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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday: Hypercolored Hypericum Heaven



Each fall when I see Hypericum frondosum's brilliant color I wonder why more American gardeners haven't planted them. It's a wonderful Southeastern US native* shrub with four seasons of interest and good wildlife value.
Plants are pollen rich, but have no nectar!
I would plant it for the pollen rich golden flowers alone, but when you add blue-green foliage, red seed heads, exfoliating winter bark, excellent wildlife value and hypercolored fall foliage you really do have a winner.

I'm puzzled that it's not offered in better gardening centers, but, I'm always puzzled that the same old same old bread and butter shrubs are sold all over this part of the gardening world. Especially when you compare the merits of a Burning Bush to all that Cedarglade St. Johnswort has to offer.

You want fiery reds~You got it!

Or, burgundy and orange~It delivers.


 How about golden leaves with just a touch of rose that looks stunning next to a bright colored bench!
In Middle Tennessee it is endemic to woodlands adjacent to cedar glades
Isn't the color delicious and don't you wonder why Hypericum frondosum isn't promoted as an alternative to invasive Euonymous alata. I do. Especially when I see the look on garden visitors' faces when they see the fall color for the first time. They are blown away...

This plant propagates so easily from seed or stem cuttings that no one can convince me that it is not commercially viable.
Mid November 2012
I have dozens of Golden St John's wort shrubs in my garden now. All the offspring of one Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst' cultivar that I bought fifteen years ago. Yes, I said dozens! It's a shrub that thinks it's a perennial and a few seedlings pop up near the mother plant each spring. I have moved them all over the garden and every one is covered in golden flowers that attract pollinators, just like its cultivar parent. They're planted in full sun, shade, dry soil and soil that's wet all winter.  It looks best and is happiest planted among shrubs that might be found in a woodlands adjacent to a cedar glade~Juniperus virginiana 'Gray Owl', Panicum virgatum, the native ex-asters, Chasmanthium latifolium, Phlox pilosa, Penstemon calycosus, Christmas Ferns and more.

If you don't know by now, let me tell you how very much I love this shrub!

I love its hyper-colored fall display,
the exfoliating bark,
the blue green summer foliage, and
the pollinator magnet golden sunburst flowers.
Golden foliage with red seed capsules
It's a year round beauty that makes Clay and Limestone the garden it is today....In other words, I can't imagine gardening without it! You should try it, too.

xxoogail

* Native from South Carolina and Tennessee south to southern Georgia and west to eastern Texas, Zones 5-8


Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.




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.

25 comments:

  1. Your area isn't the only area that doesn't offer this plant. I don't remember ever seeing it around here. Sigh~~

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    1. Lisa, Let me send you a baby. I will put it on my calendar for spring shipping! xo

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  2. Didn't see the Mr Linky but I will check back later. I love St John's Wort and planted 2 that are native to my area. I look forward to them pleasing the pollinators and me and spreading around the garden...

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  3. Oh yes, gorgeous. I have killed Hypericum although not that one. I could give that one a try.

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  4. It is a beauty, dear Gail, and the question you pose about it not being offered more is a puzzle. Like Layanee, I killed a Hyericum, Sunburst, the mother of your dozens. After carely consideration, it might be the acidity of our soil that did it in. Or drought. Or the black walnut tree nearby. Or all three.
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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    1. The trifecta of death to a plant that is known as Cedarglade St. John's wort! Yes, it prefers a less acid soil and when I look at where it naturally occurs your county is excluded. Bummer, but I can send you a baby if you want to try it again. xoxo

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  5. I don't know this plant and haven't seen it, but as you show there, it really stands out. I agree with you, it should be planted in gardens.

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    1. I wonder if there is a native hypericum for your part of the garden?

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  6. Aha! Now I know what that little mystery shrub you sent me with your care package a few years ago is! It bloomed this year for the first time. So far it's kept some of its foliage all winter here. The second winter, bunnies chewed it down to a nub. It re-grew, branching out more, and I guard it with a little circle of fence now over the winter.

    When it bloomed this year for the first time, I knew it was a St. John's Wort, but still didn't know which one. Now I do! I know I could have asked you, but somehow it was more fun finding out over time. :~) I'm happy it made it through the drought this year - tough little shrub!

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    1. That is so cool Linda. I am glad it bloomed and phooey on the bunnies! xo

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    2. Yep - phooey on the bunnies. I can't believe the stuff they eat here. Must be the price we pay for having one of the few gardens in the neighborhood. They think our garden is their own private salad bar. I think THEY would probably make a delicious stew. (kidding, sort of!)

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  7. Wow...I don't think I've seen the Hypericum in our area turn such vibrant colors...amazing!

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  8. Ours that you gave us several years ago are doing great! Love seeing the yellow blooms in the summer!

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  9. You should get behind the pulpit more often, maybe more gardeners will hear you. I have never understood the fascination with Euonymus alatus, to me the are only interesting 1 week out of 52.

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  10. I love this red autumn color! I also love my 'Albury Purple' hypericum... but I don't get the bright red leaves with that one. It just kind of goes right from purple-green to a dark red-purple (kinda like eggplant?) instead of going bright. Ah well. At least I get to enjoy yours via blog! :-)

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  11. Great pick, Gail, and it looks like I could grow it in my zone. I'll put it on my potentials list. Thanks!

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  12. What a beauty! I wonder sometimes if they sell exotic plants instead of natives because people complain of 'pest problems' - i.e. our local wildlife enjoy and benefit from our native plants. I've been seeing a lot more plants lately promoted as beneficial for the bees (after all the press that bees have gotten), and I've been seeing a lot more natives in the stores. I hope the trend continues!

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  13. Love the hypericums. They are under-utilized.

    I've posted my contribution, a little something about a common plant that I wish I could see in its "native" stat.

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  14. I've been looking for something hardy to plant under the Fir trees along the fence. It seems that the formerly pleasant dog next door now has it out for poor Bootsie. He needs to be hidden from view, so he too can enjoy the backyard.

    This looks wonderful, hardy, and so colorful.

    Thanks!

    Jen

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  15. You've shown some wonderful plants and I do love the great fall color. My belated contribution to Wildflower Wednesday is up. I hope your readers will visit me!

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  16. I was just going through some older photos looking for inspiration for WW and found photos from our stop at your garden after the Asheville Fling. What is the one bloomer I photographed?--your Hypericum! It looked beautiful then, but I didn't know it also had this gorgeous fall color. Great job of promoting this pollinator-friendly shrub, Gail; more garden centers should carry this beauty.

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  17. A little late, but we've been away, and now the garden is under a layer of twigs and leaves combed out of our two ash trees by a howling Southeaster. Glad I took the pictures while the flowers were still happy.

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  18. I know I'm late, but I finally have a post up for WW--it might surprise you:)

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  19. That is a lovely shrub, Gail. I see I missed the last Wildflower Wednesday. Oops! We'll see what the next few months bring. I may wait until spring.

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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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