You Can Grow That! is a celebration of gardens and plants and the joy they bring to our lives.
Subtle Spring Beauty
Subtle and spring are not typically two words that go together when you’re talking about spring in a New England garden. We’re blessed with an embarrassment of color at this time of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the shock of bright yellow forsythia, the clouds of white flowers on the pear trees and the vivid violets of the PJM rhododendrons.
But I also appreciate the subtle beauty of some of the wallflowers of the spring garden. The plants that are attractive but aren’t jumping up and down yelling, ‘Hey, look at me!’. The ones you can’t see coming from miles away but rather that quietly entice you over for a closer look.
In my Connecticut garden, my favorite subtle spring beauty is Sem — Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’. Here’s a look at Sem with her spring foliage, in shades of pink, red, yellow and green…
Subtle Summer Beauty
Just in case you think Sem might be one of those one-hit-wonders, here’s a look at her summer flowers…
Growing Sem in Your Garden
◊ Sem loves dry, sunny spots. Mine is growing in light shade under a redbud tree and it seems to be thriving.
◊ A multi-stemmed shrub that spreads quickly by suckers, Sem grows to about 4′ x 4′. Because it spreads by suckers, give some thought to where you want to plant it. Sem is not a garden bully but she does like to get her own way. The ideal site would be one where you need a reliable plant to fill in and colonize an area. (Note: Sorbaria sorbifolia is not invasive in Connecticut but it can be in some states. If in doubt, please check it’s status in your area before you plant it.)
◊ It’s fern-like foliage adds a light feathery texture to the garden. Plant Sem near large-leaved plants for a wonderful contrast.
◊ Sem does not seem to be bothered by pests of any kind, including deer.
◊ Hardy in zones 3 – 8.
Before you head off to check out the other You Can Grow That! posts, I’d love to hear about the star of your spring garden – subtle or otherwise.