Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, March 9, 2012

Golden Clove Currant Is Absolutely Scentsational!

scentsational bloom and good looking foliage

 Today is the day to visit my garden! Ribes odoratum is in bloom and the clove scent is wafting about the garden. When you catch its delicious scent you'll wonder why the taxonomist dropped odoratum for aureum.  Seriously, the flowers are indeed a lovely golden (aureum) color, but, this plant is ALL about that clove scent.   You don't have to press your face into these flowers to notice it at all.
The lobed leaves and the reddish stems are also part of the ribes package.
It's quite a charming smaller shrub in my garden and the blue-green lobed leaves area good foil for the strappy daffodil leaves of early spring. The sweet scented golden flowers are followed by dark berries in mid-summer.

Clove Currant has good wildlife value


Honestly, I grow it for the scent, but, the songbirds would thank me if I could insure fruit set. It's a favorite food of the American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, Brown Thrasher, Cardinal, Cedar Waxwing, Chickadee,     Gray Catbird, Red-eyed Vireo and Wood Thrush.  It's also a food source for chipmunks and squirrels!

you'll understand that I will continue to think of Clove Currant as Ribes odoratum and not Ribes aureum
 Clove Currant can grow 6 feet tall and wide. So give it plenty of space, planted in sun or semi-shade in almost any soil~neutral, acidic or even heavy. My experience is that it is not a xeric plant, but, good drainage is a must. It's a colonizer, so plant where it can spread about.

It's native to the central United States and parts of Canada, Hardiness Zone4.  The only fly in the otherwise good ointment:  Ribes species can serve as an intermediate host for the White Pine Blister Rust fungus.  There are cultivars that are resistant to the fungus~Look for  'Consort', 'Coronet', 'Crandall', 'Crusader', 'Lowes Auslese', 'Polar',  'Titania' and 'Willoughby'.  Also, it's a dioecious shrub that requires both male and female plants for fruit production. 
It's planted near the front porch just off the stone path~perfect for catching its scent
It really is absolutely scentsational and I sure hope the songbirds get all the berries first! I'm a little miffed at the chipmunks and squirrels right now.

xoxogail

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone." She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

23 comments:

  1. Wish I could smell that. The fragrant shrubs seem to come out first don't they? Love those bluebirds.

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  2. That sounds heavenly...I wish it could be happy here.

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  3. Oh, to have that fragrance in the garden!

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  4. It is lovely, Gail! I love seeing the shots of your garden, with the birds, flowers and bottle tree. It looks like spring. Are these currants edible by humans, too?

    xxxooo
    Frances

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they are, but, they've been described as seed filled. xog

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  5. So, do you have both male and female plants? Love fragrant shrubs in the garden. I have spots where I could give it room to colonize.

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  6. Gail,
    The first photo is captivating, well done. And fragrant as well.

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  7. Beautiful photos, and I can almost smell the scent from here....

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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  8. I am a great fan of currants, especially black currants! Don't know how your scented variety is related or if you could eat the fruit. It does sound like a charmer though. I remember white pine blister rust when we lived in Canada. I think it was gooseberries that were the carrier there. Another fruit I adore. Never see hide nor hair of them in Texas.

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    1. jenny, You would love this scent in your garden. High Country sells 'Crandall' a Ribes odoratum variety so I think it can take your well drained conditions.

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  9. I have not heard of this plant, and was going to ask if people could eat them, but I see in the comments my question has been answered.

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  10. Thank you for telling me of this plant. Never heard of it either.~~Dee

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  11. The smell sounds heavenly, but the foliage is so attractive on this new-to-me plant, too. Thanks for the heads-up on the White Pine Rust; that is something I would definitely want to be careful about with all the white pines I have here.

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  12. That is a beautiful shrub and one I had not heard of! I just love the contrast of the foliage and the reddish-brown stems, plus the color of the flowers. I can't get enough fragrant flowers in my garden so I'm going to have to plant that one. Thanks for sharing the idea!

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  13. Lovely Gail. I can imagine the delicious scent of cloves. Sweet bluebirds there too!! Gorgeous intro photo!! What delicate blooms.

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  14. I acquired a couple of these through our local garden club. I'm not sure what variety they are - only that they come from MI. I have them planted near the front porch on the other side of the house from my White Pine. How can I know if this variety is resistant? Would my Pine have already shown signs of blister? Is it a sure thing? I have tried to research this more online but better to ask a garden guru such as yourself! This will be their third spring in my garden and I noticed they are loaded with buds. Looking forward to their wonderful scent.

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    1. Kathy, Garden Guru! Kind words indeed...My understanding is that the rust can be seen on the undersides of the ribes leaves first. The rust on the ribes releases the spores in late summer or fall. You have time to watch for it....but check with your local Dept of Agriculture/Forestry Division. Gail

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  15. What a lovely spring plant! I don't think it would grow this far north (Canada), but it's nice to admire it in your garden. We still have snow here - spring is not quite here, but soon.

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  16. Flowers that smell like cloves? Sounds heavenly! I can just imagine.

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  17. the local Ribes aureum has almost no scent whatsoever, but the sierra variety Ribes aureum var. aureum is the one which has the really strong clove scent.

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  18. It's too soon to bloom here, but I'm waiting patiently. It's one of the first flowers to attract hummingbirds in the garden. The dark fruits are good, but frequently the birds eat most of them before they are really ripe. With the warm weather we are having it might not be too long before that spicy scent wafts on the breeze.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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