Friday, April 27, 2012

It's weigelia season; they're the marigolds of flowering shrubs...






...or the Rodney Dangerfields. Deciduous flowering shrubs get little enough respect as a group, and I'm thinking that, excepting forsythia, weigelias are the low rung on that totem pole. It is true that they take up a lot of room and only look good for a few weeks a year, but. Their shape, gawky with multiple arching branches, works wonderfully for those few weeks that they're covered with flowers. And a few, actually a good number, of them rebloom lightly.

The older I get (and the more perverse?), the more I appreciate these plants. The red one is 'Red Prince', one of the "usual suspects" at the garden center; they were only planted last year so they're really just babies. The middle plant with multicolored flowers, they darken as they age, is a favorite. The plants, there are more than one, in the bottom photo were renewal pruned last year and they did a darned good job of renewing themselves. Still, if you want to grow these older larger selections, you're going to need a good bit of property.

From the top: Weigelia florida 'Red Prince' (closeup and plant); Weigela japonica sinensis (closeup and huge plant); Weigela florida

3 comments:

College Gardener said...

A very apt description of Weigelias. I personally am fond of them as well, especially the old-fashioned large varieties with red blooms. In comparison I find the bronze-leaved, pale pink-flowered dwarf cultivars that one mostly sees for sale these days a bit underwhelming.

Anonymous said...

one of my neighbors has a weigela 'wine and roses' (if i remeber the name correctly) and the other across the street has a newer ninebark cultivar, Summer Wine, I think. They both look good, and I think breeding for color and compactness have helped both look pretty good. The long rangy ones you see here are cool, I just can't figure out how you'd integrate them well into a garden context. Grow them against a wall or fence off in a corner by themselves?

ChrisU said...

Hey, you have to like those wine names. How about Deutzia 'Chardonnay Pearls'? Weigelias are hard to integrate. They are wonderful as large hedgerow plants that you can enjoy when they're flowering and ignore the rest of the year. The problem is that most of us don't have large enough gardens to have hedgerows. And evenif we did, that style has passed.