PIERIS x ‘Spring Snow’ (z. 5-8)
I love all things Pieris! With handsome evergreen foliage, vibrant, colorful new growth, and fragrant early Spring bell flowers that attract both fat bumble bees and stunning white-edged, dark-chocolate-brown Mourning Cloak butterflies, no wonder it’s one of my all time favorite garden plants. Oh, and did I fail to mention that it’s deer resistant? (Actually, over 25 years, I’ve planted a good number of Pieris and they have all been deer-proof.) Moreover, all my Pieris are grown in shade and have been disease free. (Be aware that Pieris grown in sun is vulnerable to lace-bug attack which can cause serious damage.)
Pieris x ‘Spring Snow’ is a cross between our native Pieris floribunda and Pieris japonica and inherited outstanding attributes from both parents: rich dark green foliage from japonica and masses of upright, luminous, snowy-white flowers from floribunda. But this hybrid-child also surpasses its parents with a profusion of bloom that cloaks the shrub with dazzling, dense, very fragrant white flowers in early Spring.
And Spring Snow is a slow, compact grower, never exceeding three feet in height, making it an ideal plant for a small or large garden. Moreover, it’s a can-do, easy-care plant. Good winter, bad winter—it doesn’t matter. P. x ‘Spring Snow’ will bloom reliably for you every year and its foliage will be bright, healthy green. Just provide well-drained acid soil and shade. And enjoy.
A few other Pieris favorites are: P. japonica ‘Mountain Fire’ which flaunts fire-engine-red new growth that turns bronze and then dark green; P. x ‘Brouwer’s Beauty’, another floribunda-japonica hybrid with light green new growth, an exquisite contrast with its mature dark green foliage; and P.’Flaming Silver’ which astonishes with scarlet-red new growth that turns pink, then yellow, and finally variegated green and white. All fabulous woody ornamental shrubs.
Finally, please indulge me. Magnolia x loebneri ‘Merrill’ demands a mention—and a photo shoot. So, if you want a beautiful, vigorous, hardy tree, that blooms with an abundance of pristine white flowers that perfume the air with sweet fragrance, at roughly the same time as P. ‘Spring Snow,’ you can’t do better than my “very pushy”, albeit beloved, Merrill. (See also my previous post on M. x loebneri ‘Merrill’, entitled Identity Theft, November 26, 2012.)