Beyond Hydrangeas

It’s October, and hydrangeas are still blooming. Ho-hum. They’ve been blooming for months. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, and have a number of different varieties. But aren’t there any other trees or shrubs blooming now? Yup. How about Heptacodium miconioides, a.k.a. seven-sons flower tree?

Seven-sons flower tree blooms in September and October

This tree was only imported from China in 1980, and is yet to be well known. I like its flowers, though they are small, white, and bloom at the top of tree. This is a small tree, which gets to be 20 or 25 feet tall.

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I love the bark, which is shaggy and exfoliating, which is interesting in winter. It does best, I’ve read, in full sun but I have it in semi-shade and it does fine.

The bark is always interesting, but particularly in winter

According to Michael Dirr, the tree guru of Georgia, the best show is late fall when the sepals of the flowers turn pink to red. But that effect is lost up here, most years because cold temperatures ruin the flowers. I’ve only seen this effect once in the dozen years or so I’ve had the tree.

Seven-sons flower tree grows fast. I mean, branches can grow 5 or 6 feet in a year. But it stays small, and I cut off all branches every few years, creating, I hope, a pollarded look like those great plane trees in France and Italy. I’m still experimenting with that.

Fall asters are in bloom now, too. See some of the great colors they come in by clicking here

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