six on Saturday, 6 May 2023

Today’s six are rather uncharacteristic for me because five of the six are non-natives. But, they all have interesting structures, especially leaf shapes. Most notable, though, they were irresistible deals at a recent Blount County Master Gardener plant sale. I bought some natives, too: Virginia sweet spire, columbine, and paw paw. Oh, and a few “closeout” azaleas. A hazard of setting up for and working at the plant sale is buying more plants than I have a plan or a place for and giving in to the good deals at the end. But back to today’s six.

1. One of the first plants I snatched up was was a three-gallon bucket Chaenomeles ‘O Yashima’, sometimes called Japanese quince, a compact flowering quince that promises double white flowers. I’ll find out whether that promise comes true next spring; in the meantime, it fills a space along a fence boarder and should withstand the full sun it will get. It will also balance an orangish variety farther down the line.

2. I had been looking for the white flowering quince for a while, the next shrub, however, was completely new to me, which certainly had something to do with my interest in it. Adina rubella, or Chinese Buttonbush, is deciduous with a thin upright growth habit. In fact it is so thin and upright that its branches get lost in the background foliage in the first photo below. The leaves are delicate, small, and shiny—a nice contrast with the matte green ferns growing nearby. The blooms should be round, spiky, white balls. Several garden sites say those flowers appear late spring to summer. Just today I noticed small round “buds” at the terminal tips of branches pictured in the third photo below. Several more can seen in the featured image at the opening of this post. Hopefully, these will become the button flowers that Adina rubella is noted for. I will remove the nursery tag soon, by the way!

3. Another purchase new to me, Kerria japonica, is also thin and upright at the moment, but it will not bloom this year. Eventually, though, it should produce more arching branches with bright yellow flowers. Its common name is Japanese kerria or, being in the rose family, Japanese rose . I was drawn to it because it tolerates shade. I planted it in an area opened up a little due to the removal of a few tall trees last summer. Although still shady, the spot now gets enough light to encourage some ferns and woodland flowers such as Solomon’s seal and dwarf iris. The color palette is predominately green, though, so I am hoping for a big yellow show in a year or two from Japanese kerria.

4. I first mistook trade mark Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Party Lights’ for a holly; not surprisingly it is also called Holly Leaf Tea Olive. Its distinguishing characteristic is that new leaves emerge deep pink before turning lighter pink and eventually green. In the photo below the leaves have reached their green coloration, but just a month ago shades of pink could still be seen. Since it will supposedly grow in partial shade, maybe it will like its place here among some scraggly zebra grass. It might not flourish exactly, but it will provide a nice contrast in textures.

5. While gardenias are native primarily to Africa and Asia, ‘Diamond Spire’ Gardenia is a Southern Living trade mark. I’ve chosen a home for it, but as yet it has not been permanently planted. A dense, upright gardenia, Diamond Spire is advertised as suitable for containers. For the time being, then, this decorative pot should be good for it. The plant already has several buds and one flower.

6. Native to Southeastern US woodlands, Fothergilla brings up the end and stands as my one native this Saturday. Because it is a deciduous shrub, I’m not sure whether its bare branches are due to slow spring leafing or to winter damage. I’ve trimmed back the obviously dead wood and will fertilize it with a good azalea/rhododendron food, and hope for healthy growth and a stunning display of red, orange, and yellow leaves in the fall. Regardless, the price was right for this rather large Fothergilla. There is something about this plant and it fall colors that simply charms me. I have a few pass-along sprigs from fellow Six on Saturday garden blogger “pruneplantsow” that are coming into their own this spring. One way or another—or one planting or another—it will be a colorful fall.

Next post I’ll likely return to photographs of blooms, maybe soon even a Chinese Buttonbush flower. In the meantime, readers looking for garden knowledge, hacks, and images, should visit the site of Jim Stephens at Garden Ruminations. Jim always has six interesting things to offer and the comments on the site include links to many other interesting groups of six—as well as guidelines for anyone who wishes to join the Six on Saturday postings.

6 Replies to “six on Saturday, 6 May 2023”

  1. I share your enjoyment of Fothergilla. I recently transplanted one I had which was not faring well. It is in a sunnier location now and seems to be thriving.
    Gardenia in a container? Interesting. I would like to try that. My 40 year old gardenias took quite a hit from the ravages of the December flash freeze. They are just beginning to leaf this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I planted the new fothergilla in full sun. Hoping for a good outcome. As for my gardenia, it made it through the first freeze looking pretty good, but the second freeze did visible damage.


  2. The foliage on the Chinese buttonbush is lovely and intriguing, as is the Osmanthus. I can certainly see how hard it would be to leave the sale without a carload of plants!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Osmanthus sounds interesting, we’ve had O. ‘Goshiki’ for many years and it’s nice enough but unchanging. I like an evergreen that has a bit of a seasonal cycle. Must see if it’s available over here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Flowering quince are rad! Although I dislike almost all modern cultivars, I was pleased to try a modern cultivar of old fashioned flowering quince, and have been pleased with its performance. Of course, I still prefer the old or traditional cultivars.

    Liked by 1 person

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