Bloom Report June 2024

Our unusually wet spring has continued, leaving Willowwood particularly green, lush, and floriferous as we enter into the summer. Aside from the extra maintenance, there are much worse problems one could have! Currently the Arboretum core is freshly planted with this year’s annuals, featuring colorful and tropical species that are candy for the eyes, including our new collection of various Tillandsia species (“air plants”) under the Wisteria arbor.

The Cottage Garden is one of the most densely planted spots in the entire Arboretum, chock full of unusual and rare cultivated plants, like the firework-esque pink flowers of Pimpinella rhodantha. Old classics, like Rosa ‘Marie Pavie’ mentioned in last month’s bloom report, are now exploding forth with their lightly-scented rose blossoms, and the small blue flowers of the large Amsonia hubrichtii, threadleaf bluestar, that subtly reflect the muted tones of the Tubbs’ House.

In the Chive Walk, the Iris versicolor ‘Purple Flame’ is flowering. A native plant, the dark purple leaves on the new growth of this selection were very striking in the spring, as are the darker stems that prop up its amethyst flowers. The theme of purple continues on into the Rosarie, where the effortless-to-grow Nepeta faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ lining the path is putting on a fantastic show, nestled in with_ Lagurus ovatus_, new to the Rosarie this year.

If one were to continue through the gate into Wisley Woods, Cornus kousa ‘Rutpink’ (also called ‘Scarlet Fire’) would greet you with bubblegum-colored flowers. This selection is particularly disease resistant, fast-growing, and known for its ability to flower profusely when young. If you prefer a more modest flowering tree, take a look at the nearby Styrax japonicus.

Another woody standout is the Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Blue Shadow’ in the Rockery, which may be done flowering, but is still a slight to behold with its cool blue leaves_. Paeonia obovata_, also in the Rockery, had a good year. Although the season on these is short, keep it in mind for next year’s visit. In the nearby Cornus Mas Bed, you’ll find more unusual botanic splendor: Astrantia major, Nigella sativa, Digitalis purpurea ‘Alba’ and others have just started to flower.

As you leave the arboretum, don’t forget to admire the unusual Rosa roxburghii in the Winter Garden; an amazing plant to grow if given enough space.

by Bonnie Semmling

Last modified on June 4th, 2024 at 12:12 pm