August 10, 2012

Garden TV

I had a strong bias against bush clover (Lespedeza), and did not want it in my garden.  It can be a wildly confused shrub and it can grow to immense size. A neighbor offered me one from her garden and I said no, no, no.

But I am glad I overcame my prejudice against this plant, because I found one that is smaller, tidier, and really interesting. It is Lespedeza 'Edo Shibori'.


It is an arching shrub that is about three feet high and wide. It's a bright medium green, especially in contrast to the dark green vibunum and a pale bluish little zenobia to its left. Groundcover persicaria sends up little fuzzy pink spikes right below it.

What makes this small bush clover a standout is that the flexible stems bounce. They don't just catch the breeze and wave, they positively bounce and flail about.

I took a very amateur video of it on one humid afternoon when there was just the slightest hot breeze. You can watch it here if you don't comment on my videography skills.


This plant moves.  The slightest breath of air and lespedeza gets all excited.  It is in direct line of sight from where I sit on the porch, and I never tire of watching it.

Even a still shot usually captures the foliage whipping about.


It is all greenery and movement for most of the summer.  The magenta and white flowers don't show up until very late summer.  They are tiny and inconspicuous, but they cover the arching stems completely. To see how pretty they are you need to get very close.


In winter lespedeza dies back completely. It regrows from the ground up each season, so in early spring there is nothing to look at.

But in summer this shrub entertains.  We all enjoy looking at our gardens, but how often do they actually do anything?  Grasses may wave about a bit and leaves flutter, but this shrub brings kinetic energy into the view and you can't stop watching it.  Garden TV.  

I'm so glad I found this plant, and I am proud I overcame any prejudices I had about growing bush clover --- at least the small 'Edo Shibori' cultivar. 

23 comments:

  1. I have never heard of this shrub or seen those pretty little blooms. It sounds like a winner to me. Your video skill are just perfect for showing what the shrub can do to entertain us. Great Garden TV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, I'm glad I introduced you to this entertainer!

      Delete
  2. Hey, Laurrie, you got a swell plant and fine vid, capturing action like a pro. This plant goes on my list, even as I aspire to sparing down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, this shaker and mover in my garden is the equivalent of your blue ribbons in Big Momma's garden --- it's the kinetic element that captures the breeze. I think one would be a great contrast to your structural, strong garden out front --- but put it where you can see it all the time!

      Delete
    2. Definitely kinetic. And I have a spot that would enjoy some movement. Always room for juuuust one more. But lespedeza would be welcomed even if I had to edit out a plant.

      Delete
  3. How nice to have such simple entertainment. I'm convinced it's what keeps us sane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cat, it does occupy me for long moments as I watch what goes on out in the garden, and yes, it does keep me sane.

      Delete
  4. So glad to have found your blog! Ok I really think this shrub is spectacular! I have been enjoying my beauty berry for its form but this one takes the cake! I am putting it on my list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nicole, Welcome. I hope you add a lespedeza and if you do, I hope you get as much fun out of watching it as I do!

      Delete
  5. Hey, this beats the programming HGTV tries to pass off as gardening!

    Lespedezas are great garden plants. With all the space you have, you really should try one of the big ones :). But you're right, they can be monsters even when cut back to the ground in spring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue, the big species bush clover just scares me --- too wild for me. This little one is more my speed. I don't even watch HGTV, I'd rather stare at what's happening in my own garden : )

      Delete
    2. I've got a Lespedeza you might like that stays under a foot tall. If you don't already have it, look for L. bicolor Yakushima. Not only is it compact but very drought tolerant-grows happily on my crappy soil wall garden.

      Delete
    3. Good to know. Under a foot tall -- wow. I just saw a really small one at Natureworks today, not sure if it was bicolor Yakushima, but it was quite dwarf.

      Delete
  6. I am going to comment about your videography, Laurrie--great job! The video really shows what you mean by its movement; fascinating! I've seen Lespedeza in several gardens, including a couple large ones in the Japanese Gardens, of all places, at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I had forgotten all about this plant and how much I loved them every time I saw one. They're beautiful when in full bloom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rose, I do need to post about this shrub again when it is in bloom at the end of the summer. It's really interesting then too. Chicago Botanic is on my list, I need to see it!

      Delete
  7. How wonderful! I can see why you love it, Laurrie. A dance party in your own garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lyn, thanks. It does make me want to get up and dance when it sways in the wind.

      Delete
  8. I added one to my garden last fall. It's grown a lot in one summer but is still a lot smaller than yours. Mine is against a wall so it doesn't get to groove as much as yours. If you tied bells to the ends of the branches, it might play a tune.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy, Okay, I love the idea of bells on the branches of this lespedeza! What a song it would play : )

      Delete
  9. LOL! Its true that one doesn't think of gardens as great do'ers..., but I find that mine does all the time, mainly when I am not looking... Love your bush. I need something like that round here too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ruth, you are right about the goings-on that occur out there in the garden when we aren't looking!

      Delete
  10. I was so intrigued Laurrie, that I looked up this shrub online to see if I could think about getting hold of some Garden TV of my own. Best as I can figure out from the internet, it is not hardy this far north. Too bad, because it looks very entertaining!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, it is hardy to US zone 4, but dies back each winter and regrows each season. It might be worth trying to push your zone (you are the equivalent of US zone 3?). Since it does well as a die back shrub, you could mulch the roots and see if it would come back for you. I believe in experimenting!

      Delete

Sorry about requiring code verification -- I experimented with turning it off to make commenting easier, and I got too much spam. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and to type in silly codes. I appreciate hearing from you.