If, like me, you are mad about fragrant plants, you will love Clerodendrum trichotomum, the Harlequin Glorybower. The buds on my deciduous shrub have just started to open and the perfume is heavenly. The flowers are also a welcome late summer gift for butterflies. Cerulean blue, pea-sized fruit nestled in dark pink calyxes follow the bloom. (Note the blue caps on the ends of the dancing flower stamens. Putting us on notice of the fruit to come?). Flowers and fruit may even appear at the same time. Very showy.
My shrub is about 7 feet tall but in warmer climes Glorybower can grow into a magnificent 15-20 ft. tree. Tree or shrub, it’s disease-and-pest-resistant. The only downside is its propensity for invasiveness. Not a problem for me — yet. (In fact, my plant started out as a volunteer in a friend’s garden).
I should mention that C. trichotomum’s other common name is Peanut Butter Tree; when the leaves are bruised they are supposed to smell like peanut butter. I put it to the test. Result? Stick with Glorybower.
You can never have enough hydrangeas. Mother Nature agrees. She (in league with the birds?) has graced my garden with a bountiful selection of the most beautiful flowering volunteers. Many of these, in glorious bloom now, are probably the offspring of Hydrangea paniculata. At least I think so. The foliage is the same and the bloom time corresponds; short of a DNA test, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc., etc., and so forth. One of these plants is over 6 feet and flaunts gorgeous, brobdingnagian panicles of fertile and sterile flowers. When the fertile buds open, intoxicating fragrance fills the garden. I’m in awe. And so are the bees.
Please forgive me for saying this ad infinitum: Be careful when you weed. A volunteer may turn out to be one of the best plants in the garden. Mine did.
As I reported in May, Phygelius x rectus ‘Moonraker’, planted in the ground last summer, suffered very little winter dieback. It’s now over two feet, multi-stemmed, with masses of elegant, long, pale yellow trumpets. A big success.
This Spring I experimented by planting in a container the hummingbird magnets, pristine-white-flowered Phygelius aequalis ‘Snow Queen’ and the glowing-pink-flowered Phygelius aequalis ‘Sani Pass’. They have been in continuous, harmonious bloom ever since. (For best effect, I remove the spent flowers). Check out the closeup photos below: P.a. ‘Snow Queen’ weeps golden tears and P.a. ‘Sani Pass’ is a party-girl in red lipstick. A fabulous duo. Compact and ever-blooming, P. aequalis plants are perfect in pots.
Late summer in my garden. Not bad at all.