Category Archives: Plant Profiles

color when we need it most: 2 plants in the plant profile spotlight

Late February tends to be the most dull and depressing  of all the months. Very little green ,lots of brown, and usually ( although not this year) dirty snow piles to further dampen our spirits.  It is the month I treasure the shrubs I grow with colored bark the most as  they are what I can see peeking out of a blanket of snow providing that vivid jolt of color to brighten the day.DSC_0011 DSC_0016 red twig dogwood

this year though, because we have had so little snow, I am also getting to revel in the glorious color of two ground covers . After a day of torrential rains , the ground is now bare, and boy are these two showing their worth!

the first is a pig squeak ( how adorable is that name?) otherwise known as bergenia  ’Bressingham Ruby’. Sporting polished green leaves in the summer that turn a lovely burnished red in autumn, this low growing perennial is a keeper. I starting adding more and more varieties of bergenia after realizing the rabbits were leaving it alone and i am sure glad I added  this one! I saw a photo somewhere of’ Bressingham Ruby’ planted en masse at the base of red twig dogwood bushes . A phenomenal design idea, but here in winter  when both plants are at their most colorful, the bergenia will usually be under snow . i figured at least in late winter and early spring before the dogwoods fully leaf out I would reap the color benefit of these two together, and started with just a half dozen plants to see how it went. Now I want 50. It looks great, is truly a no-fuss plant, and still remains un- grazed by our little furry friends.  Pigsqueak is also dry shade tolerant  so I plan to add more of this variety to the back woodland walk this year.

Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’ is hardy to zone 4 , can tolerate full sun to almost full shade,  and will bloom in the late spring ( which is just s bonus , it is the foliage color we are after here). The only place it will sulk is a wet or boggy soil.

With my apologies for the lack of a great photo, it is very windy here today and hard to keep the camera focused, but i wanted you to see how great it looks under the dogwood. The second photo is from Bluestone Perennials where you can purchase it online.bergenia 'Bressingham Ruby'

Out front I have a little raised bed that has become the bane of my gardening existence. The voles LOVE to set up house there are have proven a formidable foe. The small bed in front of the rocks I was hoping to fill with interesting low growers but have really struck out with many of my choices and have replanted there too many times to count. Last year I planted 5 little shrubs  as yet another test , and I believe we have a winner!DSC_0028DSC_0023

Calluna vulgaris “Firelfly’ is a heather with brilliant fall/winter color that looks spectacular right now. In the summer the foliage was a bright sort of lime green with a bit of yellow added in. As autumn settled in, Firefly started to change into terra cotta-y orange and seemed to just glow, and I was in love. Now exposed from it’s blanket of snow, it is pretty darn near brick red and has firmly secured it’s place in the front garden,  Add in the fact that maintenance is just a quick shearing once a year to keep it neat and compact and that means all other plants currently living  in that cursed bed  will be jettisoned in the spring to make way for more of this lovely small shrub.

Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ is hardy to zone 4 or 5 , will show it’s best color in full sun but will tolerate light shade, grows to less than 2 ftx 2 ft  and sports lavender flowers in late summer ….but who cares about that?? …look at that foliage!!!! My plants came from Digging Dog Nursery mail order  and they will be available this year from them as well .


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plant profile: sedum ‘october daphne’ (hylotelephium sieboldii)

sometimes I   have a hard time coming up with the right words to make a plant come to life in a profile the way  it does in the garden.
sedum ‘october daphne’ is like that , really it should just leap off he screen and grab you by the shoulders , look you square in the eye and say “PLANT ME”

It is a beauty season long with nicely scalloped leaves that emerge  toward the bluish side of green with a graceful arching habit.  It tolerated the dry conditions here both in the ground and in the two un-watered containers I had it in like a champ. DSC_0002 DSC_0006

When it started to bloom I found the bright two-toned  pink flowers just divine and a delightful change from the more salmony -pink of some of its family members.

but boy oh boy as the temperatures cooled around here was I ever smitten with this plant.

The edges of the leaves took on a distinct reddish hue, the flower color intensified x 1000DSC_0012

then, as night time temps dropped even lower, the leaves  seemed to glow, an electric orange pink at  a time when the garden can look quite dull and muted.

the glow on this plant in october is eye catching to say the least!

the glow on this plant in october is eye catching to say the least!

I have this  planted in the pink border at the very edge , as well as in two previously mentioned containers, ( a  cement basket. and   an old wheelbarrow) .

I grow over 40 different sedum ( or in their new genera;hylotelephium,petrosedum and phedimus) and I love them all. Most thrive in the dry hot sun here, though there are many that will tolerate shadier and much wetter conditions making them all super easy to grow. I have been experimenting with different combinations of them  in containers so I can ease up on the watering during the height of summer.  A number of my favorites  have  smaller leaved and are very  interesting close up, and I place those together in flat hypertufa or metal troughs , some are quite large and serve as filler or color contrast with other plants. But ‘october daphne’ is so stunning it can stand on its own ,  a true plant of merit for any New Egland garden.

as an aside I just felt the need to point out this curiosity .There is a series of monographs (books written on a single plant genus) put out by Timber Press  called The Plant Lover’s Guides. I have most of them, so when writing this of course went to the one called “The Plant Lover’s Guide to Sedums” to see what it had to say. The description is ok, although not as enthusiastic as I would expect,  but the accompanying photo ( just one) is this.DSC_0001

hmmmmm, would you buy this plant based on that ? I certainly would have skimmed right over that entry . I wish they had included one like thisDSC_0014

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plant profile: cobaea scandens

Looking for a great addition to the late season garden? Of course you are! After the absolute explosion of bloom in July and  as we head into August it is nice to still have many things to look forward to garden -wise. I speak often about vines, and especially how  annual vines are just the ticket to a great Fall show, and cobaea scandens or cup and saucer vine is a standout among them

. ( a quick Latin refresher-the word scandens refers to anything that scrambles, so when you see it in a plant name assume you have a climbing or rambling  grower).

Cobae scandens is sometimes dismissed as a  garden plant here in the Northeast because it is a late starter. I will admit, getting it off and running can be tricky. The seeds are flat and tough and can take a few weeks to germinate. If you are starting them indoors from seed, tip the seeds  on their sides to avoid rotting. After germination they will take a while to get growing and need a lot of attention in hardening them off for growing outside,  If you like , you can direct sow the seed , but don’t even dare to do it before the June 1st here in z6 as it will gain you nothing and may loose you everything. The vine hails from Mexico , where it is perennial…and revels in the heat ,so a cool spring can do them in. I prefer to  order green house grown plants to start with , and really ,at less than $10 no matter where you order them from, they will repay you with quicker growth and earlier flowering.than if you started them yourself.

Once growing this vine will quickly cover a trellis , and if you use more than one plant you can cover a pergola or arbor. 20 -25 feet in a season is not unheard of. By the middle of July my vine was well over 10 feet and it has now hit it’s stride. ( the other vines in the photo are a moonflower and a sweet pea that is done blooming)DSC_0006 (2)

The foliage is a gorgeous dark green with purple undersides and stems ,and the many spring-like tendrils enable it to grab on to just about anything. After my vine outgrew the trellis, it had been happily climbing the siding by latching on the any little nook it could. I did, although, move it and gave it some twine to not only guide it to where I want it to grow, but for added support during  all the windy thunderstorms we get here in the summer.DSC_0004

DSC_0005The first flower appeared this week , and they are quite unusual. The bell  or cup shaped flower emerges a creamy white and will slowly darken to purple over time. The flower sits on open sepals that look very much like a saucer surrounding the cup, hence the common name.DSC_0003

A word of caution, t his plant likes humidity and water and will quickly be infested with spider mites if left to dry out. It is very humid here in the summer and I have it planted in a self-watering planter, so it is loving life.

Being a tender perennial, as opposed to an annual, I am going to try to overwinter this vine inside this year. I hope to give it a good haircut in the late Fall and place it in the bay window and see what happens. At the very least I hope it will survive to be replanted again in the Spring…and at the very best I hope I will be enjoying the lovely flowers indoors all winter long.  Only time will tell!

The photos I took below are of the flower over just two days.The  change in color  is already remarkable.  DSC_0001 DSC_0002


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A weird plant profile: Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

It seems strange to write a profile of a plant I would never encourage you to add to your  garden, but I think we all have those that we are grateful to have, even if they are not the best behaved

Penstemon digitalis  ’Husker Red” is truly a self-seeding thug.You let those flower stalks stay one mili-second past the their bloom time and several million seeds will find their way to all corners of the garden and you will be weeding it forever plus one day. Once it has seeded and started to grow it requires more than a tiny pull to evacuate, and will often nestle right in at the base of other plants forcing you to work very hard indeed to extricate it,DSC_0006

BUT , ( there is always a but , huh?) It is 100% rabbit  proof. They never touch the stuff and I am pretty sure it has to do with the reddish leavesDSC_0004 (2).I have been diligently  reading  what little research is out there on anthocyanins,, a chemical  present in plants in part responsible for the reddish pigmentation. It comes into play in New England’s spectacular Fall color, and will also appear in green leaved plants when they are exceptionally dry. It is clearly prominent in Husker Red in the leaf coloring and there is work being done to see if there is an olfactory component ( in other words can it be detected by smell/taste ) that make it a deterrent for herbivores and insects. The research is so far scarce and the questions being raised show it is a very complex subject , but  I have noticed that plants that either emerge with red leaves or have them season long suffer far less predation than their green counterparts. That is anecdotal evidence  at best, but if it means that I can have asters if I plant “Lady in Black” instead of ” Alma Potschke’. I am a believer.

This penstemon , like all others, is also a pollinator magnet ,attracting all sorts of bees and that long tubular shaped flower along the dramatic red stalks tell you the hummingbirds will adore it ( and they do)DSC_0003.It brightens up the areas of the garden I let it seed in, and is one of the very few things that is planted in drifts here because I love the long delicate wands of white tinged with lavender  bringing color and life to the garden over a long period of time.  and the leaves remain through the winter  providing some interest when the ground is bare of snow and many of the other perennials are completely devoid of vegetation.DSC_0001 (2) DSC_0005

if left un-dead- headed , the seed heads are very cool  for texture later in the season, but they come with a price of more weeding out. They also smell like dirty feet , but in an arrangement that is placed out of the way , they look great.

On a rainy day like today it is a joy to look at at the garden and see  the Husker Red flowers bringing such a spark of life , via color and pollinator action. It is certainly not the only Penstemon I grow, or even close to my favorite, but it certainly has it’s place in the great scheme of things over here.DSC_0001

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Plant Profile: Rosa glauca

Way way back in the day I was on a garden tour and saw an incredibly  beautiful  rose in a shady courtyard. It was trimmed into a topiary-ish shape and covered in sweet little pink blossoms….but the foliage  was what stopped me in my tracks. Incredible glaucous blue leaves on red stems and it was  growing and blooming in the shade! I  asked the docents  ( and owner ) if they knew it’s name , sadly they did not. Nowadays I would instantly google and within seconds have said rose on the way to my home, but  there was no google! How did we ever cope!!! I didn’t even own a computer ,  so it was pen and paper that saved the day.

I wrote to a popular garden magazine, yep, a letter, in an envelope, inquiring if they knew of the plant in the photo ( an actual photo taken by a camera with film and then developed at a little hut you drove through to drop off and pick up pictures)  and then waited.  A few months later a copy of the answer given by one of the editors of the magazine identifying the rose in question  as rosa rubrifolia . I then ordered from a catalog recommended by the same editor , again via mail, my very first mail-order plant ( if I only knew then  where this would take me!).

Those original two roses that came in the mail from Spring Valley Roses traveled  here to live with us  in 1998 and still grace the back of the border. Lucky for me, and you, this rose, (now known as rosa galuca), is a species rose and  so all the seeds in the wonderful hips it bears in the fall will come true  and you can not only increase your stock, you can give some to your friends.  

This morning  as I went out to get some photos of tulips, I passed by one of the children of the original two and was just struck again by how much I love the foliage of this rose. Newly emerging red stems with both reddish and blue leaves….this particular one grows in the full sun and is quite a happy camper there although it’s leaves will be more red than one grown in the shade.DSC_0005

DSC_0006If you put rosa glauca into the search bar of my blog you will see how often I speak of it and use it in flower arrangements. I would guess about 40 +varieties  of  roses live here in The Burrow, and the only other one  adore just about as much is the new Easy Elegance ‘Kiss Me’ and that is  more flower and scent  related  than foliage. This rose used to be difficult to source, but is now readily  available at many online nurseries , like White Flower Farm, Digging Dog and even David Austin  I imagine because it is a favorite of Margaret Roach and often spoken of on her popular blog A Way to Garden .   You can prune this rose annually to keep it in bounds , it will grow to 8 or more feet tall  if you don’t. I leave mine to do as they will, cutting them back only every 5 years or so  just to tidy them up. It is hardy to zone 2  and has incredible disease resistance . Although it only blooms once, in June, who cares? All that dreamy foliage is what you are after and then those bright orange  hips  to light up the fall garden.




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Morning Glory Madness Starts Now

Those of you who have heard me speak on “Design With Vines” know I am crazy about Morning Glories. Well let’s be honest all Ipomea species really have my heart.001 (4)

I love Ipomoea quamoclit, commonly called cypress vine for it’s featherly foliage and sweet star shaped flowers.

I love Ipomoea sloteri ( or x multifida) foe it’s vry cool palm shaped foliage and the hummingbirds love the flowers.006

But it is the old fashioned morning glory, or Ipomoea purpurea that ranks # 1 for me. So easy to grow, covered in sweet little flowers  in colors I adore, and don’t even get me started about all the new varieties I have yet to try.

But this post isn’t meant to do homage to my old -timey fav, it is meant as a reminder to get some Morning Glory seeds started in the house for winter bloom.  I may have admonished you not to been stingy in using all the seeds in your annual seed packets, but that came with a caveat to save just a few  Morning \Glories for the first week of August. Well, it is just that, so go find them.004

Soak the seeds in warm water overnight to soften the outer coating, then stick them in a pretty pot the next morning that has some sort of trellis or small obelisk in it. You can even use three pretty twigs arranged tee-pee style from a white birch tree if you prefer. Place it in a sunny spot near a window and you will be so very happy in December when you awaken on a dreary morning to find your first flower opening with the sun.

I like the foliage of the variety ‘Picotee’. It is a little fuzzy and thicker than the others, the flowers are very attractive too having that cute little frilly white edge. I have startted Picotee  indoors several times, and even combined it with a second variety for even more color.023 (3)

One year I placed two in one pot and that worked well .005 (7)023 (2)





.This year I plan to try Grandpa Ott 001 (7)and a new one for me called Sunrise Serenade which has a very unique flower form in smashing ruby red. Fingers crossed for this one to bloom like mad.

If you have other annual vines seeds hanging around and have the space , give them a go as well. Last winter I grew Love-in-a- puff  Halicacabum cardiospermum in the window as well and it climbed and flowered well until late spring.054



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A New Favorite Rose

012Saturday I had a lovely group of women here visiting from Milford, MA. On a garden tour when I am walking around with guests , I tend to  point out plants that are great performers, answer  questions about unusual things, and  never miss an opportunity to tell a visitor when to stick their nose in a flower…after all fragrance is one of the great joys of growing them!

The two most fragrant things in the garden now are the calycanthus florida, or sweet shrub that spreads its wonderfully fruity scent all over the Dog’s Garden for almost the whole growing season ( I have chatted about it before, and can’t recommend enough that you purchase and plant one immediately) and my new favorite rose called ‘Kiss Me’ .046

First off let me say how much I adore the name, Really love it. Find it charming and romantic. Want to say it over and over. Think Wil should be around when I do.

‘Kiss Me’ is a relatively new introduction from the Easy Elegance family of roses. They are bred to be long blooming , disease resistant, and grow on their on roots (not grafted).Those of you who have heard me talk on roses know I want it all…..disease resistant, water wise, fragrant,hardy, and lovely blooms…and don’t want to spray anything or fret about delicate specimens that succumb to every insect and pathogen east  of the Mississippi. This rose meets all my criteria, and them some.

I will admit  that in order to achieve my rose goals, I sometimes have to stop short on one or another of the criteria. Sometimes it is bloom size, or maybe fragrance. This rose does not require even the smallest of compromises.

Kiss Me is  a beautiful color, one that appears peachy from a distance, but is actually more pink than peach up close . Kiss Me’s  sturdy stems are just loaded with buds, and the fully opened flowers are about 4 inches across and  have the  romantic look of English Roses. The scent is sweet and slightly fruity, sort of like my other most favorite rose, David Austin’s  ’Christopher Marlowe’

So far the foliage looks glossy and untouched by the dreaded blackspot, and talk about vigorous! I ordered  this rose from White Flower Farm and it came as a rose typically does, a few bare canes and roots. I  placed it in a large container  just temporarily until I found it a permanent home……3 months later it is still in the container and doing beautifully. An added benefit of my laziness is that the container lifts it up to perfect height for inhaling the delightful scent, no bending needed! I will plant it in the ground in the fall and keep my fingers crossed it does well over the winter,but my experience with Easy Elegance roses on the whole is that they do fine here and I am sure it will overwinter without a problem.052

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“Celebrating” Differences of Opinion in the Garden: Plant Profile of Forsythia?

Today, as I see yet another post on a garden blog  dissing forsythia, I feel it is time to jump in and stand up for what is to me one very useful workhorse plant.

Let me say to begin with, that I think forsythia gets it’s bad rap from a couple of things.

First, the insane pruning that some people subject it to . It is a naturally large and arching bush. Left to its own devices it will fill out nicely and cover some space . Pruned into a short squat hedge or round blob it looses all it natural grace and it will never  fill out as densly as boxwood or even privet which both make better hedge choices.

Secondly, it all comes down to the cultivar. Just like many other shrubs, the named varieties are often better than the species .The one I grow had long lost it’s tag , but it tops out at about 8 ft. and has a lovely shape and warm golden yellow flowers.  Forsythia came to be in my yard in a very interesting way. I was installing some large birch and pine trees out back and we had them delivered here. The nursery worker who was lugging them via dolly out back stopped to admire my new rock garden and we got to talking. I was telling him that we were planting the birches and pines out back to mimic the natural landscape around us and I was stuck trying to come up with an front of the woodland understory shrub that could handle the poor soil and  lack of irrigation and block the view to the neighbors . He suggested forsythia, and I went back to the nursery with him and bought them. Fifteen years later they are beautiful graceful shrubs that not only explode with color heralding spring, but tolerate the worst conditions on my property without dropping a leaf. Here you can see them just peeking out from the woods )003

Don’t get me wrong,I adore all other kinds of spring flowering shrubs and grow many including the lindera benzoin or spice bush which I often recommend to haters , ahem, people , as a forsythia alternative ( here they bloom at the same time) .005 They all have their place and they all fill an important role in the garden. Up close and personal, bushes like spirea ogon are cool to look at for their leaves , cornus mas has a lovely shape and looks stellar as both a backdrop and specimen plant, and viburnum carlessii and lonicera fragrantissima have to die for fragrance. But , planted at a distance and backed up by evergreens, nothing beats a line of forsythia exploding into what I like to call “spring YELL-ow”.

I know many of you are on the anti forsythia bandwagon. Even Henry Mitchell, the late Washington Post garden columnist whom I adored (and still reread his books annually), called the large installation of forsythia at Dunbarton Oaks  an “asinine feature”. Sure there are many more “sophisticated ” options to use, but I encourage you as gardeners to open your mind to see how a very common plant can be used very effectively  if  you plant the right cultivar  in the right location . ( Photo below from Bangor Times, yet another good placement!)

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Sometimes the Answer is in Right Your own Backyard … A Plant Profile

At the end of the gardening season last year I spent a number of hours clearing brambles  and cutting lower limbs of some of the trees out back to make one continuous path from the backyard  through the wooded area and back out to the street on the opposite side of the yard. I also had to rake and level mounds of composted grass clippings and sod we dug out when making the flower beds.

After all the leveling and clearing Bill and I put down a deep layer of shredded leaves on the path to keep the weeds down , and now you can walk from one side of the yard to the other and when you step out onto the sidewalk see a little garden area that has been there forever but never gets any attention because of it’s isolation.

Although the path makes me happy, it also presented the problem of deciding what to plant in the dry shady areas under the trees in the areas that now line the path.


I have been pondering lots of solutions, and most of them bring me back to the same issue: the rabbits. Any plant left to fend for itself back there will certainly be foraged incessantly .Also,  dry shade, or rather just shade gardening in general ,is way out of my league as far as plant knowledge. Of course  I know what the horticulture writers suggest and what they show in books and magazines, but I have no direct experience with those plants and no way of knowing which of them Peter cottontail and company will be thrilled to have for dinner. A poor palnt decision could end up costly both in terms of work and money.

I considered epimediums, which up until last year were not browsed by the bunnies, but then late in the season the few I had were eaten to the ground.

I tried christmas ferns (polystichum acrostichoides) in an area near there before….instant bunny lunch.

Hucheras, a favorite rabbit  snack. wouldn’t last a day.

Solomon’s seal (polygonatum) is not browsed by bunnies but  the red  lily leaf beetles eat it

Once I started considering plants I consider ugly and rangy like cottoneaster and mahonia I knew I was in trouble.

I asked around to some gardener friends ,and after a few opinions was considering hay scented ferns (which they will not eat and thrives in dry shade )even knowing full well how aggressive it is and in a year or two from now it will have invaded my whole yard and I will curse the day I invited it here .

Then  in a moment that in my mind’s eye  I saw as a giant light bulb appearing over my head, it occurred to me that the answer was right here in my backyard all along: geranium macrorrhizum.

Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety or Bigroot geranium ,’ is a plant I have grown here for quite some time. It has fuzzy leaves that form a very dense mat of neat foliage and is a veritable weed- proof mat. The foliage is highly scented, but like what I can not explain. I neither like nor dislike the fragrance, but I think the bunnies have a firm aversion to it as never, not even once, has a leave been so much as nibbled. It spreads out in a very mannerly fashion and is easy to divide and transplant when you want another little colony of it. In the late spring it will be covered in sweet little pink flowers.  In the fall the foliage turns color aging to a glowing red. The leaves also  remains on the plant through the winter and it just needs a little ruff and fluff to be at it’s best come springtime.

The reason it never dawned on me that this would be the perfect plant for my new path is because everywhere I grow it here is in the full sun, but it will perform equally as well in shadier locations It is truly a very remarkable and adaptable plant !  As an added bonus I can use divisions from areas it already is growing here so it will be free!

It makes me a little sad that this oh-so-useful plant did not spring to mind immediately , and even more sad to realize that although many thousands of photos have been taken in this garden, I could only find one of this little workhorse plant. 055


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Plant Profile: One Thoroughly Amazing Honeysuckle( and a few runners-up)


I grow a number of honeysuckle ,or lonicera ,species in my garden and each has at least one attribute that makes it a must-have for me , and I would hope for you too.019 (7)

Lonicera periclymenum   ‘Harlequin’ has beautifully shaped variegated leaves with yellow/white margins that turn a deep rose color in the fall. It sports dark pink buds that open to pastel pink and cram colored blooms that have a slight sweet fragrance. The foliage alone makes this a great choice for  an arbor or against a fence as it is so beautiful. I grow 2 here, one behind and working its way into two large azeleas and one recently planted to climb on my new arbor tunnel out back.005

Lonicera fragrantissima  (above) is often called winter or fragrant honeysuckle because it has  flowers that emerge very early in the year that can scent the whole garden. It is worth its’  weight in gold because there few other plants that do much of anything in February and March, let alone give you a heavenly fragrance to enjoy. This honeysuckle is a shrub and well behaved especially given the family it belongs to. A few of its’ unruly cousins are out to conquer the world and difficult to manage in any garden. Not this guy! I wish I had room to have a whole hedge of them.peaches and cream

Lonicera periclmenum ‘Peaches and Cream’ (above) is a delightful new addition for me this year. It has lovely dark green foliage and grows to only 6 feet ,tops. White Flower Farm’s catalogue calls it “civilized” and I agree. It is compact and well mannered.  This honeysuckle has large dark purple buds that open to dark pink and creamy white, fading to a peachy cream , hence the name. It has already cycled through two long bloom sessions here with a short break in between. It is touted as resistant to mildew on the leaves but I have read reviews that beg to differ. Only time will tell, but the blossoms are  just lovely and sweetly scented too. 032

My favorite of all of them  is Lonicera sempervirens “Major Wheeler” . I planted two of these bines*  several years ago having ordered them from High Country Gardens on a whim.

Well, that was one great whim!  The dark green foliage is clean of mildew all year and the plants begin to bloom very soon after the leaves emerge in the very early spring. I planted one on an obelisk right outside my kitchen window and it has turned out to be one of my happiest garden decisions as hummingbirds flock to the red tubular nectar filled flowers  all summer long. Standing in front of the window with my first cup of coffee watching their antics is just about the best way to welcome the day I can think of.002 003 008029

Major Wheeler is never ever for one millisecond out of bloom from spring until at least into December. I have cut flowers that are on the bines even after all the leaves have dropped an there is snow on the ground.DSC_0006

The second plant I bought  was poorly sited in an area where the corgi dogs trampled it daily so I moved it last fall to the front fence. Now  it can be enjoyed all season by the many walkers that take their daily constitutional around the mile loop that is my road. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do.

FYI , always use caution when picking and planting honeysuckle varieties. One in particular , Lonicera japonica, is  a noxious weed that will cover any real estate it can reach and seed everywhere to boot. Many others are very large and can collapse a structure with their weight. Of course, you have some great choices here, so why look any further ;)

Also, honeysuckles like full sun and will perform poorly in shade. The ones listed here  are all hardy to US zone 4 .


*bine is the word for climbing plants that twine around things when they grow. Wisteria, some honeysuckles, and hops are a few.






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