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.