Monday, July 11, 2011

We Are All A Fickle Lot, Aren't We?

Who among us hasn't gone from plant to plant over the growing season, claiming each new encounter a 'favorite' plant?   I am as guilty as the next guy.  My newest favorite plant is Clethra alnifolia 'Vanilla Spice'.  Last fall I bought 5 small shrubs ----this spring I could only find four.  No the yard isn't that big...think some-bunny ate one of them. 
 The four that remain are in full bloom  right now.  It is a versatile shrub....native, likes sun to part shade.  It can handle moist soil or a drier location.   The fragrance is amazing!  The evening breeze carries its perfume across the garden.  I love it!  The bees love it.  The hummingbirds love it.  The deer leave it alone (at least according to the literature).  Like I said, one of mine disappeared.  Maybe it was just in a really dry part of the yard and died??  Who knows. 
 This beauty will grow to about six feet tall, though right now they are about two feet tall now.  I have given them plenty of room to grow and be all they can be.   The foliage is dark green and gives a colorful show in the fall. 
 Vanilla Spice is one of a few cultivars of this native.  I had originally wanted 'Ruby Spice' which has pinkish red blooms.  I was able to find the five Clethra last fall and decided to give the Vanilla Spice a try.  I do like the punch of white blooms in the garden.  It really stands out.   White or pink, what really has me loving this shrub is the fragrance.  Its common name?  Summersweet! And it sure is!
Do you have a new plant you have fallen for?  Like I said, we are fickle, I admit it, so---will be sharing some other 'new' favorites in the weeks to come.  Tell me your new favs!


©Copyright 2011 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

22 comments:

  1. clethra is one of ny new favorites, too! i cant believe that wonderful fragrance. mine are hummingbird which i found out after the fact arent the best cultivar because they tend to fall apart after a few years. oh well... right now they are so pretty and they smell fantastic. i am glad you are enjoying yours, too.

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  2. Oh, I know you love that one!

    I hate to tell you that deer will eat it. Not supposed to, but at my former home, I planted so many of those and it was sad....sigh.

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  3. Janet,
    It is very drought tolerant. In the NC sandhills in grows everywhere in the wild, can be very dry there too. Butterflies love it too.

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  4. I am so envious, Janet! I wanted to add a 'Vanilla Spice' to my new flowerbed this spring, but none of the local nurseries carried it, and I didn't want to wait for a tiny mail-order plant to grow up. I bought a 'Ruby Spice' instead. It's not ready to bloom yet, but hopefully I'll find it as lovely as yours.

    I'm definitely fickle...right now my favorites are the old faithful coneflowers and all the daylilies blooming. But in another week or two, I'll probably have a new favorite:)

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  5. We are quite fickle, I know myself my favorite plant changes from week to week. ;) That Clethra is something special though, I've been eyeballing those at the nursery for some time now.

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  6. New to me plant..sounds like a winner, the blooms are pretty and the fragrance sounds divine! Right now it's my Brugmansia..

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  7. Re: Brugmansia, Mine are all in the garden and yes they return every year in our zone 8...they also root easy peasy if you want to bring a smaller one in for the winter incase yours does not return, :)

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  8. I don't have the moisture for clethra but it is a plant I love! I really love my spigellia marylandica and my silene regia. Both have red lipstick-like flowers and attract hummingbirds. Your clethra looks really happy. :o)

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  9. I have different ones each week too. Besides veggie blooms I have a Crepe Myrtle that has become a surprise as it is dark pink & red. I bought it as a red one. Last yr I was disappointed as it was only dark pink. I think someone mixed them up as there is 2 trunks.

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  10. Love the name Vanilla Spice. We have wild Summersweet here and it's a great plant. It can grow in standing water but like Randy says it is also drought tolerant once established.

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  11. The ones we have at work are literally abuzz with life from all the bees, wasps, butterflies and moths. Oh, and yes the smell is fantastic!

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  12. I feel the just as fickle, falling in love with each plant as it comes into bloom. In the end it would be hard to pick an all time favourite. I love them all, rather like one loves all their children equally. I don't know this plant at all. The flower rather reminds me of my gas plant. Such a nice bonus that it is fragrant!
    P.S. My favourite of the moment is a white hydrangea.

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  13. I am in-love with Daylilies right now. I have always loved sedum and don't ever expect to lose that attraction. :)
    That summersweet probably smells fantastic. Yum!

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  14. You are so right, we're a fickle bunch indeed. Now I want some Summersweet!!!

    Right now I'm favoring my ferns and heucheras because they're new, but I'm also admiring the combo of yellow coreopsis, purple larkspur, hot pink rose campion and white daisies. It looks like bouquet in the garden.

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  15. It's so true, every new purchase is an instant favourite. This year for me it's my new rhododendron and Siberian iris butter & sugar. Of course every new bloom that pops up becomes an instant favourite as well!

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  16. I've admired this shrub for a long time in garden catalogs but have never tried one. Now you have me wanting to scoot off to a nursery! I need to figure out where to plant one and give it a try. Sounds like it has as many attributes as it is beautiful. I didn't realize it was so attractive to insects & hummingbirds. That makes me want it more.

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  17. I can almost smell those Clethra blossoms now!
    I currently have three faves--night flox (Zaluzianskya capensis) on the patio, native mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii) near the front door, and sea holly (Eryngium 'Big Blue' or 'Sapphire Blue'--sorry I don't recall which I have) in a border bed. The first two are obviously faves because of their incredible fragrance, and the last because it is stunning, to me anyway.
    Hope the deer leave your new favorite plant alone!

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  18. What a lovely looking shrub Janet, and completely new to me. I just looked it up, and apart from the suckering habit, it sounds like it would work well here too. Another for the "possible future garden" list, as I want to major on plants that attract insects but which have more than one season of interest.

    As to my own current favourite, I can't decide between Rudbekia 'Rustic Dwarf Mix' or Achillea 'Cassis'...

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  19. Vanilla Spice... I love it already, just for its name...
    Janet, I posted some pictures of the PalmenGarten today. You told me you used to visit it...

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  20. Love the sweet smell of those shrubs. The only thing I don't like is that way the dead flower spikes persist until they're cut off the next spring - at least on the plants I've seen. A bit of extra work is worth it for a favorite, though, right?

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  21. Dear friends, thanks for all your comments. I hope I was able to entice some of you to get a Clethra, be it a 'Vanilla Spice' or 'Ruby Spice' or 'Sixteen Candles' or 'Hummingbird' --- lots of varieties to chose from.

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  22. I had "Ruby Spice" and loved it. These are great plants.

    Jan
    Always Growing

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