Friday, July 1, 2011

A sure way to attract butterflies in July

 The first time I ever saw Abelia chinensis at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, I could hardly believe my eyes.  The shrub doesn't look like any of its commonplace cousins (there are better abelias these days; I refer to the old-fashioned scraggly types).  Although its habit isn't the neatest (the heavy flower clusters make the branches arch over into a fountain), it is to my mind a very desirable shrub, with the bonus that it blooms in summer.  Butterflies love it.

 Abelia chinensis produces lilac shaped inflorescences that are white to pinkish and fragrant.  The blooms fill out in July and persist into autumn.  This is a shrub that should be more widely used in the South.  It's great to cut for arrangements.