Sunday, August 2, 2009

Clethra alnifolia, Summersweet

Clethra alnifolia is in my opinion one of the best smelling plants ever. I first encountered this in a friend's garden. The plant was 3 or 4 years old and in a very up right bush form then. You could start to smell it two doors down. Standing next to the thing is surprisingly not overpowering in the slightest. It's this plant that inspired me to buy four saplings the following year. I gave two away, one to a friend and the other to my aunt. The two I kept didn't flower the first year. I'm happy to say though that changed this year.

Coneflowers are not the best companions. They're being moved when the Summersweet fills in more. The other plant I kept is stuck in a forest of Goldenrod, but flowering well. They tolerate shade pretty well. Unfortunantly I don't have any images of a full grown plant so once again we turn to Google Search.

Though flowering, neither of the two plants are pumping out that sweet fragrance I love so much on the level of a 3 year old plant. So it takes some patiance. I highly recommend this plant. If it's native near you and you have some shade then it's the plant for you.

Something I'm amazed at with almost ALL the images on Google Search is how none of the plants are covered in bees. The fragrance this plant gives out is hypnotically attractive. The one plant in my friend's garden was covered in hundreds of species of bees. It's an amazingly rich source of nectar and one of the few plants blooming in late summer.

Here you can see some leaves to a plant and hopefully see it's landscaping potential. What's also great about this plant is I've started finding garden center sell it. One place I bought a full 3 year old bush, marked down to $15 from $30. I may go back and buy another. Considering this plant blooms at it's peak in late summer, when I bought it, that's was an amazing deal. The Fools!