Garden Surprises

By their very nature, gardens hold surprises.  Many are not so pleasant, like the about to flower clematis I discovered one morning last week cruelly carried off by a late frost. Most however, are delightful, especially when completely unexpected. Here’s one I thoroughly enjoyed today: Kalmia flowered deutzia, deutzia x kalmiiflora (or sometimes, kalmiifolia). I planted this specimen early one spring five or six years ago during an episode of the Victory Garden, as Kip and I were discussing flowering shrubs for forcing, and then, truth be told, promptly forgot all about about it, as the bush, which has now reached a spread of about 6′ with gracefully arching branches 3′ tall, is located in far area of the garden facing my neighbors.  The other day, I happened to be pruning on the other side of the low stone wall that delineates the property line, when I was surprised to see this wonderful shrub in spectacular bloom for the first time. (Obviously, our forgotten friend thrives on neglect. I had never seen the bush in flower before because it had grown up entirely independently behind some larger shrubberies, facing away from me into the southern light.) Wow, what a beauty! I was dazzled. I can’t believe I’ve missed this show all these years. While not scented, the blooms are incredibly profuse, and so far have persisted over a week. Let’s just say that when dormant, this little misplaced gem is due for a move uptown this fall to a prominent place in my terrace garden, where its delightful cascades of flowers will be appreciated by a more discerning crowd than the chipmunks living in the boundary wall!

For those of you interested in including this little surprise in your own garden,  deutzia x kalmiiflora is available from Monrovia and at select nurseries nationwide. Northern gardeners take note: this shrub is hardy to an incredible range, zones 3-7


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