Species: Kolkwitzia amabilis
Common names: beauty bush Swedish name: paradisbuske
The Kolkwitzia genus contains just one shrub species from one area in China. It is closely related to Weigela. The Latin amabilis means “lovely”. It is very rare and threatened in the wild. Kolkwitzia amabilis has an horticultural value and is popular to use in gardens. While in blossom it really deserves its common name beauty bush.
Description: Kolkwitzia amabilis is wide and tall deciduous shrub, with light brown flaky bark and graceful arching branches. It is usually as wide as it is tall. The plant blooms in late spring-summer. The bell-shaped flowers are light to dark pink with a yellow throat. They are growing in pairs, as with all Caprifoliaceae. The flowers form showy, numerous sprays giving the shrub a magnificent blossom. Dark-green foliage adds appeal when not in bloom. Its fruit is a hairy, ovoid capsule almost looking like a grilled chicken. The shrub has a nice fruity scent. There is a hybrid of Kolkwitzia amabilis named ‘Pink Cloud’. A variety with compact and lower growth but still as beautiful.
How to grow: It prefers a fertile, well-drained soil. Grows best in sun to half shade. Propagation is by cuttings. It needs to be pruned to avoid a scrappy look. Remove damaged, dead and weak wood by cutting the twig to the ground to encourage new growth and a healthy appearance. Once in a while the shrub needs a renewal. Pick out a few thick, old twigs and cut them to the ground to get a more airy and loose base. Overall it requires low maintenance.
Garden design part I – how to arrange a flower bed
I believe in creativity and a personal style. I am not a great fan of any boundaries. Garden design is an art form and should express the talent of the gardener or creator. But there are always the natural restrains and plants have different requirements. So knowledge and experience is a great access and necessary to succeed at least in a long-term. To create a garden bed is much like being a composer writing a symphony. There are some things to take into account when arranging a garden bed:
- The surroundings – look around what kind of houses or buildings and other gardens is present in the area, does the garden have a history, characteristic of the period the house and garden was built
- The location – what preconditions do you have taken garden zone, microclimate, soil, sun/shade into account
- The purpose – for what are you going to use the area, next to the garden bed, playground, relax, social (like a dinner place), edible (food production), entrance/passing by
- The flow – are there other constructions, natural lines or a beautiful view to take into consideration. From where will you see the garden bed
- Maintenance level – how much work/how much time do you want to spend
- Seasonal value – when will you use the garden, which time of the year will you see the garden bed most. For example a home garden, a summer-house and a school have different seasonal needs regarding bloom, fruit and winter decoration.
I will get back to the choice of plants later. Which will be the next step after you sorted out the questions above.
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