is there right now, and I won't be shifting that any time soon. (That said, the two specimens I spotted the other day on my run were on a city-planted sidewalk boulevard, in a border that must have experienced similar temps to my terrace this winter, albeit perhaps in a more moderate microclimate?)

For those of you, though, who are looking for an elegant shrub with gorgeous winter fragrance and, apparently, year-round interest (wonderful peeling bark, used for paper-making, and hence one of its common names, Paper-Bush), here are two articles/blogposts I found very useful:  this one at Carolyn's Shade Gardens and this How-to-grow article by Matthew Wilson in the (UK) Telegraph.

And do let me know if you've met this shrub in your horti wanderings, or, even better, if you have one growing in your own garden. And if my sighting and subsequent bit of research-sharing should inspire you to grab a shovel and plant one from a local nursery, be sure to tell me, please! I might not have my own big yard to garden any longer, but I'll happily enjoy yours vicariously ;-)


10 comments:

  1. Totally new to me and I was thinking it would be too tender for my garden, but following your link I see it is OK in Pennsylvania, well to my north. Perhaps this is what should go where my big old rhododendron died? Something to ponder.....

    ceci

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    1. If you should go with it, let me know. I haven't checked for it at nurseries yet, so no idea how pricey it might be. If I still had my garden, though, I'd give it a try and if I enjoyed at least a few years of it, I'd be happy even if it succumbed to the climate eventually....

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  2. I tend to go from my garden outwards to look for plants, vs. from a plant to finding a place for it. I think it's probably because I'm relatively new to this.

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    1. I think that if you're organised and have access to a good vocabulary of plants (either through your garden designer, maintenance person, or your own knowledge and a great gardener's encyclopedia or regular visits to a variety of gardens), that's probably a smart way to continue enhancing the good bones you've designed in your garden. I always mixed up the two approaches -- in the early years of setting up our garden, we visited nurseries often as a kind of weekend date. Doing that year-round gave the garden a variety of seasonal interest because of what caught my eye through the years -- it could have been chaotic, I know, but it worked for a seaside garden bordered by woodland. Not for everyone nor for all gardens.

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  3. I don't know this pretty shrub & thought it was a viburnum . A Mop-headed Hydrangea might be nice . Are you planning any summer bedding in your pots ?- More work I know . I've cut down by having pretty pots of different sempervivum now though they'd need protection in your frosts . Always fun choosing new plants .
    Wendyin York

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    1. More similar to daphnes than to viburnums, but yes, I wondered about both before I did a bit of Googling. The previous owner left us a large hydrangea, and it will stay for the time being. Doesn't work hard enough through fall and winter for my satisfaction, to be honest, but it does lend a nice structure and colour thruogh spring and summer. As for summer bedding plants, probably, especially for the bees . . . nasturtiums for sure, for the salads! ;-)

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  4. You might try contacting your city, park district, or who ever maintains the sidewalk plantings to see how they maintain theirs and if they are a special hybrid that grow in your area. Our city can be very helpful.

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    1. That's a good idea -- I'll have to run by again to see if it's city-maintained or planted and maintained by a local volunteer, quite common here for the boulevard gardens.

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  5. Yes I saw this flowering for the first time at Kew recently. What a coincidence. It's on the list now.

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    1. Isn't it great? Let me know if you ever do find and plant one for yourself.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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