Plants of the Week: March 4

Galanthus, Adonis, and Cyclamen aren’t the only blooming gems currently in their full floral glory in the Harry Wood Garden. Pieris japonica ‘Dorothy Wyckoff’, a compact, rounded Japanese andromeda, sports reddish-purple buds that flower soft pink, before maturing white. Pieris thrive in organic-rich, acidic soil in partially shaded settings. Photo credit: J. Coceano Garden location: Harry Wood Garden, Science Center


Leucojum vernum ‘Gertrude Wister’ named in honor of Gertrude Wister, assistant director of the Scott Arboretum from 1955 to 1960, is a choice bulb for its rarity and multi-segmented flowers. Extra segments are inserted around the ovary and occasionally bears fused flowers. The spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum, was first described by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. The bulb is widely cultivated and is an early nectar source for bees. Photo credit: J. Coceano Garden location: Terry Shane Teaching Garden


It is hard to top the beauty of Hamamelis x intermedia. The arboretum’s collection continues to shine and one standout is H. x intermedia ‘Aphrodite’. The bold orange blossoms glow in the intensifying March sunlight. The cultivar reliably sheds its leaves before flowering. Photo credit: J. Coceano Garden location: Bed near Beardsley Hall.


Louteridium donnell-smithii is in bloom in the Wister Greenhouses! This plant, grown for its bold foliage, bears curious flowers thought to be pollinated by bats. Eve Thyrum, Arboretum Assistant, has compiled a thorough and informative catalog detailing all plants offered at the 2013 Unusual Tropicals and Annuals Sale. This is what Eve has to say about the plant: “This unusual collector’s plant sports bizarre, odd-shaped, 1½ to 2” pale greenish brown to yellowish maroon flowers with pale purple veins that are presented along terminal racemes.  The stamens and style extend far beyond the opening of the corolla and it is probably bat pollinated.  But grow it, if for only the foliage, which is extremely architectural, quite beautiful and exceptionally large.” Photo credit: J. Coceano Garden location: Seasonal display


Categorized as Plant of the Week

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  1. What a darling little bulb! How can I get a few? The hamamelis has such profuse, long flowers-good variety! Is it fragrant?

  2. Hi Valerie,
    Leucojum vernum ‘Gertrude Wister’ is beautiful indeed. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem readily available. Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Aphrodite’ is fragrant – one of my favorites!

  3. Any thoughts – from anyone – on which is the most fragrant Hamamelis?

  4. I wish I could find a source for Leucojum vernum ‘Gertrude Wister’. I’d love to grow a few.

  5. They are very expensive. One bulb is $80.00 at Carolyn’s Shade Perennials:

    Andrew Bunting, Curator

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