Japanese Clethra is waiting to be discovered. It is a plant for all seasons, boasting fragrant mid summer blossoms, yellow-orange to red fall foliage, and exfoliating bark in winter. If left unpruned it will grow as a multistemmed shrub or small tree, but we prefer to see it trained to a single leader, with lower limbs removed, so that the showy bark can be better appreciated.
We were smitten when our young plant came into bloom in July. Trios of sweetly scented white, 4-6″, twisting racemes will drip from the branches into August. The ovate serrated foliage, in a shade of dark green, really sets off the white blossoms. Fall color is also striking, ranging form yellow orange to deep red. Although Clethra barbinervis is fast growing, it seems to reach an ultimate height of 15-20′. It prefers a well drained, neutral or slightly acidic soil with adequate moisture. Clethra barbinervis grows well in partial shade, although it will tolerate and bloom abundantly in full sun, if watering needs are met. It can be cultivated in zones 5-8.
We have fallen in love with the New England forest. It happened several decades ago, but it seems like only yesterday that the spell of fall was cast upon us. We know it’s the maples celebrating, in a festival of color, their happy home. A selection of Japanese Maple, Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’ begins this celebration in spring, with leaves emerging orange, unfurling to lemon-yellow with orange margins and finally settling in with yellow-green tones through the summer. Fall harkens ‘Orange Dream’ with a glorious display of yellow-gold. As winter peels off her leaves, the architectural intricacies of this small tree are revealed. Each season bring forth a new song from the branches of Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’.
‘Orange Dream’ appreciates an eastern exposure, where her feet will stay cool through the summer. She grows only a few inches a year, but will eventually find her way to 10′ x 10′. Site in a small garden or as an understory and you will fall in love too.
There is something especially striking about flowers which adorn bare branches before any signs of leaf growth appear. Hamamelis x ‘Feuerzauber’, a German hybrid selection of Withchazel (translation Fire Dragon), is hardy in zones 5-8 and boasts showy orange to red fragrant flowers in late February and March, which are as lovely cut for indoor arrangements as they are gracing the late winter landscape.
We recommend situating ‘Feuerzauber’ where you can enjoy its display from an indoor window. In fact, why not plant early blooming Crocus or yellow Narcissus ‘February Gold’ near its base for one of the first colorful ensembles of spring. ‘Feuerzauber’ will form a large shrub (15-18) with a pleasing upward spreading habit. It may not sing loudly in summer but it will celebrate Autumn with an amazing symphony of orange, yellow and red foliage.
Large Specimens available for nursery pickup.