Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some Summer Flowering Shrubs

Cephalanthus occidentalis, Buttonbush, is blooming! These shrubs grow happily in 4' of water, or along the river's edge, and they make a nice garden plant too but benefit I wouldn't put them in a spot too dry. I consider this plant to be our native butterfly bush, though unfortunately it has a shorter bloom season and with shorter lived flowers. When it does flower though it's said they're rarely seen without a butterfly around them. As you can see bees love them too. The tube shaped flowers are not to deep for honeybees to work so this could be a nice pollinator shrub, ideal for a water garden.

The blooms are fragrant, in that you have to put your nose right up to it. It's not what I'd call a good smell but it's okay, something different. 

Another shrub that started blooming this week was Clethra alnifolia, Summersweet or Sailor's Delight. Pictured here is a cultivar called 'Ruby Spice' which I've found actually varies a bit in color, which seems unusual for a cultivar. The true species has solid cream white flowers while this cultivar varies from mostly white to solid red/pink. Regardless these can be incredibly fragrant, (when they want to be it seems,) and very shade tolerant. I find these growing all over as rather small shrubs in the woods. They can get nice and big too, but usually it's when they're in full sun and right next to a water source. Both are excellent for bees.