“A shrub native to the swamps and low lying wet woods of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”
Yes please, I’ll take three. Some times it is that simple.
The brief description above is describing Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire) ‘Henry’s Garnet (and I’m sure it is a good description of other shrubs, but I digress):
This deciduous shrub fits my growing conditions perfectly and when that happens, I bow at the altar of said shrub. Some more details on my buddy:
- Survives zone 5-9
- Prefers full sun to partial shade – I can vouch that it works well in both
- Reaches a maximum height of about 4′ and a spread of about 6′
- Prefers wet soil but will work in soil with average moisture
- For me, it has bloomed from the end of May until the middle to end of June
- The blooms are white, 3-6 ” cylindrical racemes that allegedly are fragrant but I’ve yet to notice that
- The foliage is a dark green that is a bit slow to leaf out in spring so no need to panic
- The fall color is fantastical and the reason for the cultivar name
- This cultivar was discovered at Swarthmore College in the early 80’s most likely while the founder was listening to Duran Duran on his Walkman (OK, I made that last part up.)
Some personal photos I’ve taken over the past two years:
An explosion of bloom, taken about a week ago:
A closer shot of the bottle brush like blooms:
The foliage starting to change color in late Summer:
But most importantly, the amazing fall foliage color (taken in late November):
I have three of these shrubs and each has been provided with ample room to sucker and form colonies at their will. I won’t prune them a bit.
If you do not have the room for these, there is a dwarf version ‘Little Henry’ that is easily available. I’m thinking about test driving one of them myself.