The Good Ones ~ Shrubs
It’s funny how as time goes on and you learn about new varieties of plant material there are always the “old standby’s”. I will be posting a little series about some of my favorite plants and why in the coming weeks so stay tuned.
Fothergilla gardenii ~ Dwarf Fothergilla
Unfortunately as much as I ask the nurseries to supply it, this variety seems to be hard to come by. Whenever I do find it, I buy out whatever they have to make sure I can use it as long as I can. I don’t know exactly why I like it so much but I have a some theories. I first learned about Fothergilla in 1992 while working with a friend of mine in Columbus as a couple guys who started landscaping for people on the side. I remember exactly where we installed it too, but I think what I loved about it was the fall color. We installed this project in the fall and the color was amazing to me. The funny thing was that running along the street was a planting of Sweetgum trees that looked almost like the tree version of this plant in terms of fall color.
As I continue to design and hone my skills I also find myself trending in another direction, and that is one of size. I find that in developing a plan for my clients, I really lean toward using smaller plants in order to keep the maintenance to a minimum for them. Dwarf Fothergilla really fits the bill here. It’s max height is about three feet which gives me a lot of flexibility to install this plant in many locations.
Fothergilla is a member of the witch hazel family and thus is considered by me to be a woodland style shrub. Aside from my love of the outdoors and all things recreational, Fothergilla is one of a small group of plants that does very well in shady situations which also appeals to my preferred style of landscaping.
What about the flowers?
Well, yes it flowers. Not very showy but it is kind of cool to see the flowers come out before the leaves do in the spring. What can I say?
It’s not perfect but it’s close.
Botanical Name: Fothergilla gardeniifah-ther-GILL-ah gar-DEN-ee-eye
Common Name: Dwarf fothergilla
Fragrant, cylindrical inflorescences are made up of long, white filaments, and open before the leaves in spring. In autumn, the foliage shades range from blood red to blazing yellow, and every shade in between.
Noteworthy characteristics: This species is similar to, but smaller than, F. major. The shrubs are beautiful, compact, and easy to grow, making them easy choices for mixed borders, foundation plantings, and naturalizing. Native to the southeastern U.S.
Care: Prune only to maintain a healthy framework, which is minimal. Grow in moist but well-drained, acidic soil in full sun or partial shade.