Plant of the Week: 'Aphrodite' Calycanthus

Hello and happy Monday!

'Pink Mink' Clematis bloom
I have a huge forsythia that grows in my front yard, kind of snugged in between my house and the neighbor's house to the west and it just finished flowering. This thing is ginormous. Easily 8-10' tall and almost as wide. So this weekend I thought it was time to cut back that sucker. I thought "I'll just prune it enough to plant something underneath it." It takes up a nice spot that gets part-sun, and I had a new cotinus and a Pink Mink clematis to find spots for, plus there's a nice pergola right there for the clematis to crawl up on to, so I started pruning... and, well, I went a little crazy.

There was so much that was dead underneath the forsythia for lack of light, it all had to go. So I trimmed and trimmed until I discovered there's not just one, but two forsythia plants under there - however, the second one is growing out of the retaining wall from my neighbor's yard! Yikes. 

Needless to say, this spot is a work in progress - but the smokebush and clematis are in the ground!

So, that was my gardening adventure for the weekend. If I can get it looking good enough, I'll post a picture next week. But until then, on to Jane's plant of the week, which also happens to be my co-worker Shannon Downey's favorite Proven Winners® ColorChoice® plant! 

Until next week, never stop growing... - Natalie

Love is in the Air

June is a busy time for weddings. It's not the busiest month - that would be October. And it's not the time to be married if one or both of the partners is involved in the green industry. Then you get married in December and hope that no one judges a bride in snow boots.

At any rate, this week we're looking at 'Aphrodite' Calycanthus. It's a sweetly romantic name for a sweetly fragrant plant. 'Aphrodite' Calycanthus combines the red flowers of 'Hartlage Wine' with the fragrance you would expect of a sweetshrub. The flowers have an apple-like scent that is pleasant but not overpowering.

'Aphrodite' Calycanthus is a nice addition to cottage gardens or mixed borders. The flowers appear throughout the summer; rather than sprinting with a lot of blooms all at once, it gives us a steady marathon of flowers.

Hardy to USDA Zone 5b, 'Aphrodite' will grow 5-8' tall and wide, in full sun or partial shade. Don't try to cram it into a smaller space; it's at its best in a more relaxed setting. Check out this video about the plant, which I think shows it off better than a still image ever could.

If you like the scent of 'Aphrodite' sweetshrub, check out Sugartina® 'Crystalina' summersweet or Scentlandia® sweetspire. The best thing about all of these sweets - is they are calorie free!

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

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