You light up my life….

In an effort to be more regular with my postings, I have been thinking of ideas of ongoing themes.  Many blogs have them.  For example, one of my favorite garden blogs, Red Dirt Ramblings, has a “Wordless Wednesday” feature highlighting photos of whatever is going on in her garden that week.

So, in that vein, I present “You light up my life” , an occasional series focusing on a particular plant or group of plants with photos, cultivation notes, and my own comments on why I like them.

First up is “Dart’s Gold” ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Dart’s Gold’).   This plant has singlehandedly sold me on the virtues of golden-chartreuse foliage.  I have read time and time again about using this color in shade gardens to brighten things up, but the plants suggested are usually along the lines of sweet potato vine (Ipomoea sp and cvs).  Now, nothing against the sweet potato vine, but it’s annual, and while it may be a common and dependable answer to adding some dimension to a potted composition, need I point out that is is a vine?

At the end of my rose border is a shady section, under the spreading branches of a huge Douglas fir.  When I planted this area I wanted simple shrubs that would grow to medium size, with at least 3-season interest and minimal care.  At my local nursery this fellow caught my eye–and has continued to turn my head ever since.  He glows in the morning sun, and when shade falls over the border, he keeps the highbeams on, visible from across the yard.  He also provides a lovely foil to his neighbor, a cotoneaster with dark green/grey fuzzy leaves.  This medium-growing shrub should top out at about 4-6 feet tall and broad, and has held his own in a part of the yard that during the summer is extremely dry.  I do provide some supplemental water, but it’s not much–throwing the hose on the bed to flood every 2 or 3 weeks or so in the dry months.

This little dude has been a superstar in my garden, proving himself reliable, as-advertised, not fussy, and continually attractive to boot.   In my household, we rate things by my admittedly stubby thumbs.  “Two stubby thumbs up” is the highest praise this sparrow offers, and this shrub has it.


About Ilana M Calvert

I have a Master's degree in Environmental Horticulture, but I spend my time pursuing fiber arts--weaving, knitting, and spinning. Occasionally I dabble in Scottish-style fiddle playing. Most importantly, I am a wife and a "mom" to a beautiful Great Dane.
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