Friday, June 24, 2011

Garden Update: Dwarf Fothergilla in Spring

It's true.  Summer is officially here.  But the weather still feels an awful lot like spring, so I think it's a perfect time to share more pictures from my spring garden.

Today I'm showing off another of my beloved plants, the Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii).  I affectionately refer to this plant as Father Gilla and he is one of my earliest purchases for the garden.  I planted him in the fall of 2007 and had to dig him up just a few months later to make way for a new sewer line.  He's been in a container ever since and finally seems to be coming into his own.  And he is absolutely stunning in the spring.

When spring begins, the leaves and flower buds emerge side by side...
fothergilla gardenii bud

fothergilla gardenii bud


...the flowers slowly begin to open...
fothergilla gardenii bloom

fothergilla gardenii bloom


...and the branches form a beautiful lacy framework.




As the days of spring wear on, the leaves grow larger and the blooms fully open in specatular form.
fothergilla gardenii bloom

fothergilla gardenii bloom

fothergilla gardenii bloom



By season's end, the flowers are spent and the leaves start taking center stage.

fothergilla gardenii leaves

fothergilla gardenii leaves



Here is my Father Gilla in early spring when the leaves and flowers are just emerging...



...and here he is in late spring when the flowers are spent and the leaves have filled out:


Father Gilla has been an extremely low-maintenance addition to my garden.  His only real request is for a good amount of sun.  Without enough sun exposure, he doesn't seem to flower and the fall color is definitely lackluster.  But with decent sunlight, he happily blooms and grows and puts on one of the most stunning displays of fall color I've ever seen.  He tolerates the oops-I-forgot-to-water-and-it's-80-degrees-outside remarkably well and seems perfectly content in his container.  I don't expect him to get a lot bigger; he's already about 3 feet wide and 2-1/2 feet tall.  He'll likely get just a little taller and continue to fill out with new growth from the base.

I am very pleased with how Father Gilla is doing and I still consider him to be one of my all-time favorite plants.  If these bloom pictures haven't yet convinced you of his virtue, I'm certain you're going to positively swoon for him when I show off his outstanding colors in the fall.

Oh.  You don't want to wait that long?  Well, okay.  Here's a sneak peek from last fall's display.


fothergilla gardenii foliage in fall


Are you swooning yet?

4 comments:

  1. well, I'm convinced of my *need* for one of these lovely plants...can never have too many 'fathers,' right? =)

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  2. @Rachel--Hooray! I love introducing uncommon plants to people. With such a big yard at your new place, you might even want the "big" version--Fothergilla major. Can't wait to help populate your yard ;o).

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  3. okay, I'm a guy, and I don't garden, and I'm not really that into flora and fauna, but I heart the way you write about your garden. At first Fothergilla sounded like the monster version of the father – you know – like Godzilla – Fatherilla - get it? :-)

    But the way you describe it – and your pictures - the way the buds come out with the leaves – and the flowers then take over – and then give way to the leaves – and then the color change – wow – that was awesome. I hearted this a lot. God bless you Courney.

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  4. @Craig--I love that your first thought is Godzilla and my first thought is a little old priest named Father Gilla! At least he's a dwarf, so even if Godzilla comes to mind, perhaps he's too little to be scary? ;o) I'm happy to brighten up your days with all the things you *don't* do--gardening, crochet, etc. Thank you, as always, for stopping by to read and {heart} my posts. Grace to you.

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