This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lindera, Allium and Chrysanthemum in an Ypsilanti garden

It's mid-October and I saw some very sweet things at a friend's garden on Crane Road in Ypsilanti yesterday. For me one of the most striking plants was this unusual brightly-colored shrub. It is Lindera angustifolia, an Asian counterpart to our native spicebush (L. benzoin).  The grower was very fond of this plant and said it typically turns vivid colors in the fall. I didn't test it firsthand, but I assume the leaves and twigs are aromatic, as is typical of the members of its family, the Lauraceae (cinnamon, sassafras, bay laurel, etc). Given that there are 80+ species in this genus (mostly from Asia), there's a decent chance that more are growable here in Michigan. I wouldn't be surprised if one or more of these are eventually introduced commercially.

A great late-flowering allium is the Japanese A. thunbergii.  Rose-purple flowers are the norm, but a white form is also available. I've been warned that other species are sold under this name, and you have to take care to find a reliable source.

'Ozawa' is the name of a selection that is supposed to have flowers which are larger than the straight species. To the right is the white ('alba') selection.

And then there is this superlative late-flowering and low-growing mum, Chrysanthemum weyrichii. This species hales from Japan, Kamtschatka and islands between there and Alaska. Flowering begins in August. What a fabulous ground-cover. Honk if you agree.