Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Best. Shrub. Ever.

emerging flowers of Mt. Airy fothergilla in mid-April

The first fall that we lived here I went with my neighbor/plant guru to a few nurseries to pick through the end-of-season leftovers to get some woody bones for our infant garden.  I was looking for viburnums, which we found, but my neighbor pointed me towards a Mt. Airy fothergilla.  I'd never heard of it but bought it on his recommendation.  I'm so glad I did.  Thought to be a cross of fothergilla gardenii and fothergilla major, this shrub has thrived in full sun in rather poor soil, rewarding us with its year-round show.

I love the mix of opened, opening and unopened flowers in late April

This week it's fully open

Mt. Airy fothergilla is admittedly a background player in the summer, with its tasteful-looking blue/green leaves reminiscent of witch hazels, to which it is related.  It is in fall when it steps to the front and takes another solo.  The autumn foliage is a mix of yellow to orange to near red as seen below.  Winter exposes its intricate branching structure. Now that I've grown it for four years, I can't imagine being without it.

1 comment:

  1. I have one that I love, too. Have found that extra water in the winter makes it bloom heavier... in case you have a dry winter one year. It finished about two weeks ago, tho, so am happy to see yours, too.