Adding a fothergilla

Funny how things pop into your head out of nowhere. For no particular reason, it suddenly occurs to me that I must plant a fothergilla into a more prominent spot. Already, there are two in the garden, but in areas where they are least likely to be seen.

Fothergilla flowering in early April.

Why does there have to be a reason? That’s where I planted them. I had little clue at the time that fothergilla is a treasure that should be placed where its flowers, and then foliage can be enjoyed regularly.

Fothergilla autumn foliage.

What brought this to mind, I think, is the succession of blooms that begins in January with the Vernal witch hazels, and then to various hybrids February into March. I’ve been thinking that the related winter hazel (Corylopsis spicata ‘Aurea’) should be moved out of the damp ground where it clearly does not thrive, and I guess this got me thinking that I’ve wasted the also related fothergilla where it cannot be appreciated.

Arnold Promise witch hazel flowering in late February.

Situated on the northern border of the garden, the largest fothergilla is tucked behind tall camellias and a wide spreading holly. Certainly, the neighbors’ view is unobstructed, but there are years when there’s so much going on that I don’t catch the blooms until they’re fading. It’s a crime, or at least a shame.

Winter hazel

The question is whether to transplant the second, smaller fothergilla that struggles in dry shade, perhaps into the spot vacated by the winter hazel. Typically, this is how I get things done. One thing is not enough to get moving, but two things, that’s worthwhile motivation. Maybe, I’ll also move the Parrotia (another witch hazel relative) that is not far away, but is too shaded.

Autumn foliage of Parrotia persica

In fact, I think this might not be enough. It seems that it’s about time to remove a bit more of the small lawn and add to the lower garden. It’s more nutgrass than lawn grass, and who cares anyway? The area was once our playing field, for playing ball or badminton, which was fiercely played and tore the decent stand of grass up to the point that nutgrass had little resistance. But, the kids moved out years ago, and though my wife resists my efforts to expand the garden, I’ll bet it’s been a few years since she walked this far back. Rarely does she venture past the koi pond that bisects the rear garden, so if I don’t tell her, she might never know.

Now, this is garden design at its best. If it wasn’t ten degrees outside, with a howling breeze, I’d be ready to grab the shovel and get started.

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