Tag Archives: fothergilla

Fothergilla Mt Airy

If I had to choose the most disappointing plant in my garden right now, it would be Fothergilla Mt Airy. I have had two of these shrubs in the ground for four years now and while their features in isolation are killer, they haven’t matured to a level I would have expected by now.

Issue #1 – While I see them marketed as “deer resistant”, both of mine are consistently nibbled throughout the seasons. They’ve never been hit hard, but the nibbling has prevented them from growing much taller than 30 inches tall.

Issue #2 – While I’m sure this is related to issue #1, I’ve had very sporadic blooming in spring. To the point that I barely even notice the white bottlebrush blooms. It’s a shame because the blooms are beautiful and fragrant (which of course is a relative term to this sufferer of a deviated septum).

Both of my Fothergilla Mt Airy are situated in a partially shaded location and I’m contemplating moving one in spring to a more full sun area that would also be (fingers crossed) protected from the deer.

It’s all about experimentation with gardening, but I’ve got all winter to plan the move.

Here is the foliage color somewhere around the end of September.

fothergilla mt airy

fothergilla mt airy

Fantastic but damn if it couldn’t have an even bigger impact at 4 to 5 feet tall and wide.

Here are two photos of Fothergilla Mt Airy current day. The foliage color is a more consistent orange but still a presence.



Late April/early May is when I’ve seen the first signs of bloom. The photos below, taken over the course of the past few springs, only show you the good. The bare branches have been successfully removed from sight.

Still, nice enough.

fothergilla mt airy

fothergilla mt airy


I have no intention of giving up on Fothergilla Mt Airy and hope to create a full blown post dedicated to this native shrub next year.

As always, your feedback and advice would be greatly appreciated.


Best Fall Foliage Plants

Today we’ll take a look at my best fall foliage plants.

This list only includes plants I have lived with and experienced in my own garden .

Amsonia tabernaemontana (Blue Star)
The more well known Amsonia hubrictii has a much more impressive autumn color but I only added them to my own garden this past spring and it is too soon for me to share any photos of them.

Tabernaemontana still is impressive in its own right as the fall foliage color starts as a pale yellow and develops into an eye catching orange hue.



best fall foliage plants


Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’
I have quite a few different Viburnum shrubs (some real young and still small) and to date, this has been the best autumn performer. Each individual leaf starts to transform slowly to a maroon color starting at the end of September and the majority of the leaves remain on the plant until the end of October here in zone 6B.



best fall foliage plants


Fothergilla ‘Mt. Airy’
This deciduous shrub, while interesting in early spring with its white bottlebrush blooms, really stands out in the fall with that kick butt orange foliage color. I’ve added a few more this year to really up the impact each autumn.

best fall foliage plants


Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Northwind’
This ornamental grass and PPA award winner may not be thought of as a fall foliage plant, but that yellow color works for me as the perfect complement to the more common red fall foliage color of other plants.



Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet) ‘Hummingbird’
Another shrub not thought of as a fall performer, but again, I like to mix in that yellow/gold color wherever I can.



Itea (Virginia Sweetspire) ‘Henry’s Garnet’
This shrub, by far, has the greatest red fall color of any plant currently residing in my garden. The fall color starts subtly in August and then kicks it into overdrive by early September. The leaves start to fall off in mid October with a few remaining as late as Thanksgiving.





Miscanthus purpurascens (Flame Grass) 
Another ornamental grass, this one takes color to all new heights. Just look at all of the color shades represented in those blades. It is the plant that draws the most attention/questions from onlookers from August through October.



Why I post so often

I have this friend (dude knows who he is) who on more than one a hundred occasions has asked me “How can you possibly take any more pictures of your garden? Seriously, you have like hundreds of posts in only four years, haven’t you said/photographed it all?”

First off “friend”, and I use the term loosely, I have actually posted 868 times since February of 2010. And while some of the posts are of questionable mind, most are simply an observation of what is going on in my garden at that time. I introduce new plants to my garden each season/year, plants get more robust with age, take on a completely different look and feel when relocated within the garden, change dramatically through the seasons and often times die. And many times it is a combination of all of these things. That is why I can take hundreds of photographs in one session.

Here are some examples just from today.

This is my first witness to a Fothergilla blooming in my own garden as I just planted it last Fall:

I dig the bottlebrush like flowers and are even cooler up close:

I get all jonesed up seeing my Redtwig Dogwood leafing out, knowing we are transitioning from early to mid spring:


Before I know it, it will fill out completely and take its understated turn in the landscape:

The Amsonia are finally emerging from the ground and I frickin love how they look when doing so:

The next step is seeing the first buds forming:

Soon following will be a cacophony of buds:

Then the first bloom:

And finally full bloomage:

All of the foliage on the Astilbes have this cool red/brown/green/rust combo right now and it is fantastic:

Eventually it will settle in all green with hints of red stems:

Then the first buds appear:

And then boom, we’ve got serious blooms:


The photos tell the story and that alone, friend, should give you enough evidence as to why I am now easily completing my 869th post.

Emerging foliage of spring

Spring refuses to fully embrace itself so we continue to move at a snail’s pace out in the garden. But the plants are finally revealing their emerging foliage, almost out of fear.

Like Crataegus viridis (Hawthorn) ‘Winter King’:

And Betula nigra (River Birch):

Some of the deciduous shrubs have finally shown emerging foliage, like this Cornus sericea (Redtwig Dogwood):

And Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’:

A few perennials decided to finally make an appearance. Hello Cimicifuga (Bugbane) ‘Pink Spire’:

Peonies unfurling at their own steady pace:


Now there has been some serious progress on other fronts. Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’ buds have turned full blown pink and look phenomenal: 



Speaking of this Viburnum. I count today as its first day of having “interest” and it will continue to do provide such “interest” all the way into early November. If you do the math, that is almost seven months of interest. And that means it is fantastic 7/12 of the year. And that translates to a 58% “interest” rate which I might just calculate for every plant I own and add it to the plant spreadsheet.

Just thought you should know that.

While we are at it, let’s enjoy the emerging foliage of the Astilbes:

And the buds on Fothergilla ‘Mount Airy’



And finally, the tulips I’ve successfully grown in containers (hand pats back):

Good stuff, right? Well now let’s move over to the not so good or potentially not so good.

My Amelanchier (Serviceberry) ‘Autumn Brilliance’ is blooming:

But from a larger view, eh:

But more importantly, or more annoyingly, we have some serious bare legs:

I understand that this is the nature of this tree, but this extreme? I need to work on this one in some way.

Do I worry about this? Tent caterpillars?

I’m all for letting nature take its course, but not at the expense of my beloved Crabapple tree. More to come.

And finally, I am already regretting not strongly pruning the Salix (Dappled Willow) ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ in early spring. That awesome variegation is missing:


Look at the same shrub from only two years ago:

Chalk it up to experience and a new task added to the 2015 ledger.