Saturday, November 7, 2009

Let's get familiar with Fothergilla



Such a funny name for such a marvelous shrub. Dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii) or bottlebrush shrub, is native to the Eastern United States and thrives in sun or shade. It'll grow to 3' high and 3' wide, (Fothergilla major, also native, will grow to 10' x 15', by contrast) Both have several seasons of interest. The fragrant, bottle-brush shaped flowers appear in spring; the somewhat crinkled green leaves stay crisp all summer; and tah-dah! the fall foliage boasts a symphony of orange, purple, and red hues. The shrub colors up late (like right now) and holds it well.


I added fothergilla three years ago to my White Pine Garden, a semi-circular bed under a majestic white pine on the south, albeit shady side of the yard. It's accompanied by Azalea 'Beauman's Pink', & 'Mother's Day'; by witch hazel 'Jelena' and 'Arnold Promise'; by redcedar juniper seedlings which I purchase from Alice Mayer at our annual church Bazaar, (coming up next Saturday, the 14th!); an oakleaf hydrangea which I think is 'Pee Wee', and a curtsey of various hosta. All the plantings are shade tolerant, and though I do apply deer repellent, they've not been bothered in the several years they've been in residence.


It's not always easy to find attractive, native, shade-tolerant shrubs that also lend interest all season. Give fothergilla a chance, you won't be sorry.


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