Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Spiraeas (Week 18, Wednesday)

Was finalising the stockcheck of bed 435-03 today, which is Spirea central. This is one of the tidier beds, with plants well within their own boundaries for the great part. But a couple of the labels on the Spireas got mixed up, so I had to undertake a bit of investigative work.

Internet at the ready, I started to observe the plants. Luckily, most are flowering or have dead flower heads still visible, because the leaves of Spiraea, albeit all different, are often only slightly so. The flowers are a bit easier to interpret. There are two main colours: white and pink (which is either pale or bright) and two main inflorescence types: corymb (flat) and panicle (pointed). At the very least you can spot whether a label matches the species' combination of colour and inflorescence type or not, in which case the plant might need verification.

And that way I found a pink panicle Spiraea that was carrying a white corymb one. And also found a mix of pink and white flowers in the same shrub, which, after a good look at the leaves, told me that some suckering shrub had expanded into their neighbour. All the notes I am taking are going into my stock check, which I hope will help my colleagues restore the beds to their glory.

S. crenata
They are starting to grow on me, Spiraea, and some are really lovely, such as the S. crenata in the picture, with white flowers, dentate obovate leaves that become dark green when mature, and reddish stems. It originates from the Caucasus and is not suckering.

S. chamaedryfolia 'Transiens' 

Or even the suckering S. chamaedryfolia 'Transiens' with white flowers and larger, dentate ellliptic leaves, more similar to a Neillia or a Kerria.

Here are a few more - enjoy.

S. virginiana
S. x fontenaysii
S. formosana

S. betulifolia
S. douglasii var. menziesii
S. nipponica
S. japonica var. acuminata

S. micrantha

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