Thursday, January 3, 2013

Edgeworthia chrysantha…my favorite plant in the garden, this week!


Most of the leaves have fallen from my Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Nanjing Gold' leaving behind beautiful brown stems and fat flower buds which hold the promise of fragrant late-winter flowers. That’s why this is my favorite plant in the garden, this week...

I did not come easily to the Edgeworthia fan club. Watching people grab plants at a Lan Su (Portland’s Chinese Garden) plant sale one spring I remember thinking “why do you want that?”

When finally I was won over it wasn't the flowers that did it but the foliage. Visiting Cistus Nursery I spotted those big floppy leaves with their shiny veins, what’s not to love?

My appreciation of the flowers finally occurred when I saw an orange flowered plant (also at Cistus). Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Akebono'

Of course once I fell for the orange flowers it was a natural progression back to the yellow, which I actually purchased first. Why? I was told ‘Akebono’ was not as vigorous as ‘Nanjing Gold.’ However the little ‘Akebono’ twig I bought last February has grown significantly, more than doubling in size, and it has 18 flower buds!

Furry flower buds…

The stats…

Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Nanjing Gold'
Eventual size…6 ft wide x 8 ft tall
Sun…sun to part shade
Water…regular, not drought tolerant
Zones…8 – 10

Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Akebono'
Eventual size…5-6 ft wide x 5-6 ft tall
Sun…sun to part shade
Water…regular, not drought tolerant
Zones…upper zone 7 – 10

No doubt you’ll be seeing more from both of these plants come late-winter/early-spring bloomdays!

(that last photo was taken at the Chinese Garden last April, my plant isn't that big!)

21 comments:

  1. Love this plant for foliage, winter flowering, and fragrance (if you stick your nose in it.) Hearing that your Akebono (Chastity/Chaz Bono's quieter younger sibling?) is doing well is great news - I've got the yellow one but thought that the orange might not make it. It's never too early to start making a Cistus list is it?

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    1. See now I think the smell was much more powerful than that! The one I can't smell is that darn witch-hazel. I get nothing! And of course it's never to early for a Cistus list...or trip...

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  2. This is one shrub that might make me forswear my vow to not buy more plants. It's worth it. I love those fuzzy buds.

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    1. Yay! It is so worth it...there's no way you could regret this purchase.

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  3. those floppy leaves would have won me over too. In fact, I should say, they just won me over.

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    1. I like both, but I think I'd go orange just because orange is happier.

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  4. Same here Loree, it was the foliage that won it for us although the flowers aren't too bad either! :)

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    1. It really kind of shocked me when I first noticed it's foliage...wonderful! Why wasn't this ever talked about as a bonus?

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  5. That last picture may have just swayed me. So pretty!

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    1. Do you ever stop in the Chinese garden for a look-see? I was there today, the Edgeworthia are still a long way from blooming but I'll try and remind you when they are.

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  6. I have this plant on my "wanted, but wary of minimum temperature" list as the foliage looks lovely.

    It is interesting that you note the 'Akebono' is hardy to upper 7, maybe that would be okay for here.

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    1. Adam I was surprised to see that too, I researched it in various places and everyone was saying that. Maybe it's a case of there just not being enough information out there yet to say no?

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  7. Orange...definitely the orange! Thanks for blazing the trail.

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    1. Anytime. BTW I picked up my Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Akebono' at the YG&P show last February. Maybe they'll be back this year?

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  8. Portland is so...how shall I put it?....Maritime? Green? Cool? Lush? As I look out at our wind-blasted steppe, steeped in every neutral shade of gray/brown/tan/silver/azure with puffy white clouds and 100 mile crisp views of the snowclad Rockies I marvel at the contrasts in our country. What fun it would be to bounce back and forth between coast and high country...oh yeah! That's what I do! We need to get you out here to experience our freeze drying--you'd enjoy going home SO MUCH!

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    1. I know...I've got it good here. My skin starts to dry up and burn just reading "freeze drying" however we are planning a visit to NM in the coming weeks to visit the in-laws, looking forward to a few sunny crisp dry days to contrast with my normal. I think I'll reserve my visit to Denver for the summer months...

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  9. I'm in zone 7b and am debating the Akebono or the Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Snow Cream' variety which has a small tree form. What is the form of the Akebono? Is it more of a rounded mound/bush form?

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    1. I'm by no means an expert, only having seen my very young plant and a handful of others. I would describe the form as being a rounded mound/bush form rather than tree like...of course the form also depends on pruning too.

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  10. can this plant be grown in containers for folks like me up here in New England? Of course I have to take it into a cold framed arae until I can set in out again .

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