Weigela florida ‘Tango’

Weigela florida 'Tango' Weigela florida ‘Tango’ Family: Caprifoliaceae
(wy-GEE-lah FLOOR-ih-dah)

Common name: none
Zone: 3 – 8
Height: 2.5 – 3 ft (75-90 cm) Spread: 3 ft (90 cm)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: moderate; well-draining
Water: moderate

Description: A deciduous shrub with a densely compact, slightly rounded habit. Typical growth is slightly shorter in height than width. Leaves are elliptical in shape and darkly greenish-purple on top, dark green on their underside. Red, funnel-shaped flowers appear either in clusters, or singly along the branches of the previous year’s growth. Bloom time is mid- to late spring. A more sparse repeat bloom often occurs on new growth later in the summer. Flowers are a particular favourite of hummingbirds.

 

Special Notes: Native to China, Japan, and Korea, the first specimens of this genus were collected by Robert Fortune of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1845 where they soon became established in many English gardens. There are ten to fourteen species in the Weigela genus with roughly 180 cultivars now available…most of which are variations in the W. florida species.

‘Tango’ was bred by Dr. Felicitas Svejda at the Agricultural Canada Experimental Farm in the 1980s. It is one of what is known as the Dance Series. ‘Minuet’, ‘Rumba’, ‘Samba’, and ‘Polka’ round out the dance steps. They were all bred for better cold hardiness, suitable to withstanding our Canadian winters.

As with most plants, ‘Tango’ benefits from being planted in rich, humousy soil. However, most weigelas are quite tolerant of poorer soils but, to be kind to your plant, apply an annual top-dressing of compost or aged manure.

The lovely dark foliage is darkest when plant is sited in full sun but will remain reasonably dark-leaved in light shade with some sun hours.

Like most weigela species, this cultivar is very easy care, plus relatively pest and disease free. Moderately drought tolerant, but does benefit from some watering during particularly long stretches of dry weather. Deer and rabbit resistant. Propagation by cuttings in June, after flowering is finished.

 

In our Zone 7a garden: This plant is a new addition to my front garden in Spring 2016. Stay tuned for updates on its progress.

 

Posted on July 12, 2016

 

Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’

Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' - male
Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ Family: Rutaceaa
(SKIM-ee-ah jah-PON-ih-kah)

Common name: Japanese skimmia
Zone: 7 – 9
Height: 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m) Spread: 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 cm)
Aspect: partial shade; full shade
Soil: humus-rich; well-draining
Water: moderate

Description: A slow-growing, evergreen shrub with a dense, dome-shaped growth habit. Glossy, bright green leaves are broad with smooth edges. Panicles of deep-red flower buds appear in winter, opening in spring into showy clusters of highly fragrant, white flowers with yellow anthers.

Special Notes: Native to Japan. This is a male cultivar. No female ‘Rubella’ plants. This male can still be used to pollinate other female skimmia plants. Can be pruned to shape once flowering is finished in spring. Reasonably drought tolerant once established. Propagation by softwood cuttings in summer.

Caution: Leaves are toxic if ingested in large quantities.

RHS Award of Garden Merit 1993

 

 

Cotinus ‘Grace’

Cotinus 'Grace' - autumn colour beginning Cotinus ‘Grace’ Family: Anacardiaceae
(koe-TY-nus) 

Common name: smoke bush; smoke tree; smokewood
Zone: 4 – 8
Height: 10-15 ft (3-4.5m) Spread: 10-15 ft (3-4.5m)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: moderately fertile; well-draining
Water: moderate

Description: Deciduous shrub with a pleasing, multi-branched, natural-forming shape. Boasts lovely round leaves that emerge light red in spring, darkening to a reddish-purple in summer before turning a brilliant orange-red in autumn. Large, open panicles of frothy pink flowers appear in early summer.

Special Notes: A cross between Cotinus coggygria ‘Velvet Cloak’ (a seedling discovered in a nursery in the US) and Cotinus obovulatus (native to SE United States). Pleasing, natural growth form requires little pruning and then only to keep paths clear or make room for its neighbour. Deer resistant. Tends to be susceptible to verticillium wilt and powdery mildew. Allow airflow to minimize. Propagation is difficult.

 

Great Plant Pick 2003

 

Posted on November 6, 2014

 

Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’

Sambucus nigra 'Eva' flowers - (syn. S. n. Black Lace™)

Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’ Family: Caprifoliaceae
(sam-BOO-kus NIH-grah)
syn. Sambucus nigra Black Lace™

Common name: purple cutleaf elderberry; black European elder
Zone: 4 – 7
Height: 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4m) Spread: 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4m)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: fertile; moist; well-draining
Water: moderate

Description: A deciduous shrub with an upright growth habit. Purple-black leaves are deeply cut, lending the plant the exotic look of a Japanese maple. Masses of showy cream-pink flowers appear in summer followed by dark, purple-black berries in late summer.

 

Special Notes: Native to Europe. Foliage holds its colour well, even in full sun. Plant benefits from an initial hard pruning in late winter or early spring if a fuller shape is desired. If garden space dictates keeping this shrub within boundaries, prune on a two or three year cycle as flowers are born on two year old stems. Berries are edible. Propagate by softwood cuttings in summer.

 

Great Plant Pick 2010; Sambucus genus – Herb of the Year 2013

 

 

Posted on May 12, 2013

Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea’

Image coming soon

Image coming soon

Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea’ Family: Caprifoliaceae
(sam-BOO-kus kan-ah-DEN-sis)
syn. Sambucus canadensis aurea

Common name: golden American elderberry
Zone: 4 – 7
Height: 8-12 ft (2.4-3.6m) Spread: 5-8 ft (1.5-2.4m)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: fertile; moist; well-draining
Water: moderate

Description: Description: A deciduous shrub with an upright growth habit. Foliage is yellow to yellow-green. Masses of creamy white flowers appear in late spring or early summer followed by red berries in late summer. Berries are edible if cooked.

 

Special Notes: Native to eastern North America. Foliage will be more yellow in full sun. Drought tolerant once established. Plant benefits from an initial hard pruning in late winter or early spring if a fuller shape is desired. If garden space dictates keeping this shrub within boundaries, prune on a two or three year cycle as flowers are born on two year old stems. Propagate by softwood cuttings in summer; hardwood cuttings in late winter.

 

Sambucus genus – Herb of the Year 2013

 

 

Posted on May 12, 2013

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