Monday, June 13, 2011

Meet. . . Kolkwitzia!

That's right; coal-QUIT-see-uh! Also known as beauty bush, Kolkwitzia amabilis is one of those great, old fashioned shrubs that's experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Why?

First, it's incredibly floriferous at a time - right now! - when few other shrubs are in bloom.  The bell shaped flowers are a soft  pink that blends well with other colors, cool hues in particular.
I love the golden, lace-like pattern hiding inside the flowers

Second, the pale, exfoliating (peeling) bark is unusual and a great feature for winter interest.

Third, its large vase/fountain form makes it ideal to use as a single specimen.  In fact,  with a bit of focused pruning, this plant could function as a small, ornamental tree; mature height is 10-15 feet.
A giant beauty bush in old north Denver

Last, Kolkwitzia is very adaptable. It tolerates full sun or partial shade and has low water needs.  Companion plants for my beautibush (below) include Centranthus, Ceratostigma, and Allium christophii.
this young Kolkwitsia 'Pink Cloud' in my garden will max out at 6-10 feet

Bonus points if you guessed that this photo - featured last week on Wordless Wednesday - is Kolkwitzia!


Desert Dweller said...

Wow! That is a nice plant esp the huge one in north Denver. The bark is incredible, too. Seems plant choices are more about fad than keeping everything used that works well.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

I agree, David. Plants that are "know entities" should be looked at with an eye for new/different applications instead of being routinely dismissed for the latest, flashiest introductions.

Deb said...

Spectacular. I guess I need to drive by your house once a week to check what is blooming!

ScottHokunson said...

I love the old fashioned charm of this plant, and like most had taken it for granted until the last few years. We have a few magnificent specimens in the neighborhood that I pass by each day, love it when they are in bloom!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Deb, the Japanese tree lilac will be the front yard sensation very soon. Be sure to cruise by!

Scott, they are true show-stoppers! I'm glad you have some to enjoy in your neighborhood, too.

Bonnie said...

Jocelyn! That north Denver beauty bush is on my street! I admire those trees every time I go into my alley.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Bonnie! Glad to know someone who knows those plants - and gets to enjoy them all the time.

GSHodgson said...

These are wonderful. I am hoping to put some in our yard. Is that huge one in Denver an original Kolkwitzia amabilis, not the pink cloud version?