July 15, 2013

One of These Is Not Like The Others

When I posted earlier about the bottlebrush buckeyes (Aesculus parviflora) looking so full and big this season, several of you were kind enough to ask for updates to show how they look in bloom.

Well, here they are. In early July they send skinny fingers skyward.

Soon the spikes start to look like candles as individual tiny white flowers light up along the stalks.

And then they explode. The candles go off like rockets, pointing every which way.

The show goes on for a couple weeks as older candles snuff out and newer ones light up.

But there is a rogue bottlebrush buckeye in this line -- the shrub second from the left in this hedge.

You can see that the left-most plant still has unopened candles waiting to bloom and all the shrubs on the right side are opening. But the second from the left has no flower spikes yet and won't until late in July.

I ordered all of these plants from the same place and they all looked alike. Only after five years did it become apparent that one of these was not like the others.

The one blooms a full two weeks later, after the others have stopped flowering, and it is just as nice, but out of sync by weeks. I believe a different cultivar was mixed in with the species plants and who could tell when they were small?

I believe it is Aesculus parviflora var. serotina, which is known to bloom much later and is supposed to get much larger than the straight species, eventually maturing to 20 feet tall rather than 12 feet. Eeek. How is that going to work in this hedge?

For now they are the same general size, and I can live with the staggered flowering times.

But at some point the whole hedge idea may implode as the rogue cultivar overtakes the others.

Below is a picture of a bottlebrush buckeye we saw at Chanticleer Gardens, appropriately sited in shade and showcasing its nice shape as a single plant.

I like how this individual specimen looks so stately and nicely formed. Someday I may have to edit my hedge of buckeyes. They are in too much sun, and although they seem to thrive there, the big leaves do scorch in summer. And one is not like the others, which is going to be a real problem.

But for now the oddity coexists with the others and I am enjoying the show.

32 comments:

  1. they certainly are a lovely plant

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    1. Becc, thanks! I love their wild shaggy look and the big flower spikes. Not a shy plant.

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  2. I realize how large your lot is when I see a big swathe of shrubs like this. This is one of my favorite shrubs. I have a buckeye too. It has reddish blooms. It sometimes gets little buckeyes on it. Do these shrubs ever develop the fruits? It is odd how the rogue came into the fold without your knowing.

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    1. Lisa, my bottlebrush buckeyes do get very large brown nuts that hang heavily from the branches. I even found a volunteer buckeye plant growing this year on the other side of the yard where a critter must have buried one of the nuts. Is your reddish buckeye a shrub or a tree? I have Aesculus pavia, and it has beautiful red spikes, but it is an upright tree. Trees or shrubs, they are cool plants.

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  3. Laurrie, these bottlebrush buckeyes have lovely shape and blooming. I laughed when you write they seem 'rockets, pointing every which way'. I think this one is individualist and likes to bloom lately.

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    1. Nadezda, thanks. I agree that one of these buckeye shrubs is a complete individualist. But I wish he was a conformist! He needs to be like the others.

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  4. Methinks your rogue makes for an interesting contrast-cum complement-cum eye-catching element. No matter what a buckeye does, it makes you love it.

    Critters get your nuts, while I've seen birds (I 'spose they're critters too) having their way with one I grew.

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    1. Lee, I'm not sure who the buckeye stealer was, but the nuts are quite big and I can't imagine a bird flying off with one ver gracefully. We don't have squirrels. So who could have planted the seed on the other side of the yard? Yet there it was, a miniature bottlebrush buckeye smack in the flowerbed. I potted it up and will transplant it somewhere.

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  5. A show for sure! I am going to bookmark these! I absolutely love the texture of these shrubs....outstanding! Now can they take a bit of shade???

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    1. Nicole, Aesculus parviflora is actually a shade plant. I have mine in too much sun. They want to be in partial or full shade and their leaves will be deep green in shade, but the flowering will be sparser. In full sun the big leaves brown and scorch a bit, but the flowering is fuller.

      These plants want a lot of water when establishing, and since mine are in sun I had to water a lot when they were young. Now not as much.

      Another cool thing about bottlebrush buckeyes is their clear, bright yellow fall color!

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  6. I just found you via a shot your buckeye on Pinterest and I'm so glad that I did. Your "About Me" page is the best I have ever read. Can I trade one of my neighbors for you?

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    1. Alisa, I'm glad you wound up here! I wrote the About Me section so long ago I had to go back and see what it said. My memory is a little vague on a lot of stuff, and things I post are sometimes a surprise to me later, but it makes things interesting.

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  7. I've never seen these, but how pretty! I love them lined up as a hedge, too, even with the one that wants to be different!

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    1. Holley, the one that wants to be different is ok now, but when it is twice as big as the others, watch out! Don't know what I will do with it then.

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  8. Oh dear, Laurrie, I'm afraid that rogue buckeye is just lurking there waiting to hatch its dastardly plot. It looks very sinister. Another plant I have never heard of, and an interesting one.

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    1. Lyn, I'm glad to introduce you to a plant you didn't know, even a dastardly sized one! I am always learning about plants on your blog that I've never seen here.

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  9. They are fabulous, wish I had some dammit! The one different one shouldn't be such a big problem, I like a hedge which is not all uniform.

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    1. Jason, well, this hedge will not be at all uniform in a few more years --- maybe the interest factor will be enough to redeem it!

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  10. I was never a fan of these until I saw them recently blooming at the Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh and then again at the Duke Gardens in Durham. They are stunning (the hummingbirds thought so too). I only wish I had space for one. It's too bad about that rogue plant, but it makes the whole thing more home-made, don't you agree?

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    1. Sarah, it definitely makes the hedge look home-made, as in "this gardener made a mistake at her home. Planted mismatched shrubs in a row" : )

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  11. I have always liked the looks of this plant. Alas I am too far north to grow the buckeye well. There was once an Aesculus pavia in the neighborhood that was stunning. I looked for those red blooms every spring. Now it is gone so they could put in a new house. The did not realize what they were missing.

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    1. Patty, how sad about the red buckeye that they took out. It could have been saved if only people knew what they have! I just planted a small Aesculus pavia last year, so maybe that can make up for the one that was eliminated?

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  12. That is a beautiful shrub. It's a bummer that one went rogue but it still looks so lovely with that wonderful multi-layered canopy you've created with the trees behind. I feel like I'm being hugged by your garden. :)

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    1. Heather, That made me smile -- my garden hugging visitors. Love it.

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  13. Thanks for the update! I always love to see how your trees and shrubs are progressing. By the way, did an impromptu nursery visit this last weekend and ended up with some fragrant sumac. Was sure I knew of them from somewhere and sure enough - there they are on your blog! The post was a great help in deciding where to put them.

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    1. Marguerite, I'm glad you found some fragrant sumacs and found the info I posted on them. They are a great ground cover in a sunny spot. I'll want to see your post on how you have used them and how they do!

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  14. I like the oddball. A little chaos makes life more interesting. :o)

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    1. Tammy, chaos makes my teeth itch, but I am trying to like the one-off aspect of this hedge now.

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  15. Love your hedge! I've seen some large specimens of these in local gardens, and they're such beautiful shrubs in bloom. Maybe you can move the rogue before he gets too big to a place where he can shine all by himself.

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    1. Rose, I really should move the big one. It is bothering me more and more! I don't know if I could get it out of the ground though, it is so huge already. But you have me thinking how nice that big one would look by itself in another spot.

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