Thursday, August 28, 2014
A forgotten shrub rediscovered
Three of us were following Liz Tedder around as we walked through her enormous garden (or gardens within a garden would be more like it) last week. All of a sudden, I spied a shrub I hadn't seen or thought about in a long time.
It used to be that I would keep up with a lot of the newest introductions. This was back before you could look up everything on the Internet. I would study catalogs like crazy and make my rounds of gardens to see what people were planting and experimenting with. I'd also visit nurseries, checking out anything new and wonderful that had come in.
It's been years since I've run across the blue mist shrub, Caryopteris x clandonensis. Maybe it's because in recent years I haven't been out in a lot of gardens during the months of August and September when this small plant (three feet tall, at most) is in full bloom.
Caryopteris is a magnet for bees and butterflies. I didn't see any of the latter, but I tried very hard to capture the bumblebees that were landing on the light blue flowers. I'm not sure if you can see one in this photograph, but he's there.
Liz says she didn't have much luck with the gray-leaved caryopteris, but the ones with the golden leaves have been successful. As I was looking at pictures on the Internet, I saw a shrub with much darker blue flowers and golden foliage - Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue', one of the Proven Winners. If I had enough sun here, I would love to try that one.
Because of my job at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and then as a scout for A Gardener's Diary on HGTV, I got to see a lot of wonderful flowers and shrubs. My heart would start racing at the sight of something special. I confess it was because I wanted that plant, too. That's how I felt the other day in Liz's garden when I came upon this wonderful shrub I hadn't seen in a long, long time. When my ship comes in, and I get that deer fence around the one sunny area on this property, you can rest assured I'll be planting a caryopteris - always something to look forward to in the world of gardening.
Note: For some reason, on the finished post, the color of this flower appears to be purple and darker than it truly is. It is actually light, pastel blue.