My plant of the week, I love to feature plants that really sometimes not on the radar but by their own rights, they should be! Sometimes they just don’t get the break they need to make it to the big time and this weeks plant is one of those in my eyes.
Calycanthus are a small group of plants well 4 species, 2 each from both China and North America and they are more commonly known as the Allspices (not as in the spice allspice) or sweet shrub. All species have been used as a medicinal plant by the natives in their countries, it’s thought to be able to treat different ailments like kidney problems (always take advice before using any plant for medicinal uses) and also as arrow shafts by the native red indians.
This form, Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ is a hybrid between the Chinese (Calycanthus chinensis) and Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus). They were crossed in 1990’s by student of North Carolina university, Richard Hartlage under the guidance of his tutor J C Raulston. J C Raulston also at the same time, built up the great Arboretum that bears his name and is still carrying on his great work since he sadly passed away in 1996.
The plant makes a spreading shrub up to 3x3m with scented foliage and these beautiful flowers that are borne from early to late summer. They will take most soil conditions from alkaline to acidic soils but the soil does need to be able to hold some moisture. It will also take pretty deep shade to almost full sun. All of which leads it into a very useful shrub for any garden!
It can be brought from a few suppliers, the most dangerous of the suppliers has to be Burncose of Southdown mainly because they grow such a stunning range of plants! https://www.burncoose.co.uk/site/plants.cfm?pl_id=4680
It can be found in most botanical gardens, Sir Harold Hilliers Garden has some great specimens of it, mainly around ten acres
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Getting a bigger garden is now at the top of my “want” list. Loving that little hint of white in the centre of the flowers and what a potential wildlife haven underneath but I don’t quite have 9 square metres of ground to spare. 😉