Monday, June 1, 2009

What's Blooming: Virginia Sweetspire and Clematis

This week the air in the garden smells really sweet. The Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) is in full bloom. The thing is a magnet for butterflies and native bees.

This is a great plant for urban gardeners in the mid Atlantic region where I live. Especially if, like me, the bottom of your garden is the bottom of a hill or slope. The water runs down during big storms, keeping this shrub very happy indeed.

Over the weekend we had painted lady butterflies visit it for some nectar, which was wonderful.

The clematis, in the background, is not native but also a great choice for urban gardeners. Here I use it to soften a hard fence line. Also, it grows well under or next to the sweetspire... it likes a hot head but cool feet. The shrub keeps it cool below, and fence allows it to grab the sunlight it needs up top. I have the classic Jackmanii clematis, which is really easy to maintain and has plentiful blooms.

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